5 Guilty Pleasure Concerts You Might Not Want to Tell Friends You’re Attending

From a smooth-jazz mogul to the guy who pissed off Queen and David Bowie fans the world over.

philly concerts guilty pleasures

Some Philly concerts are guilty pleasures; we promise we won’t tell. / Illustration by Leticia R. Albano / Photographs via Getty Images

There are those concerts you go to where you can’t wait to post photos and videos on social media, making all your friends jealous that you were there. I’m talking about, say, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. And then there are those concerts that don’t quite make the cut. Shows that your friends will secretly (or not so secretly) mock you for attending. Here are five of the, uh, best guilty pleasure concerts in the region this summer.

Kenny G

July 10th at Ocean City Music Pier and July 11th at the Keswick

Known for: Changing the world forever when he picked up a soprano saxophone and smooth-jazzed his way to mega-stardom; his hair.
Since then: Sold more albums than Green Day, the Police or Aretha Franklin; became the best-selling instrumentalist of all time in any genre, causing John Coltrane and Charlie Parker to roll over in their graves; invested early in Starbucks; magically retained his hair.
Nowadays: To get a picture of the much-maligned singer’s current lifestyle and to hear what he thinks about you hating him, you really need to watch the fascinating HBO documentary Listening to Kenny G. Hair? Still there.

Bret Michaels

July 23rd at Freedom Mortgage Pavilion

Known for: Driving all the Aqua-Netted girls crazy as the lead singer of Poison; making a sex tape with Pamela Anderson. (I saw it; don’t bother.)
Since then: Came out with his own line of “Pets Rock” pet toys; hosted a Miss Universe pageant; won the ninth season of Celebrity Apprentice; after repeated COVID delays, embarked on a stadium tour in 2022 with his Poison bandmates plus Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard. Mercifully, no more sex tapes.
Nowadays: Doing the solo thing on a tour with, ugh, Jefferson Starship, one of Journey’s former lead singers, and Night Ranger, whom the world has to thank for “Sister Christian.”

Vanilla Ice

July 21st at Ocean Casino Resort

Known for: Pissing off Queen and David Bowie fans all over the world with his debut hit, “Ice Ice Baby,” which sampled “Under Pressure” without permission.
Since then: Immersed himself in an Amish community in Ohio for a reality series that should never have existed; became one of the most-loathed rappers of all time; competed on the 23rd season of Dancing With the Stars; portrayed Mark Twain (!!!) in a movie; had a moderately successful DIY home-improvement TV show.
Nowadays: Made headlines for playing a New Year’s Eve party at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion. (No word on if he found any secret documents.) Currently touring with Tone Lōc, Young MC, and C&C Music Factory in the “I Love the ’90s Tour.”

Ted Nugent

July 26th at the Keswick

Known for: Always wearing a cowboy hat; his big ’70s rock-and-roll tunes “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehold.”
Since then: Played with members of Styx and Night Ranger in the so-called supergroup Damn Yankees in the ’80s; appeared as himself in The Simpsons and That ’70s Show; had a VH1 reality show in which city dwellers were shipped off to his rural Michigan ranch.
Nowadays: Denied the existence of COVID until he got it, announcing that he had caught the “Chinese shit.” (No, really!) Calls the Biden White House “the enemies of America.” Says that this, the “Adios Mofos” tour, will be his last. (I’m not complaining!)

Donny Osmond

July 30th at Hard Rock Atlantic City

Known for: Bona fide teen-idol status in the early ’70s; Donny & Marie, his variety TV show with his sister; Tiger Beat covers.
Since then: Hosted various game shows, including Pyramid (he rightfully lost the game-show Emmy to Alex Trebek); played Gaston in a Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast; won the ninth season of Dancing With the Stars after mastering the cha-cha and tango; wrapped up an 11-year Vegas residency with Marie in 2019.
Nowadays: Taking a quick break from his newish solo Las Vegas residency at Harrah’s to tour the United States. I should just get this over with: He still sings, but he also, um, raps. You’ve been warned.


Published as “Guilty Pleasures” in the July 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine.