OK, I admit it. I am a bit of a music fan. I have been to over 300 concerts in the last 30 years. There’s something about seeing someone “live.” The roar of the crowd, the power of the performance, all adding up to a night you won’t forget. Here are 10 favorites from past summers in no particular order. Believe me, it was hard narrowing it down!
Madonna, July 1987, Anaheim Stadium
It was my first time seeing the Material Girl. This was for the Who’s That Girl tour, and there were 70,000 people in the stadium that night. We had to wait all day for the show as we had General Admission tickets, remember those? But it was a fun crowd and the time went by fast. The show was excellent, she really sang and danced her heart out. And a superstar was born, setting the bar as far as live shows with elaborate staging, costumes and choreography.
Donna Summer, August 2008, Hollywood Bowl
Not my first time seeing her by far! One of my all-time favorite artists ever, it was great to see her play such a large venue, 30+ years into her career. She had just released her first full album in 17 years, “Crayons” and had 2 #1 dance singles off it too. She sang most of the new songs, plus all the old favorites too including “Love to Love You Baby” which she said she would never sing again.
Lady GaGa, August 2010, Staples Center
First time for her. She put on a twisted fairy tale of a show featuring all the hits from “The Fame” and “The Fame Monster.” Obviously inspired by Broadway, Madonna, Elton John, the Wizard of Oz, punk rock and more, she showed that she is a force to be reckoned with! I sat next to 2 gay teenagers who were making out for most of the show and nobody seemed to mind!
The B-52’s & Pretenders, August 1998, Universal Amphitheatre
Royal Crowne Review was also on the bill, 3 great bands, putting on a high-energy show. The Pretenders lead by the fantastic lead singer, Chrissie Hynde, plowed through hit after hit in their set. The B-52’s are one of the best party bands ever, you just can’t sit still when you are at one of the their shows, you will be up on your feet the whole time!
Michael Bublé, August 2007, Greek Theatre
A coworker lent me a copy of “It’s Time.” I enjoyed that CD enough to take a chance on seeing him live the next year. Boy, was I glad I went. He is so charismatic and a great live singer. He is also pretty funny too. He proved how powerful his voice is by singing without a microphone for a few bars. His band was very strong and rocked the house with their swinging arrangements. He was touring behind “Call Me Irresponsible” which was my favorite CD for the year.
Kenny Chesney, June 2006, Home Depot Center
Also on the bill were Carrie Underwood and Dierks Bentley. A great show in a soccer stadium and one of the biggest outdoor country concerts in LA ever. Carrie was the up and comer from “American Idol.” But she could definitely belt live. Dierks was supporting his second CD, “Modern Day Drifter.” Kenny started the show in the back of the field and than ran up to the stage through the crowd. He showed why he is one of the hottest touring acts on the road with a high-energy, hit filled show that had guest appearances by Uncle Kracker and Eddie & Alex Van Halen.
Gloria Estefan, August 1996, The Forum
Gloria was just coming off the success of her Olympics anthem, “Reach.” Having emerged from the shadow of the Miami Sound Machine, this was an excellent showcase of all her talents: singing, song writing, dancing, and entertaining. She comes across as a very nice person, but in concert, she is the mistress of her domain.
Janet Jackson, August 1998, The Forum
Janet has always been a great live performer. This tour in support of her great “Velvet Rope” album, a fan favorite, if not a big commercial success, was no exception. Miss Jackson worked hard, dancing and singing like her life depended on it. She was at the top of her game that night and it showed.
Go-Go’s, August 1982, Hollywood Bowl
A homecoming concert for LA favorites, the Go-Go’s. The were celebrating the release of their second album ‘Vacation.” Also on the bill was the Blasters. I am reading Belinda’s biography and she was dating a guy from that group up to a few days before, plus she was on drugs the whole time. Oh well! It was still a fun show.
Jonas Brothers, August 2009, Staples Center
OK, I admit it, I like them. This was the tour for their “Lines, Vines and Trying Times” CD. Also on the bill was Jordin Sparks from “American Idol.” The boys showed that they are great songwriters, musicians and entertainers. The stage was in the round. They did the routine with the foam that they got made fun of on “South Park.”
I would love to hear from others what their favorites have been through the years.