It has been quite the year for concerts in 2016! I have been to 70 concerts and have seen at least 130 different acts. To come up with a top 10 list for the year was quite the undertaking as many shows were great, several were good and there were even a few clunkers for good measure. That’s the thing about going to concerts, you never know what you might hear or see!
Just missing my top 10 were The Goo Goo Dolls, Joe Satriani, The Cult, Pierce the Veil and AC/DC fronted by Axl Rose.
So here are my Top 10 shows for 2016.
- Alice Cooper (Akron Civic Theater) Believe it or not, I have never seen Alice in the 34 years that I have been going to shows. I just always seemed to miss him for one reason or another. I got the opportunity to see the father of “shock rock” and I wasn’t disappointed. He and his band sounded great on put on a great show with all the props that you would expect to see. A boa constrictor, the “FrankenAlice,” and the guillotine were all on display throughout the show. The man still has it!
- Whitesnake and Whitford/ St. Holmes (Hard Rock Rocksino) Classic rock is alive and well in Northeast Ohio. David Coverdale and company played their greatest hits on their summer tour. Coverdale’s voice was in top shape and the band played the songs pretty much note for note. Opening the show for a great double-bill was Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford and former Ted Nugent vocalist Derek St. Holmes. This show rocked.
- Toto (Hard Rock Rocksino) It has been about 23 years since Toto last made an appearance in the Cleveland area. The band more than made up for it by putting on an excellent show. Steve Lukather is one of the best guitarists out there and the overall musicianship of the band is top notch. Hopefully they will make a return trip to Cleveland in 2017.
- I Love The 90’s Tour (I-X Center) One of the most fun shows of the year! It was an old school hip hop party as Tone Loc, Kid N Play, Color Me Badd, Coolio, Rob Base, Salt N Pepa and Vanilla Ice played all of the songs that made them famous. After a few technical difficulties between the first few acts, things ran smoothly for the rest of the show and it turned into a dance party!
- Panic! At The Disco/ Weezer (DTE Pavilion, Detroit) This tour didn’t make a stop in Cleveland but both of my daughters love Panic! At The Disco so we decided to make the trek to Detroit to check them out. Brendon Urie has a great voice and is very entertaining. Weezer is also a very fun band. Early in the show they kicked about 20 huge beach balls into the audience to go along with the beach vibe of their stage show. I’m very happy we made the trip to that state up north!
- ARW (Goodyear Theater) Three Yes men, including original singer Jon Anderson along with Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman broke out the early ‘80s Yes catalog as well as some ‘70s classic hits. To hear an iconic voice in fine form was a treat for all fans in attendance.
- Prophets of Rage (Agora) Three members from Rage Against the Machine, B Real from Cypress Hill and Hall of Famer Chuck D from Public Enemy played a very intense show as the RNC was nominating Donald Trump right down the road. Being right in front of Tom Morello and watching this master craftsmen work was incredible. To be in the pit and to feel the energy of the band as well as the crowd during the show closing “Killing In The Name Of” is an experience I will never forget.
- Paul McCartney (The Q) Another legend to check off my bucket list. Yes, McCartney’s voice isn’t as strong as it once was, but the 74 year old played 33 songs!! “Love Me Do,” “Live and Let Die,” and “Blackbird” were worth the price of admission.
- Rik Emmett (Music Box Supper Club) Former lead singer and lead guitarist from Triumph played an incredible acoustic show. Along with the accompaniment of Dave Dunlop, this show was part storytellers, part stand up comedy and all amazing guitar playing. Rik’s playing is spot on and his voice was on point as well. Can’t wait to see Rik again!
- Bruce Springsteen (Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh) I have seen “The Boss” about 14 times since 1985. Pretty much every time he has made a stop in Cleveland, I have seen him. Whether it be with the E Street Band, or with out them, even solo acoustic shows, I have seen them all. When friends said they were getting GA tickets for the first show of “The River” tour, I was in! These friends have won the lottery a few different times over the years to get into “the pit”. As luck would have it, we got the right numbers. The winning number was only 80 in front of us. We ended up being 2nd row, and we parked ourselves right in front of Steven and Patti. It was an incredible experience! They were just a few feet in front of us! Bruce actually crowd surfed during “Hungry Heart” and was right next to me. The man’s music and lyrics connect with me more so than any other performer. To be that close to him and the band for three hours was a concert experience that can’t be topped!