Your backstage pass to some of the best performances of the week, with insight to set lists and encores.
Last week was a lively one for shows across the US. Legends took to stages throughout the country, bringing ceaseless energy and delighting fans as if they’d never left the collective rock consciousness. In an age of explosive, high-tech sets from a new generation of pop stars and electro artists, fans nationwide witnessed classic bands holding their ground at monumental stadiums.
Concertgoers arrived in droves to cities like Los Angeles for the Guns N’ Roses show at Dodgers Stadium, and LA for seminal grunge artist PJ Harvey’s performance at the Shrine Expo Hall, part of her first tour in five years. From Sir Paul McCartney to Black Sabbath, we’ve rounded up the best of last week’s live performances, plus the encore songs you missed.
1. Guns N’ Roses — Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
We could tell by the countless people in Guns N’ Roses t-shirts walking throughout Los Angeles that the concert was bound to be epic. Fans swarmed Dodger Stadium to see the seasoned rockers pull out all the stops. It was a show not to be missed, especially since the last time Guns N’ Roses graced the LA stadium with their presence was in 1992. Playing to a crowd of around 45,000, the band ended with a four song encore: “Catcher in the Rye,” “Patience,” “The Seeker,” and “Paradise City.”
2. Billy Joel — Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Billy Joel hasn’t put out a new album in 23 years, so you know going into his show that it will be packed full of nostalgia. Another baseball stadium gig, Joel knew right where he was, even starting the show with a verse from “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Aimed right at the baby boomers that make up most of his audience, Joel and his eight-piece backing band playedhits like “Piano Man,” and lesser-known favorites like “Big Man on Mulberry Street.” The two-hour plus show ended with a six-song encore, closing out the night with “Only the Good Die Young.”
3. Paul McCartney — Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Although Sir Paul McCartney was late to the gig (apparently he was chatting it up with Hillary Clinton beforehand), the Beatles legend did not disappoint. Going on for nearly three hours without a break, the gig ran the gamut from his solo material to Beatlemania 101. Fittingly, McCartney ended his six-song encore with Abbey Road’s “The End.”
4. Heart — Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas, TX
While on their Rock Hall Three for All tour, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Cheap Trick stopped over in Dallas at the Gexa Energy Pavilion. All three legendary acts have successfully toured and produced music for the last few decades and together they created an experience full of raw energy and talent. Playing hits like “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda,” the Wilson sisters decided to end their show with a two-song encore of epic Led Zeppelin covers: “Immigrant Song” and “Stairway to Heaven.”
5. Black Sabbath — Nikon Theater, Long Island, NY
Under a full moon, Black Sabbath kicked off the last leg of their final North American Tour. Aptly named “The End” tour, the run of farewell shows has proven that metal is alive and well. Although we’ve heard these dudes play together for nearly five decades, their sound is timeless. The show ended with one song for the encore: “Paranoid.”
6. PJ Harvey — Shrine Expo Hall, Los Angeles, CA
PJ Harvey hasn’t been on tour in five years, and she had a lot to say. Her latest album The Hope Six Demolition Project touches on the current state of Washington, and the imprint it leaves on communities around the world. Playing to a sold-out crowd at the Shrine Expo Hall, the night began with some theatricality, as a saxophone-wielding Harvey marched onstage with nine men as if preparing for battle. The two-song encore ended with a raw and explosive performance of “Working For The Man.”
7. Culture Club — The Warfield, San Francisco, CA
‘80s pop incarnates Culture Club headlined The Warfield on Friday night, as part of their longest-ever tour. Boy George and his band captivated the crowd with an endless stream of fan-favorites. Playing of a mix of Boy George’s solo stuff, plus Culture Club hits, their encore included the classic “Karma Chameleon.” The audience was transported back in time during the performance, which proved the band’s staying power despite the passing of decades.
8. Pearl Jam — Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
As part of their two-day sold-out shows at the Cubs’ home field (Eddie Vedder is a longtime fan of the team), Pearl Jam announced “We’re back,” before taking the stage for the first time since 2013. The aforementioned performance three years prior was delayed for several hours after the first few songs due to a rainstorm, and the wild and debaucherous show has since gone down in history. But their return to Wrigley Field this time was not deterred by weather and the band went on to play three encores, totaling a 34-song set that lasted over three hours. The encores included covers of The Ramones, Cheap Trick, and Pink Floyd, and ended with The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”
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