9 Summer Concerts to Get Excited About
As temperatures rise, the music only gets hotter in Las Vegas
Triple-digit temperatures means Las Vegas almost always misses out on great summer amphitheater tours, and that’s a shame. Phish, Jack Johnson, Kiss, Linkin Park, Dave Matthews Band, Outkast and James Taylor all have tons of concerts scheduled this summer with nary a Las Vegas date to be found. But there are still plenty of shows to go around, as these nine concerts prove.
1. The Pretty Reckless (May 28, Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel)
One-time Gossip Girl starlet Taylor Momsen is generating a lot of buzz with her band’s second full-length, Going to Hell, and the song “Heaven Knows” has already become a chart-topping rock hit. With a slew of postponed winter dates (pneumonia and laryngitis) behind her, expect Momsen to come out rocking.
2. Tedeschi Trucks Band (May 29-31, Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq)
Guitarist Derek Trucks has announced that 2014 will be his final year as an Allman Brother, which means his band with singer (and wife) Susan Tedeschi will become his top priority. Which makes us wonder: What can an 11-piece band that’s already firing on all cylinders accomplish with Trucks’ full, undivided attention?
3. Lionel Richie/Cee Lo Green (June 6, Mandalay Bay)
A tour named All the Hits is a staggering undertaking for Lionel Richie, who, between the Commodores and his solo career, has been churning out stone-cold classics since 1974. Opening act Cee Lo Green has a diversified catalog, too, stemming from his work with Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley.
4. Billy Joel (June 7, MGM Grand)
It’s been more than six years since Billy Joel last played Vegas, and an appearance by the Piano Man is always a welcome event. His monthly gigs at Madison Square Garden have been well received, and he’s been digging deeper into his catalog, unearthing rarities like “All for Leyna” and “Summer, Highland Falls.”
5. Jake Shimabukuro (June 15, Hard Rock Live)
He might not be a household name, but do a YouTube search and you’ll find nearly 13 million views next to ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro’s version of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Together with the late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, he’s responsible for popularizing ukulele music outside his native Hawaii.
6. Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden (July 19, Planet Hollywood Resort)
Trent Reznor and Chris Cornell were two of the most powerful singers of the ’90s. A Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden combo tour would’ve created fireworks in 1994 but time has hardly lessened either band’s impact, even if two iconic hits from that year, “Closer” and “Black Hole Sun,” are not always performed live.
7. Justin Timberlake (Aug. 8, MGM Grand)
Are we Timberlaked out? Judging by the response to his November performance at MGM Grand, the answer is a resounding no. Although his YouTube sketches with Jimmy Fallon have fared better than some recent 20/20 Experience singles, the man is still a natural-born performer with an enviable arsenal of hits.
8. ZZ Top/Jeff Beck (Aug. 16, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel)
What do the Texas rockers and the British-born guitarist have in common? A love of the blues, that’s what. They’ll each play separate sets, then sync up for an encore where all bets are off. They’ve previously joined forces for takes on ZZ’s “Rough Boy” and “La Grange” and a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady.”
9. The Avett Brothers (Aug. 29-31, Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq)
Scott and Seth Avett are not afraid to take it back—way, way back. At recent shows, they’ve taken to covering the 19th century spiritual “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” “Amazing Grace” and the Spaniels’ 1954 hit “Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite.” Yet their folk-influenced sound is a perfect foil for the timeless tunes.