Written by Jessica Letkemann • Photography by Getty Images • August 22, 2017
Summertime is in full swing, so that means the clock is ticking on getting your fill of 2017’s hotter-than-hot slate of epic summer tours and festivals. There’s nothing like relaxing at an outdoor show, with your friends, and a refreshing beverage, and there’s still time to get in on gigs from Lady Gaga to Coldplay before Labor Day is in the rear view mirror. Don’t let September roll around without making a few more concert memories this summer. There’s something for everyone on the road right now, and we’ve got the details right here...
Dates: August 5 - 27 | Get Tickets
The prolific rapper dropped two albums just a week apart this spring, FUTURE and HNDRXX, and they earned him back-to-back No. 1s on the Billboard 200 album chart, so you know the time is nigh to catch this hot streak live. Lucky for you, it’s not too late to see him in concert this summer. He’s hitting amphitheaters and arenas along the east coast during August, from West Palm Beach, Fla. in the southwest all the way up to Toronto in the north, with stops in places like Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (which is just spitting distance from you Vermonters) and Baltimore along the way.
Fans have had nine months to digest Joanne, but Gaga is just getting started conquering the globe with her Joanne World tour of epic stadiums (with a few arenas thrown in for fun). Even the giant stadiums might not be big enough to contain the powerful vocals she’s packing. And if you think you’re just going to hear Joanne tunes and “the hits,” think again. Gaga is no stranger to debuting new music lately. After debuting “The Cure” back in April, she has told Billboard she’ll “absolutely” be playing new music on the Joanne World Tour this summer. Where will she be? Coast to coast, starting August 1 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, Canada, riding down the west coast, heading across the midwest, and then hitting New York (Citi Field, Aug. 28-29) before heading north to Boston, Montreal and beyond (driving distance for all of you New Englanders from Connecticut to Maine).
With 2017 album Revolution Radio fueling the run, Billie Joe Armstrong and co. are heading back out on a nationwide tour that kicks off August 1 in Auburn, Wash. and brings the veteran Bay Area-trio’s two-plus decades of rock and punk snarl to major arenas and amphitheaters (and even a baseball stadium). They’ll touch down somewhere near you for sure, including gigs at St. Louis, Missouri’s Hollywood Casino Amphitheater (Aug. 14), a sure to be legendary stop at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, and a New England area double-header Aug. 28-29 in Boston and Hartford, Conn. (both at Xfinity Amphitheatres), before wrapping up in Tampa on Sept. 5.
If you know anything about Coldplay, you know that the British rockers are an exuberant, colorful live act. Going to a Coldplay concert guarantees you’ll witness Chris Martin’s tireless energy and smiles, and so many great Coldplay tunes from across the band’s career, especially tracks from the brand new EP, Kaleidoscope. Now add in the fact that the August leg of the tour stops in massive stadiums including Chicago’s Soldier Field as well as arenas like Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, so you can witness the spectacle either in the open air or under the arena lights. Sound refreshing? Of course. The icing on the cake? AlunaGeorge and Izzy Bizu are opening this whole run.
How about a little country goodness in the dog days of summer? Hop on board Dierks Bentley’s What The Hell Did I Say tour, which is named for a track on his 2016 album, Black. Be prepared for a party, Bentley has described the shows to Rolling Stone as “very loud and fun,” and he even says he’s sharing beverages with fans. The tour swings through amphitheaters and country festivals throughout the country (including a stop in Darien Lake, NY that’s doable for you eastern Canada country fans) before winding down Sept. 2 in Englewood, Colorado. Cole Swindle and Jon Pardi are opening.
Made In America
Dates: September 2-3 | Get Tickets
There isn’t a more epic way to cap off your summer than to watch Jay Z rule the stage at his Made In America Festival. With Jay bringing rhymes from his brand new 4:44 album and fam Solange also on the bill, the fifth-annual event is certainly worthy of road trip down to Philadelphia (which is within a day’s drive for much of the east coast from New Hampshire folks all the way down to Georgia). J. Cole, Chainsmokers, Kaskade and plenty more will also be on hand, so there is definitely something for everyone. Late summer in Philly, the music will be hot, and so will the days, so make sure you grab something refreshing to drink often while you’re out there at Ben Franklin Parkway taking it all in.
Right on the heels of a brand new soul-baring album, The Search For Everything, Mayer and his guitar are bringing the love to big outdoor stages and amphitheaters through Labor Day weekend. Catch him as he takes a generous run through the south, the midwest, and the east coast as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida.
Those harmonies floating through the breeze on a warm summer night? Yes, please! The country trio’s new album, Heart Break, arrived in June and they’re taking its 13 tunes (plus favorites like “Need You Now,” of course) on the road to amphitheaters around the nation. Catch the You Look Good tour everywhere from Gilford, New Hampshire (July 23 at the Bank of NH Pavillion) to Rogers, Arkansas (Walmart AMP on Aug. 5) all the way to the west coast and pretty much every where in between before finishing the summer run on September 9 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young are the openers.
There’s a legion of loyal Nickelback fans who know what’s up when it comes to knowing what to expect from a tour: fun, energizing stage dynamics, and more. How do we know? We asked the superfans. If you want to get in on what the Canadian rockers are doling out this summer, the U.S. Feed The Machine tour in support of the just-released album of that name runs through Sept. 16 where they’ll close out things before heading to Canada this fall. Along the way, gigs at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater (Sept. 12), L.A.’s Greek Theatre (Sept. 8), St. Louis (July 25) and a pair of midwestern State Fairs (Iowa’s on Aug. 11 in Des Moines and Minnesota’s on Aug. 24 in St. Paul) are primed to be special. Daughtry and Shaman’s Harvest are opening all of the U.S. shows.
Time for 24K Magic in the air. Bruno’s bringing his whole revue, Hooligans, epic dance interludes, smooth uptown funk, and all to North American arenas all summer long and beyond. But this is a stage show made for warm weather, whether you’re hanging out with friends or looking for a great date night concert. You can watch Bruno cast his spell this August at a three-night stand at Chicago’s United Center (Aug. 16, 18, 19), The Sprint Center in Kansas City (Aug. 9) and elsewhere in the midwest, west coast, and across Canada.
Kendrick’s surprise album Damn. added to his already considerable legend, but you have to see the Cali rapper live to experience the full ecstatic effect of his music. Fortunately, the Damn. tour is making it’s way to an arena near you through Labor Day weekend. Before September, fans will be able to catch him for three nights at L.A.’s Staples Center (Aug. 6, 8, 9), in the midwest, and northwest. If you New Yorkers miss his two gigs at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (July 20, 23), don’t sweat: he’s also playing nearby Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center on Aug. 25 (just a PATH train ride away). As a bonus, Travis Scott, YG and D.R.A.M. are also on the bill.
Dates: August 3-6 | Get Tickets
It shouldn’t take much to convince you to go to Lolla, the mother of all modern festivals, this year. Now 26 years old, the festival has entertaining the masses down to a science as they take over Chicago’s Grant Park for yet another unforgettable four-day weekend, this time for headlining sets from native son Chance the Rapper, The Killers, Muse, and Arcade Fire. But you’ll want to get there a earlier each day to catch Cage the Elephant, Lorde, Blink-182, the XX, Big Sean, Lil Yachty, Banks, Ryan Adams, Run the Jewels, and Liam Gallagher. But don’t sleep on the early afternoon sets by people you may not have ever heard of. After all, Lady Gaga’s first Lolla performance was on a tiny stage in the afternoon in 2007. Nightowl? Lolapalooza’s got you covered with dozens of after shows at venues across Chicago featuring Foster the People, Spoon, The Shins, The Head and the Heart, Migos, A-Trak, and many more.
The Classic East
Dates: July 29-30 | Get Tickets
2017 rock festivals don’t get more classic than this: Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Earth, Wind and Fire, Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan are all playing the inaugural edition of this two-city megafest. That’s a lot of iconic rock, especially when you consider these are the Eagles’ first shows since Glenn Frey passed away in 2016. Eagles are paying tribute to the late Frey by inviting his son Deacon and country great Vince Gill to perform with the band in his honor. L.A.’s Dodger Stadium took it all in earlier in July, and come July 29-30, it’s New York’s turn as the whole shebang lands at Citi Field in Queens. Be sure to go to both nights or you’ll miss half of the epic lineup.
Still looking to rock out under the stars this summer? Let Young the Giant be your musical match. The Home of the Strange tour picks up at the beginning of the dog days of August and spreads across the midwest, with back-to-back stops in Saint Louis (Aug. 5) and Kansas City (Aug. 5) among them, before heading to the west coast, doing another midwest run, lighting up New York’s Central Park Summerstage (Sept. 13) and then doing the whole east coast.
Stapleton’s cerebral, heartfelt country simmers just right on a summer night. And perfectly, he’s headed through the midwest and east coast with Margo Price and Brent Cobb on board as well. Upper New England fans are in for a special treat: Stapleton is playing the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, NH on August 25 and 26. Come August 31, Stapleton heads to the west coast with Anderson East and Lucie Silvas as openers.
Believe it or not, the ever-smooth Matchbox Twenty are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and they’re celebrating on the road with the aptly named A Brief History of Everything Tour. Amphitheaters and arenas across North America will host the band, with pals Counting Crows co- headlining many shows, and Matt Nathanson on the bill as opener. Think they aren’t playing near you? Think again, a bunch of new dates were announced just a few weeks ago.
Mary J. Blige
Dates: Through September 9 | Get Tickets
MJB's fifteenth -- !!! -- album, Strength of a Woman, just dropped, and the R&B queen is bringing it to her legions of fans by hitting the road. She's got a lot of emotional workouts on the record, and she'll be sure to bring the force of them all to the stage. Also on the bill is Lalah Hathaway, so any show on the tour will definitely be a night to remember.
There is a whole generation of punk-influenced rock bands that wouldn’t exist without Social Distortion, so pay homage to the originals and catch them this summer in the midwest, all along the east coast, and through the south. Jade Jackson is opening the whole tour. Looking for something extra special and wanting to soak in some California sun before the summer is over? Catch Social D on Sept. 8 at the Ohana Fest in Dana Point, CA: Jack Johnson and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder are headlining.