I don’t choose concerts as quickly as my breakfast cereal. I give Chicago concerts their due diligence. And these five concert events in Chicago cannot be missed by any discerning concert-goer.
Bruno Mars Moonshine Junkie Tour: June 20, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, $45-$115, 8:00 PM
He’s short. He possesses a pompadour that would make Kim Jong-il jealous. His lyrics are a little… bleech. But Bruno Mars’s got grooves that would make 1986’s Prince jealous, and he offers a soulful Creole-flavor to his shows, bringing out backup singers and brass like hidden party favors. Ever dream of seeing Prince or MJ at the height of their talent? Too late for that, but you can get close by checking out Mr. Mars.
Arcade Fire Reflektor Tour: August 26-27, United Center, $40-$255, 7:30 PM
Hipsters unite! Joking. Keep reading, James Franco. I am not a huge fan of the recent wave of semi-sissy-folk rock (Mumford and Sons, Lorde, Imagine Dragons), but there’s something appealing about Arcade Fire. It could be the small army of musicians onstage or the stream of singalong choruses, but the energy of their shows inspires awe. Even a Pantera fan might start singing along. I’ll be singing along with them.
Jimmy Buffett: June 28, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, $36-$136, 8:00 PM
I do not like a single Jimmy Buffet song. Yes, I said it. But I don’t go to Jimmy Buffett concerts to appreciate his music (or to enjoy herbal recreation). I go to people-watch. People-watching is one of the most underappreciated hobbies in American culture (reality shows don’t count), and there is no better place to witness humans get downright weird. If you go, you’ll have a hundred stories the next day that start with “Man, I couldn’t believe it, I saw this guy…” That’s worth the price of the ticket.
Queen + Adam Lambert: June 19, United Center, $39-$140, 7:30 PM
This combination might seem sacrilegious to Queen purists, but it takes real pipes to sing with Queen. Brian May and the boys wouldn’t let just anyone fill Freddie Mercury’s shoes (filling them would be impossible…imitating them). Think what you want about American Idol , this Lambert fella can sing. Even if he can’t keep up, IT”S QUEEN!
Lady Gaga artRave-The ARTPOP Ball: July 11, United Center, $35-$225, 7:30 PM
It’s Lady Gaga, people. You need to see her. Probably the hardest working woman in music today, she’s a musician, cultural phenomenon and artist wrapped up with a blond bowtie. I have never seen her perform in Chicago before, but I decided I wouldn’t make that mistake again. She is the new goddess of pop music, our generation’s Madonna, Our Lady of Perpetual Funkiness. I mean, it’s Lady Gaga, people.