Top 10 Concerts of 2017

Tis the season for a lull in concerts (at least in Portland) so what better way to end the year than the Top 10 Concerts of 2017.

Mind you, these concerts reflect those reviewed on Drew’s Reviews so the pool narrows a bit. OK, quite a lot, however 19 different bands received reviews this year for a total of 20 attended, Gin Blossoms the only repeat.

I’ve never done an end of year review so hopefully justice is done. Admittedly, in year’s past, like 2015 for example, Rush likely would have filled five of the 10 spots.  No chance this year and what an assortment of concerts for 2017 – Pop, heavy metal, adult contemporary, alternative, 80s and straight up rock.

All but a few made the initial cut and several of those were immediately put into place. The hardest part was deciding the placement as #10 didn’t necessarily mean it didn’t belong higher. Ultimately, it came down to those concerts I wanted to live it all again.

Size does matter as Metallica got bumped thanks to the large scale setting at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Bigger doesn’t mean better! The football field just didn’t serve them well like the arena setting last time out. However, the #1 concert of 2017 for Drew’s Reviews didn’t register initially but when I looked back over all the shows with #1 already in mind, it totally made sense but a bit of a surprise considering how harsh I graded this band’s last two albums. With that the Top 10 Concerts of 2017:

Best Concerts of 2017

10. Def Leppard

Despite having seen Def Leppard several times in the last year or so along with a similar setlist it was an all-around good time including a great opening set from Poison. A sold-out crowd on hand, both bands in fine form, solid vocals from singer Joe Elliott, and for me Def Leppard never gets old. A 2018 tour is in the works with a new setlist including the entirety of their iconic album Hysteria. Can’t Wait!

From the review: Instead, we got three glorious hours of music by talented musicians who wanted to play their wares for an enthusiastic crowd from the floor to the rafters.

Read the entire review: Def Leppard and Poison Have A Good Time in Portland.

9. Midnight Oil

Despite some political posturing (big surprise!), the Oils returned after nearly 15 years and put on one heck of a show. The energy fully contagious, Midnight Oil certainly enjoys playing and it showed. Singer Peter Garrett at 64 years old neither looked nor sounded his age and brought a stage presence only he could provide. And it sounds like a new album is in the works.

Midnight Oil at Revolution Hall in Portland

From the review: Every song – every song – bested the original studio versions. Monday’s show defined a rock concert performance.

Read the entire review: Midnight Oil Burns Bright in Portland.

8. Switchfoot

Switchfoot always sells out the Crystal Ballroom where they always play. My suggestion they find a bigger and better venue was not ingest. Be that as it may, the San Diego based band on their Looking for America tour found success in Portland. In support of their 10th and perhaps best album Where the Light Shines Through, Switchfoot shined the entire evening playing seven off their latest album in a 14 song set which included the deep album cut “On Fire” off The Beautiful Letdown. Switchfoot recently announced what sounds like a long-term hiatus so we’ll see what the future holds for these surfers.

From the review: As such, Switchfoot’s stage show now equates to those A-list type of acts complete with background projection screens with accompanying video, great lighting, smoke, confetti shower and even bubbles. Of course their playing by itself rules the night.

Read the entire review: Switchfoot Looks for America and Finds Hope in Portland.

7. Billy Joel

I’ve never attended a concert with more people at the Moda Center than this month’s Billy Joel concert. The seats behind the stage were filled and everything in between. It was a most welcome back considering his last solo performance was 10 years earlier and didn’t sell out the upper bowl. Joel was perfect, thoroughly entertaining and delighted the audience all evening. He spent the first half giving the audience a selection of songs to choose before blazing through all his hits including the fantastic “Piano Man.”

Billy Joel at Moda Center in Portland

From the review:  Joel, 68, sounded as strong as he did during all those platinum selling records of the 1970s. His tenor, flawless all evening but really shined on “New York State of Mind,” “She’s Always a Woman” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” which opened the encore.

Read the entire review: Billy Joel Is No Stranger In Portland.

6. Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode could easily tour their hits but continue to plow ahead with new albums, sold out shows and an intense fan base. A packed Moda Center greeted the 80s icons who had not visited Portland in almost 20 years. If you never saw Queen with Freddy Mercury, Depeche Mode front man David Gahan is as closed as it gets.  Spirited and flamboyant all evening his baritone never faltered and the guys ripped through a 22 song set and showed they’re hardly going backwards.

Depeche Mode at Moda Center in Portland

From the review: Gahan’s baronial sound comes across like no other and he was on point sounding like a master-taped version of himself.

Read the entire review: Portland Catches Up With Depeche Mode.

5. Neil Diamond

The man responsible for the most traffic to Drew’s Reviews ever in one day somehow didn’t sound a day over 30 even though he’s 76. Diamond brought 50 years of music to the Moda Center and simply killed it. He sang 26 songs over two hours and might not have moved around like his younger version but performed flawlessly and gave those of us who grew up listening a chance to reminisce and realize the good times never seemed so good.

Neil Diamond at Moda Center in Portland

From the review: Mr. Diamond is 76 years old, or perhaps that’s young, because he hardly looked, acted and most importantly sang like what the rest of us mere mortals expect from somebody closer to 100 than 50.

Read the entire review: Neil Diamond Proves Age Is Just A Number.

4. Duran Duran

Duran Duran played not one but two days in the 2,000 seat venue The Show at Agua Caliente Casino just outside Palm Springs. And it was a blast. The band that practically defines the 1980s continued it’s nearly two-year long tour of their hit album Paper Gods which sold out smaller spots in the desert and larger venues like The Hollywood Bowl. These nights proved special. Just the band, fans and a party atmosphere.

Duran Duran at The Show in Palm Springs

From the review: You know something special is unfolding when it feels like nearly every song builds into what’s usually reserved for the climatic finale. And that’s how it was. Both nights.

Read the entire review: Duran Duran Throws Two Day Bash in Palm Springs.

3. Foo Fighters

One of, if not the most prominent rock bands today, playing a small college-based arena and shredding for nearly three hours? You can’t ask for much more than that. Foo Fighters just started an immense tour in support of their ninth album Concrete and Gold with planned visits to larger venues like Fenway Park. But fans earlier this month got the VIP treatment with Dave Grohl and company visiting Matthew Knight Arena who played and played and played.

Foo Fighters at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugune, OR

From the review: This band succeeds where many fail by releasing songs fans not only fully embrace but that already sound like part of their collection of hits.

Read the entire review: Eugene Gets the Best of Foo Fighters

2. Gin Blossoms

It would certainly be an honor if someone within the Gin Blossoms camp read this review of the band’s show at Snoqualmie Casino and this review of the vinyl release of New Miserable Experience because it sure seems like they took notice. It was the best they’ve ever sounded, performed and produced as I saw two shows: The first at Craterian Theater in Medford, Oregon followed by the Aladdin Theater in Portland. A stellar 20 song set including New Miserable Experience in its entirety, Gin Blossoms played new songs as well as other hits. A new album Mixed Reality is forthcoming and by all accounts it’s as strong as their 25 year old classic. By the way, Gin Blossoms were in the running for best concert of the year.

Gin Blossoms at Aladdin Theater in Portland

From the review: They were tight, on point and clearly well-rehearsed. Singer Robin Wilson dropped those first vocals and the 90s roared to life.

Read the entire review: Gin Blossoms Find 25 Miserable Years Works Quite Well.

1. Coldplay

Somehow, someway the band that received some pretty harsh criticism on their last two albums along with two “C-“ got the nod for best concert of 2017. It was a perfect storm of sorts but to be fair Coldplay promised to play their best show ever and indeed they did.  The Head Full of Dreams tour hit Portland a day after the Las Vegas shooting and the day of Tom Petty’s passing. It was an emotionally charged evening acknowledged by the band  as they started with a moment of silence and opened with “Free Fallin’” before tearing through 22 more songs with exuberance and electricity. It was one of the best sounding concerts I’ve ever heard.

From the review:  Every song this night proved why audiences come out in droves to see the band.

Read the entire review: Coldplay Performs Their Best Show Ever


5 thoughts on “Top 10 Concerts of 2017

    1. Thanks deKE! Merry Christmas to you too. And thanks for your advice earlier this year. Looking forward to more if your reviews.

  1. I saw Coldplay in their Head Full of Dreams tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in August 2016, with Bishop Briggs and Alessia Cara as the opening acts. It was an awesome evening, and those guys really pull out all the stops to create an exciting and memorable experience for their fans.

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