Best Concerts of 2020

Top Concerts of 2020

Stop laughing.

Technically, I attended one concert and came close to seeing three before the shutdown.  But, as the coronavirus loomed and bands figured out ways to reach the masses without touring I did manage to see a couple of shows 2020 style.

Oh, but what could have been.

I had tickets to see Gin Blossoms / Toad the Wet Sprocket / Barenaked Ladies, Pet Shop Boys / New Order, Kansas, Ozzy Osbourne (postponed from the year before) and Samantha Fish with likely plans to see Motley Crue / Def Leppard, Def Leppard / ZZ Top and who knows who else would have gone on tour.

Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown in March, I passed on opportunities to see Chris Isaak and TobyMac, thanks to extensive traveling as each held concerts the day I returned home in mid-February and early March, respectively. Kansas got postponed to November a few days before their show in March, then postponed again. All other bands got pulled from the touring schedule pretty quickly, thereafter.

All told, I managed to “see” five shows in 2020 so just for kicks, I’ll rank them on this short list of Top 5 Concerts of 2020. Fair? OK, good.

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Best Concerts 2020

  1. Metallica Encore Drive-In Nights

You know something special occurred when, the next day, you reminisce about the day before. Such was the case with a pre-recorded Metallica concert played in drive-ins across the country. So many fans flocked to this event theaters added second showings later that night! That’s how much we crave concerts, or maybe just Metallica, because what I thought was a pretty cool idea didn’t pan out with other bands and the whole Encore Drive-In Nights “tour” has gone belly-up.

Metallica Drive-In Concert screen shot

From the review: “With some tweaking to the sound, I submit to you that the Metallica Drive-in Concert sets a benchmark for how concert films should be produced and recorded from this day further.”

Read the review: Metallica Encore Drive-In Nights

  1. The Grand Ole Opry

The only live show I attended in 2020 and while some could argue, not a legit concert, it indeed was a concert as multiple bands for several hours played live music to the age-old radio broadcast in front of a live audience. It was an event to remember, one I’d like to experience again, and if I lived near Nashville, TN, probably a show I’d attend several times a year.

Stage view of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN

From the review: “I can tell you this – a who’s who of old time country music stars turned out for the Feb. 28, 2020 airing of the Grand Ole Opry and attending fans who tune in (not just on the radio) to country western, country music and bluegrass sure got their ticket’s worth.”

Read the review: The Grand Ole Opry Feb. 28, 2020.

  1. Metallica Helping Hands Concert

Metallica broadcast their Helping Hands concert live and these guys have truly raised the bar when it comes to all-around proficiency and professionalism. A two-hour, 14 song setlist started out with acoustic versions of some of their classics and a few covers before the band “unplugged” and let loose. Had they spent less time trying to interact with fans who paid for the VIP TV experience, Metallica could have played five more songs and given everybody an unprecedented livestream event.

Metallica singer James Hetfield during Helping Hands Concert

From the review: “The first half of the Helping Hands Concert, provided a different glimpse into the band of Metallica, by removing the loud pulsating energy of a regular concert but showed the unrealized versatility of heavy metal music. “

Read the review: Metallica Helping Hands Concert Gives In More Ways Than One

  1. Foo Fighters Live at the Roxy

An online ticketing glitch prevented me from watching Foo Fighters Live at the Roxy “live” but someone somewhere realized others had the same problem so someone somewhere opened the broadcast viewing window. Psychologically, it probably would have been better watched “live” but the day after proved just as choice. A longer setlist, just 12 songs, and a bit less of “Dave” could have made this one really something special.

Foo Fighters on stage at The Roxy during livestream concert

From the review: “Of course, the contagious energy often felt when in attendance was absent, but for what it’s worth this experiment could bring into the fold a whole new concert experience.”

Read the review: Foo Fighters Give a Live Reprieve at The Roxy

  1. Gin Blossoms Salute to Service

Pre-recorded but free. Like I said, I’ll take it. Interesting too as singer Robin Wilson worked out of his home studio in New York while the rest of the gang played together in Arizona as the Tempe, AZ natives helped out Arizona State University in their annual Salute to Service for the nation’s veterans. Great audio and the wizardry of modern technology.

Gin Blossoms Salute to Service concert

From the review: “Overall, Gin Blossoms played great together considering the effort needed to coordinate virtually and the audio was also solid, especially the guitars, drums and bass, while Wilson sounded muffled at times, ironically almost like he had a mask on, but mostly came through fine albeit some off key moments.”

Read the review: Gin Blossoms – Salute to Service Concert

5 thoughts on “Top Concerts of 2020

  1. Nice. The main thing is you were out supporting live music which is the main thing whether it be by car or by couch! lol
    Cheers Pal!

  2. This is awesome. I got to see 0 concerts. I had tickets to see Sammy Hagar & the Circle/Whitesnake/Night Ranger triple bill, but first David had to have Whitesnake pull out for a surgery and then Covid killed the rest. Too bad you missed TobyMac, that would’ve been a good show. Great list. Now I have done a Top 10 Concerts of All Time list for early January since I miss live shows so much.

  3. I had tickets to see Sloan in March. That was it so far. I was planning on much more for the summer. Ah, well. Good to see how you were still able to support some live music.

    1. Sloan! Thanks to Deke I saw them a year ago or so. Hopefully we will all get to go live again in a few months. Thanks for reading!

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