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.
Best Concerts 2020
- 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.
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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
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
- 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.
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