Best Vintage Rock Concerts Of 2013

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What a year for concerts! The Rolling Stones, the Who, Fleetwood Mac and Black Sabbath all returned for huge tours after years of inactivity. Heart & Jason Bonham teamed up for some shows, Yes played three albums in their entirety, and the Allman Brothers Band set up camp at the Beacon Theatre in New York City for an 11-night run. We were there to see as many as possible. There were a few we missed (like Paul McCartney) and a lot more we could have included (like Farm Aid)…but here’s our short list for the Best Vintage Rock Concerts of 2013!

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The Rolling Stones

May 15, 2013 – Anahiem, CA

Whenever the Rolling Stones come to town, it becomes an adventure for me to see them. And it starts by not planning anything beforehand — no buying a ticket when they first go on sale, no asking others to go, no wondering what I’ll eat and drink and buy pre-showtime. Nothing preconceived or plotted out. Much like the best music of the Stones, it’s a sloppy, risky way to go, yet it seems to work out. Read more >

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The Who

January 29, 2013 – Anahiem, CA

Tonight, it was the Who in Anaheim. Two nights before during an award ceremony at the NAMM show, Pete Townshend casually remarked he was unaware of the city’s very existence, but the Who have rolled through the land of Disney many times. Read more >

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Fleetwood Mac

May 28, 2013 – Anaheim, CA

Few bands have as colorful history as Fleetwood Mac. Let’s start with how they transformed themselves from basically an underground British blues band into a song-oriented FM rock super group with millions of records sold. You could spend days and weeks filling in the sordid details on the Mac’s high turnover in personnel, but most have come to accept the lineup featuring Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie out front — and founding members drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie manning the engine room — as the most definitive. Four-fifths of that famous configuration rolled through Southern California on their 34-city U.S. tour with sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl and Honda Center. Read more >

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John Fogerty

October 10, 2013 – Los Angeles, CA

So here it was — finally — my opportunity to see John Fogerty play the songs that made him famous. You see, for many years, the singer and songwriter didn’t perform any of the songs he wrote for Creedence Clearwater Revival. As it happened, the last (and only) time I saw him, he was touring behind the ominous Eye Of The Zombie and steering clear of anything from the CCR songbook. Tonight, it was a total 360 — all about CCR and more. It was, in fact, a history lesson about anything and everything John Fogerty. Read more >

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Steven Wilson

May 10, 2013 – Los Angeles, CA

You have to respect someone like Steven Wilson. He took the concept of Porcupine Tree and molded it into a formidable progressive rock band. He’s boldly dabbled in numerous one-offs and collaborations, mostly outside his comfort zone (if such a thing exists). And, with an ear for mixing the masters, he’s reshaped the music of King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake & Palmer into surround sound ear candy. Read more >

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Allman Brothers Band

March 17, 2013 – New York, NY

The grand institution of rock ‘n roll offers a plethora of experiences to anyone willing and curious enough to dig a little deeper. There’s the pilgrimage to Liverpool for Beatlemanics. Caravans of red-eyed tied-dyed earthworms followed the Grateful Dead around for decades. And today’s meet-and-greets provide once-in-a-lifetime alliances — fleeting and disingenuous, yet satisfying for fans and profitable for artists, so everybody wins. I’ve checked off a few items on my rock ‘n roll bucket list and seeing the Allman Brothers Band on the final night of their annual March run at New York’s Beacon Theatre is one I will cherish for years to come. Read more >

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Black Sabbath

August 28, 2013 – Irvine, CA

I never thought I’d see Black Sabbath together again in the 21st century. Yeah, I realize it’s not so much of a stretch because they’ve been around, off and on, since their 1999 reunion, which is when I last saw them. Before that, it was seven times in the 70s with the original lineup, then a few more in the 80s with Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes in the lead vocal slot. For me, however, Black Sabbath is and will always be Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. Tonight in Irvine, for the first stop in the southland of their 2013 North American tour, one of the four wasn’t there. But even without Bill Ward in the fold, it was a true Black Sabbath show in every other conceivable way. Read more>

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Heart
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

August 22, 2013 – Los Angeles, CA

On December 2, 2012, Heart and Jason Bonham teamed up to play “Stairway To Heaven” at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. before an esteemed audience that included Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and President Barrack Obama. It was a moving tribute supported by a string section, back-up singers and the Joyce Garrett Youth Choir. It also planted the seed for one of 2013’s most anticipated tours — Heart and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, with separate sets of their own and together for some prime Zeppelin. With a round of shows throughout Southern California, including two nights at the Greek Theatre in L.A., the bill was even better in person than it was on paper. Read more >

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Robert Plant

June 29, 2013 – Berkeley, CA

Until tonight, I hadn’t seen Robert Plant since 2002 when he toured behind Dreamland, an incredibly dense, diverse album that helped pave the way for his subsequent musical explorations. Indeed, the singer has turned each record he’s made in the last eight years into a thrill ride of eclecticism and stylistic buoyancy. Read more >

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Yes

March 6, 2013 – Los Angeles, CA

It’s not your Grandfather’s Yes anymore. Just don’t tell that to the fans (many grandparents themselves) resistant to the perpetual change the band has experienced in recent years. Maybe it’s just something the old codgers are going to have to get accustomed to: High turnover affecting the bands we love and grew up. Either that, or they retire and we’re left with the old records and tribute bands. It’s a tough choice. Read more >

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