Summer concert preview: big shows are back as live music returns
Summer concert season cranks the volume after being quieted by COVID.
Summer music is back.
After the year that dare not speak its name, venues are ready to plug back in, artists are ready to take the stage and fans are ready to let loose.
We weren't sure when we'd get here, but we're here. Live music has been back in fits and spurts and now the summer amphitheater season is officially kicking off — better late than never, indeed — with Saturday's Jamey Johnson concert at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights.
From there, it's not quite back to business as usual, but it's a start. And things will be rolling along with several stadium shows at Comerica Park, while indoor arena concerts return to Little Caesars Arena in late August.
Summer 2022 is already lining up to be a big one, and that's when things will fully roar back to the sort of summer concert seasons we're used to in southeastern Michigan. For now, here's a look at some of this season's top shows, all of which are a reason to get together and celebrate live music again.
Welcome back, summer.
Jamey Johnson, June 26, Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre: The country rocker hasn't released a new album in nearly a decade, and his biggest hit, "In Color," was released when George W. Bush was still president. But by sheer luck of the draw, Johnson happens to be headlining the area's first big amphitheater concert since COVID-19 shut down the live music industry, so it's one of the season's top shows by default. Let's rock.
Faster Horses, July 16-18, Michigan International Speedway: The Party of the Summer returns, and what timing: while other summer festivals took themselves off the schedule early, the three-day country music festival played the odds and came up a winner. The fest will be headlined by Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett and Jason Aldean, the same trio that was set to headline the 2020 fest before COVID shut it down, but the hard-partying country music fans are the real stars of this show. Yee-haw.
Guns N' Roses, Aug. 8, Comerica Park: Welcome back to the jungle. Guns N' Roses kicked off its reunion outing at Ford Field back in 2016, and five years later the tour that some didn't expect to last a full week is still going strong. Expect to hear all the Guns N' Roses favorites, from "Paradise City" to "Sweet Child O' Mine," and a "Chinese Democracy" track or two as well. Mammoth WVH, featuring Wolfgang Van Halen, will open.
Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer, Aug. 10, Comerica Park: "Deeee-troiiiiiiiiit!" Expect Billie Joe Armstrong to shout out the Motor City early and often, as few rockers call out the name of their host city as frequently as the Green Day singer. This three-pronged attack is co-headlined by Fall Out Boy and Weezer, the latter of which has already released two albums this year. It is set to be a hit-packed night at the Tigers' ballpark.
Deftones with Gojira and Poppy, Aug. 15, Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre: The alt-rock veterans have become hard-rock survivors: 26 years after its debut album "Adrenaline," Chino Moreno and the gang have kept a dedicated following by staying true to its slick sound and metal roots. Last year's "Ohms," the band's ninth studio set, reunited the group with "White Pony" producer (and Lansing native) Terry Date.
Dead & Company, Sept. 10, DTE Energy Music Theatre: John Mayer's new album "Sob Rock" is due out next month, but he'll be on the road this summer with his side hustle, playing guitar in the current iteration of the Grateful Dead. The outfit has successfully carried on the Dead's legacy and brought the legendary band's music to a whole new generation of fans, and as soon as this show went on sale it quickly became one of the season's hottest tickets. No "Sob Rock" needed here.
Alanis Morissette with Garbage and Liz Phair, Sept. 12, DTE Energy Music Theatre: The "You Oughta Know" singer planned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her smash album "Jagged Little Pill" on its actual 25th anniversary, but, you know, the world had other plans. No matter: the album has survived this long, so what's another 12 months? Garbage and Liz Phair round out this female-fronted mini-festival, one of the best '90s nights you'll have all summer.
Harry Styles, Sept. 20, Little Caesars Arena: Even in a year where you couldn't go anywhere, "Watermelon Sugar" still managed to be unavoidable. Harry Styles is now an even bigger star than he ever was before, and this is a guy who got plenty used to rocking stadiums during his days with One Direction. This was a tour that was announced early and looked like it would be rescheduled for 2022, but the timing has worked out in Styles' favor, and now we'll be singing "Watermelon Sugar" out loud, en masse, before you know it.
Alice Cooper, Sept. 25, DTE Energy Music Theatre: The Motor City rocker released his album "Detroit Stories" earlier this year, which he recorded in the area with a band made up of Detroit rock and rollers. This homecoming show is set to be a fun one: Cooper shows are always theatrical, over-the-top affairs, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer surely has a little something special in store for the hometown crowd. Ace Frehley opens.
J. Cole, Oct. 5, Little Caesars Arena: The North Carolina rapper scored another No. 1 album with his latest studio effort, "The Off-Season," his sixth studio effort (and first since 2018's "KOD.") That last album also brought him to Little Caesars Arena, in September 2018, as he's proved himself to have staying continued power at the top of the hip-hop world. Now only if he'd enjoy it, or at least let himself crack a smile. Cole's "My Life" co-conspirators 21 Savage and Morray open.
Other upcoming concerts on the docket:
Little Caesars Arena
Aug. 28: CMG Takeover with Yo Gotti, Moneybagg Yo, Blac Youngsta, 42 Dugg, EST Gee, Coi Leray and Jacquees
Sept. 17: Alan Jackson
Oct. 1: Blake Shelton
Oct. 10: The Millennium Tour featuring Omarion, Bow Wow, Ashanti, Pretty Ricky, Soulja Boy, Lloyd, Ying Yang Twins and Sammie
Oct. 28: Florida Georgia Line
DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 25: Chicago
July 29: The Black Crowes
Aug. 1: James Taylor and his All-Star Band
Aug. 6-7: Chris Stapleton
Aug. 11: Dave Matthews Band
Aug. 13: WYCD Hoedown with Lady A, Carly Pearce, Niko Moon and Tenille Arts
Aug. 14: Ted Nugent
Aug. 15: Kings of Leon
Aug. 20: Pitbull with Iggy Azalea
Aug. 21: Daryl Hall & John Oates with Squeeze and KT Tunstall
Aug. 23: Maroon 5
Aug. 31: Korn and Staind
Sept. 1: Kiss
Sept. 2: The Doobie Brothers
Sept. 11: Brad Paisley with Jimmie Allen and Kameron Marlowe
Sept. 14: The Jonas Brothers
Sept. 18: RIFF Fest with Rob Zombie, Chevelle, Avatar, Candlebox and Ayron Jones
Sept. 19: Megadeth and Lamb of God
Sept. 24: NF
Sept. 30: Zac Brown Band
Oct. 2: Slipknot with special guests Killswitch Engage, Fever 333 and Code Orange
Oct. 7: Dierks Bentley
Meadow Brook Amphitheatre
Aug. 8: Jason Mraz with special guest Brett Dennen
Aug. 14: Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe and Bethel Music
Aug. 15: Counting Crows with special guests Seán Barna and Matt Sucich
Aug. 20: Modest Mouse
Aug. 28: King Crimson with special guest The Zappa Band
Sept. 10: Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler with special guest Tia Verdes
Aretha Park Amphitheatre
June 26: Omar S
July 7: Sheila E. and Monica Blaire
July 14: Avery*Sunshine and Mike Phillips
July 21: Kirk Whalum and Keiko Matsui
July 28: Gerald Albright and Kim Waters + Kayla Waters
Aug. 4: PJ Morton
Aug. 11: Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah and the Hamiltones
Aug. 18: Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle
Aug. 21: The Isley Brothers and Chaka Khan
Aug. 25: Will Downing
Sept. 1: Najee and Friends
Sept. 3: Jeezy
Sept. 8: Kindred the Family Soul and Rahsaan Patterson
Sept. 15: Incognito and Maysa
Sept. 21: Machine Gun Kelly with JXDN and KENNYHOOPLA
Sept. 22: Damien Escobar
Sept. 9: Il Divo
Sept. 11: Franki Valli and the Four Seasons
Sept. 19: Judas Priest
Oct. 7: Little Big Town
Oct. 11: Foreigner Orchestral
Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre
Aug. 7: 3 Doors Down with Seether
Aug. 12: Lindsey Stirling with Kiesza
Aug. 21: Hot 107.5 Summer Jamz with Sada Baby, Icewear Vezzo, Peezy, Babyface Ray and Erica Banks
Aug. 22: 105.9 Kiss Block Party with Dru Hill, Jagged Edge, 112 & Ginuwine
Aug. 26: Boyz II Men and En Vogue
Aug. 28: Made in the '80s with Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Furious5 featuring Grandmaster Melle Mel & Scorpio, Sugarhill Gang and UTFO’s Kangol Kid
Aug. 29: The White Concert with Marsha Ambrosius, Raheem DeVaughn, Vivian Green and Jon B.
Sept. 3: Trippie Redd
Sept. 4: Brothers Osborne
Sept. 11: Erykah Badu
Sept. 14: TLC with Bone Thugs N’ Harmony
Sept. 16: 311 special guests Iration and Iya Terra
Sept. 18: Brett Eldredge
Sept. 22: Primus with special guest the Sword
Sept. 24: Blackberry Smoke with the Allman Betts Band and Jaimoe
Oct. 1: NEEDTOBREATHE with Switchfoot and the New Respects
Oct. 2: Glass Animals