I'm fortunate enough to be able to chronicle many great shows that come through the area each week in the Nightlife column. I get to talk to a lot of the artists that make up each year's Lowell Summer Music Series lineup.
But as great as that lineup is, there are plenty of other great shows that are a short car trip away from Greater Lowell. Without further ado, here's 10 concerts that I think are must-see shows (not including the LSMS shows, all of which are worth seeing and which we'll advance in a few weeks).
In an effort to do something different, I picked one must-see show from each of 10 different venues around New England. See what you think. Hit me up with your must-see shows at firstname.lastname@example.org! The shows are listed in chronological order.
Daryl Hall & John Oates/Train, Xfinity Center, June 7: The iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo, along with one of the most popular groups of the past two decades, join forces for a unique co-headlining show. Train tours every summer and usually finds a good act to tour with, but this is a special lineup.
LSD Tour (Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam), Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, June 12: This one caught my eye when it was announced as you have three extremely unique country-rock singer/songwriters on the same bill. Definitely worth seeing.
Paul Simon, TD Garden, June 15: This is his farewell tour, so it's your last chance to hear one of the greatest singer-songwriters of the past 50 years.
James Taylor, Tanglewood, July 3-4: If you've ever seen James Taylor, you know he's great. But if you've never seen a show at Tanglewood, particularly a July 4 show, it's worth the drive. Here are two more reasons to go: These are Taylor's only New England concerts this summer. There's a fireworks show after the July 4 concert.
Slayer/Lamb of God/Anthrax, Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, July 26: My favorite outdoor venue in New England -- outside of Lowell, of course -- always puts together a lineup of great shows. This one is special because it's Slayer's farewell tour, so it's your last chance to see a legendary metal band in a unique setting in the mountains.
Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker, Xfinity Theatre (Connecticut), July 28: Two major country acts at a great venue just outside of Hartford makes this a Saturday night show worth seeing.
I Love the 90s Tour (Vanilla Ice, Rob Base, Montell Jordan, All 4 One, Tone Loc, Young MC), Maine State Pier, Portland, Aug. 3: Look at that lineup. Then look again. Then ask yourself how you can go wrong spending a Friday night on the waterfront in Portland, Maine reliving some memories.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Gillette Stadium, Aug. 5: Two of the biggest hit-makers of the past quarter century return to Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2014. They performed more than 40 songs in 2 1/2 hours at that show.
Voodoo Threauxdown featuring Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Galactic and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Aug. 7: A great lineup of jazz and brass bands across the street from Hampton Beach. How can you go wrong?
Pearl Jam, Fenway Park, Sept. 2 and Sept. 4: Fenway's lineup this year features a lot of returning acts, but there's no rock band today better than the Hall-of-Famers from Seattle.