Now that Christmas is behind us (and Merry Christmas to all of you), it's a good time to take stock of the live music and entertainment that came through the area in 2012.

It was another great year of shows for the Lowell Summer Music Series at Boarding House State Park (highlighted by Kenny Loggins, Pat Metheny and George Thorogood), the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell (with such impressive shows as Judas Priest, the Dropkick Murphys and Eric Church), and Lowell Memorial Auditorium (which featured Daughtry, Weird Al Yankovic and "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro).

Not to be outdone were such venerable venues as the Bull Run in Shirley (Spyro Gyra), Tupelo Hall in Londonderry, N.H.

Dropkick Murphys
Dropkick Murphys
, (Rita Coolidge, Mickey Hart, among many others) and Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury (Duke Robillard, America's Got Talent runner-up Tom Cotter).

The adventurous concert-goer had the chance to head to one of my favorite outdoor venues, the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion on Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford, N.H., and see 311, Train and Keith Urban, among many others.

But it wasn't all good news on the local concert scene.

Sadly, while the Dropkick Murphys brought their St. Patrick's Day weekend shows to the Tsongas Center in March, Lowell lost its annual Jingle Ball billing as Boston radio station Kiss 108 decided to relocate the event to Boston in December.

But some big events will be coming to the area in 2013.


REO Speedwagon
REO Speedwagon

The Lowell Auditorium brings classic rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd to town on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 8 p.m., country music's Little Big Town on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m., and comedian Ron White on March 8 at 8 p.m. The Tsongas Center will feature Three Days Grace and Shinedown on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

Bull Run features the rescheduled Paula Cole show on Jan. 19 and blues legend Taj Mahal on Feb. 6. Tupelo Hall has the vastly underrated Kathleen Edwards on Friday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. and Blue Ocean Music Hall has '90s stars Gin Blossoms on Friday, Jan. 25.

My favorite shows from the past 12 months were Aerosmith killing it at the TD Garden in July, Cotter bringing the house down at Blue Ocean Hall last month and REO Speedwagon overcoming not one, but two fire alarm interruptions at Lowell Auditorium. Oh, and it was a lot of fun to see Slash and his great lead singer Myles Kennedy at House of Blues in Boston.

We want to know your favorite shows from the past 12 months and which shows are you looking forward to seeing in the coming year. Drop me a line at