There is nothing quite like summertime.
The humid nights invite you to spend endless hours on the porch, drinking lemonade with friends until wee hours of the night. Classes are over, work hours are shorter, and the weekends seem to last forever. Summer equals freedom, a time to let everything go, and a time to simply have fun.
And what could be better than letting loose at a rock concert?
Musicians are no different. Summertime is the best time to heed Kiss’ advice and “rock ‘n’ roll all night and party everyday.” After a year of touring, promoting their music, or maybe even recording an album, bands are ready to hit the road to do what they love to do the best – play music for their fans while soaking up the sun or bathing in the moonlight.
Artists and bands of all genres, from heavy metal to R&B, electronica to bubble-gum pop, will embark on tours that will hit the four corners of the country starting this month.
“The summer is the prime season for concerts. Two-thirds of ticket sales happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the music trade magazine Pollstar.
Here are some of the summer’s biggest headliners:
The Glam Slam Metal Jam
All dressed up with somewhere to go. Late ’80s rockers Poison, voted the No.1 Glam metal band of all time by VH1 viewers, will headline this reunion tour. Fellow ’80s rockers Quiet Riot, Warrant and Enuff Z’Nuff will open. For those who were ever into spandex pants, hair spray and eyeliner, this is a show you do not want to miss. Keep in mind Poison’s anthem, “Nothin’ But a Good Time,” for the group as they try to live up to expectations. Touring will begin May 23 in Amarillo, Texas, end Aug. 25 at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand in St. Paul, Minn. Web site: www.poisonweb.com
Six years on and Ozzy Osbourne still hasn’t bitten the heads off of any bats during this heavy metal festival. Ozzfest claims a simple formula: 23 bands, three stages and 30 dates of pure rock frenzy. The tour will consist of two stages. A reunited Black Sabbath, the Godfathers of hard rock, will be joined on the first stage by Marilyn Manson, Papa Roach and Slipknot. The second stage will feature 12 new metal bands, including Kittie, Disturbed and Soulfly. Fans too eager to wait for the tour can pick up the recently released Ozzfest Second Stage Live album for a taste of things to come. Selected cities have provided avid fans with Purgatory Pit tickets, a chance to take a spot in the reserved general admission area to get even closer to the mayhem and obtain an exclusive pit T-shirt. The tour will begin June 8 in Chicago wrap up Aug. 12 in Holmdel, N.J. Web site: ozzfest.com
The George Strait Country Music Festival
This day-long country music celebration, featuring the top names in country music entertainment along with a traveling fair, started nine years ago. This event was one of the most heavily attended concert tours of 2000, the official George Strait Web Site reports. This year, Alan Jackson, Lonestar, Brad Paisley, Sara Evans, and Asleep at the Wheel are among the performers. Ticket holders can explore Straitland, an area created just outside the stadium that includes carnival games, trinket vendors, sponsor exhibits and radio station booths. Festivities will begin June 10 in Dallas, Texas. Web site: georgestrait.com
The Warped Tour
Radical sports fanatics will appreciate the punk music at the festival, which features Rancid, 311, Pennywise, the Rollins Band, New Found Glory, the Misfits and Good Charlotte. Punk-n-skate will regroup for the seventh year to provide one of the most energetic, fast-paced shows of the summer. Skaters will have a chance to get involved in extreme-sports show-off sessions while the music blasts behind them. “I’ve always loved the Warped Tour, and I love all the bands on the Warped Tour,” said Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, who will perform July 14 when the tour rolls into Minneapolis. “Those are some of the best shows I’ve ever played.” Better brush up on your best skateboard moves because the tour will kick off June 22 in Phoenix, Ariz., and will end Aug. 12 in Pontiac, Mich. Tour promoters also pride themselves on pricing tickets at $19.99. Web site: warpedtour.launch.com
Hip-hop and electronica music on the same tour? Yes. In the same way that Lollapalooza redefined the awareness and acceptance of alternative music a decade ago, Area: One will bring together bands of differing genres. “My reason for putting together Area: One is that there is a lot of music in the world that I love that does not always get the appropriate exposure,” electronica maestro Moby said. Outkast, Incubus, New Order, Nelly Furtado, and more will accompany headliner Moby. The show will launch July 11 in Atlanta and will end Aug. 5 in Los Angeles. Web site: areafeatival.com
The Pet Shop Boys, a reunited Soft Cell, Sinead O’Connor and Rufus Wainwright set up this three-stage, gay-themed traveling festival. Wotapalava promises to offer gay and straight audiences alike an opportunity to come together to groove to late ’80s disco and mellow out to ’90s sulk rock. The tour will launch July 13 in Miami and wind down Aug. 11 in a still-undetermined city. Web site: wotapalava.com
MTV TRL Tour
Countdown the days until TRL comes to a town near you. This is the first time that the MTV afternoon pop sensation has promoted a tour of its own. Houston’s very own Destiny’s Child, Nelly, Eve, Dream and 3LW are a part of this touring event, with teen singer Jessica Simpson making an appearance for the first 12 dates. The tour will begin July 18 in Albany, N.Y., and ends Sept. 23 in Honolulu. Web site: mtv.com
Also on the road
The Dave Mathews Band embarks on another tour, this time to promote Everyday album. The tour began May 18 in San Francisco.
‘N Sync will venture out on an all-stadium “PopOdyssey” tour to promote their upcoming album, Celebrity. The tour will begin on May 23 in Jacksonville, Fla., three weeks later than the original date. Backstreet Boys return to the United States for their second leg of their “Black and Blue,” beginning June 8 in their hometown Orlando, Fla.
Depeche Mode gets back on the road after their 1998’s “The Singles Tour,” where they played to over 1,000,000 fans in 18 countries. The “Exciter World Tour,” named after their new album, will feature stage design by longtime artistic collaborator Anton Corbijn. The touring will begin June 19 in Minneapolis.
Madonna will strut her girlie stuff on the road again for the first time in eight years. Her “Drowned Tour” will begin July 21 in Philadelphia, Pa.
To support their Just Push Play album, legendary Boston rock band Aerosmith will tour the United States with opening band Fuel. The rockers will push off their tour June 6 in Hartford, Conn.
Blink 182 will take their pop-punk mix and locker-room humor on the road just three days after the release of their new album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. The tour will kick off July 4 in Moline, Ill.