The upcoming New Year will be an exciting time for music lovers in Chicago, with a diverse group of entertainers coming to the city that includes classic rock, blues, and heavy metal icons, along with country superstars, beloved singers/songwriters, oldies bands, and local favorites. Here's a sneak peek at some of the best Chicago concerts of 2012. (Note: All shows are currently on sale, unless otherwise noted).
Pink Floyd is among the most successful and respected bands in music. In what will no doubt be one of the biggest concert events in 2012, founding member Roger Waters brings "The Wall Live Tour" to Wrigley Field on June 8, 2012.
The iconic album "The Wall" features songs "Another Brick in the Wall" (Parts 1 and 2), as well as my favorite tracks, "Comfortably Numb," "Run Like Hell," and "Is There Anybody Out There?".
Fans will love that in addition to the individual tickets for the show, there are special VIP packages for sale that include a buffet dinner, drinks, T-shirt, tour program, and more.
In the 2011 Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, B.B. King was ranked at No. 6, which is a most deserved honor. He is a true legend, and I would pay money just to hear him perform one song - "The Thrill Is Gone."
B.B. King will be in concert on March 22-23, 2012 at House of Blues. Ticket prices are $82.50-$85 for this 21-and-over show.
Speaking of the recent Rolling Stone greatest guitarist rankings, the fact that this man did not make the list is just ridiculous. Eric Johnson, the rock/blues guitar virtuoso, takes the stage on January 12, 2012, at House of Blues. This 17-and-over general admission show costs $27.50 in advance and $30 day of show.
Gigantour featuring Megadeth and Motorhead
Two of the biggest names in heavy metal, Megadeth and Motorhead, will be headlining Gigantour, which also includes Volbeat and Lacuna Coil. This all-ages, general admission concert will be held February 10, 2012, at the Aragon Ballroom. Tickets go on sale Friday, December 23, 2011.
For those who are not familiar with this venue, the main floor is standing room-only, but the balcony area has a limited amount of seats and a separate bar area. If you want to leave the car at home, the Red Line trains and CTA buses 81 Lawrence, 151 Sheridan, and 36 Broadway will take you there.
For as long as I can remember, Neil Diamond had a reputation for putting on one of the best live shows in music. For a reason. And in 2011, he became a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and Kennedy Center Honoree. His radio-friendly list of songs include the classics "America," "Sweet Caroline," "I'm a Believer," "Cherry, Cherry," and many more.
Neil Diamond will be at the United Center on July 6, 2012, with ticket prices ranging from $55-$120.
Lovehammers, along with opening act Bottle of Justus, are scheduled for House of Blues on March 10, 2012. Tickets start at $22.50. For this show, there are a couple reasonably priced VIP packages that offer a sound check party, meet and greet, T-shirt, CD, and DVD.
I had the chance to see Marty Casey and Lovehammers in concert, and they blew me away. Marty is an electrifying front man, and the band is tight and polished.
If you have not seen Buddy Guy perform live, you will have plenty of opportunities to hear the gifted, charismatic blues veteran. He will be playing at his own club, Buddy Guy's Legends, throughout the month of January, beginning January 5, 2012. The concerts take place Thursdays-Sundays, with a rotating lineup of special guests like Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Brother John, Carlos Johnson, John Primer, and Carl Weathersby.
Jim PeterikGrammy Award-winning singer/songwriter/musician Jim Peterik will be at the Montrose Room in Rosemont, Illinois, on February 11, 2012. He is the founding member of Survivor and Ides of March and gave us one of the coolest movie theme songs of all time, "Eye of the Tiger" from "Rocky III." At this particular show, he will introduce his latest venture, Lifeforce, a smooth jazz project.
This super talented and entertaining performer is playing at one of the loveliest small venues in the area - Montrose Room at the Hotel InterContinental in Rosemont. The intimate night club setting has great acoustics and a friendly staff. Tickets are $20. A special hotel/concert package is available.
When I had the chance to see Peter Frampton in concert several years ago, I felt he was even better than when he first started his career. Just like many kids who grew up in the '70s, "Frampton Comes Alive" was a must-have album for me. On a recent television appearance, we learned that guitar maestro Frampton is not the only talent in the family: Son Julian has the vocal chops and stage presence to have a long and prosperous music career like his famous dad.
"Frampton Comes Alive! 35 Tour" will be at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday, February 25, 2012.
Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw
Country music superstars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw are part of the "Brothers of the Sun Tour," which also features Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and Jake Owen. The show will take place at Soldier Field on July 7, 2012.
Not only is Tim McGraw a talented musician, but he is also a pretty impressive actor, with solid performances starring opposite Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side" and Gwyneth Paltrow in "Country Strong."
Creed rocks the Chicago Theatre with two shows, April 13 and 14, 2012. The first night will feature the music of "My Own Prison," and on the second date, the band will perform the CD that I feel is a career highlight for them, "Human Clay."
Creed lovers will be thrilled to hear that there are VIP packages for this concert, with goodies like a chance to hear the band's sound check, a meet and greet, posters, and CD.
The Black Keys with Arctic Monkeys
The Black Keys, the blues/rock duo from Akron, Ohio, have sold over $2 million in CDs. You can catch them at the United Center on Monday, March 19, 2012. The opening band will be Arctic Monkeys. Tickets range from $39-$59.
Salute to the '60s
Oldies fans will want to check out the Salute to the '60s show at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana, on Friday, February 3, 2012. Herman's Hermits with Peter Noone, The Grass Roots, and The Buckinghams will perform.
I've seen all these bands on several different occasions, and if you enjoy this type of music, the huge stream of hits you will hear are almost impossible to get out of your head.. Songs like "Midnight Confession," "Susan," and "Kind of a Hush" are among the catchiest pop tunes of their time.
On a recent PBS show, Peter Noone showed that he's still an infectious, joyous entertainer, and just as handsome!
Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville has another highly entertaining show in February 2012. On Saturday, February 11, you can see American English.
It's very challenging to capture the brilliance of The Beatles, but American English are considered among the very best tribute bands in the country. Managed by Sam Leach, the former promoter for The Beatles, the group recreate a full Fab Four experience of sight and sound, delivered with Beatlesque wit and charm.Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow's most ardent fans, "Fanilows," will be in heaven as their man appears live at the Chicago Theatre, February 2-4, 2012. Tickets range from $24.99 to $224.99.
The gifted singer/songwriter gives 110 percent at his shows, with a warm, engaging personality, audience interaction, and a string of hits that boggles the mind. Even a rocker like me melts when I hear "Weekend in New England," "Trying to Get the Feeling," and the beautiful "Could It Be Magic." Barry Manilow is one of those entertainers that some are too "cool" to admit they like, but here you go - I am coming out of the closet to say I'm a secret "Fanilow!" Shh. Don't tell anyone.
Coldplay will be at the United Center August 7-8, 2012. Ticket prices are $49.50, $79.50, and $110.
This will be Coldplay's first North American tour in almost three years. Their latest release, "Mylo Xyloto," has the distinction of receiving the most No. 1 rankings of any album this year worldwide, and included two Grammy-nominated singles.
Patricia Batson has worked in television and film productions as a background extra in Hollywood, California, and Chicago, Illinois, as well as for local advertising agencies, TV, and radio stations. Her resume includes "The Chicago Code," "Glee," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Dilemma," "Contagion," and "Get Him to the Greek."