The Front Row’s Top Ten Concerts of 2013
By Chuck Cox
Although I went out-of-town for a handful of really great shows this past year, this list will include only the concerts I attended in Dallas/Fort Worth last year. I made it to 80 shows this year, which blew away my personal record. I’ll have to try to best that in 2014.
Here we go. Click the links for Chuck’s full reviews of each show.
1. Pearl Jam, American Airlines Center, Nov. — It had been 10 long years since the mighty Pearl Jam played Dallas. On the strength of the band’s incredible new Lightning Bolt album, Pearl Jam continued to bring it live like no other act can. Getting to see the band the next night in Oklahoma City was a nice bonus. Midlake also did a fantastic job opening both shows.
2. Depeche Mode, Gexa Energy Pavilion, Sept. 20 — Pretty much every year, I end up seeing a band that it took me way too long to see. Last year that band was the mighty Depeche Mode. I had always heard really good things about the band live, but the Dallas show was absolutely amazing. It was like seeing an up-and-coming band still hungry for its first big break that was also incredibly polished.
3. Heart, Gexa Energy Pavilion, Aug. 15 — Talk about bringing it live. Heart was absolutely at the top of its game when it rolled through town with the Jason Bonham Experience. The fact that Heart closed its set with six Led Zeppelin songs took the night to another level. I’m going to see Heart again next month.
4. Sigur Ros, Verizon Theatre, April 8 — Wow. Having seen lead singer Jonsi solo, I was elated to finally get to check out Iceland’s finest band live. And Sigur Ros was all kinds of amazing, both with the music and the visual presentation during its two-hour show.
5. Jason Isbell, Twilite Lounge, Oct. 19 — After putting out what I think is the best album of 2013, Southeastern, Isbell was part of the second-day lineup of the Index Festival in Deep Ellum. As if seeing him play an afternoon set wasn’t cool enough, he then played an acoustic show in the cozy Twilite. It was absolutely magnificent.
6. Kanye West, American Airlines Center, Dec. 6 –When it came to the actual show production, nobody topped Mr. West this year. His magnificent “Yeezus Tour” hit the AAC on a very rough weather night, which thinned out the crowd. But West still delivered an epic show that would put some on Broadway to shame. Opener Kendrick Lamar was also stellar.
7. Vaden Todd Lewis and Will Johnson, the Kessler, March 9 — The Toadies and Centro-Matic lead singers got together at my favorite Dallas venue to play an acoustic gig. And I was completely blown away. Both singers were amazing, with distinctive voices and passionate delivery.
8. Alabama Shakes, The Palladium, March 12 — Lead singer Brittany Howard and the Shakes brought down the house with their inaugural performance in Dallas. The band clearly showed why it had such a meteoric rise to fame with its debut album, Boys & Girls, in 2012.
9. Kings of the Mic Tour, Verizon Theatre, July 1 — It would have been tough to go wrong with a lineup that included LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, and De La Soul. But the trip back into hip hop time was an absolute blast from the first record scratch. Awesome night of music.
10. Robert Plant, The Palladium, June 20 — Seeing Robert Plant play live was like stepping back to my childhood, cranking up my Led Zeppelin cassette tapes. I was truly in the presence of greatness for his tour opener. He played several Zep songs, mixing the arrangements up on a few of them.
As for the above photo, Enough Said…