Based on reader traffic for our concert reviews, Local Spins presents a fun Top 10 of this summer’s shows. Plus check out the editor’s picks and fan comments on other favorites of the season.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If nothing else, the summer of 2022 has represented the full, robust return of jam-packed concerts after a stifling pandemic, many of them sold-out shows at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Based on reader traffic for Local Spins’ concert reviews, we’ve compiled a Top 10 list of the summer’s top shows.
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And scroll down to the bottom of the list for responses from fans to our recent “Question of the Week”: What was the best concert you saw in summer of 2022? Feel free to add your own concert faves in the comments section.
As for my own Top 3 Summer Shows? Hands down, No. 1: an absolutely riveting performance by Spoon at Kalamazoo State Theatre on July 12, followed by No. 2: The Decemberists at Meijer Gardens on Aug. 17, and No. 3: The Crane Wives (masquerading as “The Rain Wives”) in their soggy-but-triumphant return at Studio Park on Aug, 13.
THE TOP 10 CONCERTS OF SUMMER 2022: The Local Spins List
1. Elvis Costello & The Imposters with Nicole Atkins, Meijer Gardens, Aug. 4 – Likely buoyed by the fact that this earned national media attention as the first date on Costello’s U.S. tour — and that he himself tweeted a line from the Local Spins review on his Twitter feed — our review proclaimed: “Even at 67, Costello oozes an insurgent sort of youthful vibe with his music, all while maintaining an affable, waggish demeanor that endears him to his audience … and while delivering his smart lyrics in that distinctive, spiky voice.” It was an entertaining, career-spanning evening to be sure and earned four times as many reads as the No. 2 show on the summer list. Read the full review here:
2. Rick Springfield with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Meijer Gardens, July 20 – Never under-estimate the staying power of a handsome rock star such as Rick Springfield. As Local Spins reviewer Lorilee Craker put it: “Springfield … belied his 72 years, jumped around like a way younger guy, and belted out the hits that made him a rock star and a heartthrob.” Here’s the full review and photo gallery: https://localspins.com/rick-springfield-belies-age-beguiles-besotted-fans-brings-orchestral-human-touch-to-grand-rapids-local-spins/
3. America with Rachel Brooke, Meijer Gardens, July 27 – Granted it’s long been only two of the original three members of this band, but America proved that its ’70s hits still resonate with Baby Boomers. The review and photos: https://localspins.com/america-uncorks-legal-limit-of-70s-music-at-meijer-gardens-review-photos-local-spins/
4. Sheryl Crow with Allison Russell, Meijer Gardens, July 3 – She “soaked up the sun,” played her biggest hits and sang duets with talented opener Allison Russell. What’s not to like? The review and photo gallery: https://localspins.com/hit-laden-sheryl-crow-soaks-up-the-sun-meijer-gardens-local-spins/
5. ZZ Top with Benjamin Dakota Rogers, Meijer Gardens, July 7 – To be perfectly honest, this was not the ZZ Top that the rock ‘n’ roll generation grew up with. Raspier in vocals and not quite as in-sync as the trio was before bassist Dusty Hill passed away, the band nonetheless kept fans on their feet with its Texas blues-fired classics. The Local Spins recap and photos here: https://localspins.com/from-legs-to-la-grange-zz-top-ramps-up-nostalgic-fun-quotient-in-gr-tour-stop-local-spins/
6. The Doobie Brothers, Van Andel Arena, July 10 – Classic rock’s The Doobie Brothers’ 50th anniversary tour stop in Grand Rapids was much-delayed due to the COVID pandemic, but Local Spins reviewer Terry DeBoer noted the band made up for it when it “sprayed out 24 songs over 124 minutes,” unfurling gems that fired up its devoted fans. Revisit the show in words and photos: https://localspins.com/doobie-brothers-savvily-steer-down-memory-lane-for-gr-tour-stop-local-spins/
7. Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown with Tank and the Bangas, Big Freedia, Cyril Neville, The Soul Rebels and Dumpstaphunk, Meijer Gardens, June 24 – It’s no secret that Local Spins reviewer Tricia Boot Woolfenden appreciates the energetic, electric atmosphere that New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty creates at regular summer appearances at the Meijer Gardens amphitheater. This year’s tour stop was no exception. The review and images here: https://localspins.com/trombone-shorty-voodoo-threauxdown-casts-spell-on-meijer-gardens-in-gr-local-spins/
8. Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Meijer Gardens, Sept. 1 – Emmylou Harris lived up to her legendary status once again, with iconic singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter adding to the special evening. The recap, photos: https://localspins.com/emmylou-harris-unfurls-captivating-night-at-meijer-gardens-local-spins/
9. Buddy Guy, John Hiatt & The Goners, Meijer Gardens, July 21 – The opening to the review said it all: “One could say it ‘Feels Like Rain’ but ‘Blues Don’t Care.’ Those song titles from the extensive catalogs of legendary bluesman Buddy Guy and Heartland rocker John Hiatt would aptly describe the rain-interrupted show at Meijer Gardens.” Check out the review of the sold-out show with two renowned guitarists (Guy and The Goners’ Sonny Landreth): https://localspins.com/legends-buddy-guy-john-hiatt-power-through-rain-break-local-spins/10. TIE: Japanese Breakfast, The Linda Lindas at Bell’s Beer Garden in Kalamazoo; Norah Jones, Emily King at Meijer Gardens, July 17 – They were two wildly different shows in radically different outdoor venues, but both attracted capacity audiences. Japanese Breakfast ignited standing-room-only fans in Kalamazoo the same night that pianist-singer Norah Jones enamored a seated crowd at Meijer Gardens. The recaps and photo galleries: https://localspins.com/norah-jones-entrances-sold-out-meijer-gardens-with-classic-powerful-piano-propelled-catalog-local-spins/
MORE LOCAL SPINS READER FAVORITES FROM SUMMER 2022
As one of our recent questions of the week, we asked readers to reveal the best summer concerts they experienced in 2022. Here are some of their responses.
Ben Taylor – The Disco Biscuits at The Intersection
Kyle Rasche – Josh Rose @ Blissfest … hands down.
Debra McGonigle – The Accidentals with Kaboom Collective
Nicholas Arnett – Rage Against The Machine
Christine Guzorek – Kait Rose: CD-release at Bell’s.
Steve Middendorp – Tie between Rising Appalachia and Bob Dylan.
Brian Haik – Robby Krieger in St. Charles, IL!
Rick Wylie – Trampled by Turtles
Dave Adams – Two: Toto/Journey & The Doobie Brothers
Jerry Kolb – The Accidentals with the Kaboom Collective orchestra at the Scottish Rite Theater in Peoria.
Gail Greco-Bieri – Hoxeyville – Trampled by Turtles
Carol Cornett – “The Music That Raised Us,” GRAM on the Green; Kaitlin Rose CD Release Concert at Bell’s.
Brandon Copeland – La Luz at the pyramid scheme
Roger Kintner – Charley Crockett At Bells.
Jack Droppers – Japanese Breakfast (with special guest, Jeff Tweedy) in Chicago.
John Sinkevics – For me, Spoon at Kalamazoo State Theatre and The Decemberists at Meijer Gardens. The Crane Wives in the rain at Studio Park was a rather amazing show, too.
Derek Ketchum – Kamasi Washington, the Wild Hearts tour have been two of my favorites of the summer, both at Kalamazoo State Theatre and Japanese Breakfast show in the Bells Beer Garden.
Ace Tellis-Aguilar – Kamasi was an absolute treat
Mark Jilbert- Dumpstaphunk with George Porter Jr. playing the music of The Meters at FMG. I could have listened to that for hours, but their set was pretty short. But I’m pretty biased and focused on that kind of stuff. There were a lot of good live shows this summer.
Debra Louise – Local production “The Music that Raised Us,” first at Listening Room and next at the GRAM
Lee Chase – Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory at the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic
Melodee Van Bogelen Horsford – Sadly, I’ve only see 3 this summer, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Three Dog Night, and Cheap Trick/Rod Stewart… Rod was the best by far.
Rob Warmels – Billy Joel at Notre Dame
Sol Krishef – Definitely Weird Al last month at GLC Live.
Martin Marino – Dave Matthews Band at Noblesville, Indiana
Vanessa Clark – For me, Fleet Foxes in Detroit was magical.
Terry J DeBoer – Journey with Toto at VanAndel was a fine show.
John Olszewski – John Hiatt & The Goners at Meijer Gardens
Daniel W Dawe – Night 3 of the Electric Forest Festival, the String Cheese Incident.
Sergio Zaragoza – The Strokes in Detroit. The set was too short but nonetheless it was awesome.
Elijah Russ – Lawrence at Sweetwater fest in ATL. Strong tie with Primus at GLC tho.
Josh Mummē – Without question for me it was SCI Saturday night shebang @EFF.
Mike Schwenneker – Trombone Shorty at Meijer Gardens with Dumpstaphunk and Tank and the Bangas.
Sandra Gail – Gin Blossoms/Toad/BNL at Pine Knob. Hate the venue, loved the concert.
Mamie Graziano – “The Music that Raised Us,” for the second time at GRAM on the Green, and Scott Cook at Smiling Acres, in a GR backyard, and Bliss Fest. Seeing him again at Earthworks Harvest Gathering in two weeks.
Roger Rozema – Blackberry Smoke, State Theater, Kalamazoo
JR Scott Weaver – The Thirsty Perch Blues Band for Ada’s Beers At The Bridge on August 19. Chris Collins and Andrew Ogrodzinski are amazing axmen then you have the masterful harpist Hungry Chuck Luscombe.
Jim Shade – Decemberists, Michael Franti, MCC and Emmylou. Not necessarily in that order.
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