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The concerts we're missing most this summer -- a baker's dozen

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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If things had gone according to plan, we'd be a week and a half into this year's summer concert season.

But, as we all know too well, plans changed severely in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Country singer Chris Young's May 28 show at the DTE Energy Music Theatre was called off, along with most of the rest of the schedules at all metro area venues. The summer of 2020 was supposed to be a season like no other, crammed with a half-dozen stadium shows, a full slate of amphitheater concerts, long-desired reunions and a few surprises on top of the staples.

Now it's no season at all.

Some shows remain on the docket and have yet to be canceled or postponed, but that seems like a formality. And a question mark hovers over late-summer events such as the Detroit Jazz Festival, Arts, Beats & Eats and the moved Movement Music Festival, as well as the fall schedule for all live music venues.

The silver lining is that the summer of 2021 is shaping up to be what this year was supposed to, albeit that lining surrounds a dark cloud of questions about what concerts will be like to attend once they're made safe to again and whether, in the wake of the pandemic's economic impact, fans will be able to afford to go at all.

It's been a lot to absorb and take stock of and the arrival of consistent summer weather only serves as a reminder of the absence of concerts. It seems like an opportunity, then, to survey a baker's dozen of the particularly special concerts we're missing, and lamenting, most this season.

The Rolling Stones

June 10, Ford Field. Postponed 2021, TBA

Next to Paul McCartney, no classic rock act is more venerable. The British group's No Filter Tour began during September 2017, survived Mick Jagger's heart surgery and has kept four and a half decades'worth of hits coming, in spectacular fashion.

James Taylor and Jackson Browne

June 13, DTE Energy Music Theatre. Postponed to June 12, 2021.

James Taylor plays nice with others as we saw two years ago with Bonnie Raitt, and with others in previous years. He and Browne are certainly peas from the same musical pod, and we'll be just as excited about the pairing next year.

Billy Joel

July 10, Comerica Park. Postponed to July 9, 2021.

Fans will have to wait another year for the Piano Man's first metro area performance since Feb. 15, 2014, at The Palace of Auburn Hills, and his first in Detroit proper since a 1986 show at Joe Louis Arena.

Rage Against the Machine and Run the Jewels

July 13 and 15, Little Caesars Arena. Postponed to July 26-27, 2021

Forget the Eagles this was truly a Hell Freezes Over prospect, more than eight and, really, 19 years in the making. Having these rock n roll bulls back on parade during an election year was certainly provocative, but it still will be a potent prospect in the aftermath.

Alanis Morissette

July 21 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. Postponed to 2021, TBA.

You oughta know that the Canadian singer of dubious theater activities was well-stocked for summer a new album ("Such Pretty Forks in the Road"), a Broadway musical and the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough album, "Jagged Little Pill." That'll still be plenty to look forward to next year.


July 27 at Masonic Temple. Postponed, details TBA.

We expect to be amazed any time this pioneering German electronic troupe takes the stage, and this year's summer tour, another 3D extravaganza, was expected to be no exception. Its shelving has been amplified by the April 21 death of co-founder Florian Schneider.

The Black Crowes

July 29, DTE Energy Music Theatre. Postponed to 2021, TBA.

Famously estranged brothers Chris and Rich Robinson made up after a bitter five-year schism and reactivated their band with a new lineup and plans to play its 1990 debut album, "Shake Your Money Maker," in its entirety. The pair did get a short run of duo acoustic shows in before the shutdown, and the enforced time off may even lead to some new Crowes music.

The Doobie Brothers

Aug. 2, DTE Energy Music Theatre. Postponed to Sept. 2, 2021.

The Doobies' planned 50th anniversary tour will now commemorate its 51st, though Michael McDonald the writer and voice of "Takin' it to the Streets," "What a Fool Believes," "Minute By Minute" and more still plans to be on board. The group also is slated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Nov. 7 in Cleveland (and live on HBO).

Disturbed, Staind and Bad Wolves

Aug. 16, the DTE Energy Music Theatre. Postponed to 2021, TBA.

Disturbed slays it every time it hits the stage, and a show commemorating the 20th anniversary of its debut album, "The Sickness," combined with a reunion appearance by Staind, made this one of the summer's hottest hard rock bills.

Green Day, Weezer, Fall Out Boy

Aug. 19, Comerica Park. Postponed to 2021, TBA.

The one-night gathering of some 90s tribes fortified with new music from Green Day and Weezer was certainly an exciting, stadium-shaking prospect. Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong has been a frequent virtual performer during the pandemic, so we hope the pent-up energy will explode, in a good way, during 21.

Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Aug. 20, Comerica Park. Postponed to 2021, TBA.

Yes, we rolled our eyes a bit at the Crue coming back just after promising its 2014-2015 Final Tour was indeed, well, final. But, admit it, you were looking forward to feeling the fire and seeing what showmanship shenanigans drummer Tommy Lee had planned this time.


Aug. 24, DTE Energy Music Theatre. Canceled.

The duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush ended a five-year hiatus in 2017 but hasn't made it to these parts yet. It remains to be seen if they'll follow-up their 2018 "Bigger" or return to their solo careers and if they'll be out again next year.

My Chemical Romance

Sept. 9 at Little Caesars Arena. TBD

After a reunion show in Los Angeles last October, the Black Parade was set to resume worldwide this year including the quintet's first North American tour in nine years. That's all off, although the 2021 European dates have been announced. And while you're waiting, you can buy a special COVID-19 facemask from the group's website.

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