By Fred Kuhlman
2022 is the year that things kinda got back to normal for the concert scene. A lot of bands were touring and at times here in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area we had multiple concert events on the same night. We were lucky enough to host one of Elton John’s Fell Well tour shows. We also had The Who come to town. We had the Roger Waters bring his amazing concert to Glendale.
I was lucky enough to attend 44 concerts that I reviewed and photographed. It might not sound like a lot, but I was gone all of June and most of July and I also had Covid. This does not include a lot of local shows that I saw with our wonderful local talent. If you get a chance, please check out some of Phoenix’s local bands, they are very good. Personally, I enjoy seeing Doubleblind, Empire of Dezire, Oddity Paradox, Varkan, Luxia, Killing Sunday, First Draw, and Adavant to just name a few. You can see these local bands at some bars around the greater Phoenix area for just a few dollars and it is well worth it.
I would also like to thank Danny Zelisko Presents, Lucky Man and 13th Floor Entertainment for bring in a lot of great concerts not covered by Live Nation. The people at these companies work very hard to put together these concerts and deserve a lot of credit for their hard work. I would also like to do a shout out to The Celebrity Theatre, The Nile Theater and The Marquee Theatre. These venues handle the smaller shows and do an excellent job. You can actually see great bands in these smaller venues and not be in the nose-bleed sections. It was also the year that some bands were hosted at local school auditoriums. Some of these auditoriums have fantastic acoustics and are great for concerts of under 1000 people.
The Marquee Theatre did a number of Local Talent showcase concerts this year. I started the year off seeing a local (actually out of Jerome, AZ) band called Doubleblind at one of these shows. If you get a chance to attend one of these concerts, they are very good and you get to see some really good local talent. In February things took off and never stopped. I got to see 4 great Progressive Metal bands, Dream Theater, Gilmour Project, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets and finally Neal Morse Band. I also got to see The Foo Fighter at the Innings Festival prior to the death of their drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Probably the one show out of my wheelhouse that I attended and reviewed was The Shins and Joseph. I was extremely impressed by both groups and would definitely recommend them. It was also the year that local bassist David Ellefson re-emerged with the Kings of Thrash. Another highlight was covering the concert, Celebrating The Music of Jerry Riopelle. For those that don’t know about Jerry Riopelle, he was a musician that was extremely huge in the Phoenix area in the 70s and 80s. We lost Jerry a few years ago and since then, his friends have gotten together to celebrate his life and his outstanding music.
The highlights of 2023 for me personally were the following concerts (In no particular order): Roger Waters, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Sabaton & Epica together, GWAR, Anthrax, Black Label Society & Hatebreed, and Judas Priest & Queensryche. There were so many other fantastic shows and artists that came thru the Phoenix area that I was lucky enough to see.
Probably the most disappointing were the concerts I missed: Symphony X, Amon Amarth, John 5, Little Feat, The Who and Squirrel Nut Zippers. I have seen each of them in the past except for Amon Amarth. Hopefully I will be able to see them in the near future
Well, I hope all of you got to see some great shows last year and hopefully I will see you at some shows this coming 2023. As the late great DIO once said, “Long Live Rock & Roll”.