The heat is rising and people are coughing and sneezing all over the place. No, it's not a swine flu outbreak; spring is in the air, and one thing that always comes along with great weather is great concerts. There are few bigger thrills than taking off from work early, packing your friends and a grill into the car and getting ready for a killer live show from your favorite band.
While you're dreaming of the days when the pollen count goes down and that pile of homework on your desk disappears, take a look at this season's hot concert tickets. Keep in mind, of course, that dates are subject to change.
Festivals and Group Tours
If you have a weekend to take off in June, head down to Manchester, Tenn. June 11-14 for the venerable Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The eighth year of the four-day concert features sets from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Phish, the Beastie Boys, Elvis Costello, Wilco and Snoop Dogg.
Other notable touring venues include the Warped Tour, which will bring the Ataris, Bad Religion and 3OH!3 to Camden's Susquehanna Bank Center July 17, and the Lollapalooza Festival held Aug. 7-9 in Grant Park, Chicago, which boasts performances from The Killers, Jane's Addiction, Kings of Leon, Ben Folds, The Decemberists and Vampire Weekend.
Somewhere, in a series of boardrooms across America, the heads of the music industry are plotting to make sure you never forget your youth. How else can you explain some of the best bands from middle school making comebacks? Blink-182 announced a new album and tour tentatively set for this summer, as did the original line-up of Limp Bizkit. This week, Creed announced they would be taking us higher – again – with a new tour that stops Aug. 17 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.
Amphitheaters won't just be crammed with "TRL"-era hitmakers this season, although tour buses will be full of longtime crowd-pleasers setting off on highly-anticipated jaunts. Dave Matthews Band, always stalwarts of summer tours, will hit the road in support of their new record, set for release this June.
No Doubt will use their Bamboozle gig to kick off their first tour in six years, with opening sets from Paramore and gigs in the Tri-State Area in late June. Rock chart-toppers Incubus will also support their first greatest-hits package with a tour that stops by Radio City Music Hall Aug. 4-5, and the PNC Bank Arts Center Aug. 7.
If you're looking for even crazier stage spectacles catch U2's 360 Tour, where Bono and company will hold court for two days in September at Giants Stadium on a circular set where they will unite the world and raise money to feed the homeless – and maybe play "With or Without You" as well. Green Day will support their new album, "21st Century Breakdown," with a series of dates that include a July 27 gig in an as-yet unnamed New York City venue.
And if you're really rich and really insane, you might want to get your hands on some of the tickets for Michael Jackson's "This is It!" Tour. The King of Pop will play London's O2 Arena beginning July 8, and will continue his 50th show at the same venue February 24, 2010. The shows have sold out – except for the scalpers, of course – but it remains to be seen whether fans will welcome Jackson's first shows in 12 years or if they'll ask him to beat it.
Michael Duquette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.