CommRadio’s Top Concerts of the Summer
“Reunion Tour”- Phoebe Bridgers
Despite being a massive fan of Phoebe Bridgers, I will admit that her concert does not necessarily fit the vibe of an ideal summer concert.
However, seeing Bridgers's performance at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, N.J., was a truly cathartic experience.
Despite the somber themes in Bridgers's discography, it was an energetic night. Between the iconic venue, lively crowd, Bridgers's effortlessly charming stage presence and impressive live vocals, the “Reunion Tour” was not one to miss.
Getting to sing Bridgers's harrowing songs along with her and a massive crowd was genuinely emotional.
Considering Bridgers released her most recent album, “Punisher,” in June of 2020, this was likely the first time many fans would experience these songs with a crowd.
For Bridgers's encore, she included a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Stolen Car,” paying tribute to the venue's history with the iconic musician.
Bridger's music is cinematic on its own but seeing it live was a display of musical excellence. Listening to the set list alone might be depressing, but the “Reunion Tour” was nothing short of a celebration.
- Sophia D’Ovidio
The Weeknd - MetLife Stadium
After getting tickets before the pandemic and waiting for not one but two shows to be rescheduled, finally seeing The Weeknd this summer made it worth the wait.
Although I was disappointed about the delay when he canceled and changed his entire arena tour to a stadium tour, the way he paired the backdrops with the lights in a stadium filled with people was absolutely perfect.
The setlist was amazing, as "The After Hours til Dawn Tour" had a great blend of songs from his latest two albums, as well as his classics and fan favorites, and even some niche picks for original fans.
I had the time of my life screaming out the song lyrics with my best friend as the lights and The Weeknd’s vocals submerged the stadium. It was incredible to witness him perfect his second performance of the tour after waiting so long, and I will never forget the smile on his face as he knew in a sold-out stadium that the payoff was well worth it.
- Rachel Fisher
Billy Joel Concert in Detroit, MI
In 2019, I bought tickets to see Billy Joel in concert in the summer of 2020. Well…things did not go as planned as everyone knows. One of my best friends and I made it a big deal when we went this past July and the two-year wait was definitely worth it.
First, I want to talk about his band. He had an all-male band with one stellar woman with a powerful voice as a backup singer and a drummer.
Joel is 73 and he cannot move like he used to, but it was sentimental watching him sit at the piano the whole time. He sounds exactly the same, just like when he was younger and on the record. This man can sing!
Joel played a 90-minute set with songs from almost every album. He opened with “My Life” and sang every song that a person loves. My personal favorite was “The River of Dreams” because like I mentioned earlier, the female backup singer sang her heart out during this.
The best part, in the middle of the song, they started singing the old-time classic “Dancing In The Street” and then went right back to singing the original song. It was unexpectedly epic. The only time the Piano Man left his piano was during the encore for his five most popular songs.
And of course, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was the only song that had cool lighting and actual fire coming from the stage. It was fire.
This concert was a wild emotional roller coaster and if anyone has the opportunity to see him, Joel will leave everyone with an unforgettable experience.
- Emily McGlynn
Paul McCartney in Knoxville, Tenn.
Crowds of people packed the Thompson-Boling stadium in anticipation of music legend Paul McCartney. It had to have been one of the most populated concerts I’ve ever attended, and in addition to that, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
To see the man himself in real life was quite a surreal experience. When McCartney ran out of the tunnel and onto the stage, the crowd roared. It was like being inside a Roman colosseum.
The former Beatle is 80, an age in which most people would spend most their time at home and retired, not this guy. He was very spry, running around on stage and interacting with the audience. It’s such an amazing thing that after all these years he was still performing. I could tell that he wanted to be there.
McCartney played both old hits and new songs that came from his most recent album “McCartney III.” The audience around me clapped and sang along to songs like “Hey Jude” and “Yesterday.” McCartney also played songs from his tenure with Wings such as “Band on the Run” and “Jet.”
My favorite song played had to be “Let Me Roll It” — that smooth transition to that iconic twangy, blues guitar riff was perfect. The production on stage was top tier. Flames and explosions came bursting out from the stage during the climax of “Live and Let Die.” Smoke filled the air for the rest of the performance.
Although I was half deaf coming out of the arena, I left with feelings of joy and excitement. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience.
- Jon Mead
Big Time Rush: Forever Tour
This is a weird pick for me. My music taste usually consists of rock music and lyrical rap songs. Yet somehow, out of the many concerts I witnessed over the summer, a former Nickelodeon television group put on the best performance.
I went into the concert having forgotten a majority of the songs written by Big Time Rush, but as they went on, I was able to sing along to every word.
The set list consisted of basically every hit from their past run and a few new singles. The name of “Forever Tour” is fitting as the show consisted of over 30 songs and lasted over two hours on stage.
On top of everything, the band themselves have improved since their last run. All four of the guys sounded astonishing with Carlos PenaVega’s vocal improvements standing out the most.
The performance aspect of the concert was the deciding factor to me putting Big Time Rush on this list. Throughout the show they would run into the crowd throughout the arena, held a fan proposal on stage and did backflips off of their pyramid style set.
Big Time Rush has perfected the modern boy-band performance.
- Evan Smith
Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Fisher is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com
Emily McGlynn is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jon Mead is a fourth-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Evan Smith is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Second-year / Broadcast Journalism
Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year from Allentown, New Jersey. She is now a communications (undecided) major at Penn State University. Sophia intends on pursuing a career in journalism. Sophia writes for the CommRadio Arts department.
Rachel Fisher is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. She is the DJ Coordinator of the Arts and Entertainment Department and an involved member, focusing on music and TV news. She is from Ocean, New Jersey, and is interested in singing, food, music, and audio production. Follow her on Instagram @rachelfisherrr_
First-Year / Broadcast Journalism