My 2013 concert calendar is already starting to fill up.
Yes, it's only a few days into the new year, but so many big shows have already been announced. Just this month, we have Lady Gaga (Jan. 17 at HP Pavilion in San Jose), Jackson Browne (Jan. 22 at the San Jose Civic Auditorium), Muse (Jan. 28 at Oracle Arena in Oakland) and the reunited Ben Folds Five (Jan. 31 at the Warfield in San Francisco).
Next month, fans will take in the Who performing "Quadrophenia" Feb. 1 at Oracle, fun. playing Feb. 7 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Soundgarden Feb. 12-13 at the Fox, Pink Feb. 18 at HP, Carrie Underwood Feb. 25 at Oracle and the kickoff of the annual Noise Pop Festival (Feb. 25-March 3). Further down the line, concertgoers get Maroon 5 (March 13 at HP), Rihanna (April 6 at HP), Sigur Ros (April 17 at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium), Fleetwood Mac (May 22 at HP) and, of course, another round of "Bieber Fever" (June 26 at HP).
Phew! I'm getting excited/exhausted just thinking about all that music.
And there's even more to come. We think. The full concert picture still is quite murky; some key players have yet to announce whether they are joining the North American touring game this year. Here's a roundup of what major acts might be playing the Bay Area in the upcoming months:
--The Rolling Stones: Of course, we have to start with the Mick, Keith and the boys. I was hoping that the Stones would use the "12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief" appearance, which came in front of roughly a bazillion viewers, to announce their touring intentions. Alas, good taste won out (for once), and no clues were provided. Well, maybe there was one clue, delivered in the form of a really solid live performance. These guys still sound great, and it's nearly unfathomable to think the Stones might be done with touring.
Prediction: The Stones have at least two more major North American tours left in them. The group will hit the road in 2013, to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Look for a date -- or, more likely, dates -- at AT&T Park or the Oakland Coliseum come fall. Then, some years down the line, Jagger and company will launch a blockbuster farewell tour.
--Black Sabbath: Purists will sneer that this isn't a real reunion of the original Black Sabbath, since the mighty Bill Ward isn't on drums (contractual issues). Everyone else will just accept three-fourths of the real deal -- vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler -- and be happy to hear to some of the most important heavy metal music of all time. The group played some gigs last year and has more booked for April and May in Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Do you think Sabbath will stop there?
Prediction: No, Sabbath won't stop. The heavy metal masters will tour the States. The question is whether it will be before or after the jaunt Down Under. I'm saying after, so look for a local arena date in late spring. The key factor is the health of Iommi, who was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma in early 2012.
--Depeche Mode: The highly influential and vastly popular British synth-pop act will release its 13th studio album in April. Charismatic vocalist Dave Gahan then will lead his crew on a European tour that stretches from May through July. North America wants some Mode, too.
Prediction: The British are coming! It's tempting to think that Depeche Mode will tour the States after Europe. However, I have a feeling that the band will headline Southern California's mammoth Coachella festival in April, which would nicely tie in with the release of the new album and pave the way for a Bay Area arena date about that time. If that doesn't happen, look for Depeche Mode to headline San Francisco's Outside Lands Festival in August.
--Green Day: The famed East Bay punk band needs to support not one, but three new studio albums. All plans were put on hold, however, as vocalist-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong entered rehab for a substance-abuse problem. Armstrong's troubles came to a head during a meltdown in September at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. That led to the cancellation of an intimate-venue tour, which included dates at the Fillmore in San Francisco and the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.
Prediction: Armstrong this week left rehab, and the trio has already booked some East Coast dates. As for Bay Area fans? Green Day seems like a perfect hometown hero to headline Outside Lands.
n Frank Ocean: In a matter of months, the R&B crooner went from relative obscurity to the performer everyone seems to be talking about. That's what happens when you release one of the year's best albums ("Channel Orange") and land a boatload of Grammy nominations. A big showing at the Grammys will increase the demand for a tour.
Prediction: Again, the "Coachella factor" will come into play here. He will perform down south in April, then head north for a night. It's really hard to say what size venue he'll play, but it's not inconceivable that he could fill the 8,000-seat Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
--Atoms for Peace: Local hipsters still talk about the night in 2010 that this modern-rock supergroup, featuring Radiohead's Thom Yorke and the Red Hot Chili Pepper's Flea, performed at the Fox Theater in Oakland. The band is scheduled to release its second studio effort, "Amok," in February.
Prediction: Not to sound like a broken record, but the good folks behind Coachella will make sure that Atoms for Peace visits the Golden State. Expect another night at the Fox come April.
--George Strait: OK, I'm cheating a bit here. Strait has already announced plans to tour the U.S. The question is, will the country legend will bring the Cowboy Rides Away Tour, which is billed as his farewell trek, to the Bay Area? The always amazing Martina McBride is Strait's opening act, so this is one tour that local country fans won't want to miss.
Prediction: Better make plans to see Strait in Sacramento (Jan. 31) or Fresno (Feb. 1), because this cowboy isn't riding our way again. Tickets are $69.50-$89.50 at www.ticketmaster.com.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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