Even in the age of digital music, with pretty much every song a click away via Spotify, there’s nothing quite like live music, when the sound goes right through you as you scream every word. But if you’re a fan of classic rock, time might be running out for you to see some of your favorites before they stop touring and ride off into the sunset.
There are still dozens of stars from the ’60s and ’70s putting on concerts, but here are five acts you should be sure to see before it’s too late…
The former Beatle, who was the only member of the Fab Four who loved playing live all the way through the group’s time together, has been touring regularly since the mid-’70s.
At 74 years old, Paul McCartney’s stage presence and energy remains second-to-none. And if you’ve never seen him before, the little stories he tells between songs are, collectively, one of the highlights of the show.
If you see Sir Paul in concert, you’re guaranteed to get close to three hours of awesomeness, with him playing mostly his Beatles hits and solo hits while mixing in just a bit of his more obscure and/or newer stuff. And you might get a surprise, too, as fellow rock stars often show up to his shows to jam. Ringo Starr recently said he’d love to tour with McCartney, so don’t be surprised if he shows up to a show sometime soon.
Want to sing Let It Be with 50,000 people as McCartney sits behind the piano? This show is for you.
Currently on Tour? Yes, touring the U.S. through August, with four additional shows in California in October.
Full disclosure: I’m an enormous Bob Dylan fan but have yet to see him live. Why? Because friends who have seen him in concert have told me his shows are either vintage Dylan or total disasters.
My love for all things Dylan is so high that I haven’t yet been willing to risk attending a ‘bad’ show, thus skewing my image of him. But I’m probably being foolish and will most likely see him soon.
Dylan, 75, plays smaller venues these days, and his recent set lists have included only a few of his more popular songs. His show on July 17 included only three songs casual Dylan fans would know – She Belongs To Me, Tangled Up In Blue and Blowin’ In The Wind.
But is it worth the price of admission to hear vintage Dylan sing just one of those songs? I’d say yes.
Currently on Tour? No, but he has two dates at the ‘Desert Trip’ in California this October.
I’ve seen Billy Joel twice – once at Madison Square Garden in the early-2000s and again at Shea Stadium during the Last Play at Shea in 2008. And both shows were life-changing.
If you’re from the New York area and dig classic rock, odds are that you love Billy Joel. And if you haven’t seen him yet, what are you waiting for?
Joel is 67 years old but his shows are still raucous, energy-filled affairs where he plays 25 or so songs (including legendary encores). And unlike the aforementioned Dylan, Joel gives the fans what they want, playing mostly his biggest hits.
Currently on Tour? Yes, this summer and fall in the U.S. and Europe, with shows each month at his residency at Madison Square Garden in NYC.
The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger just turned 73 years old this week and the Stones – with guitarist Keith Richards understandably not having the playing chops he had in the early days – don’t rock quite as hard as they used to. But they’re still the Stones, one of the best bands ever. And as long as Jagger and Richards (who reportedly despise each other) are willing to play together, they’re worth seeing.
Like Dylan, I haven’t yet seen the Stones live, but they’re right at the top of my list.
As far as what to expect at a Stones show, it’ll be shorter than the ones McCartney and Joel put on (about 18 songs including the encore), but will be filled with hits. At a show this past March, they tore through classics such as Paint It Black, Honky Tonk Women, Gimme Shelter and Satisfaction.
Currently on Tour? Yes, the Stones have two shows in California and one in Las Vegas in October.
I saw The Boss at the old Meadowlands about ten years ago, before the place was torn down, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Springsteen is famous for his incredibly energetic, ridiculously long concerts, and he’s kept that legacy going even at the age of 66.
What makes Springsteen’s shows extra special is the continued presence of the E-Street Band, including drummer Max Weinberg and guitarists Steve Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren. The band absolutely wails while Springsteen does his thing, and it’s one of the most perfect combinations you’ll ever see.
Springsteen and the band will ordinarily play for three hours or more – they rocked out to 35 songs during their most recent concert, with hits mixed in with obscure tracks and some covers.
Currently on Tour? Yes, Springsteen is touring Europe right now, but will be heading back to the U.S. in August, with the first show in Jersey.