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Summer Concert Guide 2014

From living legends Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, and Tony Bennett to cutting edge artists like Lorde, there's live music for everyone in the Bay Area this summer

If I had a working time machine, after winning a bunch of money betting on sports and killing Hitler, I’d probably go back to the summer of 1986 or ‘87, when I would hang out with my friends from the City of Walnut Creek summer recreation program.

Some nights we would go to the movies at the long-gone Regency Cinemas (or the arcade next door), or go play Laser Tag at a park or school campus. And one night each summer, we’d pile into a car and head out to the Concord Pavilion to go see the Steve Miller Band play its greatest hits with beautiful Mount Diablo hovering in the background. Good times.

Oh, snap—I don’t need a time machine! Steve Miller is coming back to the Concord Pavilion this summer (he's playing with Journey, another blast from my past). Maybe I'll get a lawn ticket, for old time's sake. Then again, maybe I should see The Killers and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Outside Lands instead. Or Lorde at the Greek. Or Tony Bennett at Wente Vineyards.

Forget 1986, man, this summer looks like its going to be the coolest ever. Here’s a list of concerts to make Summer 2014 the one to always remember.

Big Shows: Paul McCartney plays final concert at Candlestick Park

Don’t know if you’ve heard of this guy, but his 1960s band, The Beatles, was kind of a big deal. And the last concert The Beartles played was at Candlestic Park in 1966. So, last summer, Paul McCartney is playing Outside Lands and he meets Mayor Ed Lee and suggests the last show at Candlestick is a McCartney concert. Everyone agrees that this is probably the best idea in the history of the otherwise atrocius venue. And when tickets went on sale earlier this year, they sold like hotcakes. Everyone wants to witness history, and sing-a-long to the greatest songs of all time, as well as selections from McCartney's solo years.

If you want to help a great cause and are sitting on a particulalry substantial tax retrun, here’s a way to attend the sound check and get a sweet ride to the show:


Otheriwse, tickets are available through the promoter, apeconcerts.com.

Concord Pavilion

The big news here is that the suburban East Bay’s biggest shed venue has gotten a major, multimillion dollar retrofit for Summer 2014. It's also changing its name back to the original Concord Pavilion after a decade of newspaper and mattress company sponsorships. Most importantly, the Pavilion is hosting more concerts this summer than it has in many, many years—which is a good thing, because as big venues go, the Pavilion provides for a lovely experience on a summer evening.

Here's a list of shows to see this summer out there where Ygancia Valley meets Kirker Pass.

Steely Dan July 10

Journey with Steve Miller Band, July 29

Chicago with REO Speedwagon, July 31

Aerosmith with Slash, August 13

Fall Out Boy with Paramour, August 17

KBLX Hot Summer Night, August 31

Marc Anthony, September 7

Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds To Mars, AFI, September 19

Zac Brown Band, September 25

Kings of Leon, October 1

Tickets are available at promoter Live Nation's website, here.

Wente Summer Concert Series

The East Bay's unparalleled top shelf venue for fine wine and dining and summer conecerts, Wente Vineyards is back with another strong lineup of classic headliners for 2014. You can't go wrong with local boy Chris Isaak, who grew up nearby in Stockton ("During the show, my friends and family are out in the parking lot going through cars," Isaak once told Diablo, "So, be sure top bring your valuables with you.") Then there are the Beach Boys and Earth, Wind, and Fire at summer's end. But the series highlight for me is the exquisite Tony Bennett on August 6.


Chris Issak, July 9

Wynonna, July 16

Tony Bennett, August 6

Frankie Valli, August 14

Earth, Wind, and Fire, August 26

The Beach Boys, August 27

Tickets are available at wentevineyards.com/concerts.

Outside Lands Festival

Giant festivals can be intimidating, but this three-day festival in San Francisco, August 8–10, is the one to go to. Run like a swiss watch and set in a spectacular section of Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands is the product of the remarkable East Bay promoter Gregg Perloff and his Berkeley-based Another Planet Entertainment. A smashing success since its 2008 debut, Outside Lands gets bigger and more creative each August and is an economic dynamo for the Bay Area. It also features some of the best food and wine that you will ever find at a huge event like this.

This year, my all-time favorite band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, headlines the Saturday night show, with Kanye West, and The Killers headlining the Sunday and Friday respectively. And Lafayette-raised Nicki Bluhm, featured in Diablo's Best of the East Bay 2014 issue, plays Friday as well. Tickets sold-out months in advance, but look for last minute tickets and radio station promotions to get into this must-hear weekend.

For information, go to OutsideLandssf.com.

The Greek Theatre

Another miracle from Another Planet is the resurrection of UC Berkeley's Greek Theatre as one of the great concert venues in the country. With its 8,500-patron capacity, the Greek is intimate, acoustically perfect, and spectacularly beautiful—and Another Planet books it with artists who could sell-out MUCH larger venues.

Here are highlights of this summer's lineup:

Michael Franti and Spearhead, June 21

Sarah McLachan, June 27

Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration with Berkeley Symphony and Warren Haynes, August 1

Yo-Yo Ma, August 12

Sara Bareilles August 14

Counting Crows, August 15

John Legend, August 21

Dave Matthews Band, August 22, 23, 24

Jack Johnson, August 26

The Head and the Heart, September 5

The Avett Brothers, September 13

Lorde, October 2 and 3

For tickets, go to Apeconcerts.com.

Free and local shows—compiled by Jessica Jung

Let's face it: Concert tickets these days can be ridiculously expensive. Fortunately, many of the East Bay's towns and cities have free shows int heir town centers and local parks. Here are some highlights:


Thursday Music and Market

Features music alongside the Concord Farmers Market

Thursdays May 22—September 11

Todos Santos Plaza in downtown Concord on Willow Pass Road between Mt. Diablo and Grant St.




Music in the Park

Features original music from various genres including R&B, soul, and rock, and tribute bands covering Neil Diamond.

Saturday, July 12 & 26, August 9 & 23 at 6 p.m.

Oak Hill Park

3005 Stone Valley Rd, Danville, CA



Blackhawk Plaza Summer Concert Series

Features tribute bands covering Journey, Michael Jackson, U2, Fleetwood Mac, as well as dance, rock, and 80’s music.

Every Friday July 11—August 29 at 78:

30 pm

4040 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville, California 94506




Home Grown Blues Series

Features live blues music

Every Wednesday in July at 5:30–7pm

1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland City Hall, between 14th and 15th Streets at Clay Street,

Oakland CA 94612



Pleasant Hill

Summer Concerts at the lake

Featuring bands from around the Bay Area

Every other Sunday beginning Memorial day weekend, May 25th, and ending September 7 at 6 p.m.

On the lawn at City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill CA 94523




Concerts in the Park

Featuring a wide variety of live music depending on the date, from 50s to rock classics, jazz, swing,

funk, blues, soul and Latin rock.

Fridays, 78:

30 p.m, through August 29.

Lions Wayside Park at First and Neal Streets



San Francisco

Stern Grove Festival

Features the 77th season of admission free concerts, outreach programs, and picnics

Sundays, June 22—August 24 at 2pm

Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco CA 94132