By Shawn Amos
Summer concert season is here, and everyone with a guitar and some semblance of a career is hitting the road hoping to pry some bucks from your hand.
While the recession looms, the movie and concert businesses are having their best years ever. Just because people are laid off doesn't mean they can't up a few dollars for a matinee or a stadium show. Everyone needs an escape - now, more than ever.
However, just because you choose to spend money standing in the mosh pit instead of buying food for your family doesn't mean you should buy tickets to just any show. Some are just not worth the money. As another GetBack public service, here's our list of summer concert musts and misses.
Photo gallery: Getback.com's summer concerts hits and misses
The Irish Fab Four start their "360° Tour" June 30 in Barcelona with a set that promises to reinvent the stadium concert experience with a one-of-a-kind 360° stage. They hit the U.S. on September 12. Flying to Europe may be extreme, but this concert is a must, even if it means missing a mortgage payment. Admit it: you're probably missing mortgage payments anyway. Fancy stage or not, U2 is the best live band around today.
Gwen Stefani decided to get the Orange County band back together for their first tour since 2004. Seeing a super sexy Gwen up close is probably enough to make you spend gas money on a ticket, but there's another reason. No Doubt have started a foundation to support their hometown children's hospital and other charities. Fans can bid on VIP tickets and a chance to meet the group. Now you can tell your wife you donated the money to charity. She'll be cool with that.
The Dukes of Disney start a world tour in Madrid June 13 (Spaniards are really into the Jonas Brothers?) that winds up in Dublin on November 24 (a U2 double-bill?). One caveat: their Web site lists the Dublin date and about 15 others as "TBA." That's concert code for "tour may not make it to the end because people may not give a s**t about a Jonas Brothers tour." Count us among them.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival: Must
As the 40th anniversary of Woodstock approaches, Bonnaroo is the only place on earth to feel like a 1969 hippie. Four days of musical bliss in the backwoods of Tennessee with thousands of music lovers, most of whom camp out. If you like your concerts with indoor plumbing, this one's not for you. If you're looking to create your own personal summer of love, see you there.
American Idols Live!: Miss
After 20 weeks of seeing these guys on TV for free, do we need to to use our unemployment checks to watch their overwrought, slick "Idol" thing onstage? There's gotta be enough YouTube videos to satisfy any craving. We say pass and spend your money on a new TiVo so you won't miss the next season of "Idol."
Billy Joel &
If seeing two bloated piano men sleepwalk their way through their overplayed catalogues is your idea of a good time, then this show's for you. Really, does anyone need another "Rocket Man" singalong? Don't we all have our copies of "The Stranger" we can pull off the shelf? Save the $180 ticket price and go to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner. You'll probably see a dude in the piano bar playing "Piano Man."
Eric Clapton &
They're rock gods, they sound and play like they're in their 20s, and they'll never do this again. Plus, when was the last time you got to play air guitar with 10,000 other wannabe guitar heroes? Take your kid and show him there's a world beyond "Guitar Hero," where instruments have strings. He'll thank you - even if you spent his allowance for the tickets.
Once upon a time in the '90s, Perry Farrell's traveling musical circus reinvented concert tours. Underground and indie bands played alongside tattoo artists and piercing stations. Now the circus is parked in Chicago for three days in August, but it's still an indie-music lover's dream. Plus, a freshly reunited Jane's Addiction is headlining. It's 1991 all over again.
This is the party double-bill of the summer. The boys from Boston teaming up with the Lone Star State's finest for three hours of riffs and half-naked chicks. Check your musical snobbery at the door and enjoy a night of hedonistic, mindless boogie. Oh, and bring money for beer. "Dream On" and "Legs" will sound better after a few brews. Steven Tyler will look better too.