By Chuck Cox
In addition to pucks and basketballs flying through the air in the American Airlines Center during the final three months of the calendar year, there will also be an incredible run of big concerts.
Since the AAC opened in the summer of 2001, I’m not sure I can recall a more incredible run of shows that is about to take place through the holiday season.
Here’s the breakdown:
1. Eagles, Oct. 11-12: From a historical standpoint, these are the two most significant shows on the docket. Why? The Eagles christened the AAC by playing a show there on July 28, 2001, one day after the ribbon-cutting. The band is touring in support of the acclaimed Showtime documentary History of the Eagles. Any time there are two or more shows in the same city, you know it’s a monster tour.
2. Bon Jovi, Oct. 16: Although I’m a big fan, I’m going to skip this one. Not only did I see the band at the same venue just five months ago, but guitarist Richie Sambora is no longer touring with the band. Like I said when Bon Jovi rolled through in April, it’s just not the same without Sambora.
3. Michael Buble, Oct. 18: Not really my cup of tea, but still a big show rolling through town.The three-time Grammy winner will surely draw a big crowd.
4. Avenged Sevenfold, Oct. 19: Also not really up my alley, but I’m sure the “Hail to the King Tour” will be a pretty amazing production. The show also has a solid opening act in the Deftones. Outside of the final show of the year at the AAC (that’s teasing ahead), this could be the biggest production. And that’s saying something.
5. Selena Gomez, Nov. 3: Definitely not my cup of tea. But, then again, I”m not exactly the target audience. And there’s always something to be said for a hometown show (Gomez is from Grand Prairie). Expect lots of screaming and squealing at this one. Just don’t expect to see me there.
6. Drake, Nov. 10: The first concert of the rap show invasion takes the stage with Drake fresh off the release of his new album, Nothing Was the Same, taking the AAC stage. I’m still kicking around going to this one. I’m not super familiar with Drake’s catalogue, but I like most of what I’ve heard. By the way, did you know Drake is Canadian?
7. Rihanna, Nov. 11: Just one night after Drake, Rihanna will do her thing. Although I am not real big into her music, I’ve seen Rihanna before. And while her choice in male companionship leaves something to be desired, she does put on a pretty great show. And I saw her as an opening act with minimal effects.
8. Josh Groban, Nov. 13: Groban sells lots of albums and lots of concert tickets, although I honestly don’t know anybody who has ever mentioned his music to me. I’m sure he’ll put on a good show, but he won’t be stealing the spotlight during this amazing week of events.
9. Pearl Jam, Nov. 15: My bar for Peal Jam shows was raised into the stratosphere by seeing the band play Wrigley Field this summer. But any Pearl Jam show is an amazing Pearl Jam show. I could see this band play 100 times and it wouldn’t get old. In addition to being the first Dallas show for Pearl Jam since 2003, the band will have plenty of material to play from a brand new album, Lightning Bolt, which comes out in October.
10. Pink, Nov. 16: Since she hit it big in right around the time the AAC opened, Pink has made the venue a regular tour stop. She is also known for having elaborate live shows that give the fans their money’s worth. And, yes, that’s five concerts in seven days. Wow.
11. Justin Timberlake, Dec. 4: The really heavy hitters will be bringing some rocking tunes to go along with the Christmas spirit in the final month of the year. Timberlake, whose career is in the stratosphere, will bring his “20/20 Experience World Tour” to Dallas first. And one of his recent tour mates will also be in town later in December.
12. Kanye West, Dec. 6: Another huge show hits the stage two nights later. West, who always puts on an amazing show, will have one of the biggest — and most controversial — names in young hip hop with him in the form of California’s Kendrick Lamar. Lamar, who dropped the critically acclaimed Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City late last year, drew the ire of the rap community earlier this year by proclaiming himself the king of both the west and east coast on Big Sean’s “Control (HOF).” It should be an incredible night of hip hop.
13. Beyonce, Dec. 9: Finally, a Texan. The reigning queen of pop brings yet another gargantuan show to the AAC. Like Timberlake, Beyonce seems to be just about everywhere these days. And although she’s now a mother, she can still bring it live. And she has an even quicker turnaround than Bon Jovi, having just played the AAC on July 6. You’ve got to have a pretty loyal fan base to be able to play a huge venue two times in the span of five months.
14. Jay Z, Dec. 21: Mr. Beyonce (kidding) will be back at the AAC for the first time since he toured with West in 2011. The funny thing is he spent part of this year touring with Timberlake, which gives this run of four shows kind of an “all in the family” vibe. I was at the show with Ye, but I’ve never seen Jay Z solo. I’m really looking forward to this one.
15. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Dec. 30: The traditional Christmas show will wrap up 2013 in concerts at the AAC. While it does have its strong points, the year I went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra, it was a little bit too long for my taste. The musicianship is amazing, though. And it’s definitely worth checking out at least once.
Well, there you have it. With the volume and variety of shows coming to downtown Dallas, there should be something that strikes your fancy.