By Jay Kenney
1. Roger Waters The Wall @ Fenway Park in Boston, MA
This was my second time seeing Roger Water’s “The Wall” live and it was once again a visual and sonic masterpiece. What set this apart from his three night stint at TD Garden in 2010 was the atmosphere at Fenway Park. The historic ballpark was the perfect location to stage the massive “Wall” production and the weather was perfect. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
2. Primus 3D @ Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence, RI
Primus have been touring steadily the past three years and this was my fourth time seeing them in as many. While the show at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston the night before (which I also attended) was great, I thought the sound mix could have been better particularly with Claypool’s vocals. However, that was corrected at this show and this was nothing short of brilliant. The set list was great (with the band playing an almost completely different one than the night before), the music was tight and the visuals were mind bending. If you’ve never seen this band live, check them out. They’re a blast!
3. Rush @ TD Garden in Boston, MA
When Rush tours, they always make my top five list. The question is where will they appear on it. On their “Time Machine” tour of 2010, they topped my concert list because the set contained all of their classic songs, including the classic “Moving Pictures” album in its entirety,” with a few new ones in the mix. This time the first half included a lot of rarely played 80s material, while the second half was primarily made up of songs from their stellar new album “Clockwork Angels.” Although they ignored some of their staples like “Limelight” and “Freewill,” the show still rocked from start to finish.
4. Boston @ MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Ledyard, CT
While some would argue that this version of the band is not really Boston since Brad Delp’s passing in 2007, this concert was still enjoyable from start to finish. For the 105 minute set, the band played all the hits and some overlooked tracks from the underrated “Walk On” album that allowed founding member Tom Scholz to showcase his wizardry on the guitar and organ. Most impressive was the front-of-house sound that was simply crystalline, making it the best sounding concert I attended this year.
5. (tie) Dream Theater with The Crimson ProjeKCt @ Bank of America Pavilion in Boston, MA
Another band that always makes my top five list is Dream Theater. While this was my second time seeing the “A Dramatic Turn of Events” tour, the addition of The Crimson ProjeKCt really made this show special. Seeing the Adrian Belew Power Trio combined with The Stick Men all on stage at once playing King Crimson classics was simply amazing. Dream Theater followed with another incredible performance which is why I see them every time they tour the area.
5. (tie) Aimee Mann @ Berklee Performance Arts Center in Boston, MA
This was very hard to exclude from my top five list so I’m including it as a tie with Dream Theater. This was my first time seeing Aimee Mann in concert and she didn’t disappoint. Her new album “Charmer” is the best of her solo career and I was grateful that she played several tracks off that album. Her stories in between songs were humorous and she exemplifies cool. Overall, it was a great show and fun night out!
Please note that the shows booked through JKB Booking are not included on this list to keep everything objective.