Summer is supposed to be the season of touring, but as trees begin to blossom this spring, so will area music venues. Mohegan Sun leads the way with major arena concerts this spring, though the entire season is full of recluses, reunions, and farewell tours, plus blockbuster pop stars.
Jeff Mangum: ‘Reclusive’ is thrown out a lot when describing Jeff Mangum. Frontman of one of the most influential indie bands ever, Neutral Milk Hotel, he spent years away from the limelight before starting to perform live regularly several years ago. Despite coming to the area in 2010, the prospect of seeing him perform still feels like catching a rare bird. This concert at Hartford’s Union Station on Feb. 8 sold out weeks ago, so hope for a secondhand ticket. Information: www.manicproductions.org.
George Strait: For country music fans, George Strait is a living legend. He’s had 59 number 1 hits, sold more than 65 million records, and after a thirty year career, he’s calling it quits.
His Feb. 23 concert at the XL Center is his last area performance ever, so the time to see him is now. Information: 860-249-6333 or www.xlcenter.com
Tim Kasher: Tim Kasher’s latest work as a solo artist differs a bit musically from his previous work with Cursive and The Good Life. However, lyrically it charts familiar territory, weaving poignant stories of love, sex, and loathing. Even in 2012, he finds ways to keep connecting with his audience. He plays at The Space in Hamden on March 12. Information: www.manicproductions.org.
Lady Gaga: With a carefully crafted persona that seems to find ever changing ways to freak out the older generations, Lady Gaga is pretty much a no-brainer to be an incredible live performer. Plus the pantheon of fans following her every move, her ‘Little Monsters,’ ensure the audience will be just as entertaining as she is at Mohegan Sun on March 3. Information: 860-862-7163 or www.mohegansun.com.
Rihanna: The Barbados native and former Stamford resident has risen to become one of the top pop stars in recent memory. In fact, Rihanna just took home top prize at the MTV Video Music Awards. The ‘Diamonds’ world tour stops at Hartford’s XL Center on March 15. Information: 860-249-6333 or www.xlcenter.com
Kenny Chesney: The themes to Kenny Chesney’s tours always seem to revolve around some form of chilling out and having fun, sort of like the Jimmy Buffet of country music. Chesney’s tours always seem to do insanely well. He’s booked two concerts at Mohegan Sun this spring, on March 22 and 23. Information: 860-862-7163 or www.mohegansun.com.
P!nk: The last time P!nk was on tour, George W. Bush was still President. It’s been a few years since then, and the multi-platinum pop star is back on the road with a new album, “The Truth About Love.” She’s known for incredible live performances, and if her powerful display at the American Music Awards was any preview, the March 27 concert at Mohegan Sun will be a good one. Information: 860-862-7163 or www.mohegansun.com.
Eric Clapton: What reasons can be given for seeing Eric Clapton? The original god of guitar is widely known to be one of the best of all time. He’s also the only artist to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame three times, all for work with different acts. If you can’t make his April 5 concert at Mohegan Sun, check out the Crossroads Music Festival the following week in New York City, when Slowhand brings out a few dozen blues and rock legends. Information: 860-862-7163 or www.mohegansun.com.
Fleetwood Mac: It’s been 35 years since the groundbreaking release of Rumours, and so it only seems natural to re-release a deluxe version of the album and go on an anniversary tour.
Fleetwood Mac has been through a lot in the last year and a half, with three former members passing away quite suddenly. The current iteration, including Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie, play Mohegan Sun on April 20. Information: 860-862-7163 or www.mohegansun.com.
James McCartney: Everyone’s familiar with the work of James McCartney’s father Paul, however the son is forging a musical legacy all his own with his EP’s, Close At Hand and Available Light. He is slated to make an intimate performance at Cafe Nine on May 21. Information: www.manicproductions.org.