The summer's hottest concert tickets


May 15, 2005


Here are my choices, in chronological order, for this summer's best pop-rock concerts -- the shows with the most exciting lineups and the best bang for the buck -- as well as a look at other concerts in the coming months.


The Q101 Block Party, June 3-4

This year's lineup, presented outside the New City YMCA, 1515 N. Halsted, offers the Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol and Hot Hot Heat on June 3, and Sum 41, Rise Against, Unwritten Law and A Static Lullaby on June 4. Tickets are $15 in advance or $25 for a two-day pass through Proceeds benefit the YMCA and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Kraftwerk, the Riviera Theatre, June 4

Since the German gods of synth-rock last performed at the Riv, they've retooled their stage show to eliminate the massive analog machines of the famous Kling-Klang Studio, and they've pared down to laptops. Given their phenomenal visuals, it should still be an extraordinary show. Tickets are $41 through Ticketmaster, (312) 559-1212.

Gov't Mule, Skyline Stage, June 15-16

The hardest-rocking of any of the jam bands -- or the most musically fluid of any hard-rock group -- Warren Haynes and his bandmates performing in the gorgeous setting of Navy Pier is a show that shouldn't missed. Tickets are $30 through Ticketmaster.

Lauryn Hill, Taste of Chicago, June 24

Since the incredible success of "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" in 1998, the singer and songwriter has been a disappointingly erratic live performer. But you can't beat the price at this opening-night concert for Taste of Chicago -- it's free -- and you can't top the location, the Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park.

Sounds of the Underground Tour, the Tweeter Center, July 8

Emerging as a more hard-core-oriented competitor with Warped and Ozzfest, the debut Sounds of the Underground tour features Lamb of God, Clutch, GWAR, Poison the Well, Opeth, Every Time I Die, High on Fire and a whole lot more aggressive noise. Tickets are $29.50 through Ticketmaster.

Intonation Music Festival, July 16-17

The uber-hip indie-rock Web site is curating this two-day event in Union Park at Randolph and Ashland (it has moved from the smaller Pulaski Park), with two stages and some of the best names on the current indie underground. The July 16 lineup is, in order, the M's, Beans, Magnolia Electric Company, AC Newman, Four Tet, the Go Team!, Death from Above 1979 and Tortoise; the July 17 lineup is Head of Femur, Xiu Xiu, Out Hud, the Wrens, Deerhoof, Les Savy Fav and the Decemberists. (Previously announced headliners Fiery Furnaces have canceled their summer tour.) Advance tickets go on sale Wednesday via at $15 a day or $22 for a two-day pass, and a portion of the proceeds benefit various local charities.

Warped Tour, the Tweeter Center, July 23

Sure, it's annoyingly corporate, and yes, this year's lineup -- with headliners the the Offspring and My Chemical Romance -- is weaker than in years past. But Chicago's quickly rising Fall Out Boy is third on the bill, and most of the fun happens on the smaller stages anyway. Tickets are $29.75 through Ticketmaster.

Lollapalooza, Hutchinson Field, July 23-24

In addition to the problems with the lineup mentioned above, there's the added annoyance that the revitalized alternative music festival is competing with Warped. But the price is reasonable -- it's currently $100 plus service fees for a two-day pass through -- and the lakefront setting is unrivaled.

Ozzfest, the Tweeter Center, July 30

Like Warped, the corporate vibe of Ozzfest is inescapable, but it still gives you a lot of heavy-metal bang for the buck. The 10th anniversary lineup features Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Rob Zombie, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Black Label Society on the mainstage and non-stop action on the smaller platform. Tickets are $34.50 to $87 through Ticketmaster.

Gothicfest, the Odeum Expo Center, Sept. 17

This would-be Warped for the goth scene will bring an army in black to the Odeum in Villa Park. Performers include Hanzel und Gretyl, Slick Idiot (featuring veterans of KMFDM) and 20 more gothic, darkwave, hard-core and industrial bands. Tickets are $32.50 through Ticketmaster. Or visit

Expect announcements in the coming weeks for an arena show by Anita Baker, Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson tour at Alexian Field in Schaumburg, Queen with Paul Rodgers and a soul divas tour featuring Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Queen Latifah.


Other hot summer tickets include:

15: Bright Eyes, Riviera Theatre.
16-17: The Mars Volta, Riviera.
19: Keane, Aragon Ballroom.
21: Reba McEntire and Brad Paisley, Tweeter Center.
27-29: Summercamp 2005, with moe., Umphrey's McGee, Keller Williams and others, Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Ill.

2: Dave Matthews Band, Tweeter Center.
3: Judas Priest and Queensryche, Tweeter Center.
3: Martin Sexton, Skyline Stage.
4: Kraftwerk, Riviera Theatre.
10: Cheap Trick, Ravinia.
11: The BoDeans, Ravinia.
11: Alanis Morissette, Auditorium Theatre.
11: Spoon, Vic Theatre.
15: Susan Tedeschi, Ravinia.
16: Sleater-Kinney, Riviera Theatre.
18: Alkaline Trio, Riviera Theatre.
18: Toby Keith, Tweeter Center.
19: Stevie Nicks and Don Henley, Tweeter Center.
20: Oasis, UIC Pavilion.
24: Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire, Lakefront Pavilion.
25: The Moody Blues, Chicago Theatre.
25: LeAnn Rimes and Aaron Tippin, Country Music Festival/Grant Park.
26: Clint Black, Julie Roberts, Country Music Festival/Grant Park.
26: The Black Eyed Peas and Talib Kweli, Lakefront Pavilion.
28: Modest Mouse, Lakefront Pavilion.
28: Donna Summer, Taste of Chicago.
29: The Gap Band and Morris Day and the Time, Taste of Chicago.
30: Lynyrd Skynyrd and Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Taste of Chicago.

1: John Mellencamp and John Fogerty, Tweeter Center.
1: Steve Winwood and Dr. John, Taste of Chicago.
2: Santana and Los Lonely Boys, Taste of Chicago.
2: Ralph's World, Lakefront Pavilion.
4: Moby, John Hiatt and the North Mississippi All-Stars, Taste of Chicago.
5-6: Peter Himmelman, Schubas.
8: Carole King, Auditorium Theatre.
9: Robert Plant, Auditorium Theatre.
8-9: Big Summer Classic 2005, with the String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams, Umphrey's McGee, Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Alexian Field, Schaumburg.
11: Anger Management Tour with Eminem, 50 Cent, Tweeter Center.
11: Wyclef Jean, Ravinia.
12-13: Lyle Lovett, Ravinia.
14: Hall and Oates, Skyline Stage.
14: Gavin DeGraw and Howie Day, Lakefront Pavilion.
15: Tom Petty and the Black Crowes, Tweeter Center.
15: Mark Knopfler, Auditorium Theatre.
16: Zooma Tour with Ben Harper and Trey Anastasio, Alpine Valley.
16: Journey, Lakefront Pavilion.
22: The Funk Brothers and the Neville Brothers, Skyline Stage.
22: Three Doors Down, Tweeter Center.
23-24: Dave Matthews Band, Alpine Valley.
27: Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris, Ravinia.
30: Def Leppard and Bryan Adams, Alexian Field, Schaumburg.
30: Aimee Mann, Skyline Stage.

4: Loggins & Messina, Lakefront Pavilion.
10: Green Day, Allstate Arena.
11: Suzanne Vega and Marc Cohn, Skyline Stage.
13: Velvet Revolver, Tweeter Center.
13: Coldplay, Alpine Valley.
13: The Allman Brothers Band, Rosemont Theatre.
17-18: Aretha Franklin, Ravinia.
19: Tony Bennett, Ravinia.
20: Los Lonely Boys, Ravinia.
27: Motley Crue, Tweeter Center.
28: Jack Johnson, Lakefront Pavilion.
30-31: Gipsy Kings, Ravinia.

2: James Taylor, Allstate Arena.
4-5: Jimmy Buffett, Wrigley Field.
7: Toto, Ravinia.
10: The Rolling Stones, Soldier Field.
20-21: U2, United Center.