Not every concert lives up to its hype. A big name on a bill in an enormous venue doesn’t guarantee a great performance, just as a buzzy new band in a small room doesn't always mean you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime event. (Unless it's Kendrick Lamar at Trees in 2012.)
But when it all works out for a music lover at a concert, it’s momentous and worth reliving. In Dallas, we’re swimming in riches when it comes to live music opportunities, so it’s extremely difficult to pare down all the concerts in 2017 so far, but each of the 10 on this list was a unique occurrence, a stacked lineup or plainly everything we expected it to be.
10. The city of Dallas presents So-So Topic’s Peace Out Party
March 23 at Trees
No other all-local show made it on this list, but it’s impossible to deny how great it was to see Blue, The Misfit; Bobby Sessions; Sealion; Medicine Man Revival; Koolquise; and the man himself, Topic, perform all in one night. The crowd was also packed with talented musicians. It felt like the proper sendoff for one of Dallas’ finest rappers, Topic.
9. Neil Fest
Feb. 19 at Granada Theater
This Neil Young tribute night turned into a who’s who affair of talent that included appearances from Norah Jones, Boz Scaggs and surprise guest Leon Bridges for the night’s closer. Bridges has a tendency to pop up around town unexpectedly, but coupled with the other local stars, he made this three-hour tribute one of the best shows of the year.
8. Green Day — Revolution Radio Summer Tour
March 4 at American Airlines Center
Crowd participation was the key here. As writer Jeff Gage mentioned in his review of the band’s arena show earlier this year, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong didn’t waste much time getting the crowd involved as he brought up a kid onstage to help sing the words and had him stage dive back into the crowd. Later on, Armstrong even let another child onstage to play his guitar during the set. Watching the band give fans memories of a lifetime was one of the greatest pleasures of the year in music.
7. Future — Nobody Safe Tour
June 24 at Starplex Pavilion
In the first half of 2017, Future was the biggest rap star to headline the city, and he didn’t disappoint. The prolific rapper continued his vengeance-filled winning streak, hitting another peak in his career by selling out the Starplex Pavilion in support of his back-to-back No. 1 albums FUTURE and HNDRXX. The Atlanta superstar didn’t just rely on his hits to carry the show all night; he demonstrated confidence on stage, dancing in a lively manner that we hadn't yet seen from the typically guarded rapper. Impressive openers Tory Lanez and A$AP Ferg solidified this show's place on this list.
6. U2 — The Joshua Tree Tour
May 26 at AT&T Stadium
This tour served as a 30th anniversary celebration for U2’s seminal Joshua Tree album, but as our Jesus Jimenez reported, the music felt as relevant in May as it did in 1987, a time when the U.S. was politically divided under President Ronald Reagan’s administration. We're facing many of the same sociopolitical issues alluded to on the album, and U2's visuals at AT&T Stadium struck a chord with the audience members, who were reportedly moved to tears throughout the show.
March 12 at Trees
Thundercat’s Drunk is one of the year’s best albums, so it’s really no surprise that the bass virtuoso’s live show was just as good. It’s a wonder to witness Stephen Bruner effortlessly perform his intricate, jazz-inspired arrangements and do so with a smile on his face the whole time.
4. At The Drive In — “secret” show
March 14 at Club Dada
File this show under unique occurrences. Before the on-again, off-again band embarked on a tour in support of its now-released album in•ter al•ia, At The Drive In played a “secret” show at Club Dada, a much smaller venue than it'd be headlining the rest of their tour.
When the band eventually returned for its official June 12 tour date, it was at the South Side Ballroom, which holds several thousand people, compared with Dada’s estimated 400-person capacity. Intimacy aside, the band delivered a stunningly sharp performance given that it was technically a warm-up show for SXSW.
3. Roger Waters — Us + Them Tour
July 3 at American Airlines Center
The iconic Roger Waters led the class for most-anticipated shows of 2017, not only because of his iconic catalog with Pink Floyd but also because the 73-year-old had teased news of a tour and new album since 2016. He finally delivered on both with the release of Is This the Life We Really Want?. Similar to U2’s performance this year, the show was heavily political, with numerous references to President Trump and the GOP.
2. Metallica — WorldWired Tour 2017
June 16 at AT&T Stadium
When one of the biggest bands in the world plays one of the most state-of-the-art arenas in the country, expectations pile high. Fortunately, the more than 60,000 people in attendance weren’t disappointed as the legendary metal act rolled through its lengthy catalog, hitting call-backs from albums like Master of Puppets, Ride The Lightning, …And Justice For All and Black before sifting through the newest material, 2017’s Hardwired...to Self-Destruct.
Metallica delivering the hits with enthusiasm is enough to be happy about, but couple that with pyrotechnics and cannon blasts, and there’s not much room for criticism. So, for delivering on all expectations, Metallica’s highly anticipated arena tour was one of the best concerts of the year so far.
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1. The Weeknd — Starboy: Legend of the Fall 2017 World Tour
May 4 at American Airlines Center
The Weeknd’s Starboy: Legend of the Fall 2017 World Tour was one of the most anticipated tours at the beginning of the year, and luckily for the 19,000 people in attendance at the American Airlines Center, Abel Tesfaye delivered a spectacular show in support of his album of the same name, which wasn't a simple task.
The Weeknd’s fan base is a split bunch, but he satisfied both his new, pop-obsessed fans and his older, day-one fans who made 2011’s House of Balloons one of the most talked about mixtapes of the decade.
The night wasn’t all about Tesfaye, though. The lineup for the night was stacked with huge names like party starters Rae Sremmurd and R&B up-and-comers 6lack and Belly. We haven’t even mentioned the starship stage setup that was installed in the arena and designed by Es Dolvin, who’s created elaborate stages for Kanye West, U2 and Lady Gaga. All that packaged together made for the best concert we’ve seen in 2017.