The Six Best Concerts of the Summer

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See also: Ten of August's best music photos

This summer's musical choices have been made. Our thighs have been chafed from festivals, our livers raked over the fiery coals, our eardrums gently caressed. And now, as we drift into the last quarter of the year, we're taking one look back at some of our favorite summer shows.

Father John Misty, Sons of Hermann Hall The show began with the performers fully clothed. Har Mar Superstar, who had a thunderous performance of dance-funk-pop, was the first to get down to his underwear. OK, he was the only one, but the show's tone was instantly set: This was not going to be a night of doom folk. Former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman's old stuff is macabre, spiritually contemplative. Tillman's new persona, Father John Misty, spent the night on the Sons stage churning out a handful of Harry Nilsson-esque pop-rock. And he was funny. And weird. It was just over an hour, and probably one of the best dance parties that has come from a prolific folk writer to date. - Nick Rallo

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Majestic Theatre My review from that night says it all, really. Oh, wait. It doesn't address the fact that months later, after seeing many other shows, I still have thoughts of pure awe when thinking back to that night. The sparse scene of two master craftsmen huddled close together on stage, playing a pure form of American music, is one that resonates within me still and reminds that regardless of the changes in the music industry, the power of a transcendent live show is something that can never be sullied by corporate conglomerates and focus groups. - Kelly Dearmore

H20 Music Festival, Cotton Bowl June kicked off with a cross-lingual party thrown by Univision, and their first-ever H20 fest. Damian Marley, Snoop Dogg, Weezer and Gym Class Heroes mixed together with Spanish language mega-stars Mana, Paulina Rubio and Bobby Pulido. Despite what would be the beginning of the summer heat, people came out in droves to drink, sing and scream along to bands they loved. The fest even ended with a literal bang, as world-renowned electronic artist Tiesto performed to a cascade of fireworks. H20's success proved its mix of music was sustainable in the area, which led to the launch of Dallas's Radio H20. - Jaime-Paul Falcon

The Weeknd, House of Blues When I get someone a gift, I have no patience to deliver it. If it's for Christmas, but I find it in October, then you get a Halloween gift from me. So, it pleased my craving for instant gratification when The Weeknd was announced barely two weeks before his show at the House of Blues. Fresh from a highly-criticized performance at Coachella, I still had high hopes for the live performance. For me, it was the standout performance of the summer, maybe the year. Memorable as much for the audience experience as the musical, I remember the crowd was almost silent as Abel Tesfaye moved from song to song, just barely lit, still mysterious as ever. Tesfaye, one part Prince and some ghost of Frankie Valli, was haunting that night. That falsetto just barely lifted over the heavy boom of his sultry band, and found its way to the light in the dark of that club. - Deb Doing Dallas

Ronald Shannon Jackson, Kessler Theater Those shows where you get goosebumps cannot be underestimated. Getting to see a galvanizing force like drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson in the intimate confines of the Kessler shouldn't be either, and on that night in early July, and handful of us got to see a confluence of DFW jazz heavies engage in some psychic prayer. Show of the summer, and possibly the year. - Audra Schroeder

Iron Maiden, Gexa Energy Pavilion If you only focused on Iron Maiden's set list, you might think the band was playing everything safe. There weren't any new songs, or songs from the band's last few albums. Instead, it was classic after classic at the old Starplex, delivered by a still-vital band. Now in his mid-50s, Bruce Dickinson is a fantastic performer, mixing a court jester kind of act while leading an army into battle. The band was on fire with songs like "The Prisoner," "Number of the Beast" and "Fear of the Dark." Opener Coheed and Cambria, very vocal Iron Maiden fans themselves, gave the audience a very balanced set of songs from their five albums, along with a cover of Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell." If this was a kid's first time to see a real rock show, then it was a perfect introduction. - Eric Grubbs

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