Lamron Summer Concert Reviews

The show - part of the "Ian Anderson Plays the Acoustic Jethro Tull" fall tour of the U.S. and England - featured a wide range of Tull songs from throughout the band's illustrious four decades.

Despite the "acoustic" in the tour's title, this was a very lively show, thanks in no small part to the excellent backing band, as well as Anderson's brilliant acoustic arrangements and impeccable flute work. Anderson's humor was also as sharp as ever; he even referred to Johann Sebastian Bach as an "improvisational son-of-a-b----."

Especially surprising was the setlist's variety, including several songs one would never expect to hear live such as "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square" from 1969's Stand Up, "Rocks on the Road" from 1991's Catfish Rising and "March the Mad Scientist," an obscure outtake from 1971's Aqualung. Also of note were the Jethro Tull songs that have yet to see official release: "A Change of Horses" and "Tea with the Princess."

Violinist Meena Bhasin and guitarist Florian Opahle provided excellent solo pieces, the latter of who did some of the best flamenco guitar playing I've ever heard.

Eventually, the show ended as most Tull concerts do; with their two most famous songs, "Aqualung" and "Locomotive Breath," both brilliantly rearranged for the tour's setting.

Considering everything I've just said, this was quite possibly the best concert I have seen in my life.

Thankfully, the cloud of gloom lifted this past summer as blink-182 ended their break, making a stop at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center near Buffalo, N.Y. For once, indefinite hiatus didn't mean broken up for good, and the hilarious trio reunited.

Panic! at the Disco, one of the opening bands, had gone through their own band drama as well. Both the guitarist and bassist left the band due to musical differences, but the remaining pair recruited members from different bands to fill in for the tour. Despite their makeshift composition, Panic! delivered catchy tunes and illustrious stage presence.

Fall Out Boy, the second opener, also delivered on-stage performance, an aspect of their tours that had been recently criticized by critics and fans alike. They upped the energy and really shined during their cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," where they invited Brendon Urie (lead singer of Panic!) to sing vocals.

Though it can be argued that the opening acts attracted a much younger crowd than was expected, blink-182 didn't tone down their hilarity or jokes. They played songs off their most recent album, as well as classic hits. Adding in a spectacular drum solo by Travis Barker, blink-182 delivered a stunning performance that made the audience forget they had ever broken up.

The festival took place from July 31 to Aug. 2 in Jersey City, N.J. at Liberty State Park and featured a wide range of musicians. Jay-Z, Tool and Coldplay headlined but the festival also hosted acts like the Fleet Foxes, Q-Tip and the Black Keys.

One of the most amazing performances of the three-day festival was given by Brooklyn-based indie rock band The National. As the band began their set on the main stage, winds started picking up and led to an immense amount of rainfall, which of course did not sway any of the fans.

During "Fake Empire," lead singer Matt Berninger suddenly leapt into the crowd and started to body surf while singing the rest of the song perfectly. The intensity and dedication he depicted by wanting to "feel what the fans feel," as he said, was astounding and only made the performance better.

The last performer on the first day of the festival was well-known hip-hop artist, Jay-Z. The energy he instantly instilled started with a 10-minute countdown. Everyone pushed and anxiously waited in excitement to see what Jay-Z had in store for the night.

As expected, Jay-Z put on a show that made it worth standing 10 hours in the treacherous weather. He performed songs spanning his career, including "Big Pimpin'" and "D.O.A.," along with a special tribute to Michael Jackson.

Jay-Z's performance was the perfect way to end the first day of the festival and left all concert-goers excited for the days to follow.

Queensrÿche played three seven-song suites of music, each corresponding to a specific album from the band's discovery: their 1986 release Rage for Order, their newest album American Soldier and their most commercially successful record, 1990's Empire.

Without the hindrance of an opening act, Queensrÿche played for over two hours, filling the theater with never-ceasing energy and virtuoso musicianship. Singer Geoff Tate was in terrific form, delivering his operatic vocals with awe-inspiring strength and managing to hold a few notes as high and for as long as he did back in the '80s.

As usual, the band's performance was flawless. They proved able to perform with incredible precision, even after the departure of guitarist Mike Stone and sudden amendment of Parker Lundgren into the second guitar slot alongside Michael Wilton.