The Top 25 Concerts of 2010 in New England

, Staff

2010 was another awesome year for concerts in New England. There were shows big and small from up-and-coming artists to arena rockers and stadium giants. And BMS was at just about all of them. After lots of friendly staff discussions, here’s our recap of the 25 most memorable shows of 2010.

1. Muse at the TD Garden: Consistently regarded as one of “The Best Live Bands” abroad, Muse surpassed even the highest of expectations when they hit Boston in March. The English trio delivered an absolutely epic performance, dazzling the Garden with one of the best shows to hit the Hub in years. Read the full review, here.

2. Roger Waters at the TD Garden: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Wall, Waters hit the road this past fall to deliver the Pink Floyd classic in its entirety. Delivering three shows for his Boston fans, Waters delivered a dynamic performance at the TD Garden that proved the album’s relevancy three decades later. Read the full review, here.

3. Gorillaz at the Agganis Arena: The “world’s most successful virtual band” finally appeared in the flesh here in Boston and the wait was certainly worth it. Damon Albarn & co. put on a spectacular showcase of material from the group’s three highly successful albums at Boston University’s Agganis Arena in October. Read the full review, here.

4. Aerosmith and J. Geils Band at Fenway Park: It was the mostly highly anticipated concert of the year and with good reason: two of Boston’s most legendary bands in America’s most famous ballpark for one night only. There was certainly a lot of questions regarding the state of Aerosmith but they answered with a thrilling set that climaxed with Steve Tyler atop the Green Monster for “Dream On”. However, the J. Geils Band was the MVP of this show. The band was in remarkably fine form and Peter Wolf was full of energy, working the crowd at every angle – even walking through the outfield. Read the full review, here.

5. The Black Keys at the Bank of America Pavilion: At some time or another, every band that becomes huge or at least very big, has a crossover point. At the Bank of America Pavilion at the end of July, The Black Keys proved they are the next band in the middle of that process with a show that excelled at all points. Read the full review, here.

6. Weezer at the Orpheum Theatre: Boston was one of only a few cities graced with two stops from Weezer on their “Memories” tour last fall. They left the crowd with plenty of those – particular at show #2 when they delivered their classic sophomore album Pinkerton in its entirety. It was preceded by a greatest hits set that had the crowd buzzing and singing along to every song while Rivers Cuomo made his way from the stage into the crowd multiple times. Read the full review, here.

7. Atoms For Peace at the Opera House: Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke hit Boston in April with his new supergroup, Atoms For Peace, to rock out material from his 2006 solo debut The Eraser, as well as some other rarities and new songs. With Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame) by his side, Yorke delivered a masterful show. Read the full review, here.

8. T Bone Burnett’s Speaking Clock Revue at the Citi Wang Theatre: We’re still baffled that this show was not a total sellout but for those that were in attendance, they were treated to a captivating night that showcased why  so many call this acclaimed producer a genius. John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, Gregg Allman, Ralph Stanley, Neko Case, Jeff Bridges, Punch Brothers, Karen Elson and The Secret Sisters all performed before Elton John & Leon Russell delivered the world premiere of their collaborative album The Union to bring the night to a close. Read the full review, here.

9. Jonsi at the House of Blues: Sigur Rós frontman Jonsi Birgisson hit Boston’s House of Blues for two solo shows in May and we caught the second night. The highlight of this awesome show came during the finale of “Grow Till Tall” as Jónsi worked himself into a frenzy, knocking bottles over, immersing himself fully in the sounds his band was creating. It was a sight to behold, and absolutely an unforgettable experience. Read the full review, here.

10. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers at the Comcast Center: Touring in support of their new (and underrated) album, Mojo, the classic rockers delivered a rousing mix of old hits and new songs, making for one of the summer’s best shows before a crowd of all ages. Read the full review, here.

11. Miranda Lambert at The Big E: It rained like hell and boy was it cold when Lambert hit West Springfield in October. None of that mattered though cause she is  ‘one bad ass chick’, who captivated the crowd while effortlessly shifting between tender ballads and hard-rocking country tunes. Read the full review, here.

12. Rihanna at the Comcast Center: As part of her “Last Girl On Earth Tour”, the Barbadian pop starlet hit the Comcast Center in August. With a massive stage production and tight backing band led by Boston’s own Nuno Bettencourt (of Extreme fame), Rihanna proved that she has a bright future in pop music. Read the full reivew, here.

13. Drive-By Truckers, Lucero at the House of Blues: It was another whiskey-drenched night at the House of Blues in May as Drive-By Truckers and Lucero roared into town with a raging storm of heavy southern rock n’ roll. Packing a punch like a shots of Jack that keep on coming, this show was a lesson in how to rock out. Read the full review, here.

14. Sting at the Comcast Center: Throughout his career Sting has never shied away from experimentation in his sound, especially in the past decade.  This summer, he continued to branch from his traditional sound by touring with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra for his cleverly titled “Symphonicity” Tour. When they arrived in Mansfield at the end of the July, the two were a perfect match and delivered a truly unique and special show despite a sadly underwhelming attendance. Read the full review, here.

15. Black Eyed Peas at the TD Garden: Touring in support of the Grammy Award winning The E.N.D., short for The Energy Never Dies, the Black Eyed Peas hit Boston in February (their first of two shows for Boston in 2010) for a show that lived up to its name for a capacity crowd that was dancing all night until “I Gotta Feeling” brought the crowd to their peak of insanity. Read the full review, here.

16. Modest Mouse at the House of Blues: After nearly an hour wait, Modest Mouse finally took the stage to a packed house of adoring fans at the House of Blues in July. But Boston was quick to forgive the band, who didn’t take any breaks while rocking out a near-perfect setlist for a thrilling show. Read the full review, here.

17. Taylor Swift at Gillette Stadium: Taylor Swift sold out Gillette Stadium, all 56,858 seats of it, in just 20 minutes. So needless to say, when the pop-country superstar finally arrived in Foxboro in June to close out her Fearless tour wiith her first stadium headliner, she was meet with a very warm welcome. Swift seemed genuinely surprised by the adulation that she received, stopping several times to bask in the glow of the flashbulbs, but the quality of her show made it one of the year’s most memorable. Read the full review, here.

18. Dierks Bentley at Showcase Live: Backed by the Travelin’ McCourys, country star Dierks Bentley hit the intimate Showcase Live in May to preview material off his bluegrass album, Up on the Ridge. Along with the new tunes, Bentley reworked some of his biggest hits into new arrangements for the surprise show of the year. Read the full review, here.

19. Pearl Jam at the TD Garden: Like a fine wine, Pearl Jam seem to be getting better with age. Touring in support of their latest album Backspacer, Pearl Jam hit Boston for their 28th show and delivered a set filled with hits, new tunes and rarities for the faithful crowd at the TD Garden. Read the full review, here.

20. Cake at the Lowell Summer Music Series: Despite the inclement weather, the near capacity crowd on hand for Cake’s show at Lowell’s Boarding House Park in July were treated to a very fun show that had everyone singing and dancing in the rain. Read the full review, here.

21. Ozomatli with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall: 2010 marked the 125th anniversary of the Boston Pops, and suffice it to say they celebrated with gusto. In May, Keith Lockhart and the Pops were joined by Latin ensemble Ozomatli for a performance way more danceable than you would expect in Symphony Hall. Defying any immediate categorization, the band brought a healthy amount of swagger to the Hall, lights flashing, booties shaking tastefully. Read the full review, here.

22. Bon Jovi, Kid Rock at the Gillette Stadium: “If you’re not having fun up here, you must be dead,” cracked Jon Bon Jovi halfway through the band’s set at Gillette Stadium in July. And fun is just what the veteran New Jersey rockers delivered with another summer blockbuster. Opener Kid Rock got the crowd going earlier and later joined the headliners for a cover of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll”. Read the full review, here.

23. Brad Paisley at the Gillette Stadium: In his first stadium headlining show, as part of the 7th annual New England Country Music Festival, Brad Paisley made the step up from arenas to stadiums look easy. Jason Aldean and Darius Rucker added entertaining opening sets to help make this one of the summer’s best. Read the full review, here.

24. Jeff Beck at the Bank of America Pavilion: It was a rainy June evening in Boston, but the sun broke through the clouds just in time to see guitar legend Jeff Beck unleash his signature Fender Stratocaster before the crowd at the Bank of America Pavilion. The talent, dexterity, and passion with which his hands flew over the fretboard were remarkable. Read the full review, here.

25. The Saw Doctors at the Cape Cod Melody Tent: The Saw Doctors may not be known far and wide but here in Massachusetts they have quite the fanatical following. The lads from Galway, Ireland have played the Cape Cod Melody Tent every summer for years and returned to Hyannis in August to deliver another memorable performance. There’s a special bond between the band, their devoted fans and this intimate setting that make for one special night. Read the full review, here.

Honorable Mentions
The Life is good, Nateva Music & Camping and Wilco’s Solid Sound Festivals: New England played host to a trio of new multi-day festivals in 2010. All were first-class events that were unique in their own right. We’re already looking forward to the sophomore editions of each festival in 2011!


  1. Nice to see the recognition for the Saw Doctors. If you have any connection or interest in Irish music, check out this band. They’ve been playing for 25 years together. They are more Irish than Dropkick Murphys but less than the Pogues. They sing about what they know (Ireland, farming, life in a small town) much in the way of Springsteen and the shows are energetic with lots of audience participation. The fan base is like the Grateful Dead or Phish in their devotion to the band. Check out the forums section at

  2. Pingback: Boston Music Spotlight - Your Source for Music News and Concert Information » BMS’ 2010 Year In Review

  3. Pingback: Boston Music Spotlight - Your Source for Music News and Concert Information » Rihanna plans Summer stop at the Garden

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