It’s been a hell of a year of rock n’ roll here in New York City! From classic rock to death metal and festivals of every kind, the tri-state region showed up in force for hundreds of club shows, ballroom bashes, and arena spectaculars that not even Hurricane Sandy could stop.
2012 saw disbanded groups like Slipknot, System of a Down and Van Halen reform and hit the road, new bands like Adrenaline Mob and Butcher Babies make powerful opening statements, and groups like Monster Magnet, The Who and Megadeth performed classic albums in their entirety.
While almost every show was a winner, here are the top 5 standout concerts the New York Hard Rock Examiner was fortunate enough to cover in 2012.
February: Guns n’ Roses at Roseland Ballroom. Axl Rose followed up his 2011 arena tour with a triple set of club shows in Manhattan, playing staggering three hour shows in intimate venues. Roseland Ballroom was packed with fans who were up close enough to catch picks and slap hands with the most elusive frontman in rock n’ roll, and everyone enjoyed favorites like Don’t Cry, Mr. Brownstone, Sweet Child O’ Mine, Rocket Queen, and 20 more masterpieces. Frankly, it’s hard to pick a favorite when every song is a gem. Read about the Roseland show here, the Terminal 5 show here, and you can even catch my on-the-road review of Gn’R’s November Las Vegas residency, featuring Izzy Stradlin, right here.
June: Metallica’s Orion Music + More Festival. While any Metallica show would be a highlight, the thrash gods’ first-ever two day festival in Atlantic City set a new high bar for US concerts. The ‘Tallica boys played the Black Album and Ride the Lightning in their entirety over two nights, while the days were reserved for an eclectic variety of acts from Avenged Sevenfold and Suicidal Tendencies to Gaslight Anthem and Modest Mouse. Car shows, comedians and museums were all available to the thousands of fans who flooded AC for a truly unique summer rock weekend. Read about day 1 of Orion here, and day 2 here.
July: Roger Waters’ The Wall at Yankee Stadium. Perhaps the most epic rock performance ever produced, Roger Waters outdid his 2010 The Wall tour by taking his hyper-realistic production outdoors to the massive Yankee Stadium for a two night stand. Not only did fans enjoy every second of the classic concept album in all its bombastic glory, but the stunning high-def projections on the towering wall created an audio-visual spectacular that may never be surpassed. The wailing notes of Comfortably Numb and throbbing basslines of Run Like Hell were easily the stadium highlights of the year. Read my review and see photos here.
August: Mayhem Festival 2012 at Comcast Theatre: The annual Monster Energy Drink Mayhem Fest is always a summer highlight for metalheads. This year’s mainstage of Motorhead, Anthrax and Slayer, a formidable lineup on their own, was topped by the first domestic Slipknot shows since the death of bassist Paul Gray in 2010. It’s a shame New Yorkers had to haul out to Connecticut or Camden to catch this show, but it was worth every single second for the dozen headliners and second stagers. New Yorkers also got a second chance for a full length solo Slipknot show two days later at PNC Art Center in New Jersey. Full review of Mayhem ’12 can be found right here.
November: Megadeth: Countdown to Extinction tour at Paramount Theater. Dave Mustaine & his boys have been the top touring metal act for years now, and November’s 20th Anniversary tour came just 10 months after their Gigantour concert in February. But while recent ‘Deth sets have faced time constraints due to coheadlining and festival bills, this Saturday night show in Long Island saw the band tear through the entire Countdown album plus another half dozen favorites in one of their best and longest sets in years. Mustaine’s on-point singing and shredding left no doubt that Megadeth is still a monster force to be reckoned with in the 21st century. Read my review here.
September: Metal Masters 4 at Gramercy Theatre. Like 2011, Phil Anselmo joined the boys from Anthrax and Slayer to put on a mega-clinic that saw the metal all-stars jamming on Pantera and Slayer hits. The sold-out event came only a few weeks before Phil would return to town with Down (read about their Best Buy Theater show here), but few things can top Phil Anselmo belting out F*cking Hostile and A New Level with Kerry King and Scott Ian by his side. Get all the details right here.
What awaits in 2013? Soundgarden, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cradle of Filth, and many more already have shows scheduled for January and February. Get monthly previews of New York concerts delivered right to your inbox by subscribing to the New York Hard Rock Examiner at the top of this page, or follow me at twitter.com/NYROCKEXAMINER.
Best wishes for the New Year to all you hard rock and metal fans!