It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve been outside en masse. Most of us have been shut up in our homes for the last two years and are just itching to escape and reconnect with the unwashed masses. We want to go to brunch. To travel. To attend a concert, maybe, shouting the lyrics to our favorite song along with a few hundred of our closest friends. Now, we here at The Paper. realize that COVID still has a strong grasp on our nation and that caution is still advisable. But with a few vaccinations under your belt and an N95 mask or two, you can certainly consider the possibility of safely mingling with other humans. Summer concert season is almost upon us and perhaps it’s not unreasonable to start think of trading the bar shows for stadium concerts. In fact, events that take place in the great outdoors might seem even more appealing these days. So stay safe, hydrate well and consult your neighborhood venue for current COVID restrictions.
A Good Bet
The casino resorts are always a good place to go for national touring acts. As usual, Isleta Resort and Casino Amphitheater (livenation.com/venue/KovZpZAFFtaA/isleta-amphitheater-events) has the widest selection of live music offerings this summer. Boy band lovers with one foot in the ’90s can start it off with Backstreet Boys: DNA World Tour (June 11). Early 2000s rockers Train return with their Train: AM Gold Tour (July 23). Rap gets represented with the Wiz Khalifa and Logic: Vinyl Verse Tour 2022 (Aug. 2). A pair of female-led hard rock bands blows into town with Halestorm and The Pretty Reckless (Aug. 4). Anthemic-minded pop-rockers Imagine Dragons give us Imagine Dragons: Mercury World Tour (Aug. 8). The venue makes room for some country with singer-songwriter Thomas Rhett: Bring the Bar to You Tour (Aug. 13). Boy band lovers whose moms are going to Backstreet Boys can check out Big Time Rush: Forever Tour (Aug. 14). Theatrical metal acts Rob Zombie, Mudvayne, Static-X and Powerman 5000 join forces for the Freaks on Parade Tour (Aug. 1). R&B gets a turn at the mic with Chris Brown & Lil Baby: One of Them Ones Tour (Aug. 19). Having gained fame as a Myspace band back at the turn of the 21st century, pop rockers OneRepublic are still at it, passing through with their OneRepublic: Never Ending Summer Tour (Aug. 23). “New Mexico’s Real Rock” 94 Rock offers up groove metal quintet Five Finger Death Punch (Aug. 27). County music moseys back through with “The Voice” competitor Morgan Wallen: The Dangerous Tour (Sept. 7). Grunge/post-grunge stages a comeback when Alice in Chains, Breaking Benjamin and Bush (Sept. 11) share the stage. Amd Miami-based party rapper Pitbull rounds out the summer season with Pitbull: Can’t Stop Us Now Tour (Sept. 14).
Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino (hiltonbuffalothunder.com/entertainment.html) outside Santa Fe skews a bit older with its concerts, but is worth the drive. Southern radio rockers 38 Special (June 18) are the next band in line. The country-leaning Eli Young Band (June 25) follows. Kid Rock’s favorite DJ Uncle Kracker (July 15) offers some patented Michigan soul. Country/gospel quartet The Oak Ridge Boys (Aug. 27) will be performing hits from their 60-odd-year career. And Tracey Lawrence (Sept. 3) brings his traditionalist country style to the venue.
Sandia Resort and Casino (sandiacasino.com/entertainment/upcoming-concerts/) waited a while to book its acts and still has a lot of empty slots on its calendar, so expect some more announcements later on in the summer. For now, we get started with Mr. Footloose himself, Kenny Loggins (May 21). The 30th anniversary show of local fave Mariachi Spectacular (July 16) follows the month after with Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles and Mariachi Estrella de Mexico. Country fusion band The Mavericks hook up with N.M. Natives ReVoZo and Isaac Aragon & The Healing for The Mavericks “En Espanol” Tour (July 23).
Amid the monster truck rallies and the Disney on Ice shows, Rio Rancho Events Center (ticketmaster.com/rio-rancho-events-center-tickets-rio-rancho/venue/246800) has few big concerts lined up. There’s the RnB Rewind with Keith Sweat, Ginuwine, 112, Next, Jon B, Ruff Endz and more (May 21). If you need more hip hop, come back for Nelly’s Lil Bit of Music Series (June 5). A very different crowd will likely be on hand for six-time Grammy winner James Taylor and His All-Star Band (July 24).
The Albuquerque Convention Center’s Kiva Auditorium (albuquerquecc.com/kiva-auditorium-calendar/) has been hosting a lot of comedy shows lately, but you can catch a fine Beatles tribute show there with 50 Years Ago—The Music of Revolver and Rubber Soul (May 31). If, on the other hand, you like your music improvisational, post-industrial and hardcore, Maynard James Keenan’s Puscifer (June 5) is probably more up your alley. Maybe, though, you drift toward the tejano/norteno spectrum, in which case, you’d better get tickets for Grupo Intocable (July 9).
Albuquerque Summerfest (June 11) kicks off in the Northeast Heights at North Domingo Baca Center, where you can hear Preservation Hall Jazz Band for free. Other free shows courtesy of the city include Freedom 4th (July 4) with Shenandoah at Balloon Fiesta Park.
The shady Villa Hispana at EXPO New Mexico (ticketmaster.com/villa-hispana-pavilion-at-expo-nm-tickets-albuquerque/venue/246827) has at least a couple loud-and-proud shows to choose from right in the heart of Burque, including punk rockers Rise Above and The Used (July 29) and reggea/funk/metal rappers Slightly Stoopid—Summer Traditions 2022 Tour (Aug. 11).
If you feel like getting out of town, heading north out of Albuquerque will get you access to a few prime shows this summer. The Santa Fe Opera (santafeopera.org/calendar/) takes a break from, well, opera, to host a couple pure music concerts, including famed parody musician Weird Al Yankovic (Sept. 10), legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy w/ John Hiatt (Sept. 13) and ultra-hip, Texas-based psychedelic dub rock/Thai funk band Khruangbin (Oct. 2).
AMP Concerts (ampconcerts.org), meanwhile, has booked a string of impressive shows at Kit Carson Park in Taos. There’s blues/folk/soul purveyors Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (May 28). You can choose between electronic music duo Thievery Corporation (May 29) and classic Texas boogie rockers ZZ Top (June 18). You can double up with guitar-loving troubadours Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak (July 3). You can stick around for bluesy popster/Rob Schneider offspring Elle King (July 4). Or you can close out the season with indie Americana band My Morning Jacket (Aug. 19). AMP is also going big with Ladder to the Moon (Sept. 9, 10 and 11) up in Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu. The event promises three days of “music, camping, food, drink, poetry, yoga and more at the home and studio of Georgia O’Keeffe.” Among the headliners are NY punk icon Patti Smith & Her Band, indie folk band The Head and The Heart and famed folk rock duo Indigo Girls. Playing support are Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Watchhouse, Devendra Banhart and everybody on Facebook’s favorite new band Wet Leg.