Hot Fun in the Summertime – Best of San Diego Summer Concerts

With the apparent easing of the Covid Clampdown, concert lovers are champing at the bit for a return to live music. Here is a run down of what looks to be the best gigs of the summer.

Humphrey’s By The Bay

June 5 – Chris Isaak: A perennial mutual love fest, Isaak loves bantering about the folks in the boats and the audience loves his razor sharp musicianship. His crack band has been with Isaak for decades and they are a well-oiled machine.

June 23 – Howard Jones and Midge Ure: dubbed The Dialogue Tour, this promises to be a more cerebral and musically satisfying show than many other gigs by the duo’s contemporaries. Jones has a clutch of solid hits and Ure is the unsung hero of thoughtful endeavors like Ultravox, Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8. As co-writer of the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” Ure was responsible for re-invigorating music charity efforts. If you want an array of 80s artists, check out the August 27th lineup with A Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung, The English Beat, The Untouchables, Missing Persons, Stacey Q, Musical Youth, Naked Eyes, Animotion and Kon Kan. Or, you can opt for the October 29th lineup with Oingo Boingo Former Members, Missing Persons and Dramarama.

August 31, September 1 – Jackson Browne: Last seen opening for James Taylor, Browne deserves headliner status. His introspective lyrics and beguiling melodies place him in the pantheon of singer songwriters, and his shows never fail to impress.

North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre

June 21 – Rod Stewart: In his first tour in four years, Sir Rod will be joined by Cheap Trick. Although the world awaits a Faces reunion, seeing the two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter will be a treat. He has a deep catalog, so expect an evening of hits with hopefully a few deep album cuts for those who remember him from way back in the day. He has always wanted to tour with with an orchestra, so this time around he may be adding some strings on the rostrum.

Rady Shell

June 19- Steve Martin & Martin Short: You Won’t Believe What They Look Like Today! These fellow travelers have been comedic compadres for decades. Seeing the “Two Martins” trade self-deprecating quips promises to be an evening with some side-splitting moments. Let’s hope Steve pulls out his banjo for some truly legitimate bluegrass picking.

June 28 – Regina Spektor & Norah Jones: Jones has family in North County, so expect an especially warm welcome. Her debut album Come Away With Me is incredibly two decades old, but has become ageless. A recent reissue of the album includes demos, but come to the show for her warm vocals and comfortably-loose-but-really-tight band. The evening will open with a solo set from Regina Spektor, who is scheduled to release her eighth album a few days earlier. Spektor’s career-long political advocacy coupled with her musical prowess makes this an especially timely appearance.

August 15 – Robert Plant + Alison Krauss: The singers have rejoined forces on their Raising the Roof Tour. Plant’s explorations into genres far beyond what made him famous (Led Zeppelin) have always been intriguing, but none as satisfying as when he paired up with bluegrass maven Krauss.

August 27 – George Benson, War and The Commodores: A sterling triple bill combining jazz and RnB fundamentals. Each of these artists has logged many miles on the road, so expect a polished evening of musical excellence.

August 31 – Elvis Costello & The Imposters with Nick Lowe: This incredible lineup echoes back to when these prolific songwriters first toured the US as part of the Stiff Records Tour in the late 1970s (“we came, we saw, we left”). In the ensuing decades both Costello and Lowe have evolved into the wise old men of the punk / new wave era. Lowe (who produced Costello’s sterling first five albums) is arguably the best aged rocker of his generation. He will be backed by Los Straitjackets. An incredibly splendid time is guaranteed for all.

September 27 – Bonnie Raitt with Mavis Staples: Another fantastic evening with a pair of extraordinary singers. Raitt has moved far beyond her scuffling busker days in Cambridge, but she still relishes the music she learned there. Her blues master teachers have bestowed their blessings on her, both for her guitar prowess and her respect for the genre. Mavis Staples (last seen opening for Van Morrison) will open the show.

San Diego County Fair – Del Mar Fairgrounds

June 23 – Goo Goo Dolls: Load up on the chicken wings, these boys from Buffalo promise to bring a great set of songs like “A Boy Named Goo”, “Dizzy Up The Girl” and “Boxes.” They have shifted over 15 million records since forming in 1986.

June 25 – John Fogerty: As the main brain of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty was the key to the band selling more records than The Beatles in 1969 and 1970. With his music publishing donnybrook mostly behind him, Fogerty will play many of the band’s hits and a slew of his solo songs.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.