After 1994's summer concert season (the most lucrative for promoters in recent memory), this year's announced dates seem modest by comparison. There are few multigenerational must-see performances--meaning that consumers will have to peruse the schedule more closely than ever to find those gigs that are right for them. In an effort to symplify that process, your friends at Backbeat have prepared this handy checklist:
The Eagles. May 5, Mile High Stadium.
Last good album: Hotel California (1976) had its moments.
Target audience: White men in their mid-forties who dream about screwing fourteen-year-olds in hot tubs while zonked on Thorazine.
Fun fact: In an upcoming Randy Newman album project, Don Henley provides the voice of Satan.
Watch for... the bandmembers to move at least once during the course of the concert.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters, with Ween and Freedy Johnston. May 18-19, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Well, they're still young.
Target audience: Self-proclaimed blues lovers who think that Howlin' Wolf was just released into the wild at Yellowstone.
Fun fact: Todd Park Mohr's head is actually smaller than O.J. Simpson's.
Watch for... shock and dismay among audience members when they hear Ween (the best band on this bill) for the first time.
Melissa Etheridge, with Joan Osborne. May 21, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: Could be any time now.
Target audience: Janis Joplin worshipers and k.d. lang.
Fun fact: Lou Diamond Phillips, whose ex-wife is Etheridge's significant other, was so distraught by his romantic failures that he agreed to appear in Young Guns II.
Watch for... Etheridge to do a better Bruce Springsteen impression than Bruce Springsteen.
R.E.M., with Sonic Youth. May 24-25, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: Life's Rich Pageant (1986), although last year's Monster wasn't all that bad.
Target audience: Collegiates more into VH-1 than MTV.
Fun fact: Kurt Cobain told an interviewer that Michael Stipe had handled his success like a saint. Then he killed himself.
Watch for... drummer Bill Berry, recovering from a brain aneurysm, to re-enact key sequences from Scanners.
Rock the Rockies, with Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Charlie Daniels Band, Foreigner, Tanya Tucker, the Smithereens, Bad Company and more. May 28, Stapleton Airport.
Last good album: Skynyrd's Street Survivors (1977) had "That Smell" on it, right?
Target audience: Precancerous users of chewing tobacco (Skoal is a co-sponsor).
Fun fact: An early press release from the Smithereens' record company listed this show as taking place at "the New Denver Airport." Wouldn't it be cool if one of these bands was playing on a DIA runway when a 737 landed?
Watch for... the Buffalo Rose to be completely empty during this event.
KTCL's Big Adventure, with Adam Ant, the Samples, Pretty & Twisted, 311, Face to Face and twelve other groups. June 3, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: The seventeen acts have four or five memorable discs among them.
Target audience: Radio listeners with antennas huge enough to actually tune in KTCL.
Fun fact: Surprisingly, Ant is not the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character of almost the same name.
Watch for... local groups on the bill, such as Lord of Word and the Disciples of Bass and the Hippie Werewolves, to kick their better-known peers' asses.
Yanni. June 9, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: Maybe he owns some good ones.
Target audience: People who've been dead for several years but don't know it yet.
Fun fact: Videos of Yanni concerts are frequently aired during public-TV pledge drives. No wonder Newt Gingrich wants to cut federal subsidies to PBS.
Watch for... a giant, inflatable Linda Evans to float over the stage.
Pearl Jam. June 19-20, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Vitalogy could have been worse.
Target audience: Anyone who failed to sneak into the recent Mike Watt show.
Fun fact: A lifeguard in Australia recently prevented Eddie Vedder from drowning. Eddie didn't even buy the bloke a beer.
Watch for... Vedder to piss and moan about how miserable it is to be a rich and famous rock star.
Seal, with Des'ree. June 21, Red Rocks.
Last good album: It's hard to remember Seal's albums even while you're playing them.
Target audience:: Listeners who think rap music is nothing but noise.
Fun fact: Seal has never been asked to be a spokesperson for acne medication or skin lotion.
Watch for... Des'ree to announce that she's changing her name to "Whitney Houston."
Phish. June 9-10, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Workingman's Dead (1970). Or was that somebody else?
Target audience: The guys who sell flowers alongside the highway.
Fun fact: Drummer Jon Fishman's nickname, "Greasy Fizeek," is meant to be complimentary.
Watch for... a tie-dye concession the size of an airplane hangar.
Bonnie Raitt, with Ruth Brown and Charles Brown. July 5-6, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Luck of the Draw (1991), although her best remains Give It Up (1972).
Target audience: Anyone who bought her last album new rather than used.
Fun fact: Ruth Brown and Charles Brown are not related.
Watch for... the same show Raitt has been performing for two decades--which is to say, a pretty good one.
Allman Brothers Band. July 12, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Eat a Peach (1972).
Target audience: Men who attach their wallets to their belt loops with a chain.
Fun fact: Gregg Allman had a long-term relationship with a teen porn star, who subsequently committed suicide.
Watch for... vomit to rush down the aisles like a tidal wave.
Amy Grant, with Michael W. Smith. July 16, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Are you kidding?
Target audience: The same folks who enjoy Up With People. And Rush Limbaugh.
Fun fact: On this tour, Grant will not be covering any Nine Inch Nails songs or appearing nude.
Watch for... a big run on those new Promise Keepers Bibles.
BOYZ II MEN, with Mary J. Blige. August 3, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: They're 0 for 2 so far.
Target audience: Just-minted teenage girls proud that they can fill out a training bra.
Fun fact: The Boyz say that after their concerts, they go home alone and pray. Yeah, sure.
Watch for... the boyfriends whose dates drag them to this show to spend two hours at the concession stand.
Lyle Lovett and His Acoustic Quintet, with Shawn Colvin. August 9, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Last year's I Love Everybody.
Target audience: Anyone who thought Julia Roberts was lucky to land such a dreamy, big-haired lug.
Fun fact: Just prior to the Lovett-Roberts breakup, Lyle was photographed coming out of a hotel with willowy Bob Roberts co-star Kelly Willis. Shed no tears for him.
Watch for... Lovett to avoid covering "Pretty Woman."
Steve Miller Band and the Doobie Brothers, August 16, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Book of Dreams (1977) and The Captain and Me (1973), respectively.
Target audience: Fans who think that "Fly Like an Eagle" is deep.
Fun fact: Miller is expected to play a Red Rocks date annually until at least the year 2030.
Watch for... the same drunks you saw sitting beside you at last year's Steve Miller show. And the one before that. And the one before that.
Legends of Motown, featuring the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Spinners and more. August 18, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: Do reissues of greatest-hits albums count?
Target audience: Baby-boomers who've memorized every line of dialogue from The Big Chill.
Fun fact: Some original members of these groups are tentatively scheduled to appear.
Watch for... the musicians to fight over who gets to use the oxygen tank first.
Peter, Paul & Mary. August 19, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: I'll check with my parents and get back to you.
Target audience: My parents.
Fun fact: I was able to get to song three of the trio's new album, (LifeLines), before nodding off.
Watch for... screaming guitar solos, flash pots and a laser-light display. Just kidding.
KOSI Copacabana Concert, featuring the Village People, Sister Sledge, Thelma Houston and the original Trammps. August 26, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: Macho Man (1978) was kinda funny.
Target audience: The same people who wanted to burn records by these groups in 1979--and the dudes who still own coke-spoon necklaces.
Fun fact: The 1980 Village People movie Can't Stop the Music co-starred Bruce Jenner and was directed by Nancy Walker, who played Ida Morgenstern on Rhoda.
Watch for... half the attendees to rip out the crotches of their polyester pants.
The Cranberries, with Toad the Wet Sprocket. August 27, Red Rocks.
Last good album: I don't mind early Sinead O'Connor. Does that count?
Target audience: Ticket buyers who think the Peak plays alternative music.
Fun fact: Dolores O'Riordan was allowed to wear clothes on the cover of Rolling Stone, but only because she had no bra beneath her clingy top and her breast could be photographed in profile.
Watch for... dullness on a cosmic scale.
Santana and Jeff Beck. August 30, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: Amigos (1976) and Blow By Blow (1975), respectively.
Target audience: Males who haven't noticed that guitar necks are phallic symbols.
Fun fact: Beck and Jeff Beck are two completely different people.
Watch for... Beck to drop off this tour long before it reaches Denver.
Sheryl Crow. September 4, Red Rocks.
Last good album: Tuesday Night Music Club really hits home with champions of mid-Seventies Linda Ronstadt.
Target audience: Those impressed that Crow once worked as a background singer for Don Henley.
Fun fact: Crow's contribution to the pointless Led Zeppelin tribute disc Encomium is the worst Zep cover of all time.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Watch for... Crow to run out of material after about thirty minutes.
Tony Bennett, with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. September 7, Fiddler's Green.
Last good album: Last year's MTV Unplugged.
Target audience: People who didn't see this year's Super Bowl halftime extravaganza.
Fun fact: Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, reminds Tony of Jimmy Durante.
Watch for... the oldest performer on the current summer schedule to put on one of the best shows. Go figure.