20 Shows You Need to See This Fall
The school year has started, the leaves are beginning to fall, and artists ranging from pop hit makers to metal legends are filling their calendars with concerts to distract you from the changing season. This fall will see special engagements by bands with cult followings like Against Me!, who are playing select albums from their oeuvre in full, and artists who could start their own religious cult, like Madonna, who’s opting to do dozens of intimate gigs rather than the stadium slog. Meanwhile, the Eagles are playing all of Hotel California, Nick Cave is taking your questions, Lizzo is tooting her own flute, and Slayer are saying their final goodbyes. Since there are so many concerts and events to pick from this fall, we’ve picked 20 you don’t want to miss before the snow starts.
August 30 – October 28
Blame it on the juice or blame it on the fact that she knows how to keep a good thing going, but Lizzo will be returning for another North American tour in support of her third full-length, Cuz I Love You. She’s playing bigger venues than the last run, including New York’s Radio City Music Hall and Nashville’s Ryman, as she continues her ascent to superstardom. Expect to see her singing and dancing to her greatest hits so far, and maybe she’ll even whip out her flute for a solo — bitch!
August 30 – November 10
Riding high on the success of Igor, the rap innovator will embark on a celebratory trek across North America with a gig at Bumbershoot. Plop in the middle of it, though, he’s heading over to London for a three-night victory lap, since the country is finally letting him perform there again. A few years back, he bemoaned the cancellation of his U.K. dates supposedly over lyrics on his Bastard and Goblin LPs. So expect him to be even more excited (and not at all jetlagged) when he picks things back up at Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion in late September.
September 3 – October 13
For the past half a century, King Crimson have built their reputation on never doing things the easy way. So the eight-man prog-rock ensemble (or “double quartet,” as they’re known) decided to mark their 50th anniversary by playing 50 concerts across three continents. The North American leg kicks off in September, and it will find the band mounting a curious challenge. In an interview with Rolling Stone this year, guitarist and de facto band leader Robert Fripp said, “A primary aim of the present band is to move outside the conventional male prog ghetto.” It’s a lofty goal since they define prog rock for many people, which will make it all the more exciting to watch them try.
September 1 – October 24
The Who invented the rock opera, so it’s a wonder that it has taken them so long to tour with a symphony. On their current trek, dubbed Moving On, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have been playing extra classical selections from their classics Tommy and Quadrophenia, as well as some of their greatest hits and even a few new songs, with the aide of local orchestras and violinist Katie Jacoby. The addition of Jacoby, in particular, is stellar because, finally, they have an amazing violinist to play the solo from “Baba O’Riley.” It’s only teenage wasteland and it sounds tremendous.
September 5 – November 20
Sleater-Kinney may have portentously titled their recent album The Center Won’t Hold just before they seemed to fall apart, as longtime drummer Janet Weiss announced her departure. But the record, which St. Vincent produced, also proved that they’re able to adapt to new challenges. So just what they’ll play and how they’ll even pull off their upcoming, two-month tour remains a mystery — at press time they have yet to announce a new stickwoman — the odds are in their favor they’ll get it going one way or another.
September 12 – December 19
It may be she feels strongly about her new album, Madame X. It may be she’s sick of playing stadiums. It may be the eye patch. But no matter the rationale, the chance to see the Material Girl in an intimate theater is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so it’s probably best not to question it. In any case, Madge will be playing extensive residencies in Brooklyn, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston, Philly, and Miami for the lucky few who are able to get tickets.
September 13 – November 23
A decade after her first Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars jaunt, the “Vice” songwriter returns to her original favorite vice, a tour-de-force stage show to roll out her upcoming new album, Wildcard. In addition to performing her own hit-filled set, she’ll be joining Ashley Monroe and Angeleena Presley to round out the country trio Pistol Annies on each date of the two-month tour. She’ll also be getting support variously from Elle King and Maren Morris, among others. Each show will likely be a night to remember since Lambert has said she made it a point to let her hair down on Wildcard, which features the upbeat “It All Comes Out in the Wash.” “With this one, I just wanted to cut loose a little bit,” she recently told Rolling Stone.
September 14 – November 30
After nearly 40 years of thrash perfection, Slayer will end their bloody reign this year with a short and not-so-sweet final trek across North and South America. After one-offs at Riot Fest and Exit 111 fest, they’ll kick off their valediction in Ashville, North Carolina in November hitting arenas, including Madison Square Garden before taking their final bows with two gigs at Los Angeles’ Forum. When they played the States last year, they had supersized the pyro and satanic backdrops for outdoor sheds, so only the Devil himself knows what they could pull off in an arena.
Chance the Rapper
September 14 – November 10
Although he’s been an omnipresent figure in rap for nearly a decade, Chance the Rapper only just put out his official debut album, The Big Day. The record is a typically star-studded affair, with guest appearances by everyone from John Legend to Randy Newman, and he’s supporting it with an equally monumental tour, playing arenas all around North America for two months. He hasn’t announced any supporting acts yet, but judging from the list of guests on The Big Day, he’ll have a lot to live up to.
September 17 – September 27
It’s been a decade since Jeff Beck shared a stage with the singer of his first solo group, Rod Stewart —and that was only for a rendition of “People Get Ready.” At a special Hollywood Bowl gig at the end of Jeff Beck’s tour, the no-longer-prickly pair will perform their first true concert together in about 50 years, since Beck disbanded the original Jeff Beck Group around the time it got an offer to play Woodstock. To build up to that monumental event, Beck is playing a short run of gigs with vocalist Jimmy Hall (who is one of the few singers who can fill Stewart’s shoes).
Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly Holograms
September 19 – November 20
One of the benefits of being an apparition is that you don’t tire easy, so the upcoming Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly co-headlining hologram tour is packed with many back-to-back dates. The Orbison hologram played to near sellout crowds last year, signaling strong interest in hologram tours, and recent treks by Frank Zappa and Ronnie James Dio specters have garnered positive reviews. So it only makes sense that Orbison would be joined by another singer who was gone too soon. “Dad jammed with Buddy in Lubbock, Texas and helped change music history by turning Buddy on to Norman Petty Studios; Buddy later returned the favor by recording two of Dad’s songs on his first Crickets album,” Roy Orbison, Jr. said of the trek. “How beyond cool and special that these two great friends, now get to tour the world together.”
September 20 – October 15
In lieu of a standard press tour in support of his recent, stellar Skeleton Tree album, Nick Cave tried out a unique proposition with his fans with a few select gigs last year. He’d field questions from the audience — anything his fans wanted to know — and augment them with performances of songs from his solo oeuvre, accompanying himself on the piano. The questions were at times heartrending and hilarious, and he liked it so much he’s expanded the experiment to a month-long tour. “In the recent live shows we have all shown a kind of willingness to open up,” he said of the Q&A dates he’s done so far.
Lana Del Rey
September 21 – October 11
The pouty pop singer kicks off the first leg of a tour in support of her recently released Norman Fucking Rockwell album this fall with a short run of shows that will see her go from Long Island, New York to San Diego, California in only a couple of weeks’ time. She has yet to score a hit with one of the albums singles (her most recent, “Doin’ Time,” was a minor hit in the U.K., and the closest thing she’s had to a hit here is a cover of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” for the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark soundtrack), but that’s not keeping her from playing sheds like the Greek Theatre and even a gig at the Hollywood Bowl.
September 26 – December 13
Luke Combs’ debut, This One’s for You, was like a lightning bolt when it came out a couple of years back, since it hit Number One on the country chart and went double platinum, and he’s kept the momentum going. The Prequel, which came out this past June, also went to Number One, and its single, “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” became a crossover hit. Now to mark his “Beautiful Crazy” ascent, the 29-year-old will be playing arenas and a two-night stint at Los Angeles’ fabled Greek Theatre. With the way he’s going, it would be good to catch him while you can still kind of see him, before his inevitable stadium tour.
September 27 – October 5
This could be Heaven or this could be Hell, depending on your fondness for the Eagles’ Hotel California album. The group will be playing their classic 1976 album — which was recently the answer to a Jeopardy question about Rolling Stone reviews — in its entirety at three gigs at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. In the absence of late singer-guitarist Glenn Frey, Vince Gill and Deacon Frey (Glenn’s son) will be filling in for him on “New Kid in Town.” Since the record runs only 43 minutes, they’ll be filling out the performances with the rest of their greatest hits.
Rolling Loud Festival
September 28 – September 29 and October 12 – October 13
Two events this fall, in Oakland and New York City, will somehow bring together the most gonzo, off-the-wall assemblage of hip-hop artists this year. The first one, Rolling Loud Bay Area, will feature headlining sets by Future, G-Eazy, Migos, and Lil Uzi Vert, while the East Coast edition — to take place in Queens — will see mega sets by Travis Scott, Meek Mill, Wu-Tang Clan, A$AP Rocky, and, once again, Lil Uzi Vert. Each of the fests will also variously feature dozens of other artists, including 21 Savage, Kodak Black, Juice Wrld, Plaiboy Carti, Young Thug, Pusha T, and Fat Joe.
October 4 – January 19
Last year’s American Utopia was the former Talking Head’s rumination on finding hope in hopeless times. He staged the tour in support of it with like-dressed museums who could bring their instruments with them all over the stage and dance, all while enjoying the utopian pleasure of never wearing shoes. He’ll be focusing on that album’s nuances, as well as hits form his whole career, as he brings the production to Broadway for a fall and winter residency. “As I was recording the songs for my American Utopia LP it occurred to me that they would be exciting to play live- and I realized that a lot of my older material would fit right in… I imagined a live show,” he said this year.
October 11 – October 13
Nearly half a year after Bonnaroo brought jam bands and classic rock artists to Manchester, Tennessee, the inaugural Exit 111 festival will host a decidedly heavier affair on the same grounds. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Leppard, and Guns N’ Roses headline the three-day hard-rock event, which will also see performances by Slayer, Anthrax, ZZ Top, Ghost, Mastodon, Deftones, and Lamb of God, among many others. Just this once, you’ll be able to desecrate the hallowed festival site by shouting, “Play ‘Free Bird'” and not have to duck a heavy pelting of empty beer cans.
October 12 – October 25
In a rare moment of nostalgia, the long-running punk group will play four full albums from its discography at two-night stands around North America. Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace will lead her bandmates through performances of 2005’s Searching for a Former Clarity and 2007’s New Wave — the records that broke the group into the mainstream — on the first night and 2010’s White Crosses and 2014’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues the second night. Pointing out that the albums seemed to tell a narrative, Grace said in a statement, “This is probably the closest I will ever come to being a part of a ‘Rock Opera’ of any sorts.”
November 2 – December 4
As the frontman of metal firebrands Mercyful Fate, King Diamond stretched the limits of shock rock with eye-popping spectacles of flames and morbidity as he sang four octaves of maledictions and invocations to a human skull he called, sweetly, Melissa. Decades have passed and surprisingly little has changed. His mic stand is now a cross made out of human bones, and he still invokes Satan from the middle of the sort of stage set you expect to see in a grand Broadway production of something like Phantom of the Opera. He’s launching his upcoming North American tour just after his favorite holiday, Halloween, to keep the season going. Shows like his are what haunted houses wish they were.