Joan Jett, Wiz Kahlifa, Cheap Trick, and Dierks Bentley readied the crowd for a summer well spent at Live Nation's celebration of concerts
Artists from every single genre are hitting the road this summer for national concert tours, and to kick off the new season of live music, Live Nation gave fans a sampling of some of these performances at its second annual National Concert Day. The event, held Tuesday afternoon at New York’s Irving Plaza, showcased three-song sets from four of the biggest artists going on tour in the upcoming months. Here were the wildest moments:
Dierks Bentley premieres anthemic new track “Freedom”
Between performing his hit singles “I Hold On” and “Somewhere On A Beach,” the country superstar gave the audience a first listen to a new track from his upcoming album Black. In the boot-stomping new song “Freedom,” Bentley wailed the chorus “We wanna taste that freedom” over plucky strings. If the cheers and applause from the crowd are any indication, he might have another hit on his hands.
Cheap Trick fill the small venue with stadium rock sound
After Dierks Bentley had everyone in the relatively small venue stomping and clapping along to his acoustic hits, there was a quick shift as Cheap Trick transformed the event into a full-fledged rock show. Lead singer Robin Zander stormed onto the stage in a white suit jacket and fedora, screaming at the crowd “I want! You! To want! Me!” before diving into their well-known single. The energy never died down as the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees delivered bombastic performances of their other well-known hits, “Dream Police” and “Surrender.”
Wiz Khalifa introduces surprise Snoop Dogg performance
Soon, a haze fell upon the stage, and everyone in the crowd knew what that meant. Wiz Khalifa came out grinning and grooving while performing his latest single “Bake Sale.” Then it was time for the big surprise of the night: Khalifa welcomed out his The High Road tour-mate Snoop Dogg to perform with him on their track “Young, Wild & Free.” Snoop characteristically spit his verses seamlessly between smoke breaks, and then left the stage to uproarious applause as Khalifa closed the set with “We Dem Boyz.”
Joan Jett proves her guitar chops are as good as ever
The final performance of the night came from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the legendary rock band that’s been breaking barriers since the late ’70s. If anyone in the audience had doubts about Jett’s ability to still absolutely shred a guitar, they were long gone right when she began her performance of “Crimson and Clover.” Jett growled the sparse lyrics of the song before erupting into a stage-spanning guitar solo.
Jett delivers an effortlessly forceful “Bad Reputation” to close the show
After an explosive performance of “Fragile,” Jett was ready to intro her final song of the night, telling the crowd, “And… uh, Sing along. Here we go.” From the first guitar riff, the audience began jumping and pumping their fists, as Jett launched into one of her most famous tracks “Bad Reputation.” The most striking thing about the performance was how effortless it seemed: Jett grinned at the crowd, simultaneously shouting out the rebellious lyrics, sounding just as amazing as she did when she first recorded the track in the ’80s.