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Top 5 Outdoor Rock Concerts

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At the risk of dating ourselves, we’ve come up with the top rock concerts we’ve seen over the last 10 (okay, 20) years. Whether at the back patio stage of your local micro brewery , or at a large metro arena – catching a great show with a cold beer in hand is what summer is made of. With that being said, here’s the list of our all-time top 5 outdoor rock concerts.

Top Rock Concerts at Outdoor Venues


#5   AC/DC – Ballbreaker Tour


With fist pumping rock anthems, a larger than life wrecking ball swinging across the stage, the world’s largest inflatable “Rosie” and cannons firing for “Those About to Rock”…this one easily made our top 5.  Angus and the boys did not disappoint with one hit after another through the entire show.  Our #5 pick just beat out the Black Sabbath reunion as it seemed that the Australian rockers had more energy than their Birmingham predecessors did.

#4  Lollapalooza ’96 – featuring Metallica


Known as the “Summer of Noise” tour, this was not the alternative grunge festival many associated with Lollapalooza.  Instead this was a 90’s metal carnival with Metallica headlining…still riding the wave of their top-selling “Black Album” and recent release of the hard rock album “Load”.  The full day festival also contained sets by punk legends – The Ramones, Seattle’s Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine.  The “pit” intensity during the Rage performance was one of the craziest things I had ever seen to this day, but it was Metallica’s live versions of their classics, such as “Master of Puppets” and “One” that really got the fans fired up.

#3  Roger Waters – The Wall


Full disclaimer, we happened to catch this show indoors. None the less it still belongs on the top 5 as other Roger Waters shows that same year were performed outdoors and it is more than just a musical concert – its theatre for rockers. The show tells the classic Pink Floyd “Wall” story from start to end, with a literal wall built on stage throughout the performance. It also includes the inflatable teacher and mother – both icons from the album and film. A must see for those who haven’t seen it yet (should Mr. Waters tour again in the near future).

#2  Page & Plant – Walking into Clarksdale


Although a new album was released, for the most part the tour was touted as a “Led Zeppelin Reunion” – minus John Paul Jones and the late John Bonham. And while not officially billed as a Zeppelin tour, the setlist easily said otherwise. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to catch 2 hall of fame talents, and to top it off the tickets were on the 15th row center stage. It goes without saying that despite the lack of props or stage theatrics as some of the other top 5 displayed during their act – the music was enough to have the crowd on their feet the entire set.  Whether jamming to the bow solo of “Dazed & Confused” or the hellacious medley encore of “Whole Lotta Love” – there was definitely not a dull moment during the show.

#1  RUSH – Pick any Tour…it doesn’t matter!


Finally we have reached our top pick, and given their 40 year catalogue of material and relentless touring we could not pick just one specific tour to celebrate. The 3 Canadian rockers, who have only recently received their overdue credit from the music community, are true masters of their instruments and in our opinion the best 3 piece band in the world. It was tough to place Rush over Zeppelin, however the multitude of material…and still having the band on the road today…carried them to our #1 spot with a “Show of Hands”.

Think you have a better top 5 list? How about you Eddie Trunk and those of you over at That Metal Show? (…which we catch up on every Saturday evening). Leave us a comment below  with your thoughts and remember to like us over on Facebook.

Remember – if the music is too loud…you are too old!