Concerts in Chicago in October 2018

Autumn is here, along with concerts from the likes of Gorillaz, Elton John, Nine Inch Nails, Christina Aguilera and more
Gorillaz
Illustration: Jamie Hewlett
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Looking for the most bountiful month for Chicago concerts, it's got to be October. After the summer festival season has closed down for good, the city's concert venues reap the rewards, booking acts that skipped outdoor show in favor of indoor autumn gigs. You'll find Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Fleetwood Mac and Gorillaz taking over the United Center, Ed Sherran headlining an evening in Soldier Field and Phish playing three nights at Allstate Arena. Plus, Nine Inch Nails will spend three evenings at the Aragon and Ween will headline a special Halloween concert. Find even more amazing shows with our guide to concerts in Chicago in October.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar of concerts in Chicago

Concerts in Chicago in October

Sting & Shaggy
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Reggae and dancehall

Sting + Shaggy

icon-location-pin Uptown
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English rocker-turned-adult contemporary mainstay Sting has been known to tour with Peter Gabriel, but his latest jaunt through North America pairs him with Jamaican singer Shaggy, best known for his 2000 single about banging on the bathroom floor. The duo released an album of reggae-tinged songs earlier this year, but we're far more excited to hear what Shaggy can add to “Every Breath You Take” and “Message in a Bottle,” as well as Sting's shouted refrains on “It Wasn't Me.” 

Ed Sheeran
Photographer: Dan Curwin
Music, Pop

Ed Sheeran + Snow Patrol + Lauv

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Even if you didn't catch his controversial cameo on Game of Thrones, you've surely heard "Shape of You" blasting from a car at least a hundred times this year. Taylor Swift's good friend Ed Sheeran is still winning (adolescent) hearts and minds, so of course he's also headlining Soldier Field Stadium. 

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Eleanor Friedberger
Photograph: Chris Eckert
Music, Rock and indie

Eleanor Friedberger + Pill

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While Chicago über-indie darlings the Fiery Furnaces sustain their not-necessarily-broken-up hiatus, Eleanor Friedberger carries on with her latest solo album. Rebound!, her fourth record, was inspired by an ‘80s goth disco that Friedberger visited while spending time in Greece, where much of her extended family lives. The resulting album maintains the jaunty feel of her previous output, augmented by drum machines and synthesizer melodies—it's the sunniest interpretation of goth electronica that we've ever heard. Experimental New York punk outfit Pill opens the show.

Justin Timberlake
Photograph: Courtesy RCA Records
Music, Pop

Justin Timberlake

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While a rough Super Bowl appearance and the questionable roll-out of his latest album weren't great looks for J.T., the pop superstar's swagger and charisma have gotten him through worse scrapes. For better or for worse, Man of the Woods is more of what Timberlake does best, combining taut pop production with nods to funk, electronica and country. The merch stand will probably look like a Pendleton catalog and you'll probably be subjected to that camo-deer suit jacket again, but that's price you'll have to pay to hear "SexyBack" live.

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The Revolution
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Funk, soul and disco

The Revolution

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Best known as the backing band for Prince's Purple Rain, the Revolution was the funky, multi-cultural backbone of some of the Minneapolis artist's most seminal work. Though the group disbanded in the ‘80s, some of its founding members (including guitarist Wendy Melvoin and drummer Bobby Z) reunited in the wake of Prince's sudden death in 2016. Here, they'll celebrate the life of their late collaborator with a tribute to the Purple One's revolutionary spirit and sound.

Christine McVie returns to the stage with Fleetwood Mac at a packed Allstate Arena on Feb 14, 2015.
Photograph: Joshua Mellin
Music, Rock and indie

Fleetwood Mac

icon-location-pin United Center
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Just when we thought that the classic, Rumours-era lineup of Fleetwood Mac was back together for good, the group recently announced that founding member Lindsey Buckingham was kicked out of the band. He'll be replaced on tour by Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House frontman Neil Finn—two experienced musicians who certainly know their way around tracks like “Gold Dust Woman” and “Tusk.”  Of course, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie are still in the group, so hopefully their soaring vocal harmonies are enough to cover up Buckingham's conspicuous absence. 

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Music, Rock and indie

Death Cab for Cutie + Charly Bliss

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Ben Gibbard and his band are indie-rock survivors, capitalizing on the genre's The O.C.-soundtracking days and managing to bring its earnest refrains and scrappy pop sensibility  into the latter hald the 2010s relatively unscathed. Death Cab for Cutie's latest album, Thank You For Today, is stuck somewhere between electronics-heavy homages to Gibbard's days in the Postal Service and songs that introduce a high-fidelity sheen to the sound of the band's earliest records. At this special theater gig, you'll be able to embrace the Death Cab's latest work and acknowledge the past with an obligatory “Soul Meets Body” sing-along.

Gorillaz
Illustration: Jamie Hewlett
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Gorillaz + The Internet

icon-location-pin United Center
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Last summer, Damon Albarn and his cartoon band threw a house music dance party on the shores of Lake Michigan when Gorillaz kicked off its North American tour in Chicago. A little more than a year later, the group has a new album, The Now Now, which functions as a solo record by animated Gorillaz frontman 2D. The group's latest electro-pop ballads don't quite live up to the cosmic funk that Albarn explored on Humanz, but the project's new arena show should be as thrilling as ever—expect sing-along renditions of "Clint Eastwood" and " Stylo" as well as apperances from a few special guests (Vince Staples, Jamie Principle and Del the Funky Homosapien showed up in Chicago last summer). Los Angeles neo-soul outfit the Internet open the show.

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Christina Aguilera
Photograph: Luke Gilford
Music, Pop

Christina Aguilera

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Like every other early-aughts pop starlet, Christina Aguilera has struggled to find her place in the modern pop landscape, trying her hand at acting and becoming a vocal coach on the TV series The Voice. Aguilera's powerful, versatile voice has always been her biggest asset, so it's no surprise that the singing on her new album, Liberation, is amazing, even when her song and production choices falter. If you can look past ill-conceived forays into trap and R&B (including the lackluster Kanye West-produced single “Accelerate”), you can look forward to hearing some unabashed pop anthems alongside classics like “Genie in a Bottle” and “Beautiful.”

Twenty One Pilots
Photograph: Jabari Jacobs
Music, Rock and indie

Twenty One Pilots

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Combining reggae, rap-rock and a bit of ukulele balladry, Columbus, Ohio duo Twenty One Pilots has become one of the hottest new pop acts—the kind that accepts Grammy awards in its underwear. On the heels of the pair's new album TRENCH, the unlikey Top 40 juggeranuts will return to the United Center, and you better believe that it's going to be completely sold out.

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A Place to Bury Strangers
Photograph: Ebru Yildiz
Music, Rock and indie

A Place to Bury Strangers + Kraus + Dusted

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While the group may not actually be “the loudest band in New York,” your eardrums will still be tested by the piercing squalls that A Place to Bury Strangers’ custom guitar pedals produce. On Pinned, the group brings former Le Butcherettes drummer Lia Simone Braswell into fold, providing pounding rhythms and backing vocals that lend a bit of range to the droning compositions. Texas shoegazers Kraus and Toronto rockers Dusted (featuring Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck) support.

Nine Inch Nails deliver an industrial set in Grant Park at Lollapalooza Music Festival 2013 on Friday, August 2.
Photograph: cousindaniel.com
Music, Rock and indie

Nine Inch Nails + The Jesus and Mary Chain

icon-location-pin Uptown
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Ever since reviving Nine Inch Nails in 2013, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have made a point of pushing the group forward rather than dwelling on the past. How else do you explain the nearly relentless stream of albums and EPs, each exploring a slightly different strain of NIN's industrial alt-rock sound. That's not to say that the pair have put the past behind them—NIN's headlining set at Riot Fest in 2017 felt like an encapsulation of the group's best work, buoyed by years of experience and a fanbase that's willing to let Reznor indulge in whatever he likes. Expect to hear some David Bowie-inspired tunes from the latest NIN album, Bad Witch, during the band's three-night stand at the Aragon Ballroom. Thanks to a special arrangement with Ticketmaster, fans waited in line for tickets to these shows back in May, so you may need to call in some favors if you didn't queue up.

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Beacon_102010_
Photograph: Rebecca Taylor
Music, Rock and indie

Elton John

icon-location-pin United Center
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With the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Sir Elton is saying a final goodbye to the touring life. That's right—this is your final chance (at least until he comes to Allstate Arena in February) to catch the rollicking songman live in person, as he takes the audience on a massive visual journey spanning his entire 50-year career. Swoon along to "Tiny Dancer," make juvenile hand gestures to "Crocodile Rock" and smile meaningfully at your folks during "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" here for one last time.

Phish
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Phish

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Nearly every year, jam band veterans Phish come to Chicago to unleash some winding melodies for a crowd of local “phans.” This time around, the group abandons its frequent haunt of Northerly Island and takes its show north to Allstate Arena in Rosemont, where it will host three consecutive evenings of shows. Trey Anastasio and company haven't put out a new album since 2016's Big Boat, but the group has plenty of classic tunes to noodle its way through.

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Music, Rock and indie

Ween

icon-location-pin Uptown
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Start assembling your Boognish costume and learn the lyrics to “Mutilated Lips” because reunited rockers Ween are coming back to Chicago on HalloWEEN. The group's eclectic musical taste are still the main attraction—throughout a typical setlist, you'll hear virtuosic takes on punk rock, funk, country and soul-tinged tunes, often within the course of just a few minutes. With no new material in sight since Gene and Dene Ween decided to hit the road again, all of your favorite tracks are fair game at this spooky Aragon Ballroom gig.

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