Looking for the best Philadelphia concerts to see this season? There are tons of cool acts coming to the City of Brotherly Love now through September—from rap, pop and R&B superstars playing in arenas like the Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial to indie darlings putting on shows in some of our most intimate neighborhood venues. Follow our guide to discover the best concerts in Philadelphia for a well-rounded mix of shows and music festivals happening at venues all around town. On the night of the show, begin by hitting up one of the best bars in Philadelphia for happy hour and, if you have energy, cap off the night with dancing in one of the nearest Philadelphia nightclubs.
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The best concerts in Philadelphia
The Who singer performs the band’s 1969 concept album/rock opera Tommy in its entirety, backed by The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and “members of the Who band” (but not Pete Townshend, who wrote most of it). Tommy—about a “deaf, dumb and blind kid [who] sure plays a mean pinball.”—features several of the band’s most famous songs, including “I’m a Boy,” “See Me, Feel Me” and, of course, “Pinball Wizard.”
Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz promise a night of good, clean fun on their first-ever tour as a duo. Chances are you’ll hear old favorites like “Mary Mary” and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," but also hopefully “Different Drum,” “Joanne” and other pretty songs from the extended Monkees universe.
Co-produced by University City District, the University of Pennsylvania and the Rotunda, the 40th Street Summer Series brings free monthly live music concerts to Penn’s campus from May through September. This year’s festivities kick off with a double headlining show from the West Philadelphia Orchestra and Dan Blackberg’s Hot Klezmers. Performers scheduled to take the stage throughout the summer include New Sound Brass, Las Cafeteras and Thee Phantom & the Illharmonic Orchestra.
Though they’re often relegated to the joke-band bin—and indeed, their humorous lyrics and dumb band name surely give their songs a shorter lifespan—the Barenaked Ladies have a reputation for putting on high-energy shows full of upbeat banter and showmanship. Their performance at the Juno Awards a few months ago brought the house down and hammered home their status as Canadian pop royalty. And they’ve got a deep grab bag of memorable tunes: “If I Had $1000000,” “Brian Wilson,” “It’s All Been Done,” etc. And if you ever need to hear “One Week,” again there’s that, too.
Chances are, you already know where you stand with respect to this radio-friendliest of radio-friendly contemporary pop-troubadour types. The sheen on McLachlan's more recent works can be wearisome, but we have to admit, the Lilith Fair founder can still crank out a lean, mean melody.
The soulful out-and-proud crooner from London comes to the City of Brotherly Love to share tunes from his latest album, The Thrill of It All. The sophomore work, which he likens to a diary chronicling a recent heartbreak, is rife with tearjerkers that perfectly highlight his almost supernatural vocals. Bring tissues.
Look, one day the Foo Fighters will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s going to happen. And at the ceremony, when they get to the part where the priest is like, “Does anybody see any reason why this band and this hall should not be united in holy bliss for all eternity?” That’s when the crowd will part for me as I emerge holding a boombox blaring “Make it Right,” from the Foo Fighter’s 2018 album, Concrete and Gold. I’ll be tazed and beaten and dragged away screaming: “Listen to this! Listen! It’s just the hammiest, glammiest garbage ever! It sounds like an Aerosmith B-side! It sounds like Kiss!” That’s when master of ceremonies Mark McGrath will bang his gavel and laugh. “My dear boy,” he’ll say. “Both of those bands are in the hall, as well.”