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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 23, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 52
BEST OF MUSIC 2016: LIVE PERFORMANCES
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: LIVE PERFORMANCES

by Albert Rodriguez and Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writers

This was a year that saw many big acts come through Seattle and though most of the shows we went to in 2016 were great, a select number of them were beyond exceptional. These are the concerts that blew us away, in ranking order.

ALBERT RODRIGUEZ's picks:

1. Billy Joel - May 20, Safeco Field

The Piano Man thrilled a sold out Safeco Field in late May with a trunk load of hits from his vast catalog. 'We Didn't Start the Fire,' 'New York State of Mind,' 'Allentown,' 'Don't Ask Me Why,' 'Sometimes a Fantasy' and 'Big Shot' are some of the 26 songs Joel delighted the audience with on a beautiful spring evening. Among the top highlights were his rendition of 'The River of Dreams,' which included a snippet of Jimi Hendrix's 'Purple Haze,' a really lively performance of 'It's Still Rock and Roll to Me,' which got everybody on their feet, and the closing number, 'Only the Good Die Young,' that capped the night on a festive note.

2. Paul McCartney - April 17, Key Arena
At 74 years old, Sir Paul is still going strong, evidenced by his bravura performance in April here in the Emerald City that included hits from his solo career and with the Beatles and his days with Wings. Krist Novoselic of Nirvana made a special appearance during the show, which featured 'A Hard Day's Night,' 'Maybe I'm Amazed,' 'Band on the Run,' 'Love Me Do,' 'Hey Jude' and 'Yesterday.' In total, 39 songs were played on this memorable evening.

3. Sting / Peter Gabriel - July 21, Key Arena
Two legends, one stage. These rock icons drove us crazy, in a good way, at Key Arena when they performed together this summer. Taking turns playing solo material, songs by their respected bands (The Police and Genesis) and collaborating on several numbers, Sting and Peter Gabriel drew loud cheers all night long from a filled-to-the-brim Key Arena. Sting's enthusiastic rendition of 'Message in a Bottle' and smooth jazz delivery of 'Englishman in New York' were absolute gems, while Gabriel gave us chills by performing such classics as 'Solsbury Hill' and a riveting version of 'Red Rain' with Eddie Vedder.

4. Kanye West - October 19, Key Arena
Seattle fans were fortunate to catch West in mid-October, as less than a month afterwards he canceled the remaining dates on his 'Saint Pablo Tour' due to stress and exhaustion. And it was an incredible showing by the hip hop maverick, who stood atop a suspended platform the entire time that flowed from side to side of the venue like a magic carpet, all the while performing songs like 'Jesus Walks,' 'Ultralight Beam,' 'Famous,' 'Stronger' and a terrific run-through of 'Heartless.'

5. Stevie Nicks - December 11, Key Arena
The rock goddess promised a different kind of show at the start of her performance last weekend at Key Arena, and she delivered on that statement. Aside from a few usual suspects - 'Landslide,' 'Rhiannon,' 'Gypsy' - Nicks included songs on her set list that she hadn't played in decades, not to mention extended versions of 'Gold Dust Woman' and 'Edge of Seventeen.'

6. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - September 3, Memorial Stadium (Bumbershoot)
It was a dream concert for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and their fans when the duo played to a hometown crowd on the middle night of Bumbershoot. Thousands of people filed into Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center to hear live versions of 'Same Love,' 'Thrift Shop,' 'Dance Off' and a very festive rendition of 'Can't Hold Us' featuring the Seattle Seahawks.

7. Rihanna - April 24, Key Arena
The pop-R&B superstar redeemed herself from a mediocre performance in 2013 at Key Arena with a spectacular concert three years later at the same venue that showcased her sultry, confident style with some unexpected playfulness and frequent interaction with the audience. She nailed a beautiful version of 'Diamonds' and walked on an elevated catwalk during 'Woo.'

8. The Killers - April 6, T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas, NV)
Back in April, The Killers christened the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with a grand opening performance that featured special appearances by Wayne Newton and Blue Man Group. It was a hometown celebration for the rock band that only sporadically plays live these days and it included fan favorites, from 'Somebody Told Me' and 'Mr. Brightside' to 'When You Were Young' and a cover of Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling in Love.'

9. The Pretenders - December 11, Key Arena
Fans who arrived early for the Stevie Nicks show were treated to an impressive opening set by The Pretenders, who lit up Key Arena with an hour-long performance that included the band's top hits, such as 'Don't Get Me Wrong,' 'Back on the Chain Gang,' 'Middle of the Road' and 'Brass in Pocket.'

10. Tame Impala - September 4, Memorial Stadium (Bumbershoot)
Despite having to play outdoors and in an earlier than normal time slot, Australian alternative group Tame Impala played to perfection on their Bumbershoot debut. Listening to 'Let It Happen' live was alone worth getting to Memorial Stadium early for, but luckily the band performed more good stuff in a solid 75-minute set.

JESSICA PRICE's picks:

1. Beyonce - May 18, CenturyLinkField

2. Sia - September 29, Key Arena

3. Stevie Nicks - December 11, Key Arena

4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club & Death From Above 1979 - October 20, The Showbox SoDo

5. Tegan & Sara - October 4, Moore Theatre

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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: HOTTEST ARTISTS OF THE YEAR
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: SINGLES
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WORST MUSIC OF THE YEAR
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: A final farewell to the musicians we lost this year
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