The Best Concerts of 2013 So Far: From the Joni Jam to the ‘Eras Tour’

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Live music was back, in 2022, but in 2023 it’s really back-back. Taylor Swift is soon to have history’s first billion-dollar-grossing tour, and in an era when music can sometimes feel shunted off to the side in pop-culture conversations, the “Eras Tour” feels bigger than any movie or TV show. Deservedly so, even, as you know if you’ve seen it, all dollar estimates aside. But it’s also heartening to see a one-off concert event intrude on national headlines, whether it’s Brandi Carlile leading Joni Mitchell back into the spotlight as the focus of a public all-star session, or Willie Nelson celebrating his 90th birthday in a party that just a single night at the Hollywood Bowl couldn’t contain.

These are among the highlights in a mid-year list of the best concerts of the year, which stretches to include normal road-dog tours as well as arena and stadium spectacles and benefits. It may seem silly to qualify this list as “best” when there are a few million concerts this west coast-based critic didn’t get to for consideration… including any of Beyoncé’s shows to date, with her tour not hitting North America till mid-July. But without getting quite so definitive about it, here are a dozen shows or residencies that made the rocking world go round these past six months.

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