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Concert Season: 7 Hudson Valley Shows to See this Spring & Summer | Entertainment | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Concert Season: 7 Hudson Valley Shows to See this Spring & Summer 

click to enlarge Tanglewood in Lenox, MA - FRED COLLINS
  • Fred Collins
  • Tanglewood in Lenox, MA

Musicians are back on the road in a big way this year, and many top-notch national acts are stopping in the region to rock out. Many of these shows feature aging rockers, and nostalgic fans might do well to see their heroes while they can.

Dirt Farmer Festival Arrowood Farms | May 21

In the words of the much-missed Levon Helm’s legendary ensemble, The Band, king harvest has surely come. Presented by Levon Helm Studios, the third annual Dirt Farmer Festival will return to Arrowood Farms in Accord on May 21. The initial lineup of the Dirt Farmer Festival includes the Midnight Ramble Band and Friends, Mavis Staples and her duo, and Amy Helm. Many more acts will be added to the bill prior to the festival. Named for the Arkansas-born musician’s Grammy Award-winning 2007 album, Dirt Farmer, the family-friendly festival blends the intimate warmth and jubilant, high-quality music for which Woodstock’s Midnight Ramble is so beloved—a combination that was itself inspired by the traveling medicine shows and raucous rent parties of Helm’s youth.

The Who | Bethel Woods | May 28

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One of rock’s most iconic bands returns to the scene of one of their most iconic concerts when the Who blasts their way back to the pavilion at the site of their raucous 1969 Woodstock Festival performance. On May 28 at 7:30pm, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts welcomes the legendary British group—co-led by the Who’s two surviving original members, consummate guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend and front man extraordinaire Roger Daltrey—to the former Yasgur’s Farm in Sullivan County for a high-energy evening of hits and classics culled from across the monolithic arc of their nearly 60-year career. The band will be backed by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

Doobie Brothers | Bethel Woods | July 2

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The show is billed as “The Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary Tour featuring Michael McDonald with special guests.” But can you have a real Doobie Brothers show without McDonald’s distinctive smooth-and-gritty-at-the-same-time vocals? “What a Fool Believes” without Michael McDonald? Heresy. Thankfully, the band will have those pipes fronting their roots-based, harmony-laden, guitar-driven rock 'n' roll at Bethel Woods. The amazing thing about the Doobies, is that a band with so much great material need only play the hits; every song is a singalong.

Death Cab for Cutie | Mid-Hudson Civic Center | July 16

Alt-rock legends Death Cab for Cutie bring their catalog of gossamer indie-pop gems to Poughkeepsie on their summer tour. While recent albums have not garnered critical acclaim—2018’s Thank You for Today was seen as the best album in a decade of mediocre offerings—Death Cab is known for its mesmerizing live performances that create intimate experiences in multiple-thousand-seat amphitheaters. Illuminati Hotties open.

Alanis Morissette | Bethel Woods | July 19

You oughta know. Not many albums of the past 30 years are as deeply embedded in the cultural landscape as Alanis Morissette’s 1995 debut, Jagged Little Pill. Critically praised and winner of seven Grammy awards, Pill cemented Morissette’s place in the singer-songwriter pantheon. Last year, she took to the road to celebrate the album’s 25th anniversary. The tour became the number one female-fronted tour of the year and also one of the top worldwide tours of 2021, selling over 500,000 tickets. Opening the show will be Garbage, no slouches themselves, with over 17 million albums sold.

Earth, Wind & Fire | Tanglewood | August 9

click to enlarge Tanglewood in Lenox, MA - HILLARY SCOTT
  • Hillary Scott
  • Tanglewood in Lenox, MA

Arguably the greatest song ever written about the autumnal equinox, Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1978 smash hit “September” is an enduring masterpiece. It was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry of sound recordings that “are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” in 2018. (And, as of this writing, over one billion plays on Spotify.) The band, which scored eight number one hits and sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020. It has won nine Grammy Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement in 2012. What else is there to say but ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya?

Outlaw Music Festival | Saratoga Performing Arts Center | September 18

Willie Nelson’s country-inflected Outlaw Music Festival will be wending its way across the country this summer. The second-to-last stop will be at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on September 18. The tour features a rotating cast of players and bands. For the show at SPAC, Nelson will be joined by the Avett Brothers, Billy Strings, Larkin Poe, and Brittney Spencer. Nelson, who is 89 years old, is a national treasure. See him while you can.

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