One of the first popular music shows of the 2021-2022 South Florida concert season was scheduled to be by Dead & Company this week. The group canceled, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been a long, strange trip to get here over the past two years.
The COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head in the middle of the 2019-2020 season, altering both the second half of it and the entire, abbreviated 2020-2021 slate of concerts. Area shows, tours, and in the case of veteran artists like Ozzy Osbourne, entire touring careers were jettisoned in favor of health precautions.
Hopefully, the viral delta variant will recede and allow the current season to continue as planned, rather than create a bad trip through a series of unwanted flashbacks.
For a group that rarely performed live for two decades because of stage fright, namely that of lead-singing keyboardist Donald Fagen, Steely Dan certainly came out of its shell in 1993. That’s when Fagen and since-deceased co-founding guitarist Walter Becker (1950-2017) embarked on an American tour, during which they recorded a stellar 1995 album, Live in America. The two had founded the band in 1971 as students at Bard College in New York, and went on to produce iconic albums that fused rock, jazz, pop, and their combined sense of sarcasm like Aja (1977) and The Royal Scam (1976). For its Absolutely Normal Tour, Fagen has concocted shows featuring both these albums in their entirety (they were performed Oct. 5 and 6, respectively), plus the 1980 release Gaucho (Oct. 8) and recent live disc Northeast Corridor (Oct. 9). Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 2001, the band’s musicians have always been top-shelf, but Fagen’s wit, musicality, and vocal range, as always, will be the focal points. See Steely Dan at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach (305-673-7300, $41.50-$256.50).
Call it a case of hometown boy makes good. With modern hip-hop separated into the disparate smooth R&B and hard-core gangster camps, Miami Carol City Senior High School graduate Rick Ross has clearly leaned more toward the latter since starting his recording career with the 2006 debut Port of Miami (and its mega-hit single “Hustlin’”). Yet the artist originally known as William Leonard Roberts II chose a stage name that sounds more like an actual moniker than a title for a vacuous video game, even if he’s lived the role through the stereotypes of being the victim of an attempted drive-by shooting and having a feud with fellow rapper 50 Cent. On the Feed the Streetz Tour, he’ll be joined on stage by other stars including Lil’ Kim, 2 Chainz, Jeezy, Gucci Mane, and Fabolous. And attendees can expect tracks from his 10th album, the long-awaited 2019 follow-up Port of Miami 2, and his latest, this year’s Richer Than I’ve Ever Been. Rick Ross at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the BB&T Center. 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise (954-835-7000, $106-$851).
As recent YouTube and TikTok spoofs point out, most modern country music is actually pop cloaked in lyrics about beer, trucks, women in tight jeans, and patriotism. But Alabama-launched group Little Big Town is more than a little different from that pack. The quartet of singers Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook, plus vocalist/guitarist Philip Sweet, has remained intact since the act’s 1998 inception. And unlike most artists in all popular music genres, this quartet is essentially a vocal group that features combined harmonies, with all four singers taking turns as lead singers, rather than a singular front person. See Little Big Town at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood (954-327-7625, $79-$920).
Now in its 45th year, British band Psychedelic Furs has practically become the long-term poster child for the post-punk movement. Led throughout by 65-year-old lead singer Richard Butler and 62-year-old bassist/brother Tim Butler, the band formed in 1977 with three since-departed members, but gelled through the 1980s. Having chosen its psychedelic moniker to distance itself from the London punk scene, the band climbed the UK album chart with its self-titled 1980 debut, and made an initial splash in America with its sophomore release, Talk Talk Talk (1981). The Butler brothers decided to go in different musical directions for most of the 1990s, but reunited the Furs in 2000. See the Psychedelic Furs at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at Revolution Live, 100 Nugent Ave., Fort Lauderdale (954-449-1025, $52-$209).
Either of the two headliners might have sold out the BB&T Center alone, but two purveyors of the sensitive California folk-rock sound of the 1970s uniting for one show certainly qualifies as a major event. Seventy-three-year-old, Boston-born singer/songwriter and guitarist James Taylor eventually relocated to the West Coast after misadventures through both New York City and London, and secured his legacy in 1970 with a hit sophomore album (Sweet Baby James) and single (“Fire and Rain,” with lyrics about those misadventures). Seventy-three-year-old singer/songwriter and guitarist Jackson Browne likewise migrated to Los Angeles after being born in Germany, where his military father was stationed. Browne was also dominant through the 1970s, with hits like “Doctor My Eyes,” “Running on Empty,” and “The Pretender.” See James Taylor and Jackson Browne at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at the BB&T Center ($156-$1,377).
For the first time in several generations, one of the world’s premier big bands, a term associated with jazz, doesn’t fit into that genre. But the Tedeschi Trucks Band doesn’t, in fact, fit comfortably into any genre, traversing blues, rock, pop, jazz, gospel, country, and world music by design. Which makes sense, given that its married band-leading guitarists are Susan Tedeschi (also its soaring lead singer), who studied at the ever-open-minded Berklee College of Music in Boston, and Derek Trucks, who played with his drumming uncle Butch Trucks in the lengthy final incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band, the legendary Georgia-based act that usurped all other Southern rock groups by dipping its toes into numerous musical styles between 1969 and 2014. The Grammy-winning TTB formed in 2010, with Tedschi bringing drummer Tyler Greenwell from her band and Trucks vocalist Mike Mattison from his. See the Tedeschi Trucks Band at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 in Dreyfoos Hall at the Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach (800-572-8471, $44-$124).
Seventy-two-year-old British keyboardist Rick Wakeman rose to prominence as a session musician (recording with David Bowie, T. Rex, Cat Stevens, and Elton John), then as a member of the progressive rock band Yes, replacing original member Tony Kaye in 1971. And his flamboyant, theatrical style of playing and wardrobe, which included wearing capes, immediately made an impact. Yes’ 1972 release Fragile featured the hit “Roundabout,” highlighted by his Hammond organ solo. Always humorous, he’ll follow up the successful The Grumpy Old Rock Star Tour of 2019 with The Even Grumpier Old Rock Star Tour, a set of tales and solo acoustic piano performances. See Rick Wakeman at 8 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center, 201 SW 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale (954-462-0222, $39.50-$264.50).
Hailing from Houma, La., where he still maintains his own recording studio, 53-year-old singer, songwriter and blues guitarist Tab Benoit is the real deal. His formative years as a performing artist were spent at the Blues Box nightclub in nearby Baton Rouge, where he developed a rich vocal delivery influenced by soul music titan Otis Redding, and Benoit’s guitar tone is an authentic blues return to basics. While most electric guitarists in all genres employ effects, Benoit only features his stock 1972 Fender Telecaster Thinline model, a Category 5 amplifier, and a guitar cord. One of his latest recordings is the 2019 Benoit-produced album Let Go of the Reins, by South Florida-based singing blues guitarist J.P. Soars. See Tab Benoit at 8 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Suite 70, Fort Lauderdale (954-564-1074, $34.50-$65).
Seventy-five-year-old Irish vocal icon Van Morrison’s latest newsworthy nostalgia act has been as an outspoken critic of vaccinations against the COVID-19 pandemic. Such is the state of nostalgia touring, but for all the talk of his legendary status, is it deserved? Morrison first rose to fame with the Irish band un-creatively named Them, riding the wave of its middling hit single “Gloria” while hanging out with The Doors’ Jim Morrison. As a solo recording artist, Morrison’s first hit was the overplayed “Brown Eyed Girl,” and the title track to his 1970 album Moondance followed suit. That release featured a couple of classics in “And It Stoned Me” and “Into the Mystic,” but for practically every one of those, there’s been an unlistenable hit like the title track to his 1978 disc Wavelength. For all the talk of Morrison’s “blue-eyed soul,” it could be argued that it’s been 40-plus years of riding the coattails of his time-honored, warbling, nasal vocal delivery ever since. Morrison’s legions of diehard fans will disagree, and it’ll be most of them in attendance and deciding for themselves while requesting those predictable hits. See Van Morrison at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 at Hard Rock Live ($105-$496).
You may not have heard of The Immediate Family, but it’s safe to say that you probably have the recorded work of one or more of its members in your music catalog. Or at least have heard more than one in passing. The studio titans, who released a self-titled debut in August, consist of singing guitarists Danny Kortchmar, Waddy Wachtell and Steve Postell, bassist Leland Sklar, and drummer Russ Kunkel. Collectively, their recording and touring credits include James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Billy Cobham, Keith Richards, Carole King, Don Henley, Billy Joel, Warren Zevon, Phil Collins, Neil Young, Ravi Shankar, and hundreds more. See The Immediate Family at 6 and 9 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Funky Biscuit, 303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton (561-395-2929, $50-$75), and 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at Sport of Kings Theatre at Gulfstream Park, 901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach (954-454-7000, $35-$75).
What do you call a Missouri act that plays like a three-piece version of vintage Aerosmith; sings like Crosby, Stills & Nash, and features spiritual lyrics and an out-of-the-closet, six-foot-five, left-handed, African-American lead-singing bassist? King’s X (vocalist/bassist Doug Pinnick, guitarist/vocalist Ty Tabor, and drummer/vocalist Jerry Gaskill) seemed out of place after relocating to the Texas blues hotbed of Houston and releasing its 1988 debut Out of the Silent Planet. The critically acclaimed concept disc Gretchen Goes To Nebraska followed in 1989, and the trio proved a dangerous opening act during concerts by headliners from classic rock (Cheap Trick, Living Colour, Billy Squier) to metal (Anthrax, Testament, Overkill). The trio’s unorthodox mix of gospel-inspired three-part harmonies with metallic instrumental undertones may not be for everyone, but it certainly makes it inimitable. See King’s X at 8 p.m. April 16 at the Crest Theatre, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach (561-342-7922, $30 + up).