We’re less than a month into the new year, and already Metro Detroit has been walloped with a number of major concert announcements. Van Halen, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction and Nickelback have all lined up big shows in the coming months, and the ticket on-sales are piling up faster than those paychecks are getting directed deposited into your bank account.
Who to see, who to skip? Here are the essentials of some of the big upcoming rock shows to help make up your mind.
WHO: Van Halen, Feb. 20, Palace of Auburn Hills
TICKETS: $29.50-$149.50, on sale now
MOST RECENT ALBUM: “A Different Kind of Truth,” due Feb. 7
LAST DETROIT CONCERT: Oct. 20, 2007 at Joe Louis Arena; Oct. 22, 2007 at Palace
WHAT’S THE DEAL?: When Van Halen toured in 2007, it was the first time the band had played with David Lee Roth in more than 20 years, and their spirited shows — especially the rowdy Saturday night Joe Louis Arena concert — were a rockin’ good time. This time they’re supporting a new album, and no matter how much you dig the band’s new single “Tattoo,” the new songs are going to create log jams at the beer and bathroom lines. When it comes down to it, “first tour in four and a half years” is a lot less enticing than “first tour in more than 20 years.” Besides, it’s 2012. Are we really still getting excited about Van Halen reunions?
WORTH IT?: On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being skippable and 10 being essential, it’s smack dab in the middle: a 5.
WHO: Jane’s Addiction, Feb. 24, Fillmore Detroit
TICKETS: $39.50-$59.50, on sale now
MOST RECENT ALBUM: “The Great Escape Artist,” released Oct. 18
LAST DETROIT CONCERT: May 31, 2009 at DTE Energy Music Theatre
WHAT’S THE DEAL?: The pioneering alt-rockers are back for their umpteenth reunion tour, this one supporting 2011′s justly ignored “The Great Escape Artist.” This show might normally be considered a write-off, if not for the fact that A) it’s a chance to see them in what is, for them, a small venue and B) they were really, really good when they played with Nine Inch Nails in 2009. Never count out Perry Farrell!
WORTH IT?: 7 out of 10.
WHO: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, April 12, Palace
TICKETS: $35-$95, on sale Saturday
MOST RECENT ALBUM: “Wrecking Ball,” due March 6
LAST DETROIT CONCERT: Nov. 13, 2009 at Palace
WHAT’S THE DEAL?: Springsteen is back on the road for the first time since the death of E Street sax man Clarence Clemons, and he’s supporting a new album, “Wrecking Ball.” It will be interesting to see how he works a stage without his right hand man, and to see how he pays tribute to the Big Man. “Wrecking Ball” is said to feature some experimental textures, which could take Springsteen in some unexpected directions, and there is the small matter of him still being one of the greatest performers on the planet. But this is by no means his last run and you know he’ll be back, so if you’re pinching pennies, this one could get squeezed.
WORTH IT?: 6 out of 10.
WHO: Nickelback, April 14, Joe Louis Arena
TICKETS: $36.50-$72, on sale now
MOST RECENT ALBUM: “Here and Now,” released Nov. 21
LAST DETROIT CONCERT: Sept. 18, 2010 at Joe Louis Arena
WHAT’S THE DEAL?: The Canadian rock band you love to hate keeps on chugging despite its detractors. Your hate helps fuel their locomotive of sludgy riffs! Nickelback is largely “uncool” in the music press, but they’re popular where it counts — with the people. That said, this concert has the added news value of being in the city that protested its halftime show at the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game, which became an international story and even resulted in the band sending itself up in a Funny or Die spot. Will they address the controversy? Maybe. Will they play “Photograph?” Definitely!
WORTH IT?: 3 out of 10.
WHO: Red Hot Chili Peppers, June 1, Joe Louis Arena
TICKETS: $42.50-$62.50, on sale Friday
MOST RECENT ALBUM: “I’m With You,” released Aug. 26
LAST DETROIT CONCERT: Nov. 3, 2006 at Palace
WHAT’S THE DEAL?: Has it really been five-plus years? The Chili Peppers return, but without guitarist John Frusciante, the magical spirit who resurrected the band and was their secret weapon from “Californication” through to “Stadium Arcadium.” New album “I’m With You” has been a ghost, a curiously low profile project since its release last summer. The Chili Peppers are now playing with guitarist John Klinghoffer, but without Frusciante it seems like a major element is missing. But perhaps the band’s April induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will inspire a new creative energy.
WORTH IT?: 5 out of 10.
WHO: Coldplay, Aug. 1, Palace
TICKETS: $49.50-$99.50, on sale Feb. 4
MOST RECENT ALBUM: “Mylo Xyloto,” released Oct. 24
LAST DETROIT CONCERT: June 2, 2009 at DTE Energy Music Theatre
WHAT’S THE DEAL?: Coldplay’s two Metro Detroit stops on its Viva la Vida tour — in addition to the June 2009 DTE show, the band also played the Palace in November 2008 — proved it is one of the best arena acts in music today. Frontman Chris Martin works the stage with boundless energy, and the band keeps the visuals lively, whether its dropping confetti butterflies from the ceiling or kicking out massive yellow balloons over the audience. And Coldplay’s catalog, now five albums deep, is to the point where it can do a two-hour show comprised entirely of anthems. Sing-along, hands-waving anthems. Now that’s a rock show.
WORTH IT?: 8 out of 10.