Big-name, must-see Montréal concerts in 2019
What do a couple of bona fide R&B royals, a bunch of Can-rock icons, more than a few pop superstars, a pair of alt-rock gods and more veteran metalheads than you can bang your head at have in common? They, and a ton more, will be taking the stage in several of Montréal’s best and biggest venues as part of a packed major concert roster this coming year. Here’s a rundown of the top must-see-and-hear concerts of 2019 (so far).
On the road again
The irrepressible Bryan Adams has been on the road with his aptly titled Ultimate Tour since January 2… 2018. The love for Adams is truly globe-spanning, with shows that started in New Zealand and Australia before heading off to Scandinavia, Europe, the Baltics, North America, India and the Cayman Islands. It’s the 19th concert tour by Adams, and the set list is jam-packed with perennial crowd-pleasers such as (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, Cuts Like a Knife and Summer of ’69. The Ultimate Tour pulls into the Bell Centre on January 26.
The Queen of R&B
Seven-time Grammy winner Toni Braxton will be coming to Montréal for, almost unbelievably, the very first time on her As Long as I Live Tour in support of her newest album, 2018’s Sex & Cigarettes, her first solo album in eight years. The R&B/soul/pop star has returned in a big way, with the single As Long as I Live taking the number one spot on the Billboard Adult R&B chart for nine weeks. And fans will be in for a treat as Braxton is said to be performing all her number one hits on the tour, which lands in the Bell Centre Theatre on February 17.
You can’t fight ’em, may as well join ’em
In just over a decade since forming, the U.K.’s Mumford & Sons are a juggernaut that is only picking up speed, in large part due to their just-released fourth album, Delta. The record has been hailed as an experimental triumph, incorporating elements of electronica, jazz and hip-hop into their trademark folk rock, and seems highly likely to add even more platinum to the band’s already considerable collection. The Delta Tour, Mumford & Sons’ largest tour to date with some 800,000 tickets on offer, will visit the Bell Centre on March 4.
A very, very chill kind of attack
One of trip-hop’s signature acts, Massive Attack, returns with a reworked, reimagined version of their mega-hit 1998 album Mezzanine on the Mezzanine XXI Tour (so-named because it’s been 21 years since the record’s release). Using totally new, custom audio reconstructed from the original samples and key influences, founding member Robert Del Naja says, “It’s going to be a one-off piece of work; our own personalized nostalgia nightmare head trip.” Take the trip at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts on March 11.
Two ’90s-defining monsters of alt-rock join forces for what will likely be an unforgettable evening of generational anthems and new hits. The Pixies, who influenced musical heavy hitters like Nirvana, Radiohead and even Weezer, will be playing tunes from their most recent LP, Head Carrier. For their part, Weezer will be showcasing new tunes off their upcoming Weezer (The Black Album), set for release on March 1, 2019. The double-header goes down at the Bell Centre on March 13.
You wanna rock’n’roll all night (one last time)
Shout it out loud: after 45 years of raucous (rock-us?) musical entertainment, legendary band KISS will be hanging up their makeup kits for good after their End of the Road Tour. “KISS Army, we’re saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet, and we’ll go out the same way we came in... unapologetic and unstoppable,” said KISS in a statement. The rafters will be rocking at the Bell Centre for the first “last” time on March 19, and again, after the addition of a second show, for the real last time on August 16.
Since forming in 1994, England’s Muse have released seven studio albums, selling over 20 million albums worldwide, establishing themselves along the way as a welcome, if perhaps somewhat unexpected, force of unrestrainedly creative rock’n’roll. Their last studio album, Drones, debuted at number one in 21 countries around the world, with the tour featuring an elaborate and mesmerizing stage setup created by Montréal multimedia magicians Moment Factory. The tour for Muse’s newest record, Simulation Theory, will doubtless captivate the Bell Centre on March 30.
Hear the Grande-osity
She’s one of the biggest – and still-rising — stars in pop music today. At age 25, Ariana Grande’s already delivered three platinum-selling albums of mixed-breed pop, R&B, soul and electronic music that’s had over 18 billion streams. This is in addition to nabbing four Grammy Award nominations and landing eight hits in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’ll be no joke on April 1 when she brings her Sweetener World Tour to the Bell Centre.
The colour of fun
If you’ve ever attended a P!nk concert, you know that those lucky enough to get a ticket to the singer, songwriter, dancer and actress’s Beautiful Trauma World Tour are in for a S-H-O-W. This time out, the Grammy-Award-winning triple threat will be joined by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels, who collaborated on two tracks on P!nk’s new and seventh album, Beautiful Trauma. P!nk will wow the Bell Centre on two nights, May 17 and 18.
Songs like fine wine
This spring, Montréal’s favourite son Rufus Wainwright will embark on his All These Poses Tour commemorating the 20-year (!) anniversary of his eponymous, breakthrough debut. With band in tow, Wainwright will be performing material from both Rufus Wainwright (1998) and Poses (2001). “Twenty years, what can I say?” says Wainwright. “In life, one stands the test of time, but in music, thankfully, one reaps the rewards. Come savour a very fine vintage of songs, those were some pretty good years!” Singer-songwriter Rachel Eckroth will open at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts on May 22.
The return of the boy in the box
Thirty-five years after he had everyone wearing their Sunglasses at Night, Montrealer and Canadian pop icon Corey Hart has announced the details of his first major arena tour across Canada since 1986. The Never Surrender Tour will follow the May 3, 2019 release of Hart’s new record, Dreaming Time Again, his first collection of studio songs in over 20 years. Hart has sold over 16 million records worldwide and has nine consecutive U.S. Billboard Top 40 Hits and an impressive 31 Top 40 singles in Canada, many of which are likely to be heard at the Bell Centre on June 15.
The crazy train’s pulling into the station
It’s likely that even Ozzy Osbourne himself wouldn’t have believed he’d survive the rock’n’roll life long enough to put 50 years (both as a solo artist and as lead singer of Black Sabbath) under his well-notched musical belt. But nevertheless, here we are. And now the illustrious heavy metal trailblazer, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is putting an end to global touring with his No More Tours 2 tour (though he will continue to perform select live shows). He’ll be joined by also-legendary headbangers Megadeth when they play the Bell Centre, June 18.
Back in jazzy action
Reports of his retirement, it seems, were greatly exaggerated. After rumours swirled that he had put his golden vocals on permanent vacation, this past August Michael Bublé returned to the stage following a lengthy absence for shows in Dublin, London and Sydney where he performed for over 150,000 fans. And now the Canadian crooner — who has five sold-out world tours and four Grammy Awards to his name, and who’s sold in excess of 60 million records — will do it all again twice at the Bell Centre on August 1 and 2.
A flaming great time
And finally, pioneering hard rockers Iron Maiden will fly their Legacy of the Beast Tour to North America for an extensive series of high-octane arena shows. We’ll let lead vocalist Bruce “The Air-Raid Siren” Dickinson explain what you’re in for in his own words: “We’ve got all kinds of crazy things going on, including a replica Spitfire plane dominating the stage during Aces High, tons of pyro, a giant Icarus, muskets, claymores and some truly marvellous flamethrowers, which I have a hell of a lot of fun with, as you will see! And absolutely loads of other surprises.” Iron Maiden and guests The Raven Age blow up the Bell Centre on August 5.
Jamie O’Meara, blogger
Jamie O’Meara is a writer for The Montreal Gazette, C2 Montréal, Moment Factory and more. He also manages the PR Team at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and is the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.
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