Big-name, must-see Montréal concerts in 2019
This article was updated on September 20, 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 comedy stars are aligning
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then it’s going to be a full-on love fest when comedy superstar Adam Sandler returns to a Montréal stage for the first time in 27 years as a prelude to the 37th edition of the Just For Laughs comedy festival this summer. His 100% Fresher tour follows the release of his very well-received 2018 Netflix comedy special, 100% Fresh, his first in 20 years. And here’s a Sandler/Montréal fun fact: his latest film, Murder Mystery, which co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Luke Evans, was filmed in Montréal. Don’t miss out on a chance to see Adam Sandler live when he performs at the Bell Centre with a special surprise guest on June 8.
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.
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.
Courageous road warrior
In what will be her first world tour in over a decade — and 14th concert tour overall — Céline Dion will embark on the 55-date Courage World Tour in support of the November release of her new English-language album, Courage, at the very beginning of the fall. Her formidable fan base here in Montréal will be able to enjoy not one but six shows at the Bell Centre on October 4 and 5 and November 18, 19, 21 and 22. Extra added bonus: included with every online ticket order for the tour is a CD of the new album.
Lighting it up in Montréal
Stick this in your hat and smoke it: according to Forbes’ 2019 list of “100 Highest-Paid Entertainers” in the world, New York City EDM pop duo The Chainsmokers are the highest paid DJs/producers with $46 million in annual earnings last year (unseating Scottish superstar DJ/producer Calvin Harris, who’d held that position for the previous six years). Catch the cash machine in action when The Chainsmokers fire up the Bell Centre on the World War Joy Tour with guests 5 Seconds of Summer and Lennon Stella, October 9.
Tracks that steal the show
Super-chill downtempo legends Thievery Corporation will bring soul-warming vibes on their Montréal stop of an extensive North American tour this autumn. Laying down their signature mix of dub, hip-hop, acid jazz, reggae, Brazilian and more, the indefatigable electro duo will perform at MTELUS with opener Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on October 17.
Blink and you’ll miss your tix
If you want tickets to see hometown indie rock heroes Half Moon Run, it’s always best to act fast. After all, this is the band that once sold around 9,000 tickets to four back-to-back Montréal shows in under 45 minutes. Excitement for its upcoming Montréal concert will be running high again as the band brings its tour in support of its third and latest album, A Blemish in the Great Light, to MTELUS for a special Halloween-night show, October 31.
A sure bet
Popular French-pop chansonnier and prolific actor (and professional poker player) Patrick Bruel is enjoying a reinvention of sorts with his latest album release, last year’s critically hailed Ce soir on sort (“Tonight we’re going out”). Following extensive touring throughout Europe, Bruel brings new music and a new show to the Bell Centre on November 6.
Latin magnum opus
Those who like their salsa blistering hot are going to be in for a spicy musical treat when six-time Grammy-winning Latin music superstar Marc Anthony rolls into town in support of new album OPUS, his first new studio album in six years, and his eighth salsa album overall. He’ll be turning up the temperature in the Bell Centre on November 11.
Ho ho Divo!
Powerhouse tenor vocal quartet Il Divo (over 30 million albums sold, and 160 gold and platinum albums in 33 countries to date) will turn the city’s seasonal spirit up to 10 with their Holiday Song Celebration Tour. Performing holiday classics from their platinum-certified compilation The Christmas Collection, Il Divo are at Théâtre St-Denis on November 25.
Six years after the Jonas Brothers called it a day and disbanded, crushing thousands if not millions of teen hearts in the process, the former Disney stars have fired up the pop-rock hit-making machine again with a vengeance. Indeed, their ubiquitous first single, “Sucker”, off their fifth album, Happiness Begins, became the 34th song in history to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick will turn the Bell Centre into a crazy place on November 27.
A wave will soon be upon us
Montréal favourite musical son Patrick Watson returns with his sixth album, the melancholic Wave, which will take the multifaceted indie multi-instrumentalist across Europe and North America. The tour has two stops in his hometown at MTELUS, December 10 and 11.
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.