A mega-year for Montréal mega-concerts

Buckle up live music lovers, because there are a whole host of big, nay, HUGE musical names getting ready to leave their mark on the Montréal concert landscape this year. From Demi Lovato to P!nk, Justin Timberlake, U2, Shakira and Shania, MTL’s musical cup is destined to runneth over in the months to come. Here’s a rundown of the top concerts of 2018 (so far).

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Complicated and grateful

Actress, author, mental health advocate, social and environmental activist and, oh, pop star Demi Lovato is taking time out of her ridiculously busy schedule to go on tour in support of her sixth and latest full-length, Tell Me You Love Me. (Check out the also newly released doc about the 25-year-old’s twisty turny life, Simply Complicated, here.) Lovato is touring with multiplatinum artist, producer and author DJ Khaled, whose tenth and latest long-player, Grateful, has been streamed more than 1.1 billion times to date. Grateful, indeed. The chart-crushing pairing perform at the Bell Centre, March 17.

A supernatural band

For almost 50 years and well over 50 studio, live and compilation albums, San Fran Latin-rock super-band Santana have maintained a rare and monolithic kind of musical dominance. To wit: with the 2014 release of Corazón, Santana became one of only two bands in Billboard history to score at least one Top Ten album for six consecutive decades from the 1960s on. Powered by legendary fretman Carlos Santana, the Divination 2018 tour heats up the Bell Centre on March 21.

P!nk power

Anyone who’s seen a P!nk performance can testify to the intense physicality the singer, dancer, actress and de facto acrobat brings to the stage. Many stages, actually. Her most recent The Truth About Love Tour (2013-14) saw her play 142 sold-out shows in 13 countries. This time out, P!nk – who has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide – will make 86 stops at various points on the planet for her Beautiful Trauma World Tour 2018, one of which will be Montréal on March 23 at the Bell Centre.

Da ya think he’s sexy? Of course you do!

When we talk about rock’n’roll royalty, when it comes to Rod Stewart, we’re talking literally. In 2016, he was officially knighted “Sir Rod Stewart” by Britain’s Prince William for his services to music and charity. One of the best-selling artists in the history of recorded music, with an estimated 200 million records sold around the globe, his royal rockness holds court at the Bell Centre, March 27.

Pop icon or… lumberjack?

Music superstar Justin Timberlake makes his return to MTL supporting fifth album Man of the Woods. “The outdoors is the inspiration for a lot of these songs,” he told Rolling Stone. “That’s the main idea. The tour will be able to bring the outside in. How can we bring that to life? I want people to see the inspiration for how it ended up sounding.” Concertgoers can look forward to seeing how that works out on April 8 when JT plays the Bell Centre.

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The “hitman” cometh

Celine Dion’s Because You Loved Me, Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard, Chicago’s You’re the Inspiration, Michael Buble’s Home. And so on and so forth. There’s one man responsible for all of this, um, music, and that’s David Foster. The Grammy Award-winning producer is prepping for his first North American tour in more than eight years, and his Hitman Tour of tunes like the above will roll into Maison Symphonique in Place des Arts, April 13.

Two beautiful days

It’s always a beautiful day when Irish mega-group U2 plays Montréal – theirs is a live show that never, ever disappoints. The just-released Songs of Experience LP is the companion piece to 2014’s Songs of Innocence, just as their upcoming eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour will serve as the sequel to 2015’s iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour, which The New York Times called the No. 1 concert of 2015. U2 play not one but two shows at the Bell Centre, June 5 and 6.

Speaking of number ones…

Ascendant soul-pop songsmith Sam Smith recently claimed his sixth No. 1 single in the U.K. with the tune Too Good at Goodbyes, the lead single from only his second album, The Thrill of it All. In fact, it also went to No. 1 in Australia and New Zealand, and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Digital Song Sales chart. See why Smith is also No. 1 in the hearts of his fans when he wows the Bell Centre on June 19.

Hey now!

Now, you could say, has been a long time coming. In fact, it’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years – 15 years – since the still-reigning Queen of Country Pop Shania Twain’s last album, 2002’s Up!. The best-selling female artist in country music history, Twain’s tour for fifth album Now is one of the most anticipated of the year, so you won’t want to miss her when she pulls into the Bell Centre, June 26.

Party like it’s 1993

If you’ve been feeling this burning urge to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis LP, well guess what? The Yanni 25 – Live at the Acropolis Anniversary Concert Tour is coming to town in honour of the breakthrough live music concert recording that took no less than a year and a half to organize and set Yanni back $2 million of his own dough. It was worth it though: it remains the jazz/classical/world/rock fusion artist’s most successful album to date with seven million copies sold. Live it and love it again at the Bell Centre, July 22.

The show must, and will, go on

Even the 58th most powerful woman in the world (according to Forbes in 2014) needs to give her vocal cords a break from time to time. And on doctor’s orders, that’s what singing superstar Shakira did, postponing the North American leg of her El Dorado World Tour, which was previously scheduled to land in Montréal this month. The good news is the vocal powerhouse is rested, recalibrated and rescheduled to perform at the Bell Centre on August 8.

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You’ll have a certain HBO series theme song in your head in 10, 9, 8…

The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience – featuring GoT composer Ramin Djawadi, new music and footage from Season 7, as well as a new stage design and mesmerizing visuals – is at the Bell Centre, October 12. ’Nuff said.

MTL will give a little bit (actually a lot) of its love

The singer/songwriter of the band that Montrealers can’t ever seem to get enough, Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson – the architect of immortal FM classics like Give a Little Bit, The Logical Song, Dreamer, Take the Long Way Home and It’s Raining Again – will ride into town on a wave of joyful nostalgia when he brings his Breakfast in America World Tour to Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts, on October 30.

Because they can

If anyone can do it, Bon Jovi can do it. With their ongoing This House Is Not for Sale Tour, the New Jersey arena rock superstars will very likely once again take home the title for top-grossing tour, their first outing since the band’s 2013 Because We Can World Tour. (The 2013 tour was their fourth in six years to be ranked the No. 1 top-grossing tour in the world, a feat that had only previously been accomplished by The Rolling Stones.) Montréal will do its bit when the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees play the Bell Centre twice, April 4 and 5.

“And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time…”

It’s an epic three-year, 300-plus concerts goodbye, and a perfectly fitting way for Sir Elton John to tie a great big bow around a wildly successful 50-year career. After more than 50 Top 40 hits – like Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, Bennie and the Jets and Candle in the Wind, to name a few classics – and over 300 million albums sold, the legendary pop star and composer has announced that his upcoming, five-continent Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour will be his last. It’ll be an emotional, and doubtless amazing, send-off for fans at the Bell Centre on October 4.