Top Live Shows of 2015 | Marc Farr

2015MusicAmid songs from their catalog, Panic! at the Disco treated the audience to a brilliant rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”



Ghost | The Pageant, St. Louis (10.16)

Many would write off a band like Ghost merely due to its theatrics or satanic overtones—and they would be doing themselves a great disservice. Ghost, who hails from Sweden, has a fan base that is growing rapidly, and their impeccable live show is proof as to why. Lead vocalist Papa Emeritus III (the third in succession to I and II) supplies a mellow tenor atop a style of music that defies any conventional label. Backed by a band known only as The Nameless Ghouls, the musicianship is fantastic: The band is even better live than on CD, and that says a lot today. While many of the dreamy harmonies are prerecorded, the live guitar and bass work unquestionably stand out. Fans were treated to material from Ghost’s four-album discography, including favorites like “Year Zero” and “Monstrous Clock,” and new tracks from their latest release Meliora, including “He Is,” “From the Pinnacle to the Pit,” and the lead single from the album,”Cirice.”

Marilyn Manson | The Pageant, St. Louis (02.09)

Without all the usual dramatics like bible-ripping, crosses made of TVs, and naked females, the show was stripped down to backdrops with Manson himself carrying the show….and he succeeded. His new vocal approach works for him, and shows hope for the future. His performance was impeccable. The show featured classic tunes such as “Disposable Teens” and the mega-hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), alongside new tracks including “Killing Strangers” and the first single from the new album, “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge.”

Weird Al Yankovic | Peabody Opera House, St. Louis (06.28)

Total fun! The King of the Parody brought his weirdness to the Peabody Opera House this year. Starting the show on the street corner as a camera followed him into the venue, the night kicked off on a high note, and kept that level throughout the show. Listening to über hits “Eat It,” “Fat,” and “Amish Paradise,” the all-ages crowd delighted in his performance. (Yankovic even donned the fat suit for the Michael Jackson parody, “Fat.”)

Blondie/Melissa Etheridge | Fair St. Louis (07.03)

What a great coupling. Fair St. Louis outdid itself in 2015 with the meeting of rock superstar Melissa Etheridge, with musical legends Blondie for what was dubbed the “Short and Sweet Tour.” Both artists played hit after hit, with Blondie rocking on “Call Me,” Maria,” and “Heart of Glass.” Debbie Harry still has her pipes and signature blonde hair. Miss Etheridge sported her guitar, and had the crowd singing along on with her on hits including “Come to My Window,” “Bring Me Some Water,” and more. A wonderful evening under the stars with two superstars.

Panic! at the Disco | Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre (07.18)

Thousands of fans gathered to pay tribute to one of the greatest bands ever. Panic! at the Disco packed the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre this past summer for the second leg of their “Gospel Tour.” Amid songs from their entire catalog, they treated the audience to a brilliant rendition of Queen’s massive hit “Bohemian Rhapsody.” While they were officially the opening band for AWOL Nation, Panic! stole the show hands down that night.

Blood on the Dance Floor | Fubar, St. Louis (03.11)

Dahvie Vanity and Jayy Von Monroe, or “BOTDF” as they are known to fans, put every ounce of energy behind their performance. While much of the music is prerecorded, the live guitarist, the drummer, and the duo make for a killer show. As the band played faves like “Unforgiven” and “Incomplete and All Alone,” the small but fevered crowd absorbed every note. The underrated Florida duo also takes the time to meet and greet the fans before and after the show.

Judas Priest | Family Arena, St. Charles, MO (05.19)

Time has been quite kind to Rob Halford and his metal brethren. With a voice that can still pierce steel, and blazing guitar riffs, the metal gods deliver the goods live, playing fan favorites “Livin’ After Midnight” and “Breakin’ the Law,” along with tracks from their newest release Redeemer of Souls. Complete with a Halford-driven Harley-Davidson on stage, Priest delivered the goods.

Neon Trees | Ready Room, St. Louis (06.22)

A great venue for an intimate evening with any artist. Neon Trees played songs from their entire catalog, including their most recent release, Pop Psychology. With a very pregnant drummer behind the kit in Elaine Bradley, the band were in great form. Vocalist Tyler Glenn had an instant rapport with the audience, while playing tracks such as “Love in the 21st Century” and “Sleeping with a Friend,” both from the latest release. Laid back and informal, this was a great show.

Lita Ford | The Wildey Theatre, Edwardsville, IL (03.13)

With nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a co-guitarist/vocalist, Ms. Ford was eloquent and informal when she played her unplugged set at the intimate Wildey Theatre. Complete with hits including “Kiss Me Deadly” and the super hit “Close My Eyes Forever,” the performance was no less than stellar.

9Electric | Firebird, St. Louis (04.16)

For a new band, the guys in 9Electric are madly entertaining, and one hell of a rock ’n’ roll band live. Even after falling and hitting his head on the drum set, lead singer Thunderwood never missed a note. The band is highly entertaining; I recommend them to all rock fans. With the right PR and the right tour, 9Electric might just reach the first cog in the fame machine. | Marc Farr

About Marc Farr 244 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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