With 2016 almost in the books, we've been wanting to look back nostalgically at the twelve months that just passed. The past year saw legends headline arenas, local bands stretch out their wings, and lots and lots of spring breakers congregating for a festival. With 2017 lurking around the corner, we're digging into our recent archives to reminisce on the ten best concerts Broward and Palm Beach saw in 2016.
Silversun Pickups at Culture Room January 8
What we said: "First coming to fame in 2005, Silversun Pickups brought an American angst edge to British shoegazing influences like My Bloody Valentine. On this night, they replicated their recorded work in a live setting so convincingly that it kept possibly one of the more polite crowds in human history locked in place. By the time they finished their main set with 'Lazy Eye,' the best Smashing Pumpkins song Billy Corgan never wrote, there was finally some jumping and hair flailing in the crowd." David Rolland
Garth Brooks at BB&T Center January 14
What we said: "The expression on Brooks’ face said it all: He missed touring. Much like a child on Christmas (albeit, a very large child that is much too caffeinated), there was nothing but pure energy and joy in his face. After a couple more singles, like "Two Piña Coladas,” “Papa Loved Mama,” and “Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up),” Brooks' happiness played out onstage during his various sprints, playful smacking of the cymbals, and climbing on the drummer’s plastic cage." Natalya Jones
Bruce Springsteen at BB&T Center February 16
What we said: "All these years later, Bruce Springsteen is still singing these songs about pain and longing. And there’s an arena full of so-called adults singing along. The man next to me who looks like a middle-school science teacher has tears streaming down his cheek during 'Wrecking Ball.'" Ryan Pfeffer
Okeechobee Music Festival at Sunshine Grove March 4-6
What we said: "It may be Okeechobee's first go-around, but the level of experience and passion behind its conception and launch definitely shows. As we take in five stages of music and palpable feel-good vibes in the air, it already feels like an established fest, making us more than confident Sunday will blow our minds and leave us waiting for what's to come next year." Falyn Freyman
Earth Wind & Fire and Chicago at Perfect Vodka Amphitheater March 25
What we said: "Racism, hatred, and fear might still exist on this planet, but there was no trace of that Friday night. Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago’s messages of love and acceptance resonated with the crowd — which begs the question: Can horns really bring people together? The answer: Always." Olivia Feldman
Pearl Jam at BB&T Center April 8
What we said: "Vedder's singing voice, a signature deep mumble that's gone on to inspire many others (looking at you, Scott Stapp from Creed and the Calling’s Alex Band), was still intact and strong. As Pearl Jam dove deeper into its catalog, “Help, Help” and “Nothingman” became new personal favorites. But every song the band played was filled with energy, impressive guitar riffs and drum skills, and unwavering vocals." Natalya Jones
The Sword at Culture Room May 10
What we said: "Frontman John D. Cronise, with his beard and long face, looked reminiscent of a younger, no-frills Pete Townshend, his fingers hammering the frets of his axe with the dexterity of a millennial typing out a text message. He didn't speak to the audience until an hour into the set, when he thanked everyone for coming and said they had a few songs left. Rather, Cronise directed all his energy at narrating with his high-pitched vocals as guitarist Kyle Shutt, bassist Bryan Richie, and drummer Jimmy Vela took us on a sonic journey through the outer realms of the galaxy." David Rolland
The Helmsmen at Kelsey Theater June 18
What we said: "The Jupiter-based outfit debuted their second EP and first physical album, Mid Term, as well as a new music video for their latest single, “Ankles.” Like the venue, the restored and revitalized Kelsey Theater in Lake Park, the show marked the start of something, an addition to the music scene and the overall culture, that Palm Beach County could be proud of." Angel Melendez
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AC/DC at BB&T Center August 30
What we said: "Bands have replaced lead singers before. Brian Johnson of course was himself a replacement for Bon Scott when Scott passed away in 1980. But I'm hard pressed to think of an example of anyone as high profile as Axl Rose joining another band — even temporarily. The volume at the BB&T was turned up as loud as you would expect at an AC/DC concert. The penis-shaped stage proved big enough for the night's two stars. Axl did his famous Sweet Child O' Mine dance moves though with a thicker body and thinner hair, while guitarist Angus Young, dressed in his trademark English schoolboy outfit, was an ageless guitar hero." David Rolland
Foals at Revolution Live October 25
What we said: "Foals were titans playing in a dollhouse – one they enthusiastically crushed with all of their might. Those of us crammed into Revolution were fortunate enough to witness poetry. Foals employed melodies that resonated with the soul as well as the ears. They were as beautiful as a Gregorian chant, as invigorating as a cold shower, and as passionate as a kiss between lovers separated by time and space." Angel Melendez