Staff Picks: 2022’s Best Shows Ever

Pollstar Staff’s favorite shows of 2022 range from Pearl Jam to the Desert Rose Band to Washington, D.C. psychedelic garage rock heroes The Slickee Boys. Here, Lizzo is pictured performing at the Chase Center in San Francisco Nov. 12, 2022.
Photo by Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

The Parcels
March 4, 2022 | Hollywood Palladium | Los Angeles, California

Everyone in the sold-out room witnessed the leveling-up of a future superstar act.

Bright Eyes
June 23, 2022 | Greek Theatre | Los Angeles, California

Their long-awaited Los Angeles return served as a joyous, cathartic reminder of the songwriting genius of Connor Oberst.

Father John Misty
Aug. 19, 2022 | Hollywood Forever Cemetery | Los Angeles, California

Backed by an orchestra, J. Tillman in top form. The sound impeccable; the setting surreal; the weather perfect. The bootleg of the evening’s set has become a prized possession.

Steve Earle & The Dukes
June 1, 2022 | Princess Theatre | Decatur, Alabama
Alison Krauss/Robert Plant
June 17, 2022 | Bonnaroo | Manchester, Tennessee
Red Hot Chili Peppers w/ The Strokes
Aug. 10, 2022 | Truist Park | Atlanta, Georgia
Elton John
Oct. 2, 2022 | Nissan Stadium | Nashville, Tennessee
Roger Waters
Oct. 6, 2022 | Moody Center | Austin, Texas

John Mulaney
March 1, 2022 | Historic Fox Theatre | Bakersfield, California

John Mulaney landed at No. 8 on Pollstar’s Top Comedy Tours chart inOctober on the strength of his “From Scratch” arena tour that launched shortly after a one-off, warmup gig March 1 at the more intimate, 1,540-capacity Historic Fox Theatre in Bakersfield. Days after his first “Saturday Night Live” hosting appearance since a stint in rehab, the former SNL writer with the sardonic wit and deceptively boyish demeanor tested his new material and passed the audition – making him possibly the only comic since Robin Williams to make cocaine funny.

Pearl Jam
May 16, 2022 | Save Mart Center | Fresno, California

In a perfect summation of 2022, Pearl Jam played to a packed, enthusiastic crowd, soldiering through two band members being actively sick, including frontman Eddie Vedder who told the audience he’d endured terrible food poisoning. Longtime drummer Matt Cameron was out with COVID, which led to three different drummers behind the kit. They still played 24 songs, well over two hours and sounded great.

The Slickee Boys
June 19, 2022 | Rosenteen Hall | Silver Spring, Maryland

For this live music obsessive and D.C. native, catching The Slickee Boys at a Knights of Columbus Hall benefit, their first show in 11 years, was like reaching Valhalla. Their driving hybrid of garage rock, psychedelia and catchy melodies still slay. Mark Noone’s powerful vocals, Marshall Keith’s guitar brilliance and Kim Kane’s tripped-out psych genius validated what four decades in the rearview might seem a youthful indiscretion. No, the Slickees RAWK and were the sublimest of gateways.

Green Day
Aug. 6, 2022 | Outside Lands | San Francisco, California

Billie Joe Armstrong reminisced about the band’s earlier days when they got kicked out of Golden Gate Park for a makeshift festival they attempted to throw. At Outside Lands, they carried the same charisma from their early years, the set now filled with all their classics from their historical career. Members of every generation joined the crowd, dancing and moshing as they screamed in protest of “American Idiots” and let their anger slip away.

Duran Duran
Sept. 10, 2022 | Hollywood Bowl | Los Angeles, California

What I initially saw as performing boyfriend duties in attending a concert with my girlfriend turned out to be one of the best live experiences I’ve had in years. Duran Duran’s triumphant return to L.A. was a colorful, vibrant spectacle that dialed back the clock for the audience with ’80s pop bliss that not only demanded movement from everyone but also respect for their music. It was more than enough to validate their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year.

Taylor Hawkins Tribute
Sept. 27, 2022 | Kia Forum | Inglewood, California

It was a requiem for one of music’s most universally beloved (and well-connected) men, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. And whereas the UK tribute at London’s Wembley Stadium three weeks earlier was heavy on tears, the Southern California show at the Kia Forum was just heavy: a six-hour capital-R Rock Show that had everything (John Paul Jones covering Elton John, Dave Chappelle covering Radiohead, Joe Walsh doing Joe Walsh stuff). Taylor Hawkins loved rock in every form from hair metal to prog. This show proved how much rock loved him back.

Desert Rose Band
Oct. 2, 2022 | Country Music Hall of Fame Ford Theater | Nashville, Tennessee

Perhaps the ’80s most unrecognized act, Desert Rose Band elevated Merle Haggard and Buck Owens’ Bakersfield ethos with a muscular harmonic attack via Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Chris Hillman’s lead vocals and bluegrass/Linda Ronstadt stalwart Herb Pedersen harmony; instrumentally via guitarist John Jorgenson and steel player Jay Dee Maness. Progressive traditionalism’s best, three hours of classics from Johnny & Jack and John Hiatt as well as their own wages of life writing shimmered. Transcendent, earthy, and definitive, DRB delivered what country music can and should be.z

Nov. 12, 2022 | Chase Center | San Francisco, California

This was more than just another concert. Sure, it was one hell of a show, complete with hit after danceable hit, amazing stage production, kick-ass dancers and talented musicians. But the evening also served as a motivational seminar and self-love retreat – from the lyrics in Lizzo’s feel-good tunes to the messages she shared in between songs. It was pretty much impossible not to have a giant smile on your face the whole show and leave with a boost to your self esteem.