2012 was a great year for music and a number of big acts took their show on the road and many of those tours included stops in and around Detroit.
At the same time local acts continued to rock shows throughout the area.
Here are just a few shows that stood out this year:
This year saw the return of Korn to the live stage as they toured behind their tenth studio album, The Path of Totality, which found them stepping into the electronic arena. Although many critics were turned off by the new sound, judging by the packed Fillmore crowd's reactions to their two new singles with electronic ace Skrillex, "Get Up!" and "Narcissistic Cannibal", their fans were more than ready to embrace the new direction.
Detroit's own alternative rock band, Sponge, were honored to be asked to play the Machine Shop's tenth anniversary show and to show their appreciation they pulled out one of the area's best rock shows of the year. The evening's entire lineup was fantastic with two of the area's best local bands, 151 and Westfall, kicking things off. They were followed by national Detroit act, Koffin Kats, who stole the show with their psychobilly punk rock and enthusiasm. Sponge closed things out relying heavily on their older material including crowd faves "Have You Seen Mary" and "Plowed".
Metal was alive and well this year with an eclectic Paganfest lineup headlined by Finland's Turisas. California metal band, Huntress. kicked things off in a big way on the strength of lead singer Jill Janus' operatic vocals. Russian metal band, Arkona, continued the strong showing and they were followed by Scottish "pirate metal" band, Alestorm, who kept the packed crowd drunkenly swaying throughout their set. Viking metal band, Turisas, closed things out on a stage bathed in red light with a set filled with the dramatic antics they are known for and the fist-pumping anthems that have gained them a world-wide following.
This year's Avalanche Tour rolled into Detroit in April with a lineup headlined by rock mainstays, Shinedown. This was the tour's second year and also featured solid performances from Art of Dying and Adelitas Way. The tour was Shinedown's first after the release of their fourth album, Amaryllis, and their set relied heavily on songs from the album including their hard-hitting single "Bully".
Back in May Italian gothic metal band, Lacuna Coil, brought their Dark Legacy Tour to the Machine Shop. The tour was a celebration of the band's fifteen year career and featured them performing three separate sets pulling out some new material and some hits in the first part before sitting down for a acoustic set that featured some songs they normally don't play live before hitting the stage for the third set filled with some of their heaviest material.
Recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Red Hot Chili Peppers had a big year as they continued to tour behind their tenth studio album, I'm with You. In May the band made two stops in the Detroit area starting with a show in Anthony Kiedis' hometown of Grand Rapids. In front of a sold out crowd, the Red Hot Chili Peppers continued to prove why they are one of the best live acts out there as they moved through songs from every point of their career including surprises like "Sir Psycho Sexy".
Strange Music took over the Fillmore back in June featuring a strong lineup of acts headlined by Kansas City's Tech N9ne. The tour was the longest hip hop tour in history with 96 shows in 105 days. The ambitious effort featured some fantastic staging and lighting and saw strong sets from Stevie Stone, Prozak, ¡Mayday! and Machine Gun Kelly. Tech N9ne, along with hype man Krizz Kaliko, closed things out with a 90-minute set proving why he is rap's best underground artist.
It took awhile but Boston rockers, Aerosmith, finally made it back to the live stage and released their long-awaited fifteenth studio album, Music from Another Dimension!. The band brought their Global Warming Tour to the Palace in July along with openers Cheap Trick. Classic rock was the theme of the evening as both bands focused on their seventies material throwing in a few of their new songs along the way. The highlight of the evening was watching the interplay between the members of Aerosmith as they prowled the stage and catwalk. Regardless of the inner chaos the band always seem to have around them, when they are on stage they mesh perfectly and their enthusiasm carried over into the crowd who sang along with every lyric.
This year's Honda Civic Tour lineup may have been its best yet with Incubus and Linkin Park serving as co-headliners. The tour made a stop in Auburn Hills in August and featured an opening performance from New Orleans' alternative rockers Mutemath. In contrast to Linkin Park's elaborate staging, Incubus kept things simple as they moved through 85-minutes of their biggest hits including a fantastic version of "Promises, Promises" that began as a acoustic before revving into the version that their fans love. Linkin Park always puts on great live shows so it was no surprise to see them once again blow the roof off as they powered through their hits and songs off of their latest album, Living Things.
Canadian rockers My Darkest Days spent quite a bit of time in the Detroit area this year making two stops with Nickelback's Here and Now Tour and hitting up a couple of the area's festivals. However, their last show in the area was a headlining one at their favorite area venue in Flint, the Machine Shop. The sold out show had a great rock vibe from start to finish with energetic sets from Surrender the Fall and Otherwise kicking things off. The guys from My Darkest Days finished things off with a set that allowed them to pull out some stuff their supporting runs hadn't allowed and their cover of "Come Undone" set the place on fire before pulling out their two biggest singles "Casual Sex" and "Porn Star Dancing".
Symphonic metal was on the bill at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in September as Kamelot and Nightwish fired up the packed crowd. Kamelot kicked things off with new front man, Tommy Karevik, winning over the crowd early as they moved through all of the songs the fans came to hear. It had been awhile since Finnish metallers, Nightwish, had been in the U.S. so fans were more than ready to see them as the band hit the stage with one of the new songs off of their latest album, Imaginaerum, "Storytime". The highlight of the set was a mini-acoustic sit-down that featured a performance of front man Marco Hietala’s "The Islander". The band seemed to be really enjoying themselves but just days later they would part ways with front woman, Anette Olzon, who had replaced original vocalist, Tarja Turunen, in 2007.
Madonna returned to the stage this year with the MDNA Tour, which has been named the highest grossing tour of the year earning an estimated $228.4 million. In November, the queen of pop came back to Detroit playing to her hometown crowd at Joe Louis Arena. The two-hour show was a spectacle filled with lot of dancing, theatrics, set and costume changes. DJ Paul Oakenfold kicked things off with a set of house music before the long wait for Madonna to take the stage. Although heavily focused on music from her latest album, MDNA, Madonna also pulled out some crowd faves like "Papa Don't Preach", "Express Yourself" and "Vogue" and re-worked some of her hits like "Like A Virgin" and "Open Your Heart".