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Top 15 Detroit area concerts in 2013

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2013 was another year filled with fantastic live shows in the Detroit area.

Some of music's biggest acts made their way through the area in the last twelve months and a number of new, exciting acts made themselves known.

Here is a list of fifteen of the best shows that I got a chance to cover this year.

Flogging Molly at the Fillmore Detroit 1-25-13
Flogging Molly at the Fillmore Detroit 1-25-13 Tracy Heck

Flogging Molly at the Fillmore Detroit 1-25-13

Flogging Molly kicked the year off with a January show at the Fillmore Detroit.  Out on their 9th annual Green 17 tour, the band really changed things up this time digging out some rarities including a fantastic version of "Lightning Storm".  The show also featured solid performances from openers Dave Hause and Skinny Lister.

Imagine Dragons at the Fillmore Detroit 3-1-13
Imagine Dragons at the Fillmore Detroit 3-1-13 Tracy Heck

Imagine Dragons at the Fillmore Detroit 3-1-13

Imagine Dragons had a huge year as their debut album Night Visions produced one hit after another.  The band brought their tour to the Fillmore Detroit in March along with openers Nico Vega, who really brought down the house with their energetic set, and Atlas Genius who provided a solid set of indie rock.  Imagine Dragons are one of those bands that you can really see are having a fantastic time out on stage and their passion carried over into the sold out crowd creating a memorable experience for everyone in attendance. 

Muse at Joe Louis Arena 3-2-13
Muse at Joe Louis Arena 3-2-13 Tracy Heck

Muse at Joe Louis Arena 3-2-13

Muse have perfected the art of the arena rock show and are easily one of the best touring live acts out there.  In March, the band made a return to Detroit playing a show at Joe Louis Arena.  Up and coming rock band Dead Sara opened the show with a strong set of powerful rock.  Muse took to the stage with their usual state-of-the-art production values and fantastic light show but this time out it was really all about the music as the band brought one of their better set lists that included songs spanning their entire career from first single "Sunburn" to their latest hit "Madness".

Pink at the Palace of Auburn Hills 3-5-13
Pink at the Palace of Auburn Hills 3-5-13 Tracy Heck

Pink at the Palace of Auburn Hills 3-5-13

Pink brought what was easily one of the biggest and best tours of the year to the Palace of Auburn Hills in March.  The Hives opened the show before Pink's emcee/ringmaster for the evening kicked things off.  Over the following two hours, Pink touched on every area of her career as she took her audience on a tour through her version of "The Truth About Love".  She and her band did this with lots of pyro, acrobatics, visual effects, dancing and humor all the while showcasing her "live" vocals.  By the time she flew over the crowd for an encore of "So What", the crowd was eating out of her hand.

Ghost at Saint Andrews Hall 5-7-13
Ghost at Saint Andrews Hall 5-7-13 Tracy Heck

Ghost at Saint Andrews Hall 5-7-13

Those looking for some over-the-top metal and theatrics were treated to a fantastic May show when Ghost B.C. hit the stage at Saint Andrews Hall.  With the smell of incense in the air and the stage bathed in blue, Papa Emeritus II and his Nameless Ghouls hit the stage with a flourish and kicked into their doom metal.  The crowd was treated to a priestly wave,  satanic chanting and the option to confess their sins.  It was obvious that everyone in attendance had a fantastic time as Ghost gave the crowd one of the most unique shows of the year.

Candlebox at the Machine Shop 5-29-13
Candlebox at the Machine Shop 5-29-13 Tracy Heck

Candlebox at the Machine Shop 5-29-13

2013 marked twenty years for alternative rock band Candlebox and they brought their twentieth anniversary tour to the Machine Shop in May.  The band played a number of songs off of their self-titled debut album as well as some newer songs from their latest album Love Stories & Other Musings.  The show kicked off with rocking sets from Tripp 'N' Dixie, Open Air Stereo and the Miggs. 

Orion Festival Day One at Belle Isle 6-8-13
Orion Festival Day One at Belle Isle 6-8-13 Tracy Heck

Orion Festival Day One at Belle Isle 6-8-13

Last summer saw Detroit finally get a huge rock festival as Metallica brought their Orion Festival to Belle Isle for two days in June.  Shows featuring cars, skateboarding, films and horror memorabilia ran throughout both days and the festival provided a eclectic mix of bands on Orion's four stages and in the EDM tent.  Day one included breakout performances from Battlecross and Dead Sara, a reunion from Infectious Grooves and a main stage set from Dropkick Murphys.  Metallica shocked the world with a surprise set on the second stage under the name Dehaan, where they performed their entire first album, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers closed out things with a bang.

Orion Festival at Belle Isle Day Two 6-9-13
Orion Festival at Belle Isle Day Two 6-9-13 Tracy Heck

Orion Festival at Belle Isle Day Two 6-9-13

Day Two on Belle Isle for Orion Festival found All Shall Perish kicking things off in a heavy way before Cauldron took to another stage with their brand of power metal.  The Deftones' drew the day's largest crowd as they rocked the main stage with their biggest hits.  Gogol Bordello closed things out on the second stages with their gypsy punk party music before Metallica blew things up on the main stage with rarities from "Carpe Diem Baby" to "I Disappear".  Showing some love to Detroit, the band pulled out their cover of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" in their encore set.

Halestorm at Freedom Hill 6-30-13
Halestorm at Freedom Hill 6-30-13 Tracy Heck

Halestorm at Freedom Hill 6-30-13

The Stars and Stripes Festival found a new home at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights this summer and in spite of the rain playing havoc with set times, the festival was a success.  Sunday night saw Halestorm headlining the national stage to a packed crowd.  Earlier in the day, Kaleido kicked things off with a energetic set before Everlast took to the stage with a powerful set of his bluesy rock.  Halestorm then closed things out with an aggressive performance that highlighted just why they are one of rock's fastest rising stars.  Songs like "Rock Show" and "I Miss the Misery" had the crowd off its feet throughout.

Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty at DTE 7-6-13
Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty at DTE 7-6-13 Tracy Heck

Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty at DTE 7-6-13

Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty were in the mood to party this summer as they brought their co-headlining tour to DTE in July.  A feeling of nostalgia and feel good music made for an enjoyable evening as both bands kicked out hit after hit.  Goo Goo Dolls also brought out some songs from their current album Magnetic and Matchbox Twenty played some songs off their last release North.

Black Sabbath at DTE 8-6-13
Black Sabbath at DTE 8-6-13 Tracy Heck

Black Sabbath at DTE 8-6-13

It was a big year for Black Sabbath as they reunited and released a new album 13, which ended up being the band's first number one release.  In August, the band made its return to DTE.  Andrew W.K. opened things with a odd deejay set before the metal masters took to the stage.  Black Sabbath drew a rather diverse crowd as metallers from every generation packed the place in.  The band hit hard right away with "War Pigs" and just kept delivering punch after punch from "Black Sabbath" to "Snowblind" to new hit "God Is Dead".

The Cult at the Fillmore Detroit 8-9-13
The Cult at the Fillmore Detroit 8-9-13 Tracy Heck

The Cult at the Fillmore Detroit 8-9-13

British rock band The Cult spent the year out on the road performing their legendary album Electric in its entirety.  The band brought their tour to the Fillmore in August where they not only ran through the album but came out for a second set that mixed in some of their biggest hits including "Rain" and "She Sells Sanctuary".  The Cult's enthusiasm made it obvious just how much the band was enjoying the tour.

Depeche Mode at DTE 8-22-13
Depeche Mode at DTE 8-22-13 Tracy Heck

Depeche Mode at DTE 8-22-13

Depeche Mode finally returned to the scene this year with a fantastic new album Delta Machine and a world tour.  The tour made a stop at DTE in August and was definitely one of the year's biggest highlights as the band passionately tore through through their catalog and gave audiences a taste of their latest gems.  The set found the band rediscovering their campy hit "Just Can't Get Enough".  Depeche Mode closed things out with a five-song encore that ended with "Never Let Me Down".

Rock Allegiance Tour at Freedom Hill 8-28-13
Rock Allegiance Tour at Freedom Hill 8-28-13 Tracy Heck

Rock Allegiance Tour at Freedom Hill 8-28-13

The Rock Allegiance Tour featured one of the year's oddest lineups with Airbourne, All That Remains, HIM and Volbeat sharing the stage.  The tour's stop at Freedom Hill in August unfortunately didn't feature All That Remains due to vocalist Phil Labonte's illness.  However, the other band's sets were extended.  Airbourne kicked things off before HIM took to the stage performing a number of songs off of their latest album Tears On Tape.  Vocalist Ville Valo sounded the best that he has in years and the rest of the band were clearly enjoying being back on stage with one another.  Volbeat closed things out with a hard hitting set that featured a number of songs from their latest album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies.

Nine Inch Nails at the Palace of Auburn Hills 10-7-13
Nine Inch Nails at the Palace of Auburn Hills 10-7-13 Tracy Heck

Nine Inch Nails at the Palace of Auburn Hills 10-7-13

Nine Inch Nails returned to the stage in a big way this year with their Tension World Tour.  Re-inspired to produce Nine Inch Nails' music, vocalist Trent Reznor put together a strong band and a strong new album in Hesitation Marks.  The tour made a stop at the Palace in October where the band roared through a 25-song set that seemed to naturally flow and build up speed as it moved along.  There were a number of new songs but it was the band's driving hits that really stood out from "March of the Pigs" to "The Hand That Feeds".  The show's massive visual effects and moody lighting also helped add to the flow.

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