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Top Valley Classic Rock Performances of 2013

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For Phoenix area classic rock fans, 2013 was the year of the classic rock album to be played in concert, in full, from start to finish. Who did it the best?

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The Alan Parsons Live Project performed the entire second side of “Turn of a Friendly Card.” Huey Lewis played the hit laden “Sports." Cheap Trick rocked out “Budokan.” Cindi Lauper sang all of “She’s So Unusual.” Queensryche, featuring Geoff Tate brought “Operation Mindcrime” to life. The Who did one double album, “Quadrophenia,” in full.

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull upped the ante with two whole albums, “Thick as a Brick” and "Thick as a Brick 2.” But Yes outdid them all, playing three complete albums live, “The Yes Album,” “Close to the Edge,” and “Going For the One.”

Of course there were many satisfying performances that didn’t just focus on one album. Sadly, it’s impossible to go and see every classic rock performance in the Valley throughout the year, even trying as best as one could. This year’s “Best Of,” list is taken from the nearly forty concerts I did attend so it’s possible there was a concert I missed that should have been on this list.

Naturally fans of a certain band are going to think their favorite group’s concert was the best. Plus, this list covers classic rock bands only, so Green Day’s performance at the Marquee Theatre, worthy of being considered one of the best of the year, won’t be included on the list.

What is the list based on? Length of the concert, musicianship, fan reaction, set list, band enthusiasm, special effects, ticket price and personal bias all go into the equation. Click on the photos to see the best of what classic rock concert goers got to see in Phoenix in 2013.

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