Quick, go and get that “Thunder From Down Under” 2014 calendar that Santa brought you.
Now, grab a Sharpie, and circle the following dates, because you don’t want to miss any of the shows on our rundown of the top 10 most anticipated concerts announced for the new year thus far:
George Strait, MGM Grand Garden arena, Feb 2
The cowboy is riding off into the sunset for good, as Strait has said that this is his final tour. And so this may be the last of Strait’s annual Super Bowl weekend performances, which have become as much of a Vegas tradition as the tearful shredding of your losing parlay card the next day.
Queens of the Stone Age, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, Feb. 13
Before recording their latest album, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme was bedridden for four months after complications following what was supposed to have been a routine knee surgery, and the experience informs the alternately searching and seductive “… Like Clockwork,” which was one of the most critically acclaimed hard rock records of 2013. Live, though, the band is less about reflecting upon their mortality than imperiling yours.
Extreme Thing, Desert Breeze Skate Park, March 29
How extreme is Extreme Thing? Well, it’s like Mountain Dew in the form of an all-day, all-ages sports and music festival, which returns for its 14th year with one of its biggest lineups yet with Bring Me the Horizon, Killswitch Engage, Taking Back Sunday, The Used, Of Mice & Men, Emmure and others.
Punk Rock Bowling, downtown, May 23-26
Punk Rock Bowling has the welcoming, come-as-you-are vibe of a family reunion — if your relatives consisted of punk lifers with more tattoos than your average prison cell block. Easily one of the most fun, awesomely out-of-hand parties of the year, this go-round features NOFX, the Descendents, Cock Sparrer, The Adicts and dozens of others to be announced.
Cher, MGM Grand Garden arena, May 25
Do you believe in life after love? Cher wants to know. You can answer in the affirmative in person when the diva of all divas performs at the MGM Grand Garden arena. But don’t even think of displaying your affection and admiration for the glam goddess in question by showing up at the concert dressed in that booby-riffic bodysuit that she wore in the “Turn Back Time” video. That’s what we’re wearing.
Billy Joel, MGM Grand Garden arena, June 7
To return to the MGM Grand Garden arena, Billy Joel will take a break from his yearlong stint as a “franchise” act at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, where he was hired so that real, live cheering could be heard there once again as the Knicks continue to stink the place up like a toot in a phone booth.
Warped Tour, Luxor Festival Grounds, June 19
Easily the most grueling show every year, this all-day marathon of primarily punk and metal-oriented bands is an endurance test for its youthful audience, which will sizzle beneath the sun to see bands such as For Today, Attila, Teenage Bottlerocket, Saves the Day on an asphalt surface that will double as a griddle.
Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, June 20-22
Hard to imagine this electronic dance music monolith getting much bigger than it did in 2013 when it felt like you had walked into one of festival founder Pasquale Rotella’s fever dreams, such was the onslaught of light, sound, fire and dudes dressed as dancing bananas. Attendancewise, it will do just that, as capacity will be increased from 115,000 to 130,000 attendees a day. Get your tickets now, as the event has been known to sell out before a single performer is even announced.
Lady Gaga, MGM Grand Garden arena, July 19
Lady Gaga brings her “Artrave: The Art Pop Ball” to Las Vegas. What to expect? Subtlety, understatement, fully clothed performers, nonsexually suggestive dancing and a frank discussion of the pros and cons of knitting vs. sewing a nice pair of socks. At least that’s what we’re predicting.
Justin Timberlake, MGM Grand Garden arena, Aug. 8
He already brought sexy back, and now Timberlake’s doing the same with his “The 20/20 Experience World Tour,” which revisits the MGM Grand after two sold-out shows during Thanksgiving weekend. Make the woman in your life happy for a change and get her tickets.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow him on Twitter: @JasonBracelin.