Across the country on Monday night, live-music fans will be will be looking to usher in 2013 with the perfect (and perfectly ear-ringing) New Year’s Eve concert. Fortunately for music lovers of all stripes, there’s something for everybody this year. And after all, who wants to deal with the annoying security headaches of Times Square -- that is, besides the 1 million people who are estimated to show up there?
IBTimes put together a list of the 10 best New Year’s Eve concerts of the year. For anyone who prefers a quiet evening watching the ball drop from home, live vicariously.
Coldplay and Jay-Z (Barclays Center, Brooklyn)
Brooklyn’s newly christened arena celebrates its first New Year’s Eve with what some might consider an odd pairing: the British alt-rock band Coldplay and the rapper/entrepreneur Jay-Z. The latter has practically claimed ownership over the new arena, even though he technically owns less than a 1 percent stake in it, according to the Wall Street Journal. Either way, this is a hotly anticipated event, proving that rap and rock can peacefully coexist. Tickets.
Phish (Madison Square Garden, New York)
If you’ve been following this jam band around since Jerry Garcia died in 1995, you already know where to find them. For occasional partakers, Phish’s annual December concerts at the Garden are a nice deviation from the day job. According to MSG’s website, the band has played 23 shows at the Midtown venue to date. For the first time ever this year, the floor will be open to general admission. Tickets.
New York Philharmonic (Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York)
Unless you’re Mayor Bloomberg, you won’t be able to breeze in from off the street to this annual touchstone for New York’s cultural elite. But if loud music isn’t your thing, you can catch it live on PBS on Monday night. The famed composer Marvin Hamlisch was originally chosen to conduct this year’s event, but tragically he passed away in August at the age of 68. Hence, the concert will be a tribute to Hamlishch’s life and work. Sold Out. Watch Live.
Blonde Redhead (Irving Plaza, New York)
Hometown alt-rockers Blonde Redhead come to Irving Plaza in Union Square to play some of their ‘90s classics and a few semi-new tunes as well. (They haven’t put out an album since “Penny Sparkle” in 2010.) The 1,025-seat ballroom-style venue is perfectly suited for the intimate trio led by Kazu Makino. The Brooklyn surf rockers the Beach Fossils open. Tickets.
Jane’s Addiction (House of Blues, Atlantic City, N.J.)
After the havoc brought to Atlantic City by Superstorm Sandy in October, the famous resort town is in dire need of economic stimulation. Jane’s Addiction are as good a remedy as any. And while Perry Farrell’s screechy pipes may not be for everyone, the band’s riffs more than make up for it. Tickets.
Primus (The Warfield, San Francisco)
Bass-guitar genius Les Claypool and the boys return to San Francisco for their 22nd annual New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with 3D special-effects and a quadraphonic sound system. At 49, Claypool hasn’t exactly slowed down. If you have, Primus might not be your thing. If you haven’t, by all means “Fish On.” Tickets.
Mighty Mighty Bosstones (House of Blues, Boston)
It’s pretty much impossible not to love ska, and by default, it’s equally impossible not to love Bosstones’ infectious horns and peppy beats. The Boston-bred rockers are donning their zoot suits once again to ring in 2013 at their hometown House of Blues on Lansdowne Street. Tickets.
Willie Nelson/Iron & Wine (The Moody Theater, Austin, Tex.)
For anyone looking to slow it down this New Year’s Even, country-music legend Willie Nelson and acoustic-folk rocker Samuel Beam (aka Iron & Wine) offer just the right mellow mix. The concert is presented by Austin City Limits Live, and Andy Langer will host the show with a midnight champagne toast sponsored by Woodbridge Sparkling. Tickets.
Red Hot Chili Peppers (The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas)
If it’s starting to seem like too many ‘90s alternative bands made this list, rest assured there are plenty of other things to do in Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve. But if you’re looking for something with a little more energy and a little less gambling in the Nevada dessert, this is the event for you. The Chili Peppers put on a terrific live show. Tickets.
B. B. King (Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
At 87, the pioneering bluesman B. B. King has celebrated his share of New Year’s Eves, but for generations of music fans who have yet to see the guitar virtuoso live, there is no better time than the present. Mr. King is one of the most enduring living legends in music, and he’s been playing live shows for some six decades. How can he not be good? Tickets.
Christopher Zara covers media, culture, entertainment and the arts. He joined IBTimes in June 2012. From 2005 to 2012, he served as managing editor of Show Business, a trade...