Summer Sets

Expect fireworks all month long with these headline acts

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The heat is on this summer – July has some of the world’s greatest entertainers coming to New York City. Singer-songwriter superstar Meghan Trainor doo-wops over to JBL at Pier 97 July 31 and alt-rock band X Ambassadors electrifies Central Park’s SummerStage July 22 (exclusive interviews on the following pages). Get ready to rock with Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson July 31 at Jones Beach and Foo Fighters July 15 and 16 at Citi Field. Country music superstar Shania Twain shimmies July 1 at Nassau Coliseum and July 7 at the Prudential Center while 80s new wave band Culture Club parties it up July 27 and 28 at the Beacon Theatre. If you are looking for hot emerging acts, Australian singer- songwriter Courtney Barnett takes over Terminal 5 on July 22. As we do each month, NYC Monthly is spotlighting these other show stopping tours:

The world got a taste of Taylor Swift‘s pop leanings with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and “22” but never before have we seen the pop princess in full pop star mode until her “1989 World Tour.” America’s sweetheart will always be a country darling, but she’s charmed the pop world, already racking up three #1s on the Billboard Hot 100 from her most recent album “1989,” with “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space” and her summer smash “Bad Blood”. Swift plays Metlife Stadium July 10 and 11. Beyond the current pop fare, favorites like “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” are expected to draw huge cheers, as these were the songs that built Swift’s career and fanbase. The costumes are more sleek than ever, the production value is higher, and song arrangements that will keep everyone on their toes. Stilettoed toes at that.

Bronx native Romeo Santos grew up living close to Yankee Stadium, to find out years later he would be performing two sold-out shows there in 2014. The former teen star from the wildly popular Dominican foursome Aventura was the lead singer and went off as a solo artist in 2011 becoming a phenomenon in the Latin music world. Santos was recently crowned Artist of the Year and his superstar status continues to be on the rise with two #1 albums, more #1 hits than any other Latin artist this decade, and the first-ever bachata performance during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – a sign that his music will cross over into the mainstream. What’s more, he’s playing an unprecedented three shows at Barclays Center July 10 through12. In the span of two solo albums, Santos has already recorded with the likes of Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, not to mention fellow Latin icons Marc Anthony and Carlos Santana. His high-energy shows will be complimented by dancing fans eagerly awaiting major hits like the Usher-featured ballad “Promise” and the Drake-supported guitar- centric “Odio” (“Hate”).

Since breaking on the scene in 1993 with “Sex Me” followed by his first #1 “Bump N’ Grind,” R.  Kelly has been a mainstay in popular music. Lovers and singles alike can check out his current tour hitting the Prudential Center (Newark) July 18 with special guests Floetry. Sometimes a voice is so powerful, that it is enough to draw massive crowds, and that is the case with R. Kelly, who has sold 40 million albums and collected numerous major awards over the years. Though “Snake” and “Thoia Thoing” are expected to be crowd-pleasers, it will be interesting to see which of his iconic ballads (like “The World’s Greatest”) will be performed as well, including his diva-supported duets “I’m Your Angel” and “I Look To You,” recorded with  Celine Dion and Whitney Houston, respectively. Kelly’s Lady Gaga collab “Do What U Want” would be a welcome surprise and “Gotham City” would be especially fitting for the New York area. Expect the screams to go into high gear for timeless ballad “I Believe I Can Fly” and the inescapable weekend jam “Ignition (Remix)” – cause when “it’s the freakin’ weekend” you know it’s time for some R. Kelly.

You can’t get much bigger than U2 – their longevity from the 80s to the 90s and beyond is almost unheard of in rock music. U2 has eight shows scheduled from July 18 through 31 while on their “iNNOCENCE & eXPERIENCE Tour” coming to Madison Square Garden. This epic New York City residency is expected to impress with decades of hits including “With Or Without You” and “Mysterious Ways” to “One” and “Vertigo.” The band has been at it for nearly forty years, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and collected 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other group. This foursome is rooted in powerful song lyrics, melodies and guitar vamps, always having something to say about politics and peace. U2 is expected to be in rockstar mode for 2.5 hours and their set will likely include some tracks off recent release “Songs of Innocence,” with bets placed high for the stadium-ready “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” and the poignant ballad “Song for Someone.” Fans can expect one of the most high-energy sing-a-longs ever.