Looking back at 2019

Apr 7, 2019
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The Roots Rocked the LSA Stage in 2019

Isbell ascends, Gary Clark, Jr., electrifies and the season ends with an all-time great

With uncertainty hanging over the entire music industry right now, we thought it would be the perfect time to look back at everything we loved about the 2019 concert season at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.

Here’s some of our favorite moments from last summer:

Photo of Jason Isbell playing his guitar looing into the crowd

Witnessing the ascension of Jason Isbell

We’ve been fans of Isbell since his time with the Drive-By Truckers in the early 2000s, so seeing him evolve into one of the country’s most thoughtful singer-songwriters has been a pure joy. But seeing him in person last June just as he’s about to become the conscious of modern country music? Pure ecstasy. It’s why we’re in the music business. The surprise jam session with his old Drive-By Truckers buddy, Patterson Hood, during the encore was icing on the cake.

The Roots performed a stellar hip hop infused funky set in 2019

The Roots take over Bend

Hot damn we need more hip hop shows at the Amphitheater. For two hours straight, Questlove and crew showed off their insane skills. Does anyone in music do as many things as well as these legends? Oh, and guitarist Captain Kirk Doulas might be the coolest dude we’ve ever had on stage at the LSA.

Picture of Matisyahu dancing on stage during his performance in 2019

Welcome home Matisyahu

In the late 1990s, Matthew Paul Miller – you know him now as Matisyahu – could be found busking at Drake Park with his buddy Aaron Chambers. (That’s MC Mystic to Bend old school hip hop aficionados.) Born in Pennsylvania and raised in White Plains, New York, Matisyahu came to Bend as a teenager trying to kick addiction issues with the help of a wilderness program. He stuck around for several years and launched his music career with the group Soulfori. As part of Slightly Stoopid’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation 2019 tour, Matisyahu made his Les Schwab Amphitheater debut to the delight of everyone in the venue.

The B-52s in wild green and white flowing outfits with bright red lights in the background

Getting weird with The B-52s

The original exporters of all things fantastically odd and funky, The B-52s showcased all that we love about them and more during their August show. OMD and Berlin were pretty much the perfect openers, too. (Shout out to Berlin lead singer Terri Nunn, who finished her set singing in the middle of the LSA crowd.)

Picture of the Avett Brothers performing in 2019

Avetts at the top of their game

Catching the Avett Brothers last summer was like seeing MJ during the Bulls’ championship runs or Michealangelo as he was putting the finishing touches on the Sistine Chapel. The chance to collectively enjoy all-time artists at the peak of their powers is rare, but we caught a lucky break last August. Twenty-four songs, including all-time classics like “Murder in the City” and “Salina” solidified the Avetts’ spot in our imaginary LSA Pantheon.

Lyle Lovett performing as the sun goes down and a storm rolls in

Lyle vs. the lightning

Lyle Lovett’s June show was postponed about an hour because of lightning, but oh my, what a night for those that waited out the weather. With a gorgeous post-storm backdrop, Lovett’s performance thoroughly entertained an intimate crowd that reveled in the unpredictive nature of Central Oregon’s weather patterns.

Josh Groban serenading the crowd on an elaborate set with tall stairs and elegant lighting

Josh Groban’s “bad boy” performance

Broadway star. World-class tenor. Tony Awards host. And dare we say, faux troublemaker? Josh Groban delighted a multi-generational audience with tear-jerkingly good renditions of some of his biggest hits, as well as his playful banter with the crowd. Did that nice boy that sings Phantom songs just drop an F-bomb? Yes, yes he did.

Blues phenom Gary Clark Jr. performing on a smokey stage

Sneak peak of the next big thing

Good god, we caught a glimpse of the future of rock his name is Gary Clark, Jr. Before winning Grammys this past January for “Best Rock Song” and “Best Rock Performance,” Clark, Jr., electrified the Amphitheater crowd. A man of few words between songs, Clark, Jr., absolutely shredded the LSA stage, leaving everyone in attendance that September night stunned, awed, and dying to hear more.

Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin performing with a backing band during his 2019 performance

The GOAT concludes the 2019 season

We’re not sure there’s a better way to end a concert season than to conclude it with a performance from the most iconic voice in rock and roll history. Robert Plant came to Bend and Robert Plant delivered. Yes, he played a heavy dose of Zeppelin and it was glorious, but he also delivered when he dipped into material he’s recorded with the Sensational Space Shifters. But again, because it’s worth repeating, he sang Zeppelin and was friggin’ fantastic.

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