The year might have been a political and social dumpster fire, but at least Miami got to see some decent shows. The most-read New Times concert reviews of the past year represent a diverse mix of genres, personalities, and venues, but they have one thing in common: They kept South Florida rocking through all the ups and downs.
1. Guns N' Roses at Marlins Park. After decades of public feuding and separate musical projects, "The Most Dangerous Band in the World" made up for lost time at Marlins Park with a blistering three-hour set of arena-ready hits and asserted its place in rock's disciplic succession with tributes to many of the rock 'n' roll gods who came before (and after) them.
2. The Chainsmokers at American Airlines Arena. The Chainsmokers didn't impress at the AAA in April, the opening date of their tour. After the obligatory sing-along to “Closer” came and went, there was a noticeable dampening in audience enthusiasm. Whether it was because there was school the next day or attendees had gotten their necessary fix, a gradual crowd exodus began when the duo played the hit “Paris” and continued through the set’s initial closing song, “Don’t Let Me Down.” By the time the show was ostensibly over, there didn’t seem to be all that much of a demand for an encore.
3. Depeche Mode at American Airlines Arena. The air was thick with nostalgia, but Depeche Mode itself was as urgent as ever. Performing a career-spanning set with enough selections across the band's discography to satiate all but the pickiest of fans, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and crew put on a show for the ages. Running through a monstrous 22-song set over the course of two and a half hours, Depeche Mode reminded Miami where the name of the city’s premier electronic music festival comes from and why.
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4. U2 at Hard Rock Stadium. Watching U2 in 2017 is akin to observing a well-oiled machine: There’s very little room for deviation or spontaneity, but hell if it doesn’t get the job done. The band kicked things off in an appropriate fashion with “Sunday Bloody Sunday”; as soon as the stadium lights switched off, the phone cameras came on, which was fine, as long as you weren’t standing behind a row of people watching tiny pixelated versions of the show on their screens.
5. Jay-Z at American Airlines Arena. Opening with “Kill Jay-Z,” the show strung four sets of screens in V shapes around the stage. During the opening montage, onscreen photos of Jigga’s face erupted into slow-burning flames that began at his eyes until the fire consumed everything. Standing in the middle of it all was Jay-Z, who rose on an elevated stage that was like an onyx pyramid emerging from the steaming center of the Earth.