Here are my favorite concerts from 2012:
1. Neutral Milk Hotel at Athenaeum Theatre, Feb. 6: After releasing two acclaimed albums in the '90s, Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum drifted away for more than a decade. His return stacked up as an event, and he delivered: His voice in full cry, nailing notes with conviction and accuracy over guitar strummed so rudely it's a wonder it didn't break in half. He sounded renewed, and so did a thrilled audience. "How do you feel about reincarnation?" one fan blurted out. Mangum's response: "I'm doing it right now."
2. Nick Waterhouse at
3. Amadou and Mariam at
5. Frank Ocean at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Aug. 4: Anyone who was there and many who weren’t will remember Lollapalooza 2012 as the evacuation festival, when promoters and police emptied Grant Park in anticipation of a major storm that swept through downtown Chicago. Much later on that rain-drenched day, Frank Ocean played in front of a small crowd and delivered one emotionally complex, darkly insinuating song after another. Playing an acoustic guitar, Ocean evoked the subtle elegance of Jobim, the sensual yearning of
8. Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall at
10. D’Angelo at United Center, Sept. 13: Like Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, D’Angelo has sunk into an enigmatic silence for more than a decade after making two brilliant albums. His return to the stage as opening act for the always-incandescent