Beyoncé “The Formation World Tour” (credit: Frank Micelotta/Parkwood Entertainment via Getty Images)
Whether your preference is old school or it’s the contemporary music scene, the Bay Area will be hosting a number of major R&B concerts this summer. One of the biggest will be the appearance of multi-Grammy Award-winner Lionel Richie at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. But the summer’s largest musical festival sold out completely as soon as tickets were made available, and it’s not a good idea to try to find a ticket from the secondary market. Fortunately, there are some other locally venues hosting big name acts, some of which has free admission. Here’s a look at five of the very best upcoming R&B concerts in the Bay Area.
Earth, Wind & Fire
14831 Pierce Road
Saratoga, CA 95070
Dates: August 2-3, 2016
With a musical repertoire spanning more than four decades, Earth, Wind & Fire will perform at the Mountain Winery for two consecutive nights. Led by original members Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson, the multi-award winning band is expected to perform many of their most enduring R&B hits such “Shining Star,” “Fantasy,” “Sing A Song” and “September,” which were all co-written by Maurice White, the founder of the band who sadly passed away in February. Tickets and dining packages to either show are still available although general admission tickets are sold out. Often described as the best outdoor venue in the Bay Area, the Mountain Winery is located on the former hilltop property of the historic Paul Masson Mountain Winery, offering sweeping views of the Santa Clara Valley.
19th Ave. and Sloat Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94132
Date: August 7
Legendary R&B group The O’Jays will make a very rare Bay Area appearance when they will perform during the 79th season of the Stern Grove Festival. Originally formed 1958, the enduring group still features original members Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, best known for several R&B classics like “Back Stabbers,” “Love Train,” “I Love Music” and “Use ta Be My Girl.” Rounding out the singing trio is Eric Nolan Grant, who joined the group in 1995.
The highly anticipated performance of O’Jays will be held at Stern Grove in San Francisco’s Sunset District a few miles south of Golden Gate Park. Although the Stern Grove Musical Festival is primarily an admission-free event, reserve tickets were available for this show but has sold out. Established in 1938, the Stern Grove Music Festival is the oldest-admission free summer performing arts festival of its kind in the country.
2001 Gayley Road
Berkeley, CA 94720
Dates: August 12-13, 2016
Although both shows sold out quickly, tickets remain available on the secondary markets to see Alabama Shakes at the UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. Once described as doing for R&B what The White Stripes did for the blues, Alabama Shakes, led by charismatic singer-guitarist-songwriter Brittany Howard, is one of the hottest new bands to come out of the South in recent memory. The winners of three Grammy Awards, including this year’s award for Best Alternative Music Album, Alabama Shakes has credited several artists as musical influences such as Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Prince, Tina Turner and Curtis Mayfield. The Athens, an Alabama-based band, has been crisscrossing the country this year with recent appearances at the Sasquatch! Music Festival in Washington and the Forecastle Festival in Kentucky, along with a few international stops which included an outdoor performance at British Summer Time in London’s Hyde Park. Opening both shows at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre is the indie rock band from Pennsylvania, Kurt Vile and the Violators.
Bootsy’s Rubber Band
40th Anniversary Concert
Oakland, CA 94612
Date: August 26
Funk bassist extraordinaire Bootsy Collins brings his Rubber Band to the Paramount Theatre in Oakland for a 40th anniversary concert. One of the most acclaimed and most flamboyant bass guitarists Booty Collins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 as a member the pioneering funk-rock-soul band Parliament Funkadelic (aka P-Funk), led by George Clinton. Also a former member of the backup band The J.B.’s for R&B legend James Brown, Collins’ decades old Bootsy’s Rubber Band is a spinoff of P-Funk and their 1978 album “Player of the Year” went to No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Chart and its top single “Bootzilla” went No. 1 on the on Billboard’s Singles Chart that same year.
Ticketholders to this event can expect to hear many other popular songs from the bandleader also nicknamed “Bootzilla,” such as “The Pinocchio Theory,” “Mother Connection” and “Give Up the Funk.” Tickets may be still available for this landmark event at the fabulous Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland.
Beyoncé – The Formation World Tour
4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Date: September 17, 2016
Due to popular demand, Beyoncé will once again perform at Levi’s Stadium as part of her The Formation World Tour. One of the world’s most famous and best paid music performers, Beyoncé made earlier appearances this year at Levi’s Stadium in a sold show in May and the halftime show of Super Bowl 50 in February, which also starred Coldplay and Bruno Mars.
Tickets remain available for the September show, as are rentals for one of the stadium’s luxury suites. The Formation World Tour is Beyoncé seventh major concert tour and promotes her sixth studio album “Lemonade” but will also include several of her most popular songs, including “Love on Top,” “Halo” and “Drunk in Love,” which last year, earned her and her husband Jay-Z the Grammy Award for both Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song.