The Five Best Concerts in Orange County in 2012...At Least From What I Saw

The Five Best Concerts in Orange County in 2012...At Least From What I Saw
Daniel Kohn

Over the past year, Orange County has served as the host to many fantastic live shows. Haters may hate, but the one thing they can't deny is that the area still is one of the most influential areas in the country when it comes to producing, judging and cranking up live music. Here are some of the best shows in the area of 2012, in my humble opinion.

The Five Best Concerts in Orange County in 2012...At Least From What I Saw
Daniel Kohn

5. Willie Nelson, Pacific Amphitheater, July 13

The 79-year-old troubadour brought his show to OC and needless to say, the Texan still has it. His voice still sounds great and Nelson manages to mix crowd-pleasing classics in with songs of his latest album, Heroes, which was one of his most well-received in years. No matter how you cut it, Nelson and his tremendous backing band are still chugging along and with no end in sight.

The Five Best Concerts in Orange County in 2012...At Least From What I Saw
Scott Dudelson

4. Phish, Long Beach Arena, Aug. 15

After years of inconsistent play, the Vermont jam band brought their A-game to Long Beach to the delight of their rabid fanbase. While set one was groovier than the second, it was great to hear Trey Anastasio playing guitar like he did in the band's heyday. Oh, and the rest of the gang wasn't too bad either.  

The Five Best Concerts in Orange County in 2012...At Least From What I Saw
Daniel Kohn

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3. Of Monsters and Men, The Observatory, Aug. 8

One of the breakout bands of the past year, the Icelandic natives' 75 minute set had the packed venue on their feet, singing along to every tune. The sextet proved on this night that they have a bright future moving ahead and this could be one of the shows where fans say, "I saw Of Monsters and Men when..."

The Five Best Concerts in Orange County in 2012...At Least From What I Saw
Matt Oliver / OC Weekly

2. Young The Giant, Pacific Amphitheater, July 22

The hometown boys played their biggest headlining area show to date and after a few years on the road, this was a triumphant return home. Debuting a few new tunes to go along with their catalog of hits, the band was in peak form, shaking off any pressure that would come with playing in front of friends, family and people who they may have crossed paths with at South Coast Plaza. With a new album coming soon, this show served as a reminder to locals that yes, they're our guys and that despite what naysayers may think, they haven't forgotten their roots and save their best for here.

The Five Best Concerts in Orange County in 2012...At Least From What I Saw
Sugarwolf

1. Bruce Springsteen, Honda Center, Dec. 4

The arena was rockin' and The Boss was rollin. Three and a half hours of classics, new songs, special guests and youthful enthusiasm. Any questions?

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