August 2023 Concert Guide: Rod, Pink, Willie, GNR, Gabby, Jelly Roll, Morgan Wallen, and Pablo Cruise

Rod Stewart performing in concert in 2014. (Photo: Joe Bielawa and Wikipedia.)

Rod Stewart performing in concert in 2014 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo: Joe Bielawa and Wikipedia.)

There are no stadium concerts this month, but there is a big one at PPG Paints Arena—the legendary Rod Stewart. PNC Park, not known for high quality late-season baseball, has been making a name for itself as a late summer concert venue. Guns N’ Roses, Pink, Morgan Wallen, and Pittsburgh native Gabby Barrett will all be performing there.

Country phenom Jelly Roll is in concert at Star Lake. Also at the shed is Luke Bryan, and Willie Nelson with his Outlaw Music Festival including John Fogerty. Southern rocker/blues musician Tinsley Ellis is helping break-in the new music venue, City Winery. Looking for something with a trop rock/California vibe? Pablo Cruise and the annual Rock Reggae & Relief Festival are just the ticket. Slightly Stoopid and Sublime with Rome are the top names at the fest. And last, but certainly not least, is rising alt-rocker beabadoobee, who’s in concert at Stage AE.

This guide features (in chronological order) Spotlight Picks, Other Shows of Interest, and Big Shows on the Horizon. Get out and see what pleases you, whether it’s one of our concert picks or something entirely different. Mike Vargo (M.V.) also contributed to this guide.

Spotlight Picks

Wednesday, August 2 

Beabadoobee, born Beatrice Kristi Laus in Iloilo City, the Philippines, moved with her family to London when she was three. A singer-songwriter, she has composed Stephen-Malkmus-inspired songs, such as … “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus.” (Malkmus is the singer for the indie-rock band Pavement.) Beabadoobee has released five EPs, and two albums. 2020’s Fake It Flowers, appeared on a number of music publications’ best-of lists for that year. Last year’s Beatopia reached no. 4 on the U.K. Official Albums chart. Her “Glue Song‘ single, released earlier this year, debuted at no. 4 on Spotify’s Global Track Debut. Beabadoobee recently had the high honor of opening for Taylor Swift on her Eras tour. She has just dropped her latest single, “the way things go.” Special guest is Been Stellar. Doors open 7 p.m. Stage AE, 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (C.M., R.H.)



Saturday, August 5

Whereas some of her pop contemporaries have faded, P!nk continues to record and tour and plays PNC Park this month. Born Alecia Beth Moore in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, she became famous with songs like “There You Go” from her debut album, 2000’s Can’t Take Me Home. Her appearance on “Lady Marmalade” in 2001 further propelled her career as did “Get the Party Started,” also released that year. She began the new decade strong with “Raise Your Glass.” It first appeared on 2010’s Greatest Hits… So Far!!! Although nearly all artists tack on new tracks to greatest hits records, “Raise Your Glass” became a bona fide hit, reaching No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Pink’s lastest LP is Trustfall, which was released early this year and debuted at no. 2 two on the Billboard 200. The three-time Grammy Award-winner is bringing her Summer Carnival Tour to PNC Park. Pink may even do some aerial twirling that’s she’s been known for. Also on the bill are Brandi Carlile, Grouplove, and DJ Kid Cut Up. 6:30 p.m., 115 Federal St., North Shore. (CM)

Friday, August 11

There is some very good country music talent here in the ‘Burgh, but not many have made it as far in the industry as Gabby Barrett. She was born in Munhall and attended High School at Serra Catholic in McKeesport for a period. Barrett won the Kean Quest Talent Search here in Pittsburgh in 2014 and started singing in her church choir in Homestead. During the 2017 – 2018 season of the TV show “American Idol,” she made it all the way to the finals before being voted off. In 2019 Barrett married fellow “Idol” contestant Cade Foehner. After “Idol” she kept working on her craft and in 2020 released her debut album, Goldmine. It was well received, making it all the way to no. 4 on the Billboard Country charts. Barrett also has also has had two no. 1 singles on the country charts. Her latest release is the 2023 single “Glory Days.” See Barrett in a post game concert at PNC Park. 115 Federal St., North Shore. (R.H.)

Saturday, August 12 

Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” and we’re very lucky because he’s stopping in the ‘Burgh to entertain us. He’ll be headlining the Outlaw Music Festival as it swings by The Pavilion at Star Lake with its strong lineup of top musicians and groups. Nelson is a singer/songwriter/author/activist/businessman and more. He’s had a storied career that includes a Kennedy Center Honor. In 1993, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. One of the founders of Farm Aid, which started in 1985 to help struggling farmers, Nelson was inducted into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2011. Nelson’s been known to “inhale” and has claimed to have smoked marijuana on the roof of the White House. His 2012 book, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road, is a memoir that became a New York Times Top Ten Best Seller.

First and foremost for Nelson is the music. In 1973, turned off by the conservative nature of the Nashville country music scene, he was a founding member of a branch of the industry in Austin, Texas called outlaw country. Other members included Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings, who joined Nelson to form the outlaw country supergroup The Highwaymen. When Nelson plays, he is joined by musical associates he calls The Family. Nelson is an extremely prodigious writer of songs and recorder of albums, he has 74 solo albums to his credit. 2023 saw him releasing two albums: I Don’t Know a Thing About Love and  Bluegrass (set for release September 15). With this annual Outlaw Music Festival event, he’s sure to play many old and new favorites, including “Always on My Mind” and “Whiskey River.” John Fogerty who fronted the  legendary Credence Clearwater Revival and has had a very successful solo career is a special guest; plus Flatland Cavalry, Kathleen Edwards, and Particle Kid. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (R.H.)

Outlaw country troubadour, Willie Nelson

Outlaw country music troubadour, Willie Nelson. (Photo: David McClister.)

Sunday, August 13

Is Tinsley Ellis a traditional blues guitarist or a southern rock guitar blazer? Ellis has an affinity for both genres. And after all isn’t blues the mother of many styles of rock? A hard working, extremely talented guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer, he was born in Atlanta and grew up in South Florida. Ellis has recorded 20 albums and is nominated for the 2023 Blues Music Awards in both the Blues Rock Album and Blues Rock Musician categories, presented by The Blues Foundation. 2022’s Devil May Care is his latest album. In an interview with Entertainment Central earlier this year, Ellis said, “Devil May Care is my most Allman Brothers Band influenced album. They were my local band in Atlanta and South Florida where I grew up,” Ellis said. “I got on board with them while Duane Allman was still alive and followed their entire career, both watching concerts and buying albums. Then around 30 years ago they started letting me perform with them, letting me sit in with them and play.” This tour Ellis will be putting aside his Stratocaster and will be performing acoustically many of his most popular songs, plus Delta blues covers and classics by artists like Gregg Allman, Bob Dylan, and Leo Kottke, on his 1937 National Steel and 1969 Martin D-35 guitars. His performance will also include storytelling segments from his years in the music industry and the people he’s met. Catch him at one of Pittsburgh’s newest music venues, City Winery in the Terminal Building. 7:30 p.m. 1627 Smallman St., Strip District. (R.H.)

One of the guitars Tinsley Ellis will be playing on his Acoustic Songs and Stories tour with Marcia Ball will be his 1937 National Steel acoustic.

One of the guitars Tinsley Ellis will be playing on his Acoustic Songs and Stories tour is his 1937 National Steel acoustic.

Monday, August 14

When fans asked who Pablo was, members of the soft rock group Pablo Cruise would respond, “He’s the guy in the middle.” Truthfully, there was no Pablo or even a Cruise. Instead, there was David Jenkins, Cory Lerios, Steve Price, and the late bassist Bud Cockrell. Jenkins (guitar and vocals) and Lerios (keyboards and vocals) now play with Larry Antonino (bass), Sergio Gonzalez (drums and percussion) and Robbie Wyckoff (vocals and percussion). The group will bring hits such as “A Place in the Sun,” “Atlanta June,” and “Whatcha Gonna Do?” to Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. Even if you have never heard Pablo Cruise’s blend of California guitar, piano, and contemplative lyrics, you have probably at least heard Lerios’s solo work. Lerios has scored several films and television shows, including NBC’s” Baywatch.” After calling it quits in 1986, Pablo Cruise returned in 2004, and the band has been touring successfully ever since. 8 p.m. 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (R.H.)

Tuesday, August 15

“I only talk to God when I need a favor / I only pray when I ain’t got a prayer”: The lines are a clever paraphrase of the language of 12-step groups. The point is that the Higher Power responds best to a more consistent relationship, but will—if asked sincerely—answer a crisis call. That’s what the singer known as Jelly Roll is hoping for in “Need a Favor.” It’s the lead single of his new album Whitsitt Chapel, from which you’ll hear plenty on his Backroad Baptism tour, which he brings to The Pavilion at Star Lake. Good seats are rare, because Jelly Roll (born Jason DeFord) has a passionate fan base. He’s coming from a real-life background that included jail time, lots of substance abuse, and personal tragedies. And maybe what resonates with people is that he offers no simple answers. His songs convey no pride in being a hard-knocks survivor or a recovery ninja; no confidence that his soul has been saved and all will be well. As Jelly Roll sings it, life is complicated and he’s a struggling soul, forever teetering between a leap forward and a backslide. (Try “Save Me.”)  If that sounds like a humbler view, and one more in line with many people’s reality—well, there you go. 

Jelly Roll was the artist’s childhood nickname. A recent New York Times profile described him as “no Taylor Swift,” although like Swift, he has migrated across genres. Jelly Roll began in hip hop, trending hardcore, then moved country-ward to the point where he’s now a CMT Award winner and Grand Ole Opry member. Along the way he segued from rapping to singing, which is not an easy transition, but Jelly carries a tune with deftness and depth. Catch him at Star Lake along with guests Yelawolf and Struggle Jennings. 7 p.m. 665 PA Rte. 18, Burgettstown. (M.V.)

Friday, August 18

It will beParadise City” again for all the Guns N’ Roses fans who love seeing founding members: lead vocalist extraordinaire Axl Rose, the very talented guitar slinger Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, and bassist Duff McKagan. Forming in 1985, the band rose out of Los Angeles, California to the big time on the wings of their first album Appetite for Destruction and its monster hit single “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” In ’87 the album reached no. 1 on Billboard 200, and the single also reached no.1 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. In September of 1991 GNR released its third and fourth album on the same day, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, in conjunction with their tour of the same name. The albums debuted at no. 1 and no. 2 respectively on the Billboard 200, and have sold a combined 35 million albums worldwide. GNR has been called “the most dangerous band in the world” and the original lineup of GNR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. The band has always been fronted by Axl Rose, but other founding members have left and most have now returned. Their latest album is 2008’s Chinese Democracy. Let’s hope we see a new LP in the not too distant future. A very special guest is The Pretenders. 6 p.m. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore. (R.H.)

Saturday, August 19

One of the biggest acts in country music, Luke Bryan, visits The Pavilion at Star Lake on his Country Tour 2023. Bryan first earned his keep as a Nashville songwriter by penning tunes for the likes of Travis Tritt and Billy Currington. Then he proved to be more than capable of stepping into the spotlight himself. Since launching his debut EP All My Friends Say in 2006, he has sold over 75 million recordings and won five Entertainer of the Year Awards, from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association combined. More often seen in a baseball hat than a cowboy hat, Bryan became a fan favorite by writing music that deals with some pretty popular themes (“Wild Weekend,” “Cold Beer Drinker,” “I’m Hungover”). “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” went triple platinum in 2014 and he’s had a couple of dozen more singles that charted number one. Along with his music career, Bryan is a generous philanthropist, a sharp businessman—business degree from Georgia Southern, folks—and a judge on “American Idol.” His latest studio album is 2020’s Born Here Live Here Die Here, and last year he released the compilation album Prayin’ in a Deer Stand. Which makes one think it’s the deer that ought to be praying, but maybe Luke puts in a good word for the creature. He is an uplifting kind of guy. Luke Bryan comes to Star Lake with guests Chayce Beckham, Ashley Cooke, Conner Smith, and DJ Rock. 7 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. (C.M., M.V.)


“Hey mon, come on down to Forbes Avenue near Market Square today cause we be jammin’ for Rock Reggae and Relief 2023 with Slightly Stoopid, Sublime with Rome, Tropidelic, Roots of Creation, and local talents Keystone Vibe and FUBAR. The Piatt Family Foundation has designated the beneficiary for this year to be Catapult Greater Pittsburgh which “engages in emergency resource distribution, peer-to-peer support, wealth building, trauma-informed financial counseling, and policy advocacy to ensure systematically disenfranchised communities can meaningfully achieve economic justice and lead dignified and equitable lives.” So have a blast and help out our neighbors. And if that’s not enough fun, there’s also a preparty Friday evening at Roost with Roots of Creation and an afterparty Saturday night at the same location. (R.H.)

Saturday, August 26

Recording artists sometimes have several phases of their career and such is the case with Rod Stewart as well. He enjoyed early success as a vocalist and songwriter with the Jeff Beck Group before leaving to join the Faces and start his highly successful solo career. While with the Faces he sang the iconic “Maggie May.” Stewart is actually one of the top-selling recording artists of all time. He has had 16 top ten hits in the U.S. with four of reaching no. 1. on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and has sold over 100 million records. Major hits for Stewart were  “Tonight’s the Night,” “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?,” “Forever Young,” and “Some Guys Have All The Luck.”  In 2002 Stewart released the first of his Great American Songbook recordings which continued his successful run. He’s even released a Soulbook recording of Motown and other soul songs and several other Great American Songbook albums. Look for a sweet mix of older and more recent hits in his concert. Special guest is Cheap Trick. 7:30 p.m. PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (R.H.)

Wednesday, August 30 & Thursday, August 31 

Morgan Wallen, toting his rep as a bad boy with good sounds, comes to Pittsburgh on his One Night At A Time tour. The country music performer is definitely a little edgy at times. His career hit some bumps over the last several years following several incidents: being arrested for disorderly conduct after being escorted out of Kid Rock’s steakhouse in Nashville in May 2020, kicked off “Saturday Night Live” the same year for not following NBC’s COVID-19 protocols, and in 2021 a video surfaced of Wallen saying a racial slur. He has apologized for that one, both in public statements and by making charitable donations, though the sting still lingers. Nonetheless, Wallen’s 2021 release Dangerous: The Double Album shot to #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart—holding that spot for over 90 weeks—and this year’s One Thing at a Time has been a chartbuster as well. Despite the name of the current tour, Morgan Wallen plays a two-night (well, two-evening) stand here at PNC Park, starting 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday Aug. 30 and Thursday Aug. 31. Guests on this tour have included ERNEST, Bailey Zimmerman, and more. 115 Federal St., North Side. (R.H., M.V.)

Morgan Wallen performing in Salt Lake City in September 2022. (Photo: Morganwallen8020 and Wikipedia)

Morgan Wallen performing in Salt Lake City in September 2022. (Photo: Morganwallen8020 and Wikipedia)

Other Shows of Interest

Tuesday, August 1
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (Stage AE)
Kinetic (Katz Plaza)

Friday, August 4
Happy Together Tour (Palace Theatre)
Ted Nugent (Hollywood Casino at The Meadows)

Saturday, August 5
Dickey Betts presents Great Southern (City Winery)
Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers (Mario’s 410 Grille)
Godsmack and Staind (Pavilion at Star Lake)
Queens of the Stone Age (Stage AE)

Friday, August 4 & Saturday, August 5
Flood City Music Festival

August 6
Alice Cooper (Johnstown War Memorial)
The Beach Boys (Palace Theatre)

Friday, August 11
The LOX (Byham Theater)

Saturday, August 12
The Delaney’s (Rivers Casino)

Saturday, August 12 &  Sunday, August 13
Four Chord Music Festival (Washington Wild Things Park)

Tuesday, August 15
Incubus (UPMC Events Center)
Bettye LaVette (City Winery)
Reggie Watkins Trio (Katz Plaza)

Wednesday, August 16
Daughtry (Palace Theatre)
Samantha Fish (Jergel’s)

Saturday, August 19
Bill Toms and Hard Rain (Moondog’s Pub)

Tuesday, August 22
Parliament Funkadelic w/George Clinton (Roxian Theatre)
Al Stewart and The Empty Pockets (The Oaks Theatre)
Black Flag (Crafthouse Stage & Grill)

Wednesday, August 23
Ghost (Pavilion at Star Lake)
Joss Stone (Palace Theatre)
Together Pangea (Preserving Underground)

Friday, August 25
Live (Stage AE)
Scott, Rob, and Greg of The Clarks (Rivers Casino)

Saturday, August 26
Disturbed (Pavilion at Star Lake)

Tuesday, August 29
Paul Cosentino’s Boilermaker Jazz Band (Katz Plaza)

Wednesday, August 30
Wayne Newton (Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall)

Thursday, August 31
Billy Price and Bill Toms (Jergel’s)

Big Shows on the Horizon

September 3
Lynyrd Skynyrd (Pavilion at Star Lake)

September 6
Aerosmith (PPG Paints Arena)

September 8
Eric Clapton (PPG Paints Arena)
Shinedown (Pavilion at Star Lake)

September 9
Duran Duran (PPG Paints Arena)

September 12 & 14
Bruce Springsteen (PPG Paints Arena)

September 13
Ray LaMontagne (Benedum Center)

September 14 & 15
Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)

September 15
Old Dominion (PPG Paints Arena)

September 16
$UICIDEBOY$ (PPG Paints Arena)
m.o.e. (Mountain View Amphitheater)

September 23
Peter Gabriel (PPG Paints Arena)

September 25
Jonas Brothers (PPG Paints Arena)

September 27
Stevie Nicks (PPG Paints Arena)

September 29
Nickelback (Pavilion at Star Lake)

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central.

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