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2014 Summer Pop Concerts In Connecticut

Summer in Connecticut means lobster rolls, backyard barbecues, decent weather (for a change) and some of the best live music on the planet, as some of the biggest names in pop roll into the state for a night (or two).

Here are must-see shows to add to your entertainment calendar.

Tim McGraw

 He's lookin' for that girl. Will he find her in Hartford? If the country superstar, who scored three top-selling smash hits in 2013, is as good with the smooth talk as he is with the songs, he'll do just fine. June 13, 8 p.m., $30.25-$70.25. Xfinity Theatre, Hartford. Information: 860-548-7370, ticketmaster.com.

Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band

Mr. Starkey doesn't take many pics of himself, but we'll give him a pass — after all, he's one of the most photographed people in history, ever. Ringo brings a stellar band (Todd Rundgren!) to Wallingford's Toyota Oakdale Theatre in mid-June, and there's a good chance they'll play "Photograph." June 14, 8 p.m., $45-$75. Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford. Information: 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.

Willie Nelson and Family & Alison Krauss and Union Station

 At 81, the Red Headed Stranger is still country-strong, and Krauss, who's achieved her own level of legendary Americana status, is the perfect foil. Kacey Musgraves opens. June 15, 6 p.m., $38-$98. Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center, Simsbury. Information: 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.

Fall Out Boy and Paramore

Two '00s rock acts, each of whom has overcome fly-by-night status to achieve a respectable level of pop permanence, head to Hartford's Xfinity Theatre for a night of radio hits and newer material, with indie rockers New Politics opening. June 19, 7 p.m., $20-$60. Xfinity Theatre, Hartford. Information: 860-548-7370, ticketmaster.com.

Jennifer Lopez

Before she launched her singing career, J-Lo was in front of cameras — as a dancing Fly Girl on the early '90s television show "In Living Color," in feature films and later as a judge on "American Idol" — but she's also a huge concert draw. June 21, 8 p.m., $195-$325. Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket. Information: 800-200-2882, foxwoods.com.

Avril Lavigne

The Canadian pop star, who reportedly allowed Brazilian fans to snap pics with her (at $400 a pop), brings mega-hits like "Complicated," "Girlfriend" and the more recent "Hello Kitty" with her to Foxwoods. June 28, 8 p.m., $37.50-$57.50. Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket. Information: 800-200-2882, foxwoods.com.

Katy Perry

There are stars who look good in photos, and then there's Perry, a blue-eyed pop siren who takes sultry, sugar-coated imagery to previously unheard-of levels. Perry's Prismatic World Tour, which promises number one hits "Roar" and "Dark Horse" alongside her past chartbusters, arrives in Uncasville for a post-modern, two-screen romp. July 7, 7 p.m., $100.50-$150.50. Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville. Information: 860-862-7163, mohegansun.com.

Bruno Mars

With his Super Bowl halftime show still fresh in everyone's ears (and eyes), the multi-talented Mars continues his quest for pop-world domination on the current leg of his Moonshine Jungle World Tour. Don't expect the Red Hot Chili Peppers to show up this time. (Aloe Blacc opens.) July 9, 8 p.m., $35.50-$131. Xfinity Theatre, Hartford. Information: 860-548-7370, ticketmaster.com.

Neon Trees

A new Def Jam album, "Pop Psychology," to promote and a fresh, new-wave dance-party vibe are two reasons to go hear the multi-platinum Salt Lake rockers at the intimate Dome at Oakdale. Smallpools and Nightmare the Cat open. July 10, 8 p.m., $22.50. The Dome at Oakdale, Wallingford. Information: 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.

Dave Matthews Band

What would summer in Hartford be with Dave Matthews? If you can tolerate the bro-heavy parking lot scene, you'll hear two sets of electric and acoustic sounds from the most radio-friendly jamband of the last quarter-century. July 11-12, 8 p.m., $40.50-$75. Xfinity Theatre, Hartford. Information: 860-548-7370, ticketmaster.com.

Queen + Adam Lambert

Take a groundbreaking British rock band missing its signature member — the late, great Freddie Mercury — and add talented "American Idol" star Adam Lambert, one of the few contemporary performers who could (arguably) fill his shoes: you've got yourself a fabulous summer concert. Somewhere up there, the spirit of Freddie is smiling. July 19 & 25, 8 p.m., $79.50-$99.50. Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville. Information: 860-862-7163, mohegansun.com.

Gathering of the Vibes

Though not quite as well-known for its fashion sense as Coachella, Bridgeport's annual Gathering of the Vibes has its own camera-friendly aesthetic. Headliners this year include Widespread Panic, John Fogerty, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Ziggy Marley. Go for a day, or stay the whole time. It's all good. July 31-Aug. 3. Ticket information and full lineup at gatheringofthevibes.com.

KISS, Def Leppard: Two of the most visually appealing hard-rock acts of all-time join forces for a hit-packed show in Hartford in August (assuming tempers and notoriously fragile egos hold up that long). Where else can you hear "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Rock and Roll All Night" in the same evening (not counting every hour on classic-rock radio)? Armageddon it. Aug. 10, 7 p.m., $26.50-$163.50. Xfinity Theatre, Hartford. Information: 860-548-7370, ticketmaster.com.

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Derek Trucks is the ponytailed, flannel-wearing Allman Brothers guitar sorcerer. His wife, Susan Tedeschi, belts the blues better than anyone you've heard in recent years. Together, they lead an ensemble of virtuosic musicians, who play and sing heartfelt, retro-southern soul. On a warm August night, what could be better? Aug. 14, 7 p.m., $19-$78. Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center, Simsbury. Information: 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.

Editor's note: This text has been changed to correct a description of Fall Out Boy and Paramore bands. Earlier version described them as rock bands for the '90s instead of '00s.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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