Even in a thin concert year, plenty of stars will be out

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The big concert season may be thinner than last year's, but there are still several star acts coming to the area. Here are a few highlights.

May rocks to a close tonight with Bonnie Raitt at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

June starts with a bang at WHFS' daylong HFStival (Saturday) at RFK Stadium in Washington, headlined by Soul Asylum. Also at RFK, the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan perform (June 24-25). At Merriweather Post Pavilion, look for Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band (June 13-14). At the Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge, in Bristow, Va., you can hear Hank Williams Jr. (June 9), Melissa Etheridge (June 25) and Luther Vandross (June 28). At the Baltimore Arena, Barry White performs (June 23). And at Pier Six Concert Pavilion, look for Buddy Guy (June 22).

July features Ben & Jerry's One World One Heart Festival (July 8) at Merriweather, headlined by Nanci Griffith. Also at Merriweather, White Zombie and Babes in Toyland perform (July 15). At Nissan Pavilion, look for Michael Bolton (July 15) and Lynyrd Skynrd (July 9). At Pier Six, Trisha Yearwood performs (July 3).

August picks up the pace at Nissan Pavilion with Van Halen and Collective Soul (Aug. 4), Reba McEntire with Toby Keith and Rhett Atkins (Aug. 6), The Cranberries and Toad the Wet Sprocket (Aug. 9) and Jimmy Buffett (Aug. 11). At Merriweather, performing are Carly Simon and Hall & Oates (Aug. 5), Diana Ross (Aug. 8), Vince Gill and Patty Loveless (Aug. 11), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Pete Droge (Aug. 24) and Van Halen (Aug. 29). At Pier Six, there'll be Willie Nelson (Aug. 16).

September brings Eric Clapton to USAir Arena (Sept. 11). At Merriweather, Billy Ray Cyrus plays (Sept. 3).

October isn't too early to think about when you've got R.E.M. coming to USAir Arena (Oct. 16).

For tickets, use the following phone numbers:

* Baltimore Arena, Pier Six Concert Pavilion, Nissan Pavilion, RFK Stadium, USAir Arena: Call Ticketmaster at (410) 481-SEAT.

* Merriweather Post Pavilion: Call (410) 730-2424 for information; (410) 581-0110 for tickets.

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