At the time of writing, Orange County concert venues are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the official website for California coronavirus response, these facilities are classified as “non-essential indoor business operations.”
But there’s hope for Irvine-area music lovers. Some outdoor shows are still scheduled, subject to health and safety guidelines put forth by the county of Orange (including limited audience capacities to enable safe social distancing).
Irvine’s largest concert venue, the outdoor FivePoint Amphitheatre, has a number of concerts scheduled for May through October this year. Or rather rescheduled, as all are replacement dates for shows previously postponed due to the pandemic.
While all the advertised FivePoint concerts will be subject to health and safety guidelines in place on their respective dates, which are subject to change, the 12,000-capacity amphitheater is unusually well placed to accommodate these. With its flexible seating and thoughtful design, the Live Nation-operated FivePoint (which is intended as an interim replacement for the old Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre) can quickly and easily adapt to limited audience capacities and recommended social distancing practices.
With that said, all concerts are subject to postponement or cancellation due to the shifting risks and regulations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Prospective attendees and ticket holders should keep a close eye on current health and safety guidelines and the FivePoint Amphitheatre website as the date of a given concert approaches.
With fingers firmly crossed, we took a look at all the concerts advertised on FivePoint Amphitheatre’s website at the time of writing.
CHAIN FEST, May 29
Chain Fest is a co-presentation between Live Nation and storied Anaheim venue Chain Reaction. An all-ages bastion since 1996, Chain Reaction has been central to both bringing touring punk, metal and ska bands to O.C., and to nurturing successful local acts including Irvine’s Young the Giant and Huntington Beach heroes Avenged Sevenfold. With its focus on punk-lite and post-hardcore, Chain Fest comprises co-headliners Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday alongside Circa Survive (playing songs from 2010 album Blue Sky Noise); a “greatest hits” set from Saves The Day; Anberlin; Glassjaw (performing songs from 2000’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence); Cartel (playing a selection from 2005’s Chroma); and Acceptance.
CHICAGO, June 12
Billed as “An Evening with Chicago and Their Greatest Hits,” this epic occasion promises a multi-generational journey through the best-known songs of Chicago’s 53-year career. Though the band has seen countless lineup changes over its famously hit-laden history, which includes an incredible 47 gold and platinum awards, four of the current 11-piece touring outfit are founder members. Trading their earlier more experimental, jazzy sound for sentimental, brass-flecked ballads made Chicago all-powerful in the 1970s, when they were the leading U.S. singles charting group (according to Billboard). Classic weepies like “If You Leave Me Now” and “Hard Habit to Break” remain “our song” to couples worldwide, and massively nostalgic to millions.
5 SECONDS OF SUMMER, June 25
One of Australia’s most successful musical exports, Sydney’s 5 Seconds of Summer went from YouTube cover-song sensations to global chart toppers in the space of just their first three years. Essentially a boy band injected with a visceral dose of pop-punk, the astonishingly youthful foursome (still only in their mid-20s) bravely changed direction with third album Youngblood. This 2018 collection ushered in a more of-the-moment, synthy and sophisticated dance-pop exploration of industrial and goth sensibilities, which continued with last year’s Calm. Maintaining their record of every album to date debuting at number one in their home country, Calm also confirmed 5 Seconds of Summer as a serious, here-to-stay pop phenomenon.
SLIGHTLY STOOPID, July 16
San Diego’s Slightly Stoopid personify not only a distinctively West Coast music genre, but also an entire lifestyle. Their freewheeling blend of reggae, folk, hip-hop, rock, punk and blues is born of beachy, bong-fueled good times and speaks to those of a sunny, hang-loose outlook. Yet while their style is SoCal through-and-through, it has translated amazingly well around the world. Over their 27-year career, the septet has sold-out shows on multiple continents and graced many of the top festivals, while also co-headlining a U.S. tour with Snoop Dogg. Slightly Stoopid’s latest album, 2018’s Everyday Life, Everyday People straddles no-worries dub reggae, breezy ska, and funky psychedelia with help from UB40’s Ali Campbell, Chali 2na, and Yellowman.
FISHFEST 2021, July 17
Southern California’s largest Christian music festival returns in fine form, headlined by Grammy-winning Texas worship leader Chris Tomlin (“How Great Is Our God”). Rounding out this year’s impressive bill are American Idol alumnus Danny Gokey, who remains best-known for 2009 hitlet “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me”; San Diego’s Phil Wickham (of “This Is Amazing Grace” fame); Irish transplants We Are Messengers; 20-year-old Nashville sensation Riley Clemmons; and rapper/singer Aaron Cole (“Right on Time,” “One More Day”). Riverside author/pastor Greg Laurie will be the event’s speaker. The throughline of this ostensibly diverse lineup is its message of hope, which has surely never been so pertinent and universal.
DISTURBED, Aug 23
When they broke out with debut album The Sickness in 2000, Disturbed appeared to be wafting in on the fumes of the already over-saturated nu-metal genre. Yet, unlike the bands they were initially lumped in with, the Chicagoan quartet made no nods to hip-hop, and there were never any JNCO jeans or Adidas tracksuits in sight. Ultimately, Disturbed’s commitment to melodic, timeless hard rock inspired by bedrock bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Pantera saw them outgrow and outlast nu metal, thanks in no small part to the percussive, pseudo-operatic abilities of vocalist David Draiman. Reassuringly, Disturbed have become mega-selling arena fixtures by putting songwriting and performance firmly ahead of fashion and fad.
IRATION, Aug 27
When the original members of Santa Barbara’s Iration relocated from Hawaii, they brought oodles of island attitude and sunshine reggae with them. A band whose rep revolves around live performance, there are few so apt for an outdoor SoCal summer concert. Just as they broke through with 2013’s Automatic, Iration had to weather the departure of one of their two vocalists, Kai Rediske (eventually replaced by Micah Brown). Yet the five piece’s relentlessly uplifting music belies any internal strife, and last year’s seventh album, Coastin’, is in fact their most collaborative effort yet. The collection also finds Iration continuing to embellish their reggae roots with genre-blurring flecks of pop, rock, R&B, and funk on the eternal search for the ultimate vibe.
MEGADETH & LAMB OF GOD, Sept 1
While he may forever be known as “that guy Metallica booted” to many, singer-shredder Dave Mustaine has enjoyed his own mega-success with Megadeth ever since. His band’s 15 studio albums since 1985 include five consecutive platinum sellers in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and some bona fide metal classics. Though it’s been five years since a new album (2016’s Dystopia), Megadeth remains a ferociously technical live draw which, despite myriad lineup changes, currently boasts its founding core of Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson. Formed a decade after Megadeth, Lamb of God represents not only the subsequent generation of American metal, but also a more punk-adjacent take on the genre, particularly in the timbre and ‘tude of frontman Randy Blythe.
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, Sept 10 & 11
The Dave Matthews Bands is one of those rare acts that has been so successful for so long that they can completely pick and choose what, if anything, to do next. Ever since major-label debut Under the Table and Dreaming exploded at the turn of 1995, the genre-straddling septet – which marries Grateful Dead jamminess to pop sensibilities and elements of funk, jazz and worldbeat – has been a commercial juggernaut, shifting 33 million albums in the U.S. alone. While DMB conjures massive late ‘90s college-days nostalgia for listeners of a certain age, their largely acoustic compositions and Matthews’ lived-in melodies have long transcended that association. Today, the Dave Matthews Band is a veritable institution, still worthy of back-to-back headline slots at FivePoint.
KIDZ BOP LIVE, Sept 19
What seemed like a niche concept upon launch in 2001, Kidz Bop – kid-friendly cover versions of hit songs recorded by session musicians and a chorus of child singers – has become an incredibly enduring brand, including more than 40 albums, a SiriusXM channel, a fashion line, and live events. The Kidz Bop M.O. is more nuanced than it initially appears, spicing-up predictable covers of Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Taylor Swift and Christina Aguilera singles with tunes by the likes of Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand, perhaps with parents in mind. Last year’s Kidz Bop Party Playlist included charmingly infectious cuts originally recorded by Tones and I, Dua Lipa, the Jonas Brothers, BTS, Bruno Mars, and more.
MATCHBOX TWENTY, Oct 3
Like the Dave Matthews Band, Matchbox Twenty is all-but-synonymous with the strummy, ultra-sincere college-rock of the late 1990s. Indeed, MB20’s 15-million-selling debut album, Yourself of Someone Like You, represented the commercial pinnacle of that radio-friendly trend. After a couple of hiatuses, including one while frontman and principal songwriter Rob Thomas launched a successful solo career, Matchbox Twenty resumed business in 2010, with four-fifths of their original lineup intact (guitarist Adam Gaynor left in 2004). Today, the band’s focus is firmly on touring rather than recording, but an ultrafans-only limited-edition vinyl box set comprising all of MB20’s studio albums, some of which will be available on vinyl for the first time, is currently available for pre-order.
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