THE AMP CRANKS UP NWA WITH BIGGEST SLATE OF SHOWS IN ITS HISTORY THE AMP CRANKS UP NWA WITH BIGGEST SLATE OF SHOWS IN ITS HISTORY
THE AMP CRANKS UP NWA WITH BIGGEST SLATE OF SHOWS IN ITS HISTORY

2018 was a banner year for the Cox Concert Series at the Walmart AMP. Loads of incredible, big name shows came to NWA, many of which would have been pipedreams only a few years ago. In 2019, the ante has been upped and the bet has been called, because this year’s lineup of shows boasts even more top tier talents. There are a lot of returning acts from the last few years, but there are also many artists making their NWA debuts. This year is a bit heavy on veteran superstars, but there also several hot, contemporary gigs coming our way. It’s a nice mix and we are stoked that the AMP continues to thrive as steady source bringing national names to the Natural State!

We here at Shindigmusic had a wonderful time covering cool shows at the AMP last year, and we’re every bit as excited for 2019. We are a bit partial to the rock shows, but we truly feel that there’s something for everyone coming at one point or another this summer. We’ll be at the AMP for the Cox Concert Series all summer long, bringing you the finest coverage of all the fantastic shows. But you shouldn’t just take our word for it and let us have all the fun – come on out and enjoy one of these shows with us!

Here’s a list of all the shows that have been announce the Walmart AMP in 2019 so far.

SUN 4/28 – Santana/Doobie Brothers

WED 5/1 – Leon Bridges

MON 5/6 – The Killers

FRI 5/17 – Earth, Wind, & Fire

SAT 5/18 – The Avett Brothers

SAT 5/25 – Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

THU 6/13 – Florida Georgia Line/Dan + Shay/Morgan Whalen

SUN 6/16 – Steve Miller Band/Marty Stuart

FRI 6/21 – Trevor Noah

WED 6/26 – Train/Goo Goo Dolls

THU 6/27 – Brad Paisley/Chris Lane/Riley Green

WED 7/10 – Young the Giant/Fitz & the Tantrums/COIN

SUN 7/14 – Hootie and the Blowfish/Barenaked Ladies

FRI 7/19 – Chris Young/Chris Janson/Jimmy Allen

SUN 7/21 – YES/ASIA

THU 7/25 – Third Eye Blind/Jimmy Eat World/Ra Ra Riot

FRI 7/26 – Why Don’t We

WED 7/31 – Sublime with Rome/Michael Franti

THU 8/8 – Alan Jackson/William Michael Morgan

WED 8/14 – LIVE/Bush/Our Lady Peace

THU 8/15 – Thomas Rhett/Dustin Lynch/Russell Dickerson/Rhett Atkins

TUE 8/20 – Nelly/TLC/Flo-Rida

FRI 8/23 – Smashing Pumpkins/Noel Gallagher/AFI

FRI 8/30 – Sheryl Crow/Jason Isbell

SAT 8/31 – Rascal Flatts/Morgan Evans

FRI 9/6 – Breaking Benjamin/Chevelle/Three Days Grace

SUN 9/8 – Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

THU 9/26 – Luke Combs

SAT 10/12 – Harry Potter

FRI 10/25 – Zac Brown Band/Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real

We will keep you updated as more shows are announced. Here are a few of the acts we’re most excited about seeing and covering this year.

Sunday, April 28 – Santana

We weren’t kidding when we said the AMP is bringing in big names. It doesn’t get much bigger than Carlos Santana. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is celebrating a few milestones from his 50+ year career with this tour, so rest assured you’ll probably hear all your favorite Santana hits.

Monday, May 6 – The Killers

After a few years pursuing solo projects, The Killers came roaring back in 2017 with the release of their fifth album, Wonderful Wonderful, widely heralded as a return to form. This will mark the Arkansas debut of the leaders of the post punk revivalist vanguard. Better late than never.

Saturday, May 18 – The Avett Brothers

The folk rock superstar brothers last graced the AMP stage in 2014, in the wake of the release of Magpie and the Dandelion, one of their biggest albums to date. That was one of those shows that everyone who attended it would not shut up about, and this one will probably be the same. Don’t risk being the one who hears about it, be the one talking about it and go!

Saturday, May 25 – Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

EVERYONE loves Star Wars, and John Williams’s legendary score is arguably as iconic as Darth Vader himself. 2019 will be a big year for Star Wars fans, with the release of the first live action Star Wars television show The Mandalorian coming late this year, and of course we’ll also be saying goodbye to the original trilogy of trilogies storyline when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters in December. Hearing the music of the movie that started it all seems like a great way to get ready for all that, plus this performance will feature members of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, so it’s arguably the biggest “local” show in the history of NWA. Support local music!

Wednesday, July 10 – Young the Giant/Fitz & the Tantrums/COIN

Like we said, it’s not just legends playing the AMP this summer, future legends are also coming to perform for us! This will be one of those line-ups you’ll be extra glad you saw 10-20 years from now, and probably the next day as well. Another “new to NWA” gig, though you might have seen Young the Giant at Riverfest last year.

Sunday, July 14 – Hootie and the Blowfish/Barenaked Ladies

For many years now, lead Blowfish Darius Rucker has enjoyed a monstrously successful career as a solo country star, best evidenced by his massively successful cover of “Wagon Wheel”, which you’ve no doubt heard if you’ve ever listened to a pop country radio station since its release. However, it’s been 25 years since he and the rest of Hootie and the Blowfish achieved international superstardom with the release of Cracked Rear View and they’re celebrating with a gargantuan reunion tour and upcoming new album. Plus, the more nostalgia, the merrier, and bands don’t get merrier than Barenaked Ladies.

Thursday, July 25 – Third Eye Blind/Jimmy Eat World/Ra Ra Riot

Most of the events coming to the AMP this summer have a bit of a consistent theme, but with this show we’re get a standout band from three distinct decades of alternative music. There’s a reason this is called the “Summer Gods” tour. 3EB was last here in 2017, and if this gig is as fun as their last concert at the AMP, everyone will have a great night. Jimmy Eat World is playing here for the first time, and their arrival is way, way overdue. Zero chance this won’t be an absolute blast.

Wednesday, July 31 – Sublime with Rome/Michael Franti

Sublime has been in near constant rotation on 104.9 The X since 1996. It’s safe to say that lots of NWA residents are big fans and will be calling in sick to work on Thursday, August 1. Another band making their AMP return, but if you really love a band, is it even possible to see them live too many times?

Thursday, August 8 – Alan Jackson/William Michael Morgan

We don’t cover enough country here at Shindigmusic, which is kind of a shame because a lot of name brand country stars roll through the AMP every year. 2019 is no different, but we’re particularly excited about this show because Alan Jackson is one of the biggest neo traditionalist icons in the history of country music. We were also really bummed that he had to cancel last year, so hopefully this make-up date goes off without a hitch!

Wednesday, August 14 – LIVE/Bush/Our Lady Peace

LIVE played the AMP back when it was still at the Washington County Fairgrounds, and that was a fine show. But now they’re reunited with original singer Ed Kowalczyk, one of the most

powerful vocalists of the 1990s, and the reinvigorated band will surely liven up NWA alongside fellow alt-rock icons and AMP alumni Bush. That last Bush show here was also great, and we’re sure this one will be as well. Both bands are also celebrating the 25th anniversaries of their breakthrough records Throwing Copper and Sixteen Stone, respectively, so we’re confident they won’t be stingy with the classics. 1994 really was a banner year for music and culture. Our Lady Peace is one of the most underrated bands of the late ‘90s, and unlike their tour-mates they haven’t played here before, so let’s give them a big Razorback welcome!

Tuesday, August 20 – Nelly/TLC/Flo-Rida

Like country music, we also don’t cover enough hip-hop here at Shindigmusic (we’re rockers, you like what you like), but there are usually a few sick shows at the AMP every season. The schedule so far is a little light on rap, so maybe there will be a few more artists announced. For now, it seems we’re in a “quality not quantity” scenario with this stacked lineup. This will be a killer show for fans of all ages, filled with a wide variety of hits from start to finish.

 

Friday, August 23 – Smashing Pumpkins/Noel Gallagher/AFI

This is the absolute must see/can’t miss show of the summer! The Pumpkins played legendary gigs in Little Rock in 1994, 1996, and 2016, but this will be their NWA debut, and with the return of James Iha, it couldn’t come at a better time. Noel Gallagher was once dubbed “the wisest man in rock” by the NME and they weren’t lying. His interviews are almost as good as his music, which is saying quite a lot. He’s also never been to Arkansas, and we’re very lucky he’s finally coming. Maybe someday we’ll get lucky again and he’ll return with Oasis. Until then, come sing along to classic Oasis hits alongside his excellent High Flying Birds material. Also, AFI is nothing to sneeze out. They were a 104.9 The X staple for many years, and rightfully so. A slightly peculiar, but still completely awesome bill, this show will rip! Hail to the Chief!

Friday, August 30 – Sheryl Crow/Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

Jason Isbell has probably played NWA more than anyone else on this list. He first came here for a sparsely attended but mind-blowingly spectacular show with the Drive-By Truckers at Dave’s on Dickson (RIP) in 2003. He has, of course, played the AMP before. He headlined the first annual Peacemaker Festival in Fort Smith. Sheryl Crow was also at the AMP with Isbell the last time he was here. If you missed all those gigs, or even if you didn’t, do yourself a favor and don’t miss this one. In a summer chocked full of 1990s titans, it’s fantastic that we get one of the most dynamic female stars to break out back then. Though she dabbled with a more countrified sound in recent years, she’s come back around to the stylistic territory that originally made her insanely successful, and she doesn’t neglect the well-known gems from her catalog in live sets.

Friday, September 6 – Breaking Benjamin/Chevelle/Three Days Grace

At this point in the year we’ll almost certainly be exhausted beyond belief from all these shows, but there’s no way that’s going to keep us away from this one. Chevelle essentially never stops touring so of course such a stalwart road band has been to NWA a few times, including a free performance at the University of Arkansas’s Chi Omega Greek Theater back in 2005. However, this is their first time at the AMP and Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace are also making their AMP debut. It would be borderline impossible to top the onslaught of heavy shows we got here in 2018, but this will still be a great concert folks who can’t get enough heavy guitars. All three bands are incredibly melodic, in addition to being heavy, and write well-crafted songs. This will be a great way to say goodbye to the summer and get ready for the fall.

Dave Morris

Dave Morris is the Features Editor of Shindigmusic. He has written for the Arkansas Times, the Fayetteville Flyer, the Idle Class, and Fayettesound. His academic writing is featured in the book “First Amendment Studies in Arkansas”. He holds an M.A. in Rhetoric from the University of Arkansas and is a recipient of the Richard S. Arnold Prize in First Amendment Studies. He also attended Marquette University Law School. He currently performs with post-punk band The Inner Party when he is not dealing with his foolish cats or engaging in a shameful array of other geeky pursuits.