It’s pretty predictable what Billy Joel – who hasn’t released a new album in a quarter century — will play when he rolls into Fenway Park, which he does on Friday for the fifth consecutive summer. But as much as you can expect many of the same hits, capped by set-closer “Piano Man” and the same old encores, he recently unearthed ’70s chestnut “Half a Mile Away” to go with a spontaneous batch of classic rock covers – and you never know if there’ll be a guest (maybe Jimmy Buffett will hang an extra night after playing the ballpark). In any case, you can still count on the 69-year-old Joel and his crack band for a blockbuster night.
A strong Friday alternative comes in indie-rocker David Bazan’s resurrected Pedro the Lion at Brighton Music Hall, while Spiritual Rez jam at the Sinclair. Fenway Park rocks again classic-style on Saturday with a Journey, Def Leppard and Cheap Trick jukebox triple play, and the South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo hits Lowell Summer Music at Boarding House Park the same night.
Jazz shifts from Newport to Rockport for the weekend’s Rockport Jazz Festival at the acoustically pristine Shalin Liu Performance Center on Friday with vocalist Kurt Elling, on Saturday with pianist Monte Alexander, and on Sunday with the Joe Lovano Classic Quartet. Speaking of opportunities north of Boston, Seattle rockers Band of Horses ride into seaside Prescott Park in Portsmouth, N.H., on Sunday as well. And back in town, electric bluesman Popa Chubby rocks City Winery.