It’s unusual for a Labor Day weekend to offer much in the way of concert action, but seasoned pop/rock stars abound this year, starting with Lady Gaga at Fenway Park. Gaga pulled back from glam-disco pizazz in recent years, from duets with Tony Bennett to her acoustic-tempered new album Joanne. But she’s returned to spectacle since she flew back into mainstream consciousness at the Super Bowl. So expect elaborate, multi-tier staging and hearty servings of old art-pop bangers – in addition to shades of Joanne — at the ballpark on Friday and Saturday. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, Club Passim hosts its annual weekend-long Labor Day Campfire, featuring many folk/acoustic up-and-comers, including Violet Bell. And here’s the Campfire lineup.
Out of town is also the place to be. Depeche Mode fans may even consider a trek to Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun on Friday for the synth-pop icons’ only announced area stop. Closer to home, country-folk scion Rosanne Cash brings her graceful, literate songcraft to Lowell Summer Music at Boarding House Park on Friday before heading to Ninigret Park in Charlestown, R.I., for Labor Day weekend’s reliable Rhythm & Roots festival, where she’ll join such artists as the Mavericks, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Marcia Ball, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, and members of Little Feat. Plus cool workshops, kids’ activities and the dance stage. Here’s the Rhythm & Roots schedule. Also on Saturday, to the north, there’s the free Newburyport Riverfront Music Festival at Waterfront Park, headlined by quirky local faves They Might Be Giants. And here’s that Newburyport rundown.
Two rock icons also hit the area. Sting (pictured) showcases driving tunes from his recent album 57th and 9 as well as recast nuggets from his ’80s supergroup the Police at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on Saturday. Sting once played the character Ace the Base in a film adaptation of the Who’s Quadrophenia, and this weekend also finds rocker Billy Idol assuming that role when Who mastermind Pete Townshend appears at Tanglewood to present Classic Quadrophenia, an orchestral version of that great ’70s concept album, sharing the mic with Idol and tenor Alfie Boe.
Finally, Prescott Park in Portsmouth, N.H., gets in on the Labor Day action with free concerts on Saturday with Boston’s Ballroom Thieves and on Sunday with New Orleans funky Galactic. So hit the road or rock close to home.