Exclaim! Readers Remember Their Favourite Concerts of 2022
Includes shows by Billy Talent, Lil Nas X, Laura Jane Grace, Sudan Archives, Sloan and Low
Published Feb 01, 2023Music fans began 2022 in another lockdown, with venues closed — but it wasn't long before touring got back underway and concerts came roaring back. Even as artists were faced with some stark economic realities, audiences had plenty of opportunities to make new memories as artists who spent the past two years holed up returned to the road.
As part of our 2022 Readers Poll, Exclaim! asked about the best show of the year, and you responded with stories of club shows by Canadian artists, arena spectacles by pop superstars, and even a Broadway musical adaptation at a Manitoba high school.
See how our readers responded below.
"In Brandon, MB, live music doesn't really exist, so it's hard to say. However, my old high school put on a show of Anastasia the musical, that was quite compelling to say the least."
"The best concert I attended in 2022 was Animal Collective at the Danforth Music Hall. Each song in the set flowed nicely together while maintaining a chill yet energetic vibe while interjecting energetic, crowd-revving classics!"
"I saw the Beaches in Guelph's Concert Theatre. It was my first live show in over two years, and hearing the opening riff of their 2017 hit "Late Show" brought on a wave of emotions I wasn't prepared for. Seldom do you get to enjoy a world-class act with under a thousand fans, but I got to. It was the perfect reunification with live music."
Photo: Kirsten James
"Billy Talent on May 2 at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary, AB. It was my first concert post-COVID, and I got to take my 11-year-old son. It was such an amazing show by such an amazing. top-notch Canadian band that is not just underrated but should be on the level of Rush and the Tragically Hip. My son moshed, we got up to the stage and had a hell of a time."
Cakes da Killa
"Cakes da Killa played Fierté in Montreal at a sweaty dance party. He thought he was going to play a moody set and then saw the crowd and opted to play only the most danceable bangers last-minute."
"Yussef Dayes in Montreal. He and his entourage of musicians are some of the most talented I've seen in my life, and it was so incredible to witness live just how in-tune they all are with each other, and how skilled they are individually. I'm convinced Yussef Dayes is the best drummer in the world. And he's hot."
The Forgotten Rebels
"The Forgotten Rebels with the Barettas at Corktown on December 16 because it was it was super fun. Everyone was dancing and the atmosphere was great. I went with my friend Steve and we drank cider and ate chicken wings before the show."
Go_A or Peach Pit
"I cannot pick. Peach Pit because the show that I was originally supposed to go to in April I believe was cancelled due to a snowstorm and I literally cried so hard. And then when it was announced they were coming back to Winnipeg. I was gutted because the show was 18-plus and I was only 17 at the time, but the venue made the show all-ages and it was so amazing. Their live show is so much fun because everyone is singing along and Chris's guitar solos live are sick. I also got to meet Chris, Peter and Mikey before the show and they were all so kind. Go_A is a folk electronic group from Ukraine. They placed 4th in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest and they are so amazing live. Their live show is a mix of electronic, electric guitar, traditional Ukrainian folk instruments and soul-catching vocals from Kat the singer that give me goosebumps. Their show was so positive and when their Eurovision song was played the crowed all joined hands and danced. Kat does speak English, but once she realized almost all the people in the crowd spoke Ukrainian, she only spoke Ukrainian. Two amazing shows."
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
Laura Jane Grace
"Laura Jane Grace at the Rickshaw in Vancouver and at the Opera House in Toronto. Just her and her guitar. A stripped-down Against Me! greatest hits singalong that was so good the first time, I had to see her again a few weeks later."
"It was the best concert because it was an intimate show in a great venue, and I hadn't been to a concert in a long time because of the pandemic. I went with my brother who introduced my to Hayden."
"HAIM at Echo Beach and it was a joyful experience and the first concert I went to since the beginning of the pandemic. Everybody in the crowd was just so happy to be there and the Haim sisters gave the performance everything they had."
Photo: Stephen McGill
"Illuminati Hotties at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver. It was good to get back out there and bounce around again, even if only for a few songs. This current wave of indie pop-punk brings out the friendliest crowds i've ever been a part of, and everyone is there to support each other and have a good time. also the beer was cheaper than I expected!"
"Kikagaku Moyo at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver. It was an unbelievable experience to see them one final time and it was like one long magical trip. One of the best shows i've ever seen."
"Lady Gaga's Chromatica Ball. I bought those tickets before the pandemic and made the decision to keep them all throughout the lockdowns when I kept getting emails asking if I wanted a refund. It was so worth it! Her live singing is incredible, the set design was a wonder to behold, the performances were great, and her charisma was off the charts! I was in the nosebleeds but it felt like I was front row. An amazing concert!"
"Wu-Tang, Sugar Ray, Lights, Arkells, Five Alarm Funk and the Glorious Sons headlined. They also showcased a lot of Canadian artists. Great lineup/location to see a concert. I've also really wanted to go, so it was a dream come true. I also attended Method Man/Redman, Tech N9ne and Snotty Nose Rez Kids concerts, which were all great!"
Lil Nas X
"Lil Nas X at Echo Beach. Amazing performer, and the effort put into the production and choreography was easy to see. One of my funnest nights of the year!"
"Ivan Lins at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Delayed by two years, a rare chance to see one of Brazil's most celebrated singers and composers. Such a relaxed performer with a seemingly endless font of memorable songs."
"Low in Montreal — not just because it ended up being the last time I will hear mimi parker, but because they killed it."
"Motherhood (opening for Built to Spill) at the Palace Theatre in Calgary for Sled Island. I had never heard Motherhood before, but their set made such an impression that I went to see them again the next day at Kaffeeklatsch. Intense, creative and skillfully crafted songs. I haven't had that much fun listening to music in a good while. Plus, the euphoria of being back at Sled Island after years away made it perfect."
Manic Street Preachers and Suede
"Manic Street Preachers and Suede at Massey Hall in Toronto. Two titans of British rock came together for a once-in-a-lifetime tour, satisfying us diehard Manics fans and diehard Suede fans who've been waiting for 25 years for the opportunity. Both bands played like their lives depended on it and with the (very real) assumption that they'd never be back again."
"The Lizzy McAlpine concert at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, because she was on tour for my favourite album of this year and preformed some old songs like 'Pancakes for Dinner' that I have a very emotional connection to. The entire experience just felt so intimate and everlasting."
My Chemical Romance
"I never thought I would be able to see them and it was incredibly emotional and touching. I was lucky enough to go with my newly emo sister and it absolutely made my year to see her so excited. One of the best days of my life."
"My first time being able to see them live and it was wicked. The opener was really good as well and everyone enjoyed it, even though it was in a smaller venue and overcrowded. When we were leaving, the 'Dogs were signing merch, and a gentleman stopped and let us know. It was a very good night"
"Sloan at London Music Hall was the best concert and only concert I attended in 2022. When tickets to shows cost as much as a car payment, it was so refreshing to see one of Canada's most prolific bands for only 25 bucks!"
"Sudan Archives at the Mod Club. she's so energetic and fun. I also really like how she incorporated the prom theme by giving an audience member a prom queen sash and decorating the stage with gold balloons."
Photo: Shane Parent
Turnstile, Snail Mail and JPEGMAFIA
"Turnstile, JPEGMAFIA and Snail Mail at History in Toronto on October 4. Turnstile put out one of my favourite records of the last decade, and it was incredible finally getting to see those songs live. Few bands command the stage the way they do right now."
Tyler, the Creator
"Tyler, the Creator's CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST tour had a fantastic lineup of artists who all managed to get an entire coliseum of fans rowdy. Tyler's stage design, showmanship, energy and ambitious setlist created one of the greatest live shows I've ever attended."
Photo: Jenna Hum