By Melissa Fossum
By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
Battle Act: Green Day
Where & When: Wednesday, October 5, America West Arena, $37 to $42.50
Strongest Selling Point: They've scored a career milestone by claiming American Idiot is "the first punk rock opera." Somewhere, Meat Loaf is furiously mopping his brow!
Disclaimer: "Don't wanna be an American idiot" goes a long way to explaining Billie Joe Armstrong's still phony British accent. Oi!
Hot-Selling Merch Item: "Jesus of Suburbia" ringtone (goes on for nine minutes)
Possible Grand Finale: Green Day does that Live 8 version of "We Are the Champions" -- this time on-key!
Battle Act: Seal
Where & When: Tuesday, October 4, Mesa Arts Center, $48 to $80
Strongest Selling Point: He hasn't had a real big hit since "Kiss From a Rose." Unless you want to count bagging supermodel Heidi Klum.
Disclaimer: His facial abrasions were not caused by ritual scarification, a motorcycle accident or getting punched while wearing glasses. Most fans enjoy the "getting bitten in the face by a wolf" story, though.
Hot-Selling Merch Item: "Seal Face Spackle" (also comes in "Bryan Adams Peach")
Possible Grand Finale: Seal acts out "Kiss From a Rose." First it snows, then his eyes become large screens so the light that you shine can be seen. You get the idea.
Battle Act: Trisha Yearwood
Where & When: Thursday, September 29, Mesa Arts Center, $47 to $77
Strongest Selling Point: This is her first concert appearance since Garth Brooks proposed to her in front of 7,000 people. Maybe he'll show up tonight and ask if she'll go for a three-way.
Disclaimer: Legitimizing an alleged extramarital affair by getting married? That just ain't new country! Marrying and getting annulled in four months is more like it!
Hot-Selling Merch Item: Beer watered down to taste just like "Georgia Rain"
Possible Grand Finale: Good-hearted Trisha actually distributes Kleenex to the folks in the nosebleed seats.
Battle Act: Mötley Crüe
Where & When: Wednesday, October 5, Glendale Arena, $39.50 to $69.50
Strongest Selling Point: People who look fat and old in spandex and bandannas have somewhere inconspicuous to go. Unless their name is Vince Neil.
Disclaimer: White-faced midget jumping out of a box at start of the show is not Mick Mars. And Vince's reality-TV makeover doesn't rule out choking prostitutes.
Hot-Selling Merch Item: "Mick Mars Colostomy Bag" (doubles as hands-free beer pouch!)
Possible Grand Finale: In place of a dumb drum solo, University of Nebraska freshman Tommy Lee fields difficult calculus problems from the audience.