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Here’s Every Drive-In Concert Happening in Metro Phoenix This Fall

Expect a similar scene when the "Concerts in Your Car" series kicks off at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
Expect a similar scene when the "Concerts in Your Car" series kicks off at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Concerts in Your Car

Live music fans of the Valley, gas up your cars and get ready to rock. As temperatures get cooler this fall, the local drive-in concert scene will be heating up. 

A number of virtual and live music gigs will be happening at drive-in theaters and other outdoor locations across the metro Phoenix area over the next few months. And they’ll star such notable bands and artists as 311, The Beach Boys, Sublime With Rome, and Sully Erna from Godsmack.

Drive-in concerts have been taking place in the Valley since the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the live music industry and shut down venues over the spring. It’s been a mix of live performances by local bands and virtual concerts with prerecorded sets by Metallica, Blake Shelton, and other big-name artists.

With temperatures cooling off in the months ahead, the number of concerts is likely to increase, says Bob Bentley, co-owner of Mesa’s Digital Drive-In. His venue has hosted several drive-in gigs and is promoting a performance by Los Lobos later this month.

“Drive-in concerts in the Valley slowed down because of the triple-digit temperatures,” Bentley says. “Once things begin to really cool off, maybe by mid- to late-October, you're going to see a lot more drive-in concerts happening.”

The Arizona State Fairgrounds will also host a number of drive-in shows this fall as a part of the "Concerts in Your Car" series. The events will be staged by California-based promoter CBF Productions and held in a theater-in-the-round setting with bands performing on a cube-shaped stage in the fairgrounds parking lot containing massive video screens.

We’ve assembled a list of every drive-in concert, virtual or otherwise, that’s scheduled to happen in the Valley this fall. As you’d expect, each will have contactless ticketing and various safety requirements, such as wearing masks outside your vehicle and maintaining social distancing.

Phoenix New Times recommends visiting the promoter or venue website for full details before you head out.

click to enlarge Tower of Power are still going strong after 51 years. - MESA ARTS CENTER
Tower of Power are still going strong after 51 years.
Mesa Arts Center

Tower of Power

Friday, October 16
Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road

Oakland-born R&B act Tower of Power are a veritable institution. Founded in 1968, they’ve survived drama, heartbreak, multiple lineup changes, and the whims of the music industry, all while laying down jams ranging from funk to smooth jazz to blue-eyed soul. Still boasting a huge horn section and a recognizable sound, Tower of Power will bring their enormous history to the outdoor stage in the parking lot of the Arizona State Fairgrounds for their upcoming show. Things get going at 8 p.m. and admission is $99 to $249.

Third Eye Blind

Saturday, October 17
Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road

If you’re were listening to rock radio in the late ‘90s, you undoubtedly heard such Third Eye Blind hits as “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How's It's Going to Be,” and “Jumper” on the regular. And if you still know the lyrics by heart, you can sing along from inside your car during their upcoming outdoor concert in Phoenix. Audio of 3EB’s performance will be broadcast over the radio, so feel free to crank it as loud as you want, just like you did back in the day. Start time is 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $99 to $249.

click to enlarge Hear Sublime With Rome from your car. - ANM
Hear Sublime With Rome from your car.

Sublime with Rome

Friday, October 23
Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road

Fast fact: Rome Ramirez has served as vocalist for this project for 11 years now, several years longer than the late Brad Nowell fronted the original Sublime in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. It’s not his only claim to fame, as no less a source than Rolling Stone has credited Ramirez with reviving interest in the band. And, depending on who you ask, the vocalist does a fairly decent job behind the mic when SWR performs multiple Sublime hits in concert. Judge for yourself during their show at the fairgrounds, which kicks off at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $99 to $249.

The Beach Boys

Saturday, October 24
Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road

The current lineup of the legendary rock/pop band – which includes Al Jardine, Mike Love, and Bruce Johnston – will be featured at this performance. They’ll play a lengthy set list of some of the most famous Beach Boys hits, such as “I Get Around,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” and “California Girls.” You might also hear a cover or two, including a rendition of “Rockaway Beach” by The Ramones. The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $99 for the farthest section from the stage to $249 for the closest. Complete details and prices are available here.

click to enlarge Godsmack's Sully Erna is bringing his drive-in concert tour to Phoenix. - STEFAN BRENDING/CC-BY-SA-3.0/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Godsmack's Sully Erna is bringing his drive-in concert tour to Phoenix.

Sully Erna & Aaron Lewis

Friday, October 30
Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road

Godsmack frontman Sully Erna and Staind vocalist/guitarist Aaron Lewis are joining forces for a series of acoustic drive-in concerts in cities across the U.S. The tour, which makes a stop at the Arizona State Fairgrounds the day before Halloween, will see the nu-metal icons performing unplugged while onstage together.

We’re guessing they'll play songs from their respective bands and side projects, including Lewis’ country-focused solo work. According to the tour’s website, there will be a limit of four people per vehicle. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $100 to $350.

Roger Clyne & PH Naffah Duo

Saturday, November 7
WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road

Hometown rock ‘n’ roll hero Roger Clyne will team up with Paul “P.H.” Naffah, his bandmate from The Refreshments and The Peacemakers, for this special gig in connection with the Stella Artois Polo Classic at WestWorld that same weekend. Expect plenty of upbeat, high-energy, and celebratory rock and pop tunes from the duo. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available in pricing tiers of $85, $100, and $125 per vehicle with the more expensive options getting you closer to the stage. More info is available here.

click to enlarge Like 'em or hate 'em, 311 have definitely made their mark on the music world. - MARCELLO AMBRIZ
Like 'em or hate 'em, 311 have definitely made their mark on the music world.
Marcello Ambriz


Friday, November 13
Arizona State Fairgrounds

The reggae-rock-funk act and '90s radio staples are scheduled to perform a pair of drive-in concerts in mid-November. Last year, 311 dropped its most recent album, 2019’s Voyager, which earned decent reviews, generated three singles, and hit No. 18 on the Billboard 200. Expect to hear songs from the album along with hit tracks from 311’s vast discography during their Phoenix shows, which get going at 8:30 p.m. with no opening acts. Admission starts at $99 to $109 per car for the farthest sections and goes up to $199 to $249 per car for the closest. Vehicles over 6 feet in height will only be allowed in the back rows.

click to enlarge Singer-songwriter Andrew McMahon - BRENDAN WALTER
Singer-songwriter Andrew McMahon
Brendan Walter

Andrew McMahon

Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14
Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale

While you’ve been stuck at home working your way through Netflix, singer-songwriter Andrew McMahon has been keeping busy during the pandemic. His newest release, Upside Down Flowers, is due out in November and his drive-in concert tour has been selling out dates in Chicago and other U.S. cities. It’s set to come to the Valley in mid-November, mere days before his album drops, for a pair of performances by McMahon on back-to-back nights at Westgate in Glendale. Both shows start at 7 p.m. and admission is $200-$350.

King & Country

Saturday, November 21
Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue, Glendale

Grammy-winning Christian pop duo King & Country will pay a visit to Glendale’s Gila River Arena for a special drive-in concert in late November in the venue’s parking lot. It’s one of multiple outdoor performances their staging this fall in support of their upcoming holiday album, A Drummer Boy Christmas. Concertgoers are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys to the event, which will be donated to the Salvation Army. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $99 and increase in price the closer you’d like to park to the stage. More info can be found here.

Editor's note: This story originally ran on September 18 and has since been updated.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.