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Why the top gigs this year are giving fans plenty to sing about

Springsteen rocked the RDS. Twice. Kanye West and Jay-Z turned live hip hop on its head. And let's not forget about the magnificent return of The Stone Roses.

Indeed, 2012 was a year to remember for live music in Ireland as the good (Florence and her noisy Machine), the bad (Madonna) and the great (Leonard Cohen) rolled into town.

And it looks like 2013 is shaping up to be another hell of a year.

Sure, the announcement that both Bon Jovi and Eminem will be setting up shop at Slane Castle for a pair of sunny (we hope) summer field parties in Co Meath, has raised a few eyebrows.

The last time we had Slim Shady over, it was for a half-baked Sunday night set at Oxegen 2010.



catalogue

Then again, that weekend belonged to the aforementioned Jay-Z, and nobody was ever going to be able to top a sensational performance courtesy of the Jigga-man.

Granted, Marshall Bruce Mathers III has got a phenomenal catalogue from which to pick and choose. He has also got a new album on the way.

Should he decide to bring a live band out on tour, then next year's Irish concert might just be an improvement on past appearances.

Hip hop at Slane? It could work, you know.

And then there's Bon Jovi, who looked tired and jaded on their last world tour. They've since taken a break, but, like most rock bands, it'll all come down to the night.

Frontman Jon will either bring his A-game or leave it back in New Jersey. My guess is that they'll do just fine.

The same goes for Rihanna, who leaves the comfortable surroundings of arenas for an outdoor bash at the Aviva Stadium next June.

The 24-year-old Barbadian often plays up her sex appeal to the point of parody, but she remains a captivating and entertaining artist.

Come September, the Aviva will also play host to Roger Waters's likely-to-be-stunning presentation of The Wall.

One Direction, Girls Aloud, Michael Buble, The Script -- they're all on their way to the O2. Despite their worldwide success thus far, Niall Horan and the boys are only getting started. But America's new favourite boy band has already proved itself to be a team of consummate and classy performers.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Cole and her girls will be dusting off the hits for what might just be their final tour as a band.

The Buble lad -- at least, as far as Ireland is concerned -- can't put a foot wrong. Five nights in an arena next summer? That'll do nicely for his legion of female admirers.

As for Danny O'Donoghue and Co, well, I've yet to see The Script deliver anything less than a solid live show.

Will the Dublin trio be making an appearance at Oxegen 2013? Will we see more gigs at the Phoenix Park? It's too early to say.

Speculation is rife that Oxegen will be making some sort of comeback next year. Probably because its website continues to promote a July 2013 return.

If it does go ahead, we might also see some familiar faces on the bill, such as Mumford & Sons (currently taking over America), Lana Del Rey (the New York songstress plays Vicar Street in May), Beyonce (next year's Super Bowl halftime show performer), or even The Stone Roses, who have so far announced a handful of UK gigs for next summer.

As for the Electric Picnic -- wouldn't it be great to see Blur (still going) or Radiohead (it's been way too long) make their way to Stradbally for the tenth anniversary of Ireland's greatest music festival?



footsteps

While we're on the subject of live wishes, how about a Dublin date for Bruce Springsteen's week in Ireland next July?

Belfast, Cork, Limerick -- all sold out. Why not follow in the footsteps of Rod Stewart and Neil Young and add a date at the RDS next summer, Bruce?

See you down the front.