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One year later, a look back at the last Milwaukee shows before COVID-19 shut down everything

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel logo Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 3/10/2021 Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

There was a time when the Milwaukee venue the Rave would post a new show announcement or photo gallery from a recent concert practically every day.  

Since the pandemic began, that hasn't been the case. Now, there's only one guaranteed change to the site every day — a running clock of how many days it's been since there was live music at the venue. (For the record, it's 362 days as of March 9.) 

The Rave is hardly alone. Practically every venue in Milwaukee, and around much of the world, has been dark since around March 12, 2020, when Live Nation and AEG, the world's largest promoters, abruptly pulled all tours off the road. A wave of canceled, postponed and rescheduled shows followed. 

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With the vaccine rollout underway in the United States, there's hope in the music industry for some outdoor concerts this summer, and that venues may open their doors again this fall. Experts suggest it will hinge on herd immunity — Dr. Anthony Fauci has suggested 70% to 85% of the country would need to be vaccinated to meet that threshold — and variables like the new variants, vaccine acceptance, and production and distribution could affect the timeline.

a group of people on a stage in front of a crowd: Foreigner was the last concert at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, on March 11, 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the live music industry. Like most venues around much of the world, the Riverside has remained dark ever since. © Brianna Griepentrog/Pabst Theater Group Foreigner was the last concert at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, on March 11, 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the live music industry. Like most venues around much of the world, the Riverside has remained dark ever since.

But one thing is already clear — most music venues in Milwaukee will be show-free for more than a year. 

Here's a rundown of the last concerts and plays at some of the larger venues in town, and what those venues have on their calendars next — although those next show dates are subject to change. 

a person holding a guitar: The Lumineers were the last band to perform at Fiserv Forum, on March 11, before the coronavirus crisis shut down the Milwaukee Bucks arena, and virtually every venue in the country. © Daniel Ojeda / Pabst Theater Group The Lumineers were the last band to perform at Fiserv Forum, on March 11, before the coronavirus crisis shut down the Milwaukee Bucks arena, and virtually every venue in the country.

Fiserv Forum

Last performance: The Lumineers, March 11, 2020. 

Next scheduled performance: The Milwaukee Bucks started hosting a limited number of fans for games on Feb. 16. As for entertainment performances, comedian Joe Rogan is next on the schedule, on Aug. 7. 

UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena

Last performance: TobyMac, March 6, 2020. 

Next performance: The next announced concert, the Milwaukee stop of Omarion and Bow Wow's Millennium Tour, has been postponed indefinitely. 

a group of people standing on a stage: A TobyMac concert was the last performance at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena before the coronavirus crisis. It took place on March 6, 2020. © Piet Levy A TobyMac concert was the last performance at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena before the coronavirus crisis. It took place on March 6, 2020.

Miller High Life Theatre

Last performance: "Set It Off" on March 8, 2020, the stage adaptation of the film, featuring Da Brat, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Lil’ Mo, Drew Sidora and Leon 

Next scheduled event: The next scheduled concert is Judas Priest with Sabaton, on Sept. 22. 

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Last performance: The César E. Chávez Birthday Celebration, March 8, 2020.

Next scheduled performance: There are postponed events rescheduled for this spring that may be pushed off again. But last month, the Marcus Center did its first big new event announcement since last spring: its 2021-'22 Broadway in Milwaukee series, consisting of seven touring productions, beginning with a run of "Hamilton" that starts Oct. 12.

Riverside Theater

Last performance: Foreigner, March 11, 2020.

Next scheduled performance: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, scheduled for April 15. 

Pabst Theater

Last performance: Josh Turner, March 12, 2020. 

Next scheduled performance:  There's a show with Heart tribute band Barracuda scheduled for April 10. But the first likely events are limited-capacity performances with local actor John McGivern, rescheduled to start April 23. 

Josh Turner on a stage holding a guitar: Josh Turner performs at the 2018 Celebrate Anderson in the William A. Floyd Amphitheater at the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Complex in Anderson on Sunday, September 2, 2018. © Ken Ruinard / staff Josh Turner performs at the 2018 Celebrate Anderson in the William A. Floyd Amphitheater at the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Complex in Anderson on Sunday, September 2, 2018.

Turner Hall Ballroom 

Last performance: Shellac, March 12, 2020. 

Next performance: Turner Hall has hosted some wrestling events with limited capacity. The next scheduled concert is the Jayhawks on May 6. 

The Back Room at Colectivo Coffee

Last performance: Kat Edmonson, March 11, 2020.

Next scheduled performance: The Pabst Theater Group's smallest venue has a TV Girl show on the books for April 11. 

a person sitting on a stage: Black Label Society was the last band to play at the Rave, on March 12, 2020, before the live music industry shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. © Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Black Label Society was the last band to play at the Rave, on March 12, 2020, before the live music industry shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rave

Last performance: Black Label Society, March 12, 2020.

Next scheduled performance: Lanco, scheduled for April 9. 

Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

Last performance: Comedian Rob Little, March 14, 2020. 

Next scheduled performance: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone has shows scheduled for May 11 and 12.

a person standing in front of a building: Matty Sangare, Sola Thompson and Jacqueline Nwabueze perform in Milwaukee Repertory Theater's "Eclipsed." It was one of the last productions to be performed in front of a live audience at the Rep, on March 12, 2020, before the coronavirus crisis began. © MIchael Brosilow Matty Sangare, Sola Thompson and Jacqueline Nwabueze perform in Milwaukee Repertory Theater's "Eclipsed." It was one of the last productions to be performed in front of a live audience at the Rep, on March 12, 2020, before the coronavirus crisis began.

Shank Hall 

Last performance: Duke Tumatoe, March 12, 2020.

Next scheduled performance: Electric Six on July 9. 

Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Last performances: The Rep had two final productions for live audiences on March 12, 2020: "Eclipsed" in the Quadracci Powerhouse, and "Chasin' Dem Blues" in the Stackner Cabaret. 

Next scheduled performance: The Rep plans to stage "Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song" for limited live audiences beginning April 27. 

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Contact Piet at (414) 223-5162 or plevy@journalsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter at @pietlevy or Facebook at facebook.com/PietLevyMJS.

Piet also talks concerts, local music and more on "TAP'd In" with Jordan Lee. Hear it at 8 a.m. Thursdays on WYMS-FM (88.9), or wherever you get your podcasts.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: One year later, a look back at the last Milwaukee shows before COVID-19 shut down everything

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