No one – well, almost no one – books a summer vacation around a theme park concert. Still, Universal Orlando’s summer concert series offers more almost-top current groups (no Lady Gaga) than its Disney competition. The Summer Concert series schedules shows on Saturdays from June 11 through July 16.
Theme park concerts appeal primarily to local residents who have year-round passes, and most out-of-state attendees stumble upon a concert and consider it another magical surprise in the land of wizards and mice. At Universal Orlando, concerts take place exclusively at Universal Studios on a large stage. (At Disney, concerts take place at Epcot, and the bands tend to please an older crowd.)
Guests must buy Universal Studios park admission, but there’s no additional charge for the concert. Unlike Disney, Universal generally hosts a full concert that starts roughly the same time the park rides shut down. All concerts listed below start at 9 p.m.
Universal summer concert performers
June 11 – Go-Go’s
An all-girl group for three decades, the Go-Go’s started out punk but now cover a wider range of songs.
June 18 – Nelly
Nelly sold 50 million records, won Grammy Awards, and had nine songs in the top 10. He also has a clothing line and in his spare time co-starred in a movie: The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock.
June 25 – Third Eye Blind
Universal’s description of Third Eye Blind says the group “is working from an inner zip code of evaporating bliss.” I don’t know what that means, but I like it. The group had hits: Jumper, Semi-Charmed Life, and How’s It Gonna Be.
July 2 – Trey Songz
Trey Songz won the 2010 BET Award for “Best Male R&B Artist.” He has a number of top 10 hits, and also starred in a documentary series on BET, My Moment.
July 9 – Boys Like Girls
A show that’s part song and part performance, Boys Like Girls started off as four guys from Boston who worked their tails off to make it in the music industry, selling 700,000 copies of their first album.
July 16 – Drake
Drake went from actor to rapper to singer. His first album, 2009’s Thank Me Later, hit No. 1 on four different charts in its first week.