The Top Concerts in Illinois in 2023

The year 2023 saw stadiums, arenas, parks, bars, and all concert venues in between packed throughout Chicagoland and Illinois. While other entertainment sectors may be struggling to fill seats to the level they did before the pandemic, there was no such issue for concert venues in Illinois in 2023. The list of marquee acts to hit the stage was impressive, including Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran breaking records at Soldier Field. 

Swift’s record-setting three-day concert extravaganza tops the list for economic impact of concerts in Illinois in 2023. Over a three-day weekend in early June, Swift sold out Soldier Field all three nights and helped sell out hotels in the city. According to the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, the weekend set all-time records for hotel rooms sold and revenue. To further the point, Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of IHLA, is quoted as saying, “It was the best weekend in Chicago history for hotel performance.” 

While all of Swift’s shows were sold out, the highest capacity recorded for one of the nights was 61,000. But it was artist Ed Sheeran’s show on a Saturday night in July that broke the facility’s capacity record, with 73,000 in attendance at a stadium that seats 63,500. Beyonce also performed at Soldier Field in July 2023, and of her two shows her top attendance figure was put at 55,000. 

Swift’s performances upheld her usual groundbreaking presentation, with nine separate sets over a marathon 3-hour-plus extravaganza. Swift did what is very difficult to do - live up to the incredible hype and even exceed expectations over a three-day, record-setting weekend.

Beyonce’s two-night performances at Soldier Field in July showcased her powerhouse vocals, swagger, and large ensemble. The dynamic singer welcomed diversity and transformed the lakefront setting into a safe space for everyone. 

Bruce Springsteen, even at 73 years old, delivered an inspired three-hour performance at Wrigley Field in August. The ‘Boss’ and the E Street Band served notice that rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay, and messages of refusing to back down, the spoils of hard work, and the lasting bonds of friendship were reaffirmed to the audience. 

Chance the Rapper came back home to Chicago and the United Center in August, and the reunion brought him to tears at the sight of family and friends before the finale. His performance served as both a celebration and farewell to the past as he commemorated the 10th anniversary of the ‘Acid Rap’ mixtape. 

Legendary hard rock group Kiss performed in late November at Allstate Arena in Rosemont as part of their career-ending final tour. The band’s farewell rang true to its legacy and legion of fans and stood as a fitting send-off. 

Lollapalooza at Grant Park in Chicago in August featured Billie Eilish, Karol G, Kendrick Lamar, The 1975, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lana Del Rey. The Illinois State Fair in Springfield in August featured Old Dominion, the Doobie Brothers, Alanis Morissette, REO Speedwagon, Tim McGraw, Chevelle, Maren Morris and Nelly with Ashanti and Ja Rule. 

Other top performances in 2023 in Illinois included: Rise Against in Chicago in March, John Mayer in Chicago in March, DePeche Mode in Chicago in April, Blue Oyster Cult in Waukegan in April, Lil Wayne in Chicago in April, ZZ Top in Peoria in April, Kansas in Marion in April, Suga in Chicago in May, Luke Combs in Chicago in May, Lizzo in Chicago in May, Fallout Boy in Chicago in June, Morgan Wallen in Chicago in June, Charlie Puth in Highland Park in June, Santana in Highland Park in June, Stevie Nicks in Chicago in June, Anita Baker in Chicago in June, Shania Twain in Tinley Park in July, Drake in Chicago in July, Dave Matthews in Chicago in July, Snoop Dogg in Tinley Park in July, Foreigner in Tinley Park in July, Thomas Rhett in Chicago in July Lionel Richie with Earth, Wind, and Fire in Chicago in August, Madonna in Chicago in August and Sam Smith in Chicago in August.