Best of the Year: Top 10 Concerts of 2019 by Mark E.

Rosanne Cash placed as one of Mark Engleson’s top shows of the year. Read on to see who else made the cut. (Photo by David LaMason)

Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2019 or choose their Top 10 photos of the year. We will run them over the course of mid-December as our Best of the Year posts.

Editor (again): After much consideration, the prolific Mark Engleson chose his top 10 shows for 2019.

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Live Review: Lupe Fiasco @ The Kennedy Center — 11/14/19

Lupe Fiasco performs at the Kennedy Center on Nov. 14, 2019. (Photo by Jati Lindsay)

To be resurrected is to be reborn, reinvented, reinvigorated — and not only in the physical form. Your soul too can reconnect with something you may or may not recognize you lost. As creatives, in an ever-changing DIY landscape, we are constantly tiptoeing the line between the life and death of our art. Luckily, our forefathers like Lupe Fiasco have made and taken the hits for us, making our paths a little less treacherous — as seen recently at the Kennedy Center.

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Live Review: Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi @ The Kennedy Center — 9/26/19

Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi (Photo by Karen Cox)

Banjo player, fiddler, and singer Rhiannon Giddens, accompanied by Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, entertained, educated, and amazed a spell-bound crowd in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater recently.

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Music Park: Raphael Saadiq @ The Kennedy Center — 7/27/18

Raphael Saadiq performs at The Kennedy Center on July 27, 2018. (Photo by Jati Lindsay)

Singer, songwriter, producer and all-time soul music great Raphael Saadiq made a recent stop in DC to play for a sold-out audience at The Kennedy Center. The Grammy-winning architect of R&B hits performed music from his illustrious career — past and present

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Music Park: Meshell Ndegeocello @ The Kennedy Center — 4/26/18

Meshell Ndegeocello, Kennedy Center, 4-26-18
Meshell Ndegeocello performs at the Kennedy Center on April 26, 2018. (Photo by Will Colbert)

DC’s own Meshell Ndegeocello returned to the city Thursday night to perform a pair of back-to-back shows at the Kennedy Center. A near-capacity multicultural, multigenerational audience showed up for the multifaceted artist.

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Music Park: Q-Tip Named Artistic Director for Hip Hop @ Kennedy Center, 2016-17

Q-Tip (Photo courtesy Def Jam Recordings)

Popular musician, producer, and DJ Q-Tip has been named artistic director for hip hop culture at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

In his new role, Q-Tip will manage the Kennedy Center’s new Hip Hop Culture series, set to launch in the coming months.

“With Hip Hop constantly changing and evolving, it is easy to forget the history and legacy that precede it,” Q-Tip said in a press release. “I want to begin at the beginning of the Culture to help people see its roots, better understand its present, and responsibly create its future.”

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Don’t Miss: Ben Folds w/ The National Symphony Orchestra @ The Kennedy Center, 12/4/15

Ben Folds (center) and the yMusic Ensemble (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)

Ben Folds has led an interesting musical career that defies stereotypes. Certainly, in the 20 years since he first collaborated with the Ben Folds Five, he’s become associated with chamber pop. And he continues to make interesting new strides in that area with his latest album, So There, released last month via New West Records.

For So There, Ben teamed up with the yMusic Ensemble, a classical music outfit in New York City, to produce a pop album built on a classical music foundation.

Watch Ben Folds and yMusic perform the title track to “So There” on CBS This Morning on Sept. 26, 2015:


The new album also offers Ben’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in three movements. And that particular part of the album is apparently the basis for a unique concert performance as part of Ben’s current tour, as he is set to appear at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Dec. 4, with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Ben premiered the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in performance in March 2014 with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra to great acclaim.

Watch Ben Folds perform the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 2, 2014:


Ben is know for being an innovative composer and performer, and he’s certain to bring a few surprises to his DC show at the Kennedy Center. So don’t miss out on this intriguing concert opportunity! Tickets went on sale to the public a few weeks ago, and they are going fast.

Tickets are available online.

Ben Folds
w/ The National Symphony Orchestra
The Kennedy Center
Friday, Dec. 4
Show @9pm
All ages