21 hot summer concerts, from U2 to Made In America

The Edge and Bono of the band U2 on Sept. 23, 2016 at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nev. (Wong/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)

Summer is the season for pop music to go big and go outside. Though not all 20 shows detailed below are roofless — some will, in fact, be air-conditioned — most will be held  in open-air venues in the season when big-name  touring bands (and worthwhile lesser-knowns) play on amphitheater and festival stages.

Firefly Music Festival (June 15-18). Now in its sixth year, Firefly is a proven commodity as one of the top-shelf summer mega-festivals on the East Coast. This year’s headliners at the four-day camping fest in a verdant setting next to the Woodlands at Dover Downs are not so eye-popping, but the Saturday-night pileup with the Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Bob Dylan, and Ke$ha is money. (www.fireflyfestival.com)

Sigur Ros (June 16). The Icelandic experimental rockers led by singer and guitar-bower Jonsi, performing in their otherworldly power-trio format at the Mann Center, in which their arty soundscapes split the difference between soothing New Age and booming heavy metal. (215-546-7900, www.manncenter.org)

U2 (June 18). The messianic Irish rock band cluelessly generated bad PR for themselves by forcing their 2014 album Songs of Innocence — title inspired by William Blake, naturally — into people’s iTunes music libraries. They’re doing penance by performing their revered 1987 Joshua Tree album in its entirety on a stadium tour that brings them to Lincoln Financial Field. (267-570-4000, www.lincolnfinancialfield.com)

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit (June 19). The former Drive-By Trucker might be the foremost rock and country songwriter working today, and his new The Nashville Sound, out June 16, continues his highly literate hot streak. He’s coming to the Fillmore. (215-309-0150, www.thefillmorephilly.com)

University of Pennsylvania grad John Legend plays the BB&T Pavilion on June 22. RICHARD SHOTWELL / Invision / AP

John Legend (June 22). The University of Pennsylvania grad reshaped his sound — slightly — with last year’s Blake Mills-produced Darkness & Light. Legend is more than just a ballad singer, and the video for his new single “Surefire” is an interracial, interfaith romance in which ICE immigration agents are the bad guys. At the BB&T Pavilion in Camden. (856-365-1300, www.bbtpavilion.org)

Buckingham McVie (June 30). This Fleetwood Mac subset has potential, with songwriter-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, the chief sonic architect of the band’s archetypal 1970s soft-rock years, and keyboard player and songwriter Christine McVie — born Christine Perfect — whose “Don’t Stop,” “You Make Loving Fun,” and “Say You Love Me” ranked among the band’s biggest and best hits. At the Mann. (215-546-7900, www.manncenter.org)

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (July 1 and 29). The Gainesville, Fla.-raised rocker last came through town on a scaled-down tour with his reunited-from-back-in-the-day bar band Mudcrutch, but this summer he’s back in the big room at the Wells Fargo Center with his longtime backing band, playing the hits. And he’s got a lot of them. (215-336-1300, www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com)

Wawa Welcome America with Mary J. Blige (July 4). The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul — back in form with her new statement of feminine resilience, Strength of a Woman — headlines this year’s free Independence Day concert and fireworks explosion on the Ben Franklin Parkway. (267-546-5424, www.welcomeamerica.com)

Songwriter Mitski will headline at Union Transfer on July 7.

Mitski (July 7). Japanese American songwriter Mitski Miyawaki, who stepped to the forefront of indie-rock with her 2016 album Puberty 2 and its terrific fuzz-rock single “You’re Best American Girl,” headlines Union Transfer with Half Waif and Julia Jacklin. (215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com)

Pink (July 12). The Doylestown native pop star born Alecia Moore has been a reliable hitmaker for more than a decade now and is a physically capable live performer whose aerodynamic feats give Cirque du Soleil a run for its money. She’ll be rocking the beach in Atlantic City. Country star Brantley Gilbert plays the same stage the next night. (www.atlanticcitynj.com)

Gorillaz (July 13). Songwriter Damon Albarn and visual artist Jamie Hewlett’s ad hoc cartoon band, with which Albarn has achieved greater success outside his native England than he ever did with 1990s Brit-pop band Blur. The new dystopian party record Humanz features a host of special guests, including Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Pusha T., D.R.A.M., and Carly Simon, most of whom won’t be at the Festival Pier event. (215-922-1011, www.festivalpierphilly.com)

Kendrick Lamar brings his rapping prowess to the Wells Fargo Center on July 19.

Kendrick Lamar (July 19). The greatest rapper alive reasserted his claim this spring with his fourth album, DAMN., and when his arena tour comes to the Wells Fargo Center, it will be in stark contrast to the intentionally intimate show he put on at the Trocadero in 2015. (215-336-1300, www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com)

Amadou & Mariam (July 22). “The Blind Couple from Mali,” who make far-reaching, ebullient guitar-based pop music that blends traditional West African style with an open-eared approach to sounds from around the globe, most recently on their new La Confusion. At World Cafe Live. (215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com)

Xponential Music Festival (July 28-30). A three-day affair at charming Wiggins Park and the BB&T Pavilion next door, this year’s edition is strong, with Wilco and coheadliners Spoon and Amos Lee with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band headlining the big room, and lots of top-line choices at Wiggins, including Drive-By Truckers, Rhiannon Giddens, Angel Olsen, Charles Bradley, and more. (856-365-1300, www.xpnfest.org)

Queen + Adam Lambert (July 30). Freddie Mercury has been dead for more than a quarter-century, but Queen’s glam-bam 1970s operatic rock has found new life in the We Will Rock You! jukebox musical, and this highly successful operation. It teams drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist (and astrophysicist) Brian May with Adam Lambert, the 2009 American Idol runner-up who has an over-the-top sensibility simpatico with the late, legendary frontman. At the Wells Fargo Center.   (215-336-1300, www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com)

Roger Waters (Aug. 8-9 and 11). The Pink Floyd frontman, who has carried around an obsession with The Wall far longer than President Trump, is bringing  to the Wells Fargo Center his Us & Them tour, which will feature songs from his new Nigel Godrich-produced Is This the Life We Really Want?, and, of course, flying pigs. (215-336-1300, www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com)

Erykah Badu (Aug. 10). The Dallas, Texas, funkstress and savvy soul singer who broke big 20 years ago with Baduizm and who most recently demonstrated her continued relevance with her 2015 mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone. Part of a Dell East summer lineup that also includes Shelia E. and Larry Graham on Aug. 17, Doug E. Fresh and Big Daddy Kane on Aug. 20, and the War on Drugs on Sept. 21. (215-685-9564, www.mydelleast.com)

The Districts (Aug. 11). The Lititz, Pa.-founded and Philly-based rock foursome fronted by electric leader Rob Grote is celebrating the release of its new album, Popular Manipulations, due out the same day as the band’s hometown show at Union Transfer. (215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com)

Chris Stapleton (Aug. 12). The burly voiced cowboy crooner who singlehandedly carries the old-school authenticity banner on country radio has a fine new album, From a Room, and two high-quality opening acts on his All American Road show in Margo Price and Brent Cobb. At the BB&T Pavilion. (856-365-1300, www.bbtpavilion.org)

Sheer Mag (Aug. 26). The best young rock-and-roll band in Philadelphia? Probably. The Christina Halladay-fronted 1970s riff-rocking quintet is finally releasing its proper debut LP, Need to Feel Your Love, on July 14 and will celebrate at this Union Transfer show. (215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com)

Budweiser Made in America (Sept. 2-3). In the sixth year of his Labor Day weekend festival on the Parkway, Jay Z decided he’d headline the thing himself, just as he did in 2012. The other big names are North Carolina rapper J. Cole and electro-pop duo the Chainsmokers, but the intriguing names are on the undercards, with politically fired-up rockers Downtown Boys and Philly bands Beach Slang, Mannequin Pussy, PNB Rock, Queen of Jeans, and more. (www.madeinamericafest.com)