1 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (ACL Live at the Moody Theater at South by Southwest in Austin, March 15)
He's called the Boss for a reason. For nearly three hours, New Jersey's poet of the streets captivated a space the E Street Band rarely finds itself in anymore -- an intimate theater. Special guests aside -- watching Springsteen howl We Gotta Get Out of This Place alongside the Animals' Eric Burdon was a treat for the ages -- the music came full circle, beginning and ending with perhaps Springsteen's greatest inspiration: Woody Guthrie.
2 Rufus Wainwright (Meyerson Symphony Center, Oct. 14)
He can't get arrested by mainstream music fans, but Wainwright remains undeterred. His spectacular showing at one of Dallas' finest concert spaces ran the emotional gamut, from the poignant opener Candles (in honor of his late mother, Kate McGarrigle) through to the truly bonkers finale, which involved a giant sandwich, the devil, Wainwright dressed as a Greek god and audience members dancing onstage.
3 Father John Misty (Sons of Hermann Hall, May 25)
Pity those who weren't crowded around the foot of the Sons of Hermann Hall's historic stage in late May. They missed the epitome of a live music experience: Joshua Tillman rambling through most of his superb FJM debut, Fear Fun, and subverting expectations (social and sonic) at every turn. A special night.
4 Ben Folds (Bass Hall, April 27)
While Folds would return with the reunited Ben Folds Five later in the year, it was this solo showing that lingered. Performing with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (in a bravura performance) and alone, Folds had a capacity crowd tingling with joy -- and happily flinging obscenities at that gorgeously appointed ceiling.
5 LeAnn Rimes (Bass Hall, Jan. 28)
One of country music's more formidable talents demonstrated precisely why she's endured for more than a decade with her turn alongside the FWSO. Rendering classics anew -- Blue was positively heartbreaking -- and previewing material for a forthcoming album, Rimes' show was the sound of a sweet homecoming.
6 Frank Ocean (South Side Music Hall, July 20)
It was hot inside and out for this packed mid-summer stunner. It was all over in about 65 minutes, but Ocean, just days removed from the release of his superb Channel Orange, brought his A game. The freshly minted Grammy nominee's next trip through will be in a much, much bigger room.
7 First Aid Kit (Kessler Theater, Oct. 13)
Sometimes, all you need is a voice -- or, in the case of Sweden's buzzy First Aid Kit, two. Johanna and Klara Soderberg's sold-out showing at this Oak Cliff gem was utterly transfixing. Whether the duo was showcasing their own smart slices of alt-folk or giving new life to Simon & Garfunkel classics, the stillness of the attentive audience spoke volumes.
8 Miranda Lambert (Gexa Energy Pavilion, May 12)
The Lindale native rocked her biggest local stage yet like a seasoned pro. Although she brought out her side-project pals, the Pistol Annies, for a brief, rollicking interlude, the sold-out evening was wholly Lambert's, culminating in a heartfelt rendition of The House That Built Me. Next stop: Cowboys Stadium.
9 Alison Krauss & Union Station (Verizon Theatre, May 5)
Time seemed to stand still -- in a good way -- while Krauss and her bandmates filled the Verizon Theatre with beautiful music. Hers is a voice bordering upon angelic, embedded in frequently gritty evocations of mountain music but just as often the centerpiece of glowing folk-pop.
10 The Civil Wars (House of Blues, Jan. 21)
Joy Williams and John Paul White were riding high in January, touring behind the critically acclaimed Barton Hollow. The pair's voices mesh to mesmerizing effect, and by silencing the usually talkative House of Blues, achieved the impossible: a rapt Dallas crowd engaged with the haunting music being made onstage.