In the heart of the Shenandoah Valley outside Plymouth, there’s a place where blistering electric blues merge with fading summer light and a hint of twilight on old, gnarled vines. Helwig Winery’s Tuscan-style amphitheater has become a premier spot for those looking to experience live music while taking in mesmerizing views and sipping elegant, estate-grown wines. And its summer concert series this year aims to hit some notes of nostalgia while definitely bringing the heat.
It starts on June 29 with the drummer and lead singer of the Monkees, Micky Dolenz. A former child actor, Dolenz hit it big in 1965 with the mop-topped musical television group that was America’s answer to the Beatles. Dolenz sang some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer.” Tickets to Dolenz’s show are $69, and attendees can warm up with a preconcert barbecue dinner for $27. The dinner is at 5 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m.
The trip back in time doesn’t end with Dolenz. On July 20, Elton John tribute performer Kenny Metcalf brings all the jewel-studded, bespectacled madness of “Captain Fantastic and Brown Dirt Cowboy” and more to Helwig’s stage. Metcalf is an energetic pianist and singer who focuses on recreating John’s early mega-success in the ’70s, when his hits like “Rocket Man” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” sent his popularity skyward.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $65.
On Aug. 10, Northern California’s place in rock history gets a special nod when San Francisco great Pablo Cruise returns to the stage. From the mid-’70s to the early ’80s, Pablo Cruise repeatedly climbed Billboard’s charts with hits like “Watcha Gonna Do?” ultimately keeping the flame of Bay Area rock from going dark, and making sure the region’s legacy didn’t end with Jefferson Airplane, Credence Clearwater Revival and the Grateful Dead.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $69.
A special triple-act show entitled “Legends of Country Rock” appears Aug. 24. The concert features Pure Prairie League, whose twang-driven hit “Amie” is still a standard on radio stations across California. The night also features the bright, percussive pop of Fire Fall, whose hits like “You are the Woman” were foundational to the mainstream 1970s sound. Rounding out the bill is Poco; this band’s mastery of multiple harmonies is highlighted in hits like “Crazy Love.”
Tickets are $89; the dinner is already sold out. The show starts at 7 p.m.
Helwig closes the summer with Atlanta Rhythm Section on Sept. 28. Band members had played in an Atlanta studio before ARS came together. The act’s hits include “So Into You,” “Spooky” and “Champagne Jam.”
Tickets are $65.
Drop by this haven in hills and let the wine and music run through your veins. The amphitheater is at 11555 Shenandoah Road, outside Plymouth, and tickets are available at helwigwinery.com.