Metatalktail Hour: Live in Concert June 29, 2019 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, gryphonlover wants to know your favorite concert! Ones you watched, ones you performed, ones you heard about from your dad; rock, jazz, classical, anything! Let's hear about the live music you love.

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, so tell us everything that's up with you! And hit me up with ideas for future talktails!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 4:46 PM (121 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I saw the Tragically Hip twice in '95. I happened to be in Vancouver at UBC and a friend scored tickets to see them on campus at UBC. Then I got a second chance to see them at a little larger facility in Alberta. The sound was shite but oh. my god. The crowd might as well have been the backup choir.

The facility might have been constructed to showcase minor hockey but I don't think any of us cared. An evening of shouting lyrics at the top of our lungs and leaving so jazzed friends and I walked most of the 10km back home on the other end of town.

The soundtrack of my high school and college years; miss you Gord.
posted by mce at 5:19 PM on June 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

The community college in Wilmington has a new wonderful concert venue. The acoustics are nice, seats are comfortable and it's not too big.

I was able to see the TajMo concert there and enjoyed the heck out of it. Both Taj Mahal and Keb Mo are great as separate acts; but when they merge their bands together and share songs it's a treat. To me, their type of feel good blues is a joy.

It's so rare that I can do something like go to anything; I'm so grateful that we have a good venue nearby. And it also serves as a teaching lab for students; they get to work different aspects of shows. Yay all around.
posted by mightshould at 5:25 PM on June 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

We're a family of 70s rock fans, and we're headed to see Jeff Lynne's ELO in about an hour. I've heard it's a great show and we hit the demographics perfectly....middle-aged parents with 3 14yr old boys in tow. I'm taking bets on who embarrasses whom more...the teens or the parents!
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 5:30 PM on June 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'm going to start off-topic, because I'm solo with the kiddo tonight and we shared a MOMENT at dinner. Kiddo is 3. She started making goofy faces at me and I kept exaggeratedly mimicking her faces back at her. And we both kept laughing harder and harder and then the laughter made us laugh even harder, and we kept trying to hold it together long enough to fire off another goofy face, but kept falling into silly pieces and gasping for air because our laughter was practically choking us. It was a moment of perfect happiness.

And then suddenly BAM! EVERY ONE OF MY PARENTHOOD FEELINGS HITS ME AT ONCE and I am overwhelmed, and I go to the kitchen and cry big heaving sobs, joyful and aching and fearful and ugly and beautiful, for like ten minutes and it's exhausting and afterward kind of lovely.

How are y'all?
posted by duffell at 5:31 PM on June 29, 2019 [33 favorites]

I saw the Magnetic Fields play in Toronto in like, 2009 I think. Two things stand out:

One: The band had assembled on stage. Stephin Merrit waited patiently for silence before announcing in a perfect deadpan that the lead singer (Susan?) (who was present) had laryngitis. She still pulled off Reno Dakota, and we were all very grateful.

Two: at one point Merrit said “we will now take a request” and someone sitting a few rows up from us bravely stood up from his seat and said “EPITAPH FOR MY HEART!”

There was a brief pause and then (again with his perfectly timed dry wit) Merrit said “but not from you.”

We did not hear them play Epitaph that night.

The cat and I have been riding out these uncomfortable temperatures today with lots of water (me) naps (him) and a general disregard for undergarments. Happy Canada Day from the furred and slightly sweaty.
posted by janepanic at 5:46 PM on June 29, 2019 [7 favorites]

I was lucky enough (and it was complete luck) to hear Prince and Stevie Wonder play together. A religious experience.
posted by sallybrown at 5:51 PM on June 29, 2019 [16 favorites]

Favorite concert I saw: Presidents of the United States of America. Chris Ballew was 50 but could still rock hard. They played literally every song I wanted to hear off every album of theirs, which really surprised me since people mostly want to hear their first album (granted they played almost the entire album too. That was a long set).

Favorite concert I was in: I was in a really bad garage band that played 3 shows in my mid 20s. Some college kids paid us $75 to play a house party. They tried to book us again, we said our rate was now $100, they said no, so we played for $75 again. Our negotiation skills were right up their with our musical skills. In their defense they allowed a lot of our friends to drink for free so in retrospect I think we were getting a decent rate considering that we weren't that good.

Anyway, right before the last song of the second party's set our bassist turns to me and says "I'm glad we're almost done, I really have to piss." The last song was Stevie Ray Vaughn's Pride and Joy and the point was for our guitarists to trade solos for a while, which usually stretched the song 5-6 minutes. Well, the guitarists and the crowd were really feeling it so the solo trading went on... and on... and on. It was pretty awesome, but after about 8 minutes the bassist just puts down his bass, goes outside to relieve himself, comes back, and finishes what had become a 10 or 12-minute song. I thought it was brave of him to come back like nothing happened.
posted by Tehhund at 5:56 PM on June 29, 2019 [9 favorites]

Sometime in maybe 2003 or 2004 I saw Low at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. It was amazingly good; the space is a perfect match for their sound.

A close second is when I got to see Godspeed, You Black Emperor! at the Scottish Rite Center, also in Baltimore. There's really no better place to see them than a room with a giant circle of symbols painted on the ceiling. That was also that night I was nearly removed because I got caught in the ladie's room - my friend had dragged me in so I could see the ridiculous opulence of the space. The Mason that found me was not pleased.

On preview: I also have a Magnetic Fields story! I saw them at the 9:30 when they were touring on 69 Love Songs. They come back out to play the encore (I wish I could remember what it was, but no dice), I think it's just Stephin and a Uke. He's in the last verse, and up in the balcony, some guy's cell phone starts to ring - it sounded like it was one of the old Nokias, which basically everyone who had a phone had at the time. It rings twice, he finally gets to it, half the crowd is shooting him the stink eye.

Stephin comes to the end of the song, finishes the last line, and as the last notes ring out, he looks up in the balcony and says, "Next time, turn off your fucking cell phone." and walks off stage. It was amazing.
posted by god hates math at 6:02 PM on June 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

Quite a few favorites, but the ones that have stayed with me the most:
Doc Watson and son, at the Denver Folklore Center (capacity: maybe 100) in the early 70's. He was droll, and told a lot of very funny/dry jokes, and played so well, so - casually it seemed like magic. And his voice was dream.
Jimi Hendrix at the Regis College Fieldhouse (also in Denver) in 1968. Soft Machine (remember them?) opened for him, but once he started to play the place was on FIRE!
posted by dbmcd at 6:12 PM on June 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

As I type this the Rolling Stones are playing just north of me at their only Canadian stop. I saw them twice in the 1990’s. Phenomenal live shows. I was so concerned when they suddenly paused everything and Mick needed surgery. Looks like everything is good though and he’s not holding anything back.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:27 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Janelle Monae, with Of Montreal opening at First Avenue. It was an amazing, completely surreal experience, and I spotted Prince like a tiny purple Sasquatch in the balcony.

I saw the White Stripes open for Sleater-Kinney, which made me sound like a much cooler teenager than I actually was.

Weirdest settings for good concerts: after a Chicago fire game (wilco, circa like 1999, I was in high school, there was zero overlap between the Chicago fire fans and the wilco fans), the opening of the St. Paul train station (Doomtree, at one point I think it was Sims that was like 'I bet this is the best concert you've ever been to in a train station'. Well, yeah)
posted by dinty_moore at 6:27 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Weird Al, and the Yoda chant.
posted by Melismata at 6:32 PM on June 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Once upon a time, I was listening to some Flogging Molly and I thought, "I bet these guys are great live."

Later, I saw them live, and they were.
posted by ckape at 6:35 PM on June 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

I took a semester off Architecture school in '92 to travel through Europe for 3 months with my best friend from high school. It was a big deal back then for two Chilean kids to do this. We had gone from Spain through France up to Sweden and Narvik in Norway, because that was as far north as you could get on a Eurail Pass, and were hitching and taking trains on our way back down and were currently in Copenhagen, at our very uptight hostel after spending the day in Christiania, IYKWIM.
Anyway, they had some sort of youth magazine, and it had an ad for the Donington Monsters of Rock Festival '92, which was happening in like 5 days. You have to understand, we'd grown up in Pinochet's Chile, listening to bad cassette copies of '80s metal, idolizing Iron Maiden, Slayer, etc, and wishing we could some day go to a real rock show, hearing about Monsters of Rock, and it was happening somewhere we actually had access to.
We grabbed our 30Kg backpacks and ran to the train station, took a train down and across to London, bought tickets, bought charter bus tickets, got up at like 5am to catch said bus, spent the whole day outdoors in miserable UK weather, watching Skid Row and W.A.S.P. and Slayer and Iron Maiden.
We were young and feisty, and pushed and shoved our way to the front of the crowd, until we where right up against the barriers, and fought hard to keep our position. At one point, they start to play the opening riff to Number of the Beast me and this random guy I didn't know just throw our arms around each other and sing the whole song at the top of our voices. They had Eddie on stage. They played all of our favorite songs.
It was basically our teenage 3rd world metal-head dream come true.
posted by signal at 7:05 PM on June 29, 2019 [14 favorites]

I once saw Taj Mahal in a small venue. He changed my concepts of time, and love through time. I saw The Grateful Dead in SLC, I was young and standing on the dress circle of the Salt Palace, Bob Weir sang a whole song to me. Must have been that yellow antique dress. I went to The Lilith Fair when it was in Park City, Utah. It was amazing. All the women brought their best looking men! I saw Judy Collins and Stephen Stills sing last year in Bakersfield, out doors. He described how Buffalo Springfield got stoned there, and he meant with rocks! I get so see my son in law perform in town, his concerts are always good.
posted by Oyéah at 7:23 PM on June 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

I played first-desk fiddle in a concert of Aaron Copland's music conducted by Aaron Copland. My small but good state college music program, ca. late 70s, somehow nabbed him to be the centerpiece of a few-day festival. Exciting. Nerve-wracking. (I recall the poor oboist having a bad time of it with some passage during rehearsal.)

Even in high school I played in some metropolitan symphonies that had a lot of name guest artists of the day - from ballet dancers like Jacques D'amboise to musicians like Peter Nero and Emmanuel Ax.

In the area of pop concerts attended - well, I once had FREE, almost front-row tickets to a small amphitheatre concert by my beloved Aretha Franklin.

And about five years ago I saw Paul McCartney. Cheaper seats way to the side, but lower bowl, and close to where Sir Paul walked out, affording a good close glimpse of the Liverpudlian legend.
posted by NorthernLite at 7:43 PM on June 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

oof. Tough to say. I think the most magical concert I ever saw was my first one, U2 during the Joshua Tree tour. I was young enough that the whole experience was overwhelming. Say what you will about U2 now, but in the 1980s they were the shit.

Memorable shows were Ice-T/Bodycount at the Paradise in Boston, before the whole Cop Killer controversy. Public Enemy and Anthrax, The Allman Brothers, Primus, a few Metallica shows.

I have seen Weird Al four times now, including as recently as a month ago when he sat on my wife's lap while singing Tacky. I will see him whenever I can because he is amazing.

Next Friday I'm going to see Phish at Fenway Park (and i will hopefully go Saturday as well) and I am beyond excited. I saw them a bunch of times in the 1990s and then kind of lost interest but got back into them in a big way the last year or two. This will be my first time seeing them since maybe 1996 or so. I unapologetically love them, though I can totally understand why some people do not.
posted by bondcliff at 7:54 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I got to see Negativland twice, once in the late 80s when they visited Boston to support Helter Stupid, and again in Detroit about a decade later on their True/False tour. The Boston show was on the upper floor of (iirc) a reggae club and the staircase was right in front of the stage, which made the space both awkward and kind of appropriate. One of the band members staffed a table at the door and invited people to fill out namecards to wear for the evening. The Detroit show was in a hall without seating, so they encouraged everyone to sit on the floor. As much as they seem to be about sonic assault, their shows manage to be some of the most intimate and personable events I've been to; unlike a lot of shows I came out feeling refreshed and happy rather than bludgeoned.
posted by ardgedee at 7:56 PM on June 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Opera rather than concert, but: I've just seen my friend make opera history as the first man to sing Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro at Covent Garden. He was so good! I'm so happy for him.

(Cherubino is one of these pageboy roles where the character is male but it's written for the voice of a female mezzo-soprano; it's too high for most countertenors, but Justin's voice is perfect for it)
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:57 PM on June 29, 2019 [7 favorites]

I've seen Ani DiFranco live, like, 40 times? I'm not exactly proud of that but also not exactly embarrassed. Yes, I am a 40-year-old white woman, how did you know?
posted by purpleclover at 8:07 PM on June 29, 2019 [10 favorites]

I have seen a few famous and semi-famous performers, but my favourite show ever -- for its unreproduceability -- was one whose acts were largely unknown beyond late-eighties Southern Ontario (Grapes of Wrath with Chalk Circle opening, IIRC), and I recounted it once before on the blue. Those of us in the room that night had a far more memorable show than anyone had planned for.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:14 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

For years my best concert was Peter Gabriel at the Worcester Centrum in 1985-ish (?).

In more recent years, I find that the more intimate shows in smaller venues resonate more. Bruce Katz Band with an awesome blues guitarist named Chris Vitarello, at Daryl's House in Pawling NY (twice); Gary Clark, Jr at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY are among the great shows I've seen in more recent years.
posted by sundrop at 8:31 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

The last time James played Chicago, they started off with the guitarist playing acoustically and walking with the singer through the crowd as the other four members filed on stage. Two hours later, after a virtual crowd sing along to every song, the band inviting a few dozen people onstage to dance with them, including the singer serenading one dancers v pregnant belly( the song in question was about, well, childbirth) the stoic seen-it-all security dude at the Vic busts into a huge grin after the lights come up, announcing “ DAMN you people like good music!” Why yes, I am counting the sleeps until I see them next month for their first US dates in almost a decade, why do you ask?
posted by jacy at 8:32 PM on June 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I think the best concert I ever saw was Nina Simone before she died in Philadelphia. We called her back over and over again for encores. Even after they put on the lights, the audience wouldn’t leave. She finally came back out and asked us to go home. “I’m an old old woman,” she said. “I need my sleep.”
posted by frumiousb at 8:35 PM on June 29, 2019 [17 favorites]

Easily Helmet/Faith No More in Albany in 1992. Unfortunately, I was a young idiot, and now have tinnitus because of that show.

I also really liked M.I.R.V. live, and saw them maybe 6 times in the late 90s. Primus, too.

The only concert I was ever in was a Buckethead show in San Francisco, where I was one of six people dressed as Santa that brought him out on stage in a coffin.
posted by Gorgik at 8:35 PM on June 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm not really a concert person- Though I can think of a few artists I'd go see if tickets fell into my lap. I used to be a fairly regular symphony goer as a kid though. Michael Tilson Thomas is a fantastic conductor.

Kind of a slow week in the garden though I'm getting harvests here and there all the time. I did do some late June planting though, and in a fit of madness I am now growing some sweet corn. Well why not? The starts weren't selling at work (because our customers aren't stupid and they probably know that corn is better from seed) and I have such sweet memories of playing among cornstalks as a kid... Basically nostalgia got me. I've gotten most of my mint and basil cuttings ready- I'm also growing a few extras for the meet-up. I'm gonna have several dwarf sunflowers ready so I hope people want flowers! Don't worry, the small sunflowers do well in pots even if all you got is a balcony.

One of the major perks of my job is the dogs that get brought in and a few days ago I met an angel. I think that's the best picture I've ever taken. Of, anything really. It's also nice working a job like this in SF were I can be as out as possible. I wore my rainbow frames today, with my rainbow chucks and my rainbow necklace and I put my uniform t-shirt over my red plaid shirt. I was fucking radiantly queer today and no one raised an eyebrow at all. That's progress right? It feels like progress. I'm exhausted but happy- and *that* feels like progress too.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:37 PM on June 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

I don’t usually like shows because I tend to get bored and antsy, even if I love the band. But every so often there’s a good one that holds my attention. The best I ever saw was Wanda Jackson. It was at out in the desert in Southern California. It had been 126 degrees that day, and it was still 100 degrees at night, in a venue without air conditioning. She killed it. If I could go back and relive that experience, I would.

I’ve also seen Dungen a couple times, and they are an amazing band to see live.

I really wanted to see Eyehategod when they were touring earlier this year, but I would have had to take a trip up to Philadelphia, and at that point it starts getting too expensive. But dang. That would have been cool. I also really, really wanted to see Church of Misery at Maryland Deathfest, but tickets were way out of my price range.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:41 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

One that pops to mind is when I saw Emma Kirkby some time in the late 90s in Boston with some crazy discount ticket near the front and I thought, oh, this is much more fun than being way in the back on some jumpseat! I can see her face! Sadly, I still had many years of jumpseats ahead of me.

One that I didn't attend is memorialized on a CD that was included in Elvis Costello and the Attractions' box set, 2-1/2 Years, called Live at the El Mocambo. It's the most over-the-top version of "Watching the Detectives" I've ever heard.
posted by praemunire at 8:48 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also, for a while there was a streak where all the big-name acts I saw live had an accordion. Weird Al. They Might Be Giants. Flogging Molly. I thought I was breaking it when I saw The Hold Steady, but nope, accordion.
posted by ckape at 9:01 PM on June 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

One I saw recently was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen: Will Varley at The Knitting Factory in NYC. He’s a great songwriter, and had a really good rapport with the audience. I’ve seen him a bunch of times, but this time he seemed much more relaxed and at ease on stage.

I also really liked seeing Frank Turner at the Coney Island Amphitheater, partially because I went to ride the Thunderbolt right after.
posted by holborne at 9:06 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Peter Gabriel, one of his dates on the SO tour.

I was sixteen. My aunt was a frequenter of a particular performing arts space in Massachusetts, and got a flyer promoting upcoming concerts - and saw that on the roster, remembered my raving about him, and got five tickets; two as close to the stage as she could get, for me and a friend of my choosing, and three for herself and my parents, further back. She didn't know anything about Peter's music, but the description of his work in the flyer sounded cool, and she knew I was an obsessive fan (at least, of the stuff on SO, I wasn't that familiar with the rest just yet). My mother also kind of dug SO, as it reminded her of her copy of the early "World music" album Missa Luba which she had in college.

Dad was the only one who didn't really know and/or care anything about Peter's music. But he agreed to go anyway. But he was in a bit of a foul mood as we drove up to see the show; me, my parents, and my friend Sue all piled into the car, and the whole way up Sue and I were nearly speechless with excitement and awe. But then Dad suddenly started asking, "So....what is this guy's music like?"

"Um...." Sue and I looked at each other. "Like...he likes to do stuff with a lot of traditional African and folk influence?"

"Oh, jeez...." Dad grumbled. For Dad, music began and ended with four-bar blues.
But then Dad relented a bit. "So, is there anything he's got on the radio right now?"

" know that song 'Don't Give Up'?"

"Oh, jeez...." Dad was still a little grumpy when we got to the venue, met my aunt and got the tickets. Sue and I went to our seats while my parents and aunt disappeared to theirs.

Phenomenal. Every minute of it. We were sitting directly in front of a mega-fan who shouted out the name of every song about ten seconds into it, so Sue and I learned the names of all the older songs we didn't know. Peter threw himself around the stage with enormous energy, and a complete lack of "cool" dancing - at the time he'd once referred to his dancing style as "dancing by intuition," a sort of thing where you could tell that he realized he looked like a bit of an idiot but didn't give a shit, because he just wanted to move and it was so vibrantly ALIVE. This was when he was still doing the stage dives for Lay Your Hands On Me (Sue and I freaked the fuck out when we saw that and made a desperate race to try to get from our seats on the mezzanine down to the floor so we could join in but the usher wouldn't let us get down there), and also had a 7-minute explosion of joy with In Your Eyes, with Youssou N'Dour joining him onstage, and he still ended with Biko, complete with the call-and-response at the end with Peter urging us all to sing with him for prisoners and those being tortured and the oppressed, and then left us all with "what happens now is up to you," and Sue and I were hollering at the top of our lungs along with eveyrone else in the crowd, keeping the song going as first Peter left the stage, and then a bit later Steven Rhodes, and then Tony Levin, and then David Sancious, everyone slowly leaving one by one until the lights focused in on Manu Katche alone beating out that heartbeat of a rhythm as we all still kept the song going, still all singing together and shaking our fists, and we kept the song going a good thirty seconds after even Manu Katche left.

We all met back at the car after the concert. For a while only my mother and aunt were talking; babbling excitedly about what we'd seen. Sue and I were a little too over-awed to do much but squeak out agreement to the things that Mom and my aunt were saying, even when Mom gushed that the call-and-response in "Biko" reminded her of a moment in the Catholic mass. Dad was quiet too, standing leaned against the car with his arms folded, looking down at his feet.

But finally there was a lull in the excited talk. And after a couple seconds, Dad finally looked up at all of us, and all he said was: "That was fucking GREAT."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:51 PM on June 29, 2019 [34 favorites]

I have two that are memorable, but not necessarily for things like the awesome stage shows (because there are hard rock shows that have that down) but for the individual experience.

1. MC Frontalot in a tiny and dry CT venue. This was memorable because it was small and he was playing Magic the Gathering with someone among the crowd before his show. It was 100% a basement show with your friends vibe.

2. An epic, seven-ish hour concert I went to last year that was a random handful of a subgenre of metal bands from across North America. This was in a former industrial town that I was stuck in for multi-day training, alone, and it rained the entire time. I left a generic conference center in my hotel, got changed, walked, soaked, to a drug store to get eyeliner, walked more to the venue, got a free ticket as a solo person who walked up to the box office, wrung my hair out in a surprisingly clean bathroom sink, and then hung out with friendly metalheads for six or seven hours. I'm short and eventually a dude with a broken arm and his friend managed to help me jostle my way up front. The last band had a visa problem and rotated folks from the other bands into their set. This was amazingly comfortable and chill and it was a perfect, if exhausting, break from being in a very slow training course.
posted by cobaltnine at 10:06 PM on June 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

This is unrelated to live music, but last night I went for a bike ride and set a new personal record. I went past the “your current speed” sign at 26 miles per hour, on a slight incline. I don’t think that’s especially fast in the cycling world, but it’s fast for me. I’m going to see if I can get even faster, although I’m now becoming aware that I’m going at car speeds, protected only by shorts and a T shirt (with a helmet, of course).
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:10 PM on June 29, 2019 [7 favorites]

Best concert recently was probably mongol800 at なんばhatch - it was their 20th Anniversary tour and they did everything off their debut album (Go On As You Are) because they were underage when it was released and couldn't tour for it then.

Suneohair started a series of full-album shows last year, and I plan on going to all of them. Last year was albums 1-3, this year is 4-6, and the next set will be in 2021 (Japan is going to be a mess with Olympics stuff next year) and will cover 7-9. His 4th (スカート) and 5th (バースデー) have some of my favorite songs, so I'm looking forward to those this August and October.

I go to a lot of concerts, ranging from big produced JPop like Arashi, KanJani∞, and Johnny's West, to smaller groups like plane and mid-level groups like Weaver and Nico Touches the Walls.

Yesterday I went to this which isn't exactly a concert, but I don't know how to classify it. I'm seeing it again today too.
posted by emmling at 11:17 PM on June 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Comrade Doll and I just got home from seeing Brandi Carlile in front of the lake in Chicago on Pride Weekend. That was pretty great. She did a rocking set of her best and tossed in covers of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," "Where the Streets Have No Name," and "We Will Rock You."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:18 PM on June 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Willie Nelson on the Texas Capital lawn. Maybe 1994. A sunny Saturday afternoon. Great show, great fun. I've seen Willie play a lot of times, this was maybe the most chill, just a beautiful afternoon in amongst all those huge live oaks on the capital lawn. Willie is sortof taken for granted, he's like the sun, ever present, always he's played, but he's not a kid anymore and that sun will go out and it will be a dark, dark day here in Texas.

Patty Griffin -- She's got these impossibly great records, just awesome. But -- is it studio tricks? Does she really have the juice? I saw her at an in-store, behind the CD Children Running Through, she comes out, she's a small woman, she's like 11 inches tall (give or take), she's playing a guitar damn near big as she is. And she blew that place apart. Juice? She's just amazing. If you get a chance to see her do so.

Jerry Lee Lewis. Maybe 1978, or 79, he's playing a small club in Houston, I'm as close to him as you are to your keyboard. A phenomenal show. Played from his whole career.

Calvin Russell. 1992, maybe 1993, I saw him at The Black Cat, three dollar cover, album release party for the CD Soldier. The idea of getting to see Russell anywhere just the best, and The Black Cat was this really tacky little dive, perfect for that show, but a three dollar cover? Prophet in his homeland, is what that was. In Europe at that time, if a festival was having trouble selling tickets they'd put Russell on the bill and it'd sell out fast, and it should, too. It was a great show, that night at The Black Cat, and those of us there knew it. I somehow found a guy who had an entire Russell show off the soundboard of some scumbag dive in East Austin and it's this really good show, and the guy who got the show off the board was this perfectionist, it's all cut into nice mp3 files labeled etc. Be nice to me and I'll give you a copy of it.

Gilley's club. I saw everybody there, if they were big in country music in the late 70s early 80s they played Gilley's club and I saw them if I wanted to, and I wanted to see a lot of them. George Jones show up late and drunk and played just as great as you'd expect. What a star! Neil Young played there with a band he put together called International Harvester, all top-line country players, hell of a show. I don't want to list them all and you don't want to read it anyways, I just know I'm lucky I got to be there.

John Prine. Maybe 1979? In a small club in Houston, he played and sang and the whole damn crowd sang with him, we were all in love with him, mid-show he announces the band, who they are and where they're from, and then he says "And I'm John Prine, and this is fun!" I've seen him once only since, The Paramount theater here in Austin, maybe 6 years ago, and same as years ago we're all in love with him, a small break in his show and some guy shouts "We love you, John!" and the place went up in cheers. I remember reading somewhere that Led Zep came to the US and everyone was in thrall but they made sure to go see John Prine, and meet him if they could, and who could blame them? It's got to be something to be Prine, to be buried in all of that love.

Best concert I didn't see but ought to have? Stevie Ray Vaughan playing at FItzgeralds in Houston; he played there at least once a month until everything exploded for him. I was all into folk music at that time, Kerrville Folk Festival etc and etc, and plus all kinds of Texas folk music especially (Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett, Terry Allen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore etc and etc) and just flat missed out. I've got about a zillion bootleg SRV shows, with two of them off the soundboard at Fitzgeralds and they're just amazing shows. I totally fucked up.

I've been real lucky, seen a lot of good shows.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:21 PM on June 29, 2019 [7 favorites]

My first 'standing up' concert was in senior year of college, when Childish Gambino came to our spring concert shindig. My first manager after graduation also invited me to a My Bloody Valentine concert; that was when I truly learned to appreciate earplugs. (I also saw the Kim Ki-duk movie, "Pieta," with him. I think he's a winemaker now.)

Before that it was always like, 'oh, your viola teacher is in this symphony and he has complimentary tickets, go'. Or my own recitals / performances. I don't know what concert culture was like in 1980s China but it was probably not like the USA, and my parents had nothing applicable to teach me about 'standing up' concerts in the USA.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:30 PM on June 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think the most memorable moment comes from a rehearsal, not a concert. For reasons, many years ago, I was listening to a college orchestra rehearse Mahler's Second Symphony; they played on the stage of the university's biggest lecture hall, two thousand seats, which I think were all wooden back then, making for stunning (if not necessarily ideal) acoustics. Seventy or eighty people on stage at least, the whole auditorium empty except for me.
Mahler's Second has five movements; the fourth movement ends with a sweet, tender, uplifting hymn, and then the fifth movement begins with an homage to the discord that starts the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth. Only Mahler's got him about half again as large an orchestra and all the disharmonies of Late Romanticism at his disposal; it's a staggering crash of sound, and when I heard it for the first time, in that big hall, it gave me a rush that was half exhilaration and half absolute primal fear. I wanted to hide under a seat and curl up in a ball, and I was also thrilled to tears. I've heard some damn good performances of Mahler 2 since then, but nothing has quite replicated that effect.
posted by huimangm at 12:16 AM on June 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

dancestoblue, what I would give to see George Jones in the late 70s. My parents saw him a couple times, or rather didn't, since I think at least a couple times he lived up to the "no-show Jones" nickname. I've seen a few of the country acts that are still around (as I said, Wanda still kills it), but it's not quite the same. The energy isn't the same as it is on the live albums I have, and sometimes their health isn't so great (poor Loretta Lynn had to keep resting backstage while her band played without her). I was talking to my dad recently, and he said "who knew I was living through the golden age of country music!"

Of course, neither of us had a chance to see the Buckaroos with Don Rich. I've watched a bunch of videos and heard their live albums, and I'm not sure I can think of a better live band. If I put together a live music wishlist, I think they'd be at the top, along with, like, Rufus Thomas.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:23 AM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, not to triple comment, but I forgot that my other favorite live music memory was seeing Slick Rick with Biz Markie at Club Love in DC maybe 12 years ago. I think it was right after Slick Rick had gotten out of prison, and he kind of phoned it in, but Biz Markie stole the show. And he wasn't even on the bill! He just happened to be DJing that night and was called up on stage to beatbox along with some of the old school DC people. A huge proportion of the crowd was that old school DC scene.

I'd never been to Club Love, but a friend took me, and he knew a bunch of the people working there. He took me up to the sound booth while Biz Markie was doing sound, just so me and Biz could make eye contact and nod. So basically, that's the coolest thing I've ever done.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:29 AM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

The last concert I performed in was a program of opera singers performing old-timey cowboy songs (and a few operatic pieces with new cowboy lirics). I was in a small chorus backing up the soloists. Doing the same program again at the end of July.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:44 AM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

So, around the hazy times of college (~ '90s)... I saw Laurie Anderson at the Wiltern but was tripping so hard I barely remember it. Then later I ran into an ex someone special and she pawned me off on her bf because she wasn't interested in the concert tickets he had... so I went with her new SO for the final Oingo Boingo Halloween concert at Irvine Meadows, it was pretty awesome. Around the same time I was living with a hippie frood and we took off to Texas to visit his mother, stashed a couple of pounds of *redacted* into the car and headed back to Los Angeles and stopped off by a Grateful Dead show somewhere in the desert. Traded some *redacted* for tickets. Halfway through the show a big storm started forming on the horizon and marched its way to the amphitheatre and by the time the Dead were just playing on and on the clouds were dark and thunder and lightning were flashing and booming and the winds were whipping all around. It was a good only time at a Dead show.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:10 AM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

First gig: Whitesnake at the Oxford New Theatre (for a while the Oxford Apollo, I'm presuming now the 02 because everything is these days) - didn't really have anything to compare it with, but I was surprised that anyone was permitted to do anything that loud. Two months later I saw Motörhead in the same venue which required me to recalibrate my notions of loudness again.

In October 1981 I saw King Crimson at Aylesbury Friars, which sort of changed my life in all sorts of directions. Recently I've been following the latest incarnation of Crimson around - I'm going to Basel to see them next Thursday. It's quite difficult to explain why they're so extraordinary, but they are.

The other life-changing band for me was Cardiacs. It turns out the only place I got to see them was the now-obliterated Astoria on Charing Cross Road. Sadly, it's another case of not really being able to explain why it was so wonderful, except that after each gig I had a strong urge to go back to 8:30 and do it all over again. I don't often get that with concerts, even the ones I enjoy.

Another band that gives me that is The Chap, who are quite, quite wonderful and probably my other favourite live band of the last ten years or so.

Earlier this year I got to see Julian Lage at Islington Town Hall, and that was astonishing. Apart from anything else he (and the ghost of Ted Greene) finally got me to fall in love with telecasters. And they are, strangely, lovely - as near as dammit to perfect guitars (or at least even a half-decent one is). They could have just stopped in 1952 and stuck with the telecaster, but I'm glad they didn't.

Last Wednesday I saw the North Sea Radio Orchestra (feat. William D. Drake), John Greaves and Annie Barbazzo perform Rock Bottom and various other Wyatt songs at Cafe Oto, and that was quite lovely.

Performing is something else - I've often set a target of one open mic a week that I've failed to meet, and sadly it averages out at maybe one performance a month. I love playing - I just sort of disappear, and get to be someone I like a lot more than the person than I am in real life. For a long time I played nylon string acoustic - Ovation 1863AX, which sounds fantastic amplified, pretty good acoustic and has a comfortable super-shallow body - but for the last year I've been trying to switch to playing electric. This is a bit of a faff, really, as I need to have an amp sim pedal (currently an HX Stomp), so it's not just a question of turning up and plugging in like with the Ovation, and sometimes a powered monitor, so it's more to carry. Tomorrow I get a small, hopefully portable, amp that will either make my life more difficult or easier. I'm testing out various guitars to see which one works best - the tele is winning at the moment - I love the sound the strat makes at home, but in a pub or club is just evaporates and turns all plinky (I play finger style and quite lightly).

Sorry, I go on a bit, but I get remarkably few opportunities to talk about it. What I'd really like is a bass player and drummer, but I don't really know how to go about it.
posted by Grangousier at 3:20 AM on June 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

I have been lucky to see some unexpectedly personal performances in venues that are no more. Todd Rundgren at the Hammersmith Odeon; Phoebe Snow at The Bottom Line; Sylvester and Two Tons of Fun (The Weather Girls) at Lafitte's Retreat in New Orleans; kd lang at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham. In each case, the performers were 10-12 feet away from me the whole show. It's magical.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:30 AM on June 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Also in front of the lake in Chicago, my favorite concert of all time - one that literally changed my life - was seeing Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at ChicagoFest in the summer of 1982. Up until that show, as a somewhat sheltered suburban kid, everything I knew about music and bands had been filtered through the 70's man-rock of Queen*/Eagles/Stones/Zeppelin/Elton John, etc. Except for the Wilson sisters, I had no idea that women could even play music. And then the first notes of Bad Reputation assaulted our ears, and that was it. From then on, I spent all my money on concerts and albums in a lifelong obsession with rock and punk and blues and even country and folk. I couldn't get enough. Since that summer night in 1982, I've probably seen thousands of bands play live. And I think I was up to 42 times for Joan, although I stopped following her around when I got married and had a kid.

*The first concert I ever saw, and, honestly, still right up there with one of the best ever.

Blew off a final exam in college so I could see the Purple Rain tour at the Rosemont Horizon. Totally worth the B instead of an A in that class.

Last show I saw was 4 nights ago - Steve Earle and the Dukes (with The Mastersons), doing his tribute to Guy Clark (who I also saw back in the late 80's). Transcendent...
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:00 AM on June 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

Best gig - Shihad at the Annandale Hotel. The atmosphere in the place was just crazy and it was so hot there was condensation dripping from the ceiling. The only time I haven't cared about being covered in beer and kicked in the head by crowd surfers because everyone was having such a good time.
The I am grinning like an idiot and think my chest will explode from happiness gig - Chris Cornell at the Enmore in 2007. There was no support act and he played for over 2 hours. His voice was phenomenal.
First gig - Paul Young supported by Noiseworks sometime in the 80s. Noiseworks were good, but I missed Paul Young because I fell asleep (I was around 7 or 8 years old and it was well past my usual bedtime).
posted by Kris10_b at 5:32 AM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh, by the way, I mentioned Annie Barbazzo above - I know very little about her except she's Italian, seems to be in her twenties and specialises in singing progressive rock songs of the early seventies - for example, a cover of Crimson's In the Wake of Poseidon from an album of songs Greg Lake sang.
posted by Grangousier at 5:56 AM on June 30, 2019

Oh, and sorry to do this, but I just stumbled across a video of the encore version of Sea Song from the concert I went to on Thursday.
posted by Grangousier at 5:59 AM on June 30, 2019

This last few months I've seen a LOT of live music and there's this Toronto band called Queens & Kings ... very difficult to google but they're on Facebook ... it's two people and they have so much chemistry you feel every note.

Also, I saw the Outlaw Fest tour just a week or so ago and I was seriously not expecting to fall in love with the Avett Brothers, but they had so much energy and joy! Thanks, Willie, the whole show was excellent.

Also there is nothing like watching the person you're dating play the guitar really well. There's this tendon that moves in the forearm... he bailed on me but at the time it was super excellent.
posted by wellred at 6:35 AM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

We go to a lot of concerts - not so many that we've sprung for the yearly pass at the local dive venue (yet), but enough that our friends who don't do live music go "you're going to another show, eh?" when we're headed off to another concert and it's hard to pick a favorite because for me, like pizza, live music has to be pretty damn bad before it's bad, you know? We’ve also been seeing as many shows as we can justify lately because alllllllllll the music from our twenties is on tour, and now that we’re 40-something we actually have the money to go to shows (though it’s harder to justify driving an hour and a half one way on a work night, which has been the main limiter lately).

If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be when we saw Mike Shinoda in Raleigh last fall on the Post Traumatic tour. Post Traumatic dropped at a very resonant time for me and Linkin Park is (was? Tenses are hard) one of my favorite bands, and I’d never gotten to see them in person (I had tickets when they were supposed to come to my city on the Hunting Party tour - and we don’t normally get bands like that here - but that was the time Chester broke his leg). It was a lot of stuff off PT, but also some LP stuff and some Fort Minor stuff and some mash-ups and we all sang until we blew out our voices and cried a lot, and it was a really emotional night. Shinoda knows how to write a setlist, for sure. I’m still kicking myself for not getting tickets for Charlotte the week before that and seeing him twice while I could.

Combichrist, if you have any interest in that kind of metal, puts on a hell of a show. We’ve seen them twice, once when they were opening for Lords of Acid (on that tour, they also brought En Esch with them and so now I’ve heard Juke Joint Jezebel live and y’all, that was amazing). We were there to hear the Lords (my wife is a huge fan, they were formative to her as a baby lesbian in the army during DADT), but Combichrist blew us away. The next time, they were the headliners, at the local dive venue, and kept blowing out the power (no idea what was going on, since they’d played there previously) until Andy was like “okay, one more song and then we’re giving up and I gave up on drinking whiskey but tonight, tonight I’m drinking whiskey so buy me one please”, and they invited all of us up on stage (and the stage in that venue is smaller than the one at your high school; it's the kind of venue where the equipment loads in and out from an exterior door right next to the stage, and the women's bathroom is right behind that, so if you're trying to pee between sets you're playing Frogger with the roadies) to sing “What the fuck is wrong with you” with them, which was bloody fantastic. It was a school night and LATE and we had to get out of there, but I wish we’d stuck around and bought him a drink, because when are we going to have a chance to do that again?

(The second time we saw the Lords was earlier this year, and it was fine - we were there for my wife, not me, and the show was a little much for me at times. It was the Pretty in Kink tour and we got what was advertised - luckily, I was in the bathroom when they started suspending people. But Orgy was one of the openers, so of course they did the Blue Monday cover last and Jay came down in the crowd with us and bounced with us, and that was fantastic. Also, they did a Prodigy tribute (RIP Keith Flint) with a “Smack my bitch up” cover that was really nice.)

Powerman 5000 is a lot of fun; we saw him in the same small venue. We felt really bad for him - it was a weeknight, the venue wasn’t crowded at all, and he started that show with “I’ve got food poisoning, but we’re here, let’s do it.” Folks around here sometimes take awhile to get warmed up, and the crowd didn’t really get into it until the last song, but he was excellent, if you ever get a chance go see him.

We’ve seen George Clinton and PFunk twice, and… well, it’s George Clinton and PFunk, of course they’re ridiculously good. The second time was in the PARKING LOT (which is not a big parking lot, y'all) of the dive venue last September, and I’m still in awe and slight disbelief that that happened, even though I have pictures.

We have seen Morris Day and the Time twice and will see them again in July (they’re coming and doing a free show an hour down the road) and they are AMAZING live. Old school showmen who know how to perform and know how to work a crowd. When we saw them in Georgia, we were in the nicest closest hotel to the venue, and we come down the elevator and… there’s Morris Day, standing right there, headed up the elevator. We left him alone, not wanting to be those fans. He’s shorter than me, and I’m short.

We’ve had several shows lately where the band we weren’t there to see turned out to be the stars of the show. Soul Asylum, Collective Soul, and Three Doors Down came through and played at our local amphitheater. We were there for Three Doors Down (they’re more chest thump-y patriotism than I’m comfortable with at this point, but they were much of the soundtrack of my twenties) and to hear Soul Asylum play Runaway Train (which did not disappoint). But Collective Soul connects with a crowd, seems to be having the best time of their lives, and you don’t need to know the songs to enjoy the show. They were fantastic. We saw Shinedown and Godsmack last year, and we were there for Godsmack (one of my bucket list bands), and they were good but Sully was being kind of a jerk that night from what we could see and it was fine but not great. Shinedown though - that concert took them from a band I’d casually listened to to one I really, really love. Brent Smith said “this isn’t a library, so only if you’re able to, please stand”, which I really really appreciated. (Dear performers: not everyone can stand or stand the whole show. We’re still having a good time, promise!) He shook the hands of the security folks when the band came out. He talked to the crowd. They did the Simple Man cover (sorry, Skynyrd, that is Shindown's song now), and that was when my father-in-law was really starting to go downhill for the last time, and … it was a lot, but it was a great show. Shinwdown just came through Raleigh and Charlotte this week, but school nights and adulting and all that. We saw Cypress Hill and Hollywood Undead earlier this year, and of course Cypress Hill was great (and I look forward to seeing them again - outdoors. I knew the pot smoke was going to be bad, but it was worse than I thought it was going to be and I felt like ass the next day. No one’s fault but mine. Outdoors next time), but Hollywood Undead killed it. I have a thing for bands with multiple vocalists, and I think they were rotating like 5 folks in and out singing? It was a much richer experience than listening to their studio albums. Oh, and they Xzibit opened and he was just amazing (I’m running out of superlatives here, y’all) too. A bunch of folks got on the stage for Angels Come Calling and they got to “Always remember one thing, you're living on borrowed time/See tomorrow's not promised, no matter how bad you want it/That's why I'm going all in, 'til them angels come calling”, and well, you know, stab me all in the feels, especially since my wife’s family was down that weekend for what would end up being their last visit with her dad (which is a whole other wild story for another day).

This has also been the year that we’ve gotten more EDM back in our diets (see also, my wife was that queer, 90s and DADT and the only place to go be her was the club). The Crystal Method just came to Durham so we saw him a couple weekends ago, and well, when you’ve spent a couple of decades getting people to move your asses, you’re very good at what you do. Also, we drove to Atlanta in April to watch Jax Jones play a DJ set (so yes, 5 hours one way for a two hour DJ set, and we do not regret this life decision at all), because he’s one of her current favorites and doesn’t usually get across the pond, and he is transcendent. He’s going to be huge in another few years and it’s going to be impossible to get to see him, and we’re going to be glad that we did in a tiny club in Atlanta. (Amusingly, since he “never gets over the pond”, he’s going to be in Raleigh in October with Zedd. Yes, we have tickets.)

Finally (this is getting long), Fishbone is one of her bucket list bands (actually, the last bucket list band except for Basement Jaxx, and I’m going to have to take her to Britain for that and we will) but she’s always been “they never tour, it’s festivals when they do pop up, it’s okay, I don’t have to hear everyone.” So I’m walking across campus one day and Songkick pops up with “new concert for Fishbone in your area.” Huh, I said. So I click on it and… they’re, by jove, on tour this summer and coming to our city and playing the amphitheater and, oh yea, bringing George Clinton with them. So we’re seeing one my wife’s last bucket list bands in a month and I cannot wait.
posted by joycehealy at 7:05 AM on June 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

One of my ex and my "things" was going to Lollapalooza every summer. This is the first time in 12 years I'm not going (although, I keep looking at the lineup, and thinking i might change that...). Anyway! Radiohead @ Lolla in 2008. Magical. They had just released 'In Rainbows', which is still one of my favorites, the setlist was fantastic, completely unrelated fireworks at Soldier Field went off behind their stage at the climax of 'Fake Plastic Trees', perfect weather, just perfect everything.

#FigsWeeklyLovelifeUpdate -- the boyfriend met the family last night, and it was a smashing success 😍😍😍 . I was anxietal for a bunch of different reasons, and there were literally no issues. He and my dad got on swimmingly (there's talk of them buying a hearse off of Craigslist together, long story), he brought a huge bouquet of flowers for my mom (it was a get-together for her birthday, plus if this hearse thing happens she'll need a bunch more of those), he nerded out with my brother, and it was fantastic. It's been a little over 2 months since our first date, and somehow, every time I spend time with him, I leave completely smitten and almost overwhelmed with how deeply I love this guy. It's ridiculous and wonderful.
posted by Fig at 7:18 AM on June 30, 2019 [21 favorites]

This is a difficult question because I've been to a bunch of really great shows.

Jesus and Mary Chain at Lollapalooza 2. I was still a tiny teenager and spent most of their set crowdsurfing. They played a lot of material from the two albums I loved most, Automatic and Honey's Dead, though everything was just gorgeous. This was the highlight of that year's lineup for me, and before they became known for epic sibling fights on stage.

Weird Al - look if I have to explain what a great showman Weird Al is I don't even know what to do. The man is an accordion virtuoso and he puts on a killer show. I've seen him three times and would see him again without hesitation.

The Cramps - this was at First Ave, and I went in without much familiarity with the band. The openers were fun, and then the Cramps rocked everyone's faces off. Lux was wearing some vinyl outfit that meant he was flinging sweat into the crowd, and a gal up front gave him her thong at the start of the show, which he put around his neck and kept sniffing. Poison Ivy got out her salt circle. At one point some asshole decided to stage dive, and Lux stopped the show to yell at him for putting everyone in the room in danger with his bullshit. For the encore, they did Surfin' Bird and Lux climbed all over the various amps, up to the second floor balcony, while belting it out. No one I've seen before or since can top this, and I love Weird Al's encores.

The Slits - I was in law school when the Slits played Great Scott in Boston, in 2007. It was a Tuesday night and my friend and I were waffling on whether we were going to go, since in the morning I had law school and he had to be at his lab. Then the reality of the situation hit us, that this was The Slits and probably our only chance to see them play live since they didn't exactly tour a ton. I found my shoes and he came and got me, and we went and stood around through five openers ranging from good to actively terrible, and then the Slits took the stage and if this was the Slits as more seasoned performers, I can only imagine what they were like to see when they were first getting started. Their raw energy was so powerful, and Ari Up was amazing. I had a bit of a tough day at class the next day, but I figured that if seeing the Slits made me fail out of law school then I had no business being there to start with. Ari Up died about two years later.

The Pixies - the opening show on the Sellout Tour, the first show they'd played in over 12 years. I have no idea why they picked my hometown for this, and I sure didn't find out about it in time to get tickets because they sold out ten minutes after the show was announced. A friend who works in a local theater asked her boss as a joke if she could get her tickets, and the next thing I knew, we were going. It was crowded and awkward, a small venue. I remember very little about the opener except that the lead singer, who was also extremely excited to be there, said look we know none of you are here to see us, so we're going to make this the shortest 45 minutes of your life and proceeded to do a totally decent set that in fact went by very quickly. Then the Pixies took the stage, and while I still wish I'd been able to see them as a younger teenager, before they broke up, it was a great show.

Billy Idol - I got into Billy Idol in a weirdly backwards way, and finally saw him about five years ago in New Hampshire at this beachside venue. The floor was disgusting, sticky and reeking of beer at the beginning of the evening, but once Billy took the stage I couldn't care less. I have a lot of anxiety at shows, the waiting kills me and the feeling of being in a crowd is stressful. Seeing Billy Idol was the first time I ever had the experience of becoming one with the rest of the room, waving my arms and singing along with no sense of self-consciousness. This may be the lowest anxiety experience of my life.

This is not even to mention The Damned, Gary Numan, the Pogues (with Shane McGowan!), the Breeders, The Church - The Church are absolutely amazing live, and a ton more, but it's getting long. I need to make a zine about this.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:33 AM on June 30, 2019 [7 favorites]

One of my favorite concerts was King Crimson in 2003, in a club in Asheville, NC. I stood a few feet from the stage the whole night. The show was fantastic and made a huge impression on me, but I've just found out this morning that the impression went both ways. I looked around online to see if I could figure out which year the show was, and found myself on Robert Fripp's blog - his entry for March 1 2003 recaps the Asheville concert and includes this paragraph:

Personal concerns aside, this was a show for the audience. A good-size club, sold out with some walk-up turned away. They were superb & generous, with the highest proportion of women I have ever seen at any KC concert since 1969. And many of them were what a man of 56 would describe as young. One woman, at the side of the stage, was beating time in 11. And then singing along! This is even more terrifying to experience than a good review from an English paper.

That was me. Holy crud.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:34 AM on June 30, 2019 [22 favorites]

Favorite? The (mostly?) retired ambient drone duo Windy and Carl. Hands down favorite show of all time, but this requires some back story.

I first started going to all ages punk and ska shows when I was as young as 13-14. My friend's mom used to take my friend and I to Hollywood and drop us off and go have dinner with her girlfriend while we went to places like the Whiskey, the Anticlub and even the now-storied Hong Kong Cafe.

By the time high school was over I'd probably been to hundreds of shows, and was already started to get involved with helping a friend throw shows in rented venues like church basements, community college auditoriums and American Legion halls and the usual sorts of places some kids can manage to rent and throw a punk or ska show.

Shortly after high school I got involved with electronic, experimental and ambient music with a different friend and getting involved in community/college radio at the university he was attending. We started throwing coffee house DJ nights and even doing remote broadcasts with the remote rig from the radio station.

Which, in hindsight, that remote rig was some old-school analog broadcast wizard shit involving a VHF directional antennae that we had to point to the receiver on top of a tall building on campus and then carefully aligning it o get the strongest, clearest signal we could, which was determined by having someone in the studio monitoring the audio quality and signal by ear/eye until it sounded good enough.

And it was about in this time frame we first had Windy and Car play, right at the beginning of their musical career as a duo. If I'm recalling things correctly they were on tour and came through to play our little radio station, then played several more times over the years.

They also played a really amazing show for a show my friend and I put together in the years after college and doing the radio station stuff. This show was put on in an arts colony building in what was, at the time, a dank, dusty and very dark section of unfinished basement.

The floors were dusty to the point it was turning into sediment and dirt covering the rough, unfinished concrete floors. We didn't really even have any furniture or seating, people just had to stand or sit on the dirty floor. I remember people sitting against the dirty walls and just being bathed in sound. Lighting was minimal, and at the time if we had any lighting at all it might just be a simple colored bulb in one of those metal-shaded shop or utility lights, or a lamp with a cloth over the shade.

We weren't really big on creature comforts a these shows and it was super minimal.

But we had Windy and Carl and some other local talent, and we had some nice speakers, and, oh, maybe a dozen people at the show all too happy to hear some new music that wasn't top 40 pop or grunge. Music that was properly post-punk and rather pleasant.

And if anyone has met or knows anything about Windy and Carl is that they're just incredibly nice people and quickly developed a reputation for making magic happen at their shows, spinning entire environments out of basically nothingness. We didn't need furniture, we had ambient music and it would be our furniture.

This isn't the show I'm talking about, though.

Well, fast forward something like fifteen years. It's now 2011 or 2012 or so. I've been volunteering at and attending the now-defunct Decibel Festival in Seattle, which focused on electronic music. Also working with and hanging out with the same friend I've been doing music and shows with for, oh, twenty years.

Windy and Carl retired to run their record store years ago. But somehow the Decibel people get them to come out of retirement for one more show.

This venue for this show? The Triple Door, a very swanky Jazz style dinner club that's pretty well known in Seattle. Table service! Actual food! Fancy cocktails! Furniture! Booths! An actual stage and sound system run by professionals!

All very posh and civilized.

I even put on a nice blazer, shirt and slacks, my best shoes and everything. If you'd told younger me that this would be happening twenty years later I would have likely looked around me at the dingy basements we were hosting shows in, then I would have thought you were crazy and then probably even got a little mad about it.

To be clear - 2012 was so far from 1993 or so that it just wouldn't have made any sense to 1990s me. 1990s me maybe wouldn't have even understood 2012 me wearing a nice blazer, sipping a nice glass of Scotch instead of thizzing my face off in some dirty basement wearing oversized baggy raver pants.

And the show itself was just magical. The sound was amazing. The Triple Door has a really amazing full house sound system and some lovely acoustics. The dinner and cocktails were also amazing.

The house was packed and oversold with standing room only - and every last soul in the audience was actually there for the show, so there were no random drunk loudmouths talking over or through the show. You could hear pins drop in interludes, the audience was so rapt with attention you could hang your laundry out to dry on the tension and anticipation.

My friends and I probaby only managed to get a booth because we knew it was happening and we were friends and staff of the festival hosting this particular show.

This was all incredibly validating. I remember looking around the show and thinking "Woah, is this what it feels like to make it? This is fuckin' AMAZING." and just reveling in the fact that we packed the house full of (very polished and now well dressed!) weirdos at a swanky dinner club to listen to what is effectively shoegazer ambient guitar drones.

Even just retelling this, my scalp and neck tingle with the magic of it all. Ah hell, I'm actually going to cry.

But it wasn't just that it was a good show, it was that that show was practically a family reunion of ambient and experimental musicians themselves, and friends, and fans. People flew in from all over the US and world just for this one show, not the festival itself. Windy and Carl hadn't played any shows in years and years and they were supposed to be completely and finally retired. One of our friends flew in from Iceland, for example. I know we had some people from Europe, too.

And ambient and experimental music is a very tightly knit community, so almost everyone knew everyone else on some level. I saw people I used to see at our shows in the 90s, people that met and married during those days and were still together, people still making new music and pushing musical boundaries.

I remember catching a few other people who kept looking around the concert hall with bright, smiling, beaming faces spending much of the concert scanning the crowd, looking for and finding so many familiar faces. People waving at each other from booth to booth, or getting up to run over to share enthusiastic hugs if a friendly wave just wasn't enough.

And then the show was over - it was pure magic, of course - and the lights came up and Windy and Carl put down their guitars and turned off their amps and came to the edge of the stage and sat on the edge... and it seemed like more than half the audience came to meet them in front of the stage in the pit... but it wasn't a mad rush or press of fans, or strangers it was... just a huge family. People were congregating to meet and greet each other, not just Windy and Carlos. It was all people who knew and loved each other very much.

I really wish I had a group picture of this throng. It would have been a living Who's Who list of modern ambient and experimental musicians, producers, people who run record labels, music writers and superfans and so on.

Windy and Carl remembered my friend and I who gave them venues to play on their first tours. They remembered and were greeting dozens and dozens of people in the throng. People were hugging and crying and it was just totally fucking amazing, one of the best, most touching and most amazing nights of my entire life.

It seemed like that post-show hangout lasted nearly an hour as people tried to catch up with other people, and it took forever for the Triple Door staff to get everyone to finally leave. We probably would have stayed there all night and cleaned out the bar if they let us.

The experience was transformative for me and made me really appreciate a lot of things worthy of deep thanks and appreciation. My good fortune with musical experiences, the amazing people in my life that made it all happen and the overwhelming amount of love and care these people have shown each other over the years, and now, decades.

So, so good. So good.
posted by loquacious at 7:44 AM on June 30, 2019 [12 favorites]

The silliest show I ever saw was Kiss, 1978, Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Kiss was not my sort of music, but my little brother and his buddy wanted to see Kiss and my mother elected me and my buddy to go along and chaperone. Wacky makeup, big hair, high heels, and fire breathing on the stage. Wacky makeup, big hair, high heels, and fire breathing in the audience. Lots of krrrrannnngggg.

I enjoyed various shows a lot, but I had the most fun at a Talking Heads show in Toronto (or somewhere north of Toronto?) in the summer of 1983. Good friends in the grass. We laughed and danced and sang until we were worn out.
posted by pracowity at 7:57 AM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Berry and nature update: I have had a total failure at berry identification, but it's a happy one.

So, I've been looking around watching for thimbleberries and wondering when I was going to see them, not realizing I've been looking at them the whole time. For weeks now. And I almost pruned a bunch of them back the other week. I didn't recognize them because... they were just too big. I thought they were something else entirely! I have never, ever seen thimbleberries this large in my entire life, much less this many of them in one place.

They're everywhere! I'm sitting on my porch and I can see quarts and gallons of them! They're just now starting to ripen and they're GIGANTIC. Most of them are actually bigger than blackberries or raspberries and there has to be thousands and tens of thousands of them waiting to ripen just in the 30-40 feet or so around my tiny house.

This might be the first time I'll ever have more than a small handful of thimbleberries at a time. They're usually more fleeting and rare, like I might find a couple of small patches each summer and get to taste a dozen or two individual berries, because they ripen and then fall right off the vine so fast that they're easy to miss.

Yesterday I watched berries go from pale green-pink in the morning to bright pastel red and ready to eat by the afternoon. There's about a dozen I have my eyes on right now that will probably be perfect before sundown.

I've also been finding lots of ripe trailing blackberries, the smaller native ones, not the invasive Himalayan blackberries. They have a better and brighter blackberry flavor compared to the pithier, larger Himalayan.

I also haven't started freezing anything yet because... well, I just keep eating the whole basket.

Also, I just learned that my compact camping pot is actually really good at making popcorn. Like, amazingly good at it. It's only about a 16 oz pot, but it has a nice lid and can make a ridiculous, overflowing pile of popcorn in no time flat. So I now have the ability to make fresh popcorn wherever I want with my isobutane burner in a package that's about the size of a large commuter coffee mug.

I think I'm going to take this kit and make popcorn sitting in a plaza or park in town and amuse my friends.
posted by loquacious at 7:59 AM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

joycehealy, Jax Jones looks like he’d be awesome live!

Frank Ocean in 2014 was amazing, as was Childish Gambino, and I saw Janelle Monae last year who was so good. I went to Nicki Minaj this year for the second time, and she was so happy that the crowd knew the words to her older songs (Dance (Ass), Beez in the Trap, Only, Bedrock, Monster).

I escaped the heatwave to slightly cooler England for the weekend which I’m very happy about.
posted by ellieBOA at 8:07 AM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

They're everywhere! I'm sitting on my porch and I can see quarts and gallons of them! They're just now starting to ripen and they're GIGANTIC. Most of them are actually bigger than blackberries or raspberries and there has to be thousands and tens of thousands of them waiting to ripen just in the 30-40 feet or so around my tiny house.

OMG! Can can can!
posted by praemunire at 8:58 AM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have seen a lot of good music. This is a fun question! The first concert that comes to mind was seeing Michael Franti (and the Disposable Heroes) playing on the waterfront somewhere in Seattle sometime in the 90s. The sun was setting behind us, the crowd was all super into it, and I don't think I was on drugs but I remember it being a terrifically euphoric experience, just a perfect alignment of crowd, weather, music and mood.

- Other highlights include Soundgarden playing a tiny half-empty club in Northampton maybe in 1987? (correction, 1989) Living in a college town meant there were a lot of free tickets to win on the radio. I didn't know who these guys were at the time.
- Back to Seattle for Drop In the Park a free show that was (inexplicably) Seaweed, Cypress Hill, Pearl Jam and Robert Anton Wilson? It is weird that I can watch this on YouTube now.
- I've seen Beausoleil a few times and they just bring it. Dancing with strangers. Nothing like it.
- Bad Brains playing at Hampshire College was unforgettable in one of those "Didn't appreciate it at the time" ways, also later seeing them open for the Butthole Surfers at the Channel in 1987 (there is a show from this tour on YouTube)

I love reading this thread, so many bands people saw where I can be like "Oh hey I saw them too... totally forgot!"
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:18 AM on June 30, 2019 [7 favorites]

The best live shows I ever saw featured Chuck E. Weiss performing in a tiny, crowded coffee house. He had a relationship with one of the cafe's owners, so performed twice a month for the price of a slice of chocolate cake. I was a 17 year old employee who went out of my way to snap up Saturday night shifts so I could watch his band. At the time (and, honestly, even today) he was the coolest person I'd ever met. If Zaphod Beeblebrox and Max Roach had a love child, that kid would grow up to be Chuck E. Weiss. Everything about the performance, and the persona, was brilliant and always on. As a kid, I found him fascinating. As an adult who is less excited by the character, his music is still fantastic. It's entirely possible my memory is colored by nostalgia, but I've been to a lot of bars and coffee houses as an adult, and I've never had a similar experience.
posted by eotvos at 9:20 AM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

So many great shows, Negativland after the U2 controversy, Primus in the kitchen of my house, the Amnesty International tour (Peter Gabriel, U2, Lou Reed, the Police), the Sonics/Mudhoney double bill...

The one that stands out and has yet to be beat — and maybe because going was a bit of an afterthought, maybe because the idea of a New Jersey bar band playing in well, a bar, in the late 80s when everything was all punk and psychedelic and thrash funk — it was the Smithereens, circa 1988. Those Rickenbackers, those Marshall stacks, those hooks, and four cheesy looking guys on stage that just punched you in the chest with a straight ahead rock and roll recipe that hadn’t substantially changed but only been perfected since 1961. It really distilled for me what live music should be all about and changed me permanently as a fan of music and as a musician.

I still seek out and appreciate variety in music but there is still a lot of salvation and liberation to be found in those three chords and a 4/4 back beat and if that’s what you know how to play, there’s room for it to hold all of the ferocity and emotion you need to project.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:46 AM on June 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Jethro Tull at Radio City in NYC. Songs from the Wood tour. LSD.

posted by Splunge at 9:55 AM on June 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

My favorite might be 21 Pilots last March at Lollapalooza Chile. It was my 11 yo son's first real concert, and he is REALLY into TOP, and I've grown to really like them as well. We spray-died his hair and put yellow tape on one of his jackets, and got there early, saw Post Malone (meh) and Interpol (nice) before, and he was psyched that there where so many other people in TOP getup, we walked around, he'd say hi to all these other Clique members and they'd be super nice back, and it was basically an intense and super cool bonding experience.
The concert was really good, too.
posted by signal at 10:10 AM on June 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

Vladimir Horowitz in Amsterdam (I think 1986). They ran an article in the newspaper and I was instantly on the phone for tickets. We got stage left, third row, so the best place for visibility in a piano recital, and there was also an early bird discount. Hours later the tickets were all gone...
He played basically the same repertoire as in the Vienna and Moscow concerts which came out on disk.
What fascinated me most was the fact that he managed the (for piano) difficult acoustics of the large hall (concertgebouw, grote zeal) in a "I've done this before" kind of manner, as if he was playing at home. Absolute clarity, no stress, it was really special...
posted by Namlit at 11:50 AM on June 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

I got into Leonard Cohen after he'd more or less retired and never expected to be able to see him and caught three amazing shows of his unexpected comeback tour.

The Neutral Milk Hotel tour a few years ago was fantastic and for once the audience shut up, put the phones away, and enjoyed the show together.

The Nine Inch Nails 94 tour was my definition of perfection from them, other than the horrible Marilyn Manson opening set.

Dead Can Dance also did some of my favorite shows as did Low.

But many magical, shows were also little local bands that only a few hundred people even heard of but could be amazingly right for the time and place.
posted by Candleman at 12:04 PM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

So many great shows at the old 9:30 club in DC (1980 - 1995). It was small, had an odd smell, everyone smoked, the bathrooms were epically nasty, there were obstructive pillars, and it was tons of fun. (Once got to hang out in the cramped back stage area with Velocity Girl, thanks to Mr. gudrun's friendship with a band member.)
posted by gudrun at 12:06 PM on June 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best ever? Oingo Boingo at the Greek Theater.

2nd: Love and Rockets and the Godfathers at the Santa Barbara bowl sitting on the grass, high as a kite.

3rd: The Cure, Pixies and Love and Rockets at Dodger Stadium. Nuts.

I'm sure there have been others, but the memory is super weak. Other than a lovely sedate evening at the Hollywood Bowl, I can't imagine going to a concert again, too much crowd anxiety. The ONLY exception to that would be if Oingo Boingo actually got back together for a concert. Xanax, Hell and high water for that one.

I have 7 pounds of tomatoes, 2 onions and 3 heads of garlic from the garden currently roasting at 425 in the oven. I smell like an Italian nonna.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:14 PM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

In no particular order:
- Milton Keynes Bowl 1995 - REM and Radiohead both on incredible form + fantastic support from Sleeper and the Cranberries
- Old 97s - London 2015 - I only heard about this at the last minute. They only played one gig in the UK and it was in a really small venue. I got to meet Ken and chat to him for a few minutes before the show and it was a great, informal gig. At one point Rhett was going to sing what should be a duet on his own and was explaining how he was going to do the two parts when a guy in the crowd says that his girlfriend knows the song and can do the other part. She got up on stage and they did it together and she was great!
- Philip Glass Ensemble - Cambridge 2014 - I saw they were coming to my home town and I figured we would never get another chance to see them play together again so I got as close to front row seats as possible. They were amazing - the playing was so intricate and complex.
posted by crocomancer at 12:51 PM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Several concerts -or really, moments at concerts, though there are surely others I have forgotten:
  • Dan Deacon at Pitchfork / Dan Deacon being shut down at Pitchfork for getting too rowdy. (Relatedly, Girl Talk at Pitchfork immediately after Dan Deacon at Pitchfork.) (Really, any Girl Talk show.)
  • Broken Social Scene at Lollapalooza, the moment when they triumphantly announced that they had the whole band there, holy sweet god, no way no how. (And that first time, at Pitchfork, when Kevin Drew so very delicately requested that everyone clap along and we all just did, sure.)
  • Sleater-Kinney, just after The Woods came out - and when they reunited, so many years later.
  • The Mountain Goats, when someone threw a paper airplane at John on which they had written a request for “The Sign” and he was very “aw jeez not this” but went ahead with it, & I knew nothing about what was happening except that this was a rare moment.
  • Every Decemberists show in that period where I loved the Decemberists (and probably still, really).
  • Marnie Stern in a truly awful room that held about twenty people.
  • Radiohead at Lollapalooza, simply being in the right place and right time for me.)
  • Lake Trout in college - one giant senior in front of me, bodily throwing himself into movement as he stood in front of a huge amp.
  • Philip Glass’s Orphée - to finally see an opera that I unreservedly enjoyed. (Not that I hadn’t like others in passing - but I have rarely felt inclined to put on any others in my own time.)
  • Johnny Greenwood playing Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint”, immediately followed by Steve Reich and seventeen others playing “Music For Eighteen Musicians” at a minimal music festival in Poland that we had completely lucked into attending.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:04 PM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

NIN at Helter Skelter before the 1st album broke. Just wow. Saw them later at Lollapalooza (and other times) and it was not the same thing. No slight on them, just not the same.

Alice Cooper in the late 70's with the full blown sets.

Georgia Satellites and Jason & the Scorchers together in the mid 80's.
The recorded history does not fully reflect what was going on there.

Chris Whitley several times. You never knew what show you were getting, they were all totally different.

Bruce Springsteen was and is very good live.

Every Cheap Trick show from the 70's to the early 2000's was great, whether it was dozens of people or thousands.

Fishbone could simply not be topped live back in the day. The records don't capture it.
I repeat; No one was better.

The RIP magazine parties were interesting.

I've also seen several shows that I wish I could revisit. I saw XTC, Pop Will Eat Itself, Tin Machine (not together unfortunately) and others that were rare events, and I just don't really remember much about them.
posted by bongo_x at 1:07 PM on June 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

My favorite concerts have been the ones where the performers were clearly enjoying the hell out of being onstage and performing.

The semester I started in beginning band in 8th grade, the band director let us know that Maynard Ferguson would be playing a concert at a local junior college and strongly recommended going to it (especially to us budding trumpet players). This was after the Live at Jimmy's album had come out, so '74 or '75. The show was in the campus gym; my friend and I had cheap seats up at the top of the bleachers and even back there the force of Maynard's (un-amplified) horn plastered us against the back wall. The rest of the band performed fantastically as well. It was glorious, and I was hooked.

I saw quite a few concerts at live music venue in Tallahassee FL that had been converted from an old A&P grocery store. It had surprisingly good acoustics and a top-notch sound system. I saw all but the last of the following concerts there over a period of a few years:

I saw the Flecktones two or three times in their original lineup. They were always flawless and jaw-dropping and fun as hell. After both shows they came out and sat on the edge of the stage to chat with the crowd and sign autographs for close to an hour, and were always as gracious as could be.

Al DiMeola, also twice around the time of the Kiss My Axe and Tirami Su albums. He'd stroll around the stage smiling calm and relaxed, nodding at band mates and the crowd, all the time ripping out these amazing intricate guitar lines without ever breaking a sweat. He's probably the main reason I didn't ever want to take up guitar, because how could I ever hope to match such prowess and genius?

The Dixie Dregs did a reunion tour with all or most of the original musicians. It was a hoot, but besides that my seat happened to have a perfect view of the opening at the bottom of T. Lavitz's Leslie cabinet, and I spent most of the concert mesmerized by watching the bass speaker spin faster, then slower, then faster...

When I saw Woody Herman's big band he had to have been in his 70's by that time but was still full of energy, and the band members were all young and consummately skilled. The band started their set with a couple of hot fresh arrangements and I was really looking forward to the show...then I noticed a couple of older folks walk up to the stage between numbers and mutter in Herman's ear, after which they switched to their older big-band tunes from the 40's and 50's. I was quite disappointed, but the band played those old charts just as well as they did the newer ones, and it was kind of fun to watch all the old couples come out and glide around the dance floor reliving their youth.

More recently a friend and I saw Gaelic Storm in Portland. They put on a rollicking sweaty show and within the first half hour a majority of the audience ended up dancing in the aisles. A good time was had by all.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:21 PM on June 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

At one point Rhett was going to sing what should be a duet on his own and was explaining how he was going to do the two parts when a guy in the crowd says that his girlfriend knows the song and can do the other part. She got up on stage and they did it together and she was great!

Wowowowow, my dream! What song? Four-Leaf Clover?
posted by purpleclover at 3:41 PM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

I saw Radiohead open for REM on the Monster tour 1995.

I also rolled around the Midwest in 2012 and saw Fiona Apple 4x on The Idler Wheel tour.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:45 PM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mr. Squirrel has pointedly reminded me that my favorite concert of all time should be the one where he and I met - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, circa 1989. Holy hell, that was a great show.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:06 PM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Laurie Anderson in the early 80s. I'd stopped attending live music by then, rock had become too loud and the live performances were never as good as the record, but she did an incredible show at the Pension Building in DC. A year later I also attended her full-on two-night 'United Sates' tour which was more visually interesting but not quite as memorable.
posted by Rash at 4:09 PM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sophie1, I am having serious envy about seeing Oingo Boingo. If I had a time machine, rather than going back to the various terrible events of my life I have a list of shows I would go to, including Oingo Boingo, David Bowie, the Ramones, Prince, and X-Ray Spex.

I've also got envy for everyone who's seen Janelle Monáe, but I still have a chance to see her in the future as she's alive.
posted by bile and syntax at 4:35 PM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

(Kind of tired, helped daughter plant many plants today, then long drive home.)
Have seen lots of concerts, but several stand out..sorry to not be exact as to time frame, I'm terrible with remembering what year something happens. In the early 1990's? Peter Gabriel brought the WOMAD show to Ohio. The Drummers of Burundi performed. It was a soul searing, visceral experience.

My kids took me to see Sigur Ros in Detroit, 2016? It was also a visceral show, but in a different way! The laser light show accompanying the concert was amazing!
posted by LaBellaStella at 5:07 PM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks everyone! I loved the stories and visualizing the concerts!
My first concert was Spinal Tap when I was 14. My friend won tickets from KROQ. We didn’t know they weren’t a real band, but it was so fun.
Most random, Metallica in Budapest. It cracked me up when they asked the crowd to sing along. Silence was the response, since most of the audience didn’t speak English.
Concert I missed out on: Prince. I chose to study for a final. I chose wrong.
Hard to pick a favorite concert, but I loved The Islands at the Casbah in San Diego. Super tiny venue, and they closed with a Prince cover. I don’t think I can go back to stadium shows.
posted by gryphonlover at 5:18 PM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

My first concert was Spinal Tap when I was 14.

OMG what year was that? I saw them the first year they "toured" when they did a coast to coast tour playing Boston and LA. Super fun weird show.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:27 PM on June 30, 2019

posted by gryphonlover at 5:47 PM on June 30, 2019

........ended with Biko , complete with the call-and-response at the end.....

I only saw him once, on the Amnesty International tour, and he closed with this. Then Bryan Adams came out : "ATLANTA!!! ARE YOU READY TO RAWWWWWWWK?", which kind of broke the mood
posted by thelonius at 6:33 PM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

So that was a memorable concert: in addition to Gabriel and Adams, the bill included Joan Baez, The Neville Brothers, Lou Reed, U2, and The Police, who reunited for a few shows on the tour. Although they had not yet generally announced their breakup, they considered the tour, it seems, to be temporarily suspending it.
posted by thelonius at 8:30 PM on June 30, 2019

Butthole Surfers, 1993, with Flaming Lips and Stone Temple Pilots opening up for them. This was an outdoor concert held at a horse race track.

Flaming Lips were great, of course. STP was a magnet for the most obnoxious dudebros on the planet, who charged drunkenly into the pit and displayed no pit etiquette, and Scott Weiland was a tremendous asshole throughout the set. Then the Butts hit the stage, with a very intoxicated Gibby Haynes firing (blanks) from a shotgun into the crowd screaming "Fuck ALL y'all leaving after Stone Temple Pilots!" Cue dozens of clueless dudebros running for the parking lot, leaving the rest of us to enjoy the rest of the show in peace. The Butts played a phenomenal set, concluding with a now very drunk Gibby spraying lighter fluid on a flaming cymbal and smashing it repeatedly with a drumstick while a very nervous fire marshal looked on. The shotgun bit would likely not play well today, but the rest of it was just transcendent psychedelic chaos.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:53 PM on June 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Every time I've seen Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, they've been amazing. Janelle Monae was mind-blowing. Gogol Bordello was fantastic! But probably the most fun I've had at a concert was seeing Seun Kuti and Egypt 80. Nobody else wanted to go with me. I made out with someone in the band and declined to smoke a blunt with Fela Kuti's son (but enjoyed a contact high) and danced SO MUCH. It was great!
posted by ChuraChura at 9:04 PM on June 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Amadou & Mariam, Lyon, 2010 or 2011? A tiny venue and a twenty-minute guitar solo during which I ascended out of my body and floated over the stage. Utterly magical.
posted by mdonley at 9:06 PM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Einstein on the Beach at Brooklyn Academy of Music! The whole four hours of it, though we took a wine break during the train robbery. So damn hypnotic!
posted by moonmilk at 9:23 PM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

O! Another moment. The third time I saw Broken Social Scene I was there when they were doing pre-show mic tests, and as a warm up they played Pavement’s “Kennel District”. Just for themselves and the students around to help with tech setup, but it felt like this link to the recent history of rock.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:38 PM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I just saw Jacob Collier with my teenager, and frig it was real.
posted by klausman at 12:20 AM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mr. Mon Dieu is fully recovered from his recent illness, and is on vacation this week. I was worried that he wouldn't be allowed to take it, but his short-term disability was approved, so his PTO (paid time off) days were not all eaten up by being off sick, something that might have happened at his former employer.

Saturday morning, we were chatting over coffee, when I noticed some movement on the lake, out of the corner of my eye. I got up and looked out the window, and spotted a Great Blue Heron, perched majestically top of the sun shade on my neighbor's boat, which is some distance out from the shore. I grabbed my camera and made my way (quietly) down to the shore. He stood still for a few minutes, and I got a nice photo. I've seen them before, but this is the first time I've gotten a decent photo (just got the camera in January). So exciting!

My impatiens are really enjoying all the rain we've been getting, as well as the relatively cool nights. I've got the new planter, which was a raw wood thing I picked up at Goodwill for $11, then painted, and attached rings to, in a fairly shady spot next to the front door. I gave 2 pots to a neighbor, and am going to stick some more in the bottom of the planter, which I planted with purple sweet alyssum, but it doesn't like the shade, apparently, so has fizzled out. I will root some clippings later on, as they are very easy to root!

Went down to the lake the other day and stuck my feet in the water. People were swimming nearby, and saw some kayakers in the distance. I will go swimming this week, as the weather forecast is wonderful, highs in the 80's and no rain predicted until Saturday. So looking forward to our stay-cation!!! We are going Downeast on the 4th to visit relatives and go out to lunch at a Chinese food place, as we want to avoid the tourist traps (I will be getting sushi and sashimi).

Might go tourmaline picking, or maybe gold panning and tourmaline picking both. Want to go to Portland and check out Trader Joe's (have never been), a chef's knife store, and have lunch, and take in the views from the Eastern Prom. Other than that, we will be hanging out here and chilling out by the lake.


Favorite concerts:

- Eric Clapton
- Buddy Guy (at Legends, he used my fingernail as a guitar pic, which was neat)
- Magic Slim and the Teardrops
- Sting
- Daltrey Does Townshend
- BB King
(Probably a few others that I am forgetting)

My husband doesn't like crowds, but he saw The Rolling Stones in concert in Paris, in 1975.

Love going to hear local bands play, sometimes will go by myself, but would love a buddy to go to session music and see local musicians. My husband gets really uncomfortable with crowds and loud noises :-/
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:02 AM on July 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

The two best shows I've ever been to were reunion shows.

The first was a Slint show at Irving Plaza in either 2005 or 2006. I'd been a fan since the late 90's but never dreamt in a million years that I'd ever get to see them live, and holy smokes did they not disappoint. Perfect from the first note, with such a huge, rich sound, unlike anything I'd ever heard (including on their albums, which are masterpieces but undersell the grandeur and power of their live sound). "Charlotte" and "Washer" were revelatory.

The other was Refused in Brooklyn in the summer of 2012. It was supposed to be at an outdoor venue in Williamsburg. The show got rained out so they played a secret free show at a venue in Greenpoint whose name I can never remember. The space was badly laid out and the AC either didn't work or wasn't up to the task so it was easily 100 degrees in there, and it ruled so hard. They were tight as a fuckin drum and the energy in the space was absolutely insane. They broke up like two weeks before I first heard "The Shape of Punk to Come," and at every concert I'd ever been to where I was getting bored with what was on stage I'd fantasize that whatever band was playing would just walk offstage and Refused would walk out and take over, and even having played that scenario in my head dozens of times I was still completely unprepared for how great they actually were.
posted by saladin at 7:03 AM on July 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

P.S. For the King Crimson fans, I have a friend who goes to some big guitar band camp every year (late summer?), and King Crimson or some of the band members will often be present. It's musicians of all levels, and I guess he has a ton of fun. Think it's upper New York State, but can't find it using Google.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:03 AM on July 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

So when I was in high school, a bunch of my friends wanted to perform at an open mic night at a coffeehouse run out of the basement of a local church. The deal was that the open mic happened after their booked show, and you had to attend the actual show if you wanted to get on the open mic. I went with them, as moral support. The performer was a mostly unknown folk singer, but she had a great vibe, was a fantastic songwriter and lyricist, and was very very funny, so I bought her cassette, but mostly forgot about her.

Until, over a year later, my friends wanted to play the open mic at the same venue, so I got a ticket - sight-unseen - to the show before the open mic, and this time I brought my new girlfriend. By a cosmic coincidence, it was the same folk singer! My girlfriend loved her too, so we bought her new cassette (and my girlfriend bought a copy of her old cassette) and one of her songs actually became "our song". At this point, I knew I was a committed fan and it was exciting to watch her gain a little fame - her song was on Dawson's Creek, and she won Album of the Year at the Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards!

She toured a lot in New England, and we were able to see her a few more times, including once in Dartmouth NH. She took requests at the end of the show, and I shouted out the name of "our song". She peered into the darkness and said "Is that my uncle? That song was on my first cassette." She ended up playing it as her encore, and it subsequently showed up on her acoustic greatest hits album (and I like to think I had something to do with that).

Years later, after our daughter was born, we found out she was playing a show in the atrium of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and it seemed like a great chance to bring our 3 or 4 year old daughter to her first ever "grown-up" concert - by now she was a fan of hers as well. We had to warn her, though, that she probably wouldn't play our daughter's favorite song - a cover of The Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues (she loved the "woo hoo HOO" - and she was OK with that. Of course, she did play that cover, and my daughter was glowing like the sun.

The artist is Catie Curtis, and our song is Dandelion. I only recently learned that she is mostly retiring, as she is going to grad school for mental health counseling, so we probably won't have a chance to see her again (though if $500 drops into my lap, I am definitely hitting up her Patreon to get her to write a song for us).

Also of interest is the time we went to see Harry Connick Jr right after he had ditched Big Band for New Orleans Funk, and the furious old people storming out of the venue after two songs were worth the price of admission.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:40 AM on July 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

Here are some important shows in my life:
SNFU at Le Rendez-Vous, c. 1987-88
That year (1991?) the artistic director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival was really into music from Madagascar.
Propagandhi at the Albert 1990 maybe? They stopped playing home shows fairly early on.
NoMeansNo at the West End Cultural Centre
Fugazi at Foufounes Électriques in Montréal, 1993?
I first saw Jonathan Richman in New Orleans in 2001 or so.
X in San Fran, first time was probably New Year's 2010? And the most recent time was 2015 while I was pregnant and they played all the songs from More Fun in the New World, my very favorite.
Leonard Cohen at the Paramount in Oakland, so that's 2013.

Live music hasn't been central to my life in a really long time, but it was really one of the first big choices I made as a young teen, to get involved in hardcore/punk. Nothing in my life to that point was anything like it - we were a house of folk music, my stepdad tormented us by playing pennywhistle and banjo. And looking back a lot of the shows I went to were objectively terrible bands (Red Fisher, ALL, Corpus Vile, Dayglo Abortions, other late 80s western Canadian acts - never mind awful CanCon like Toad the Wet Sprocket and Moxy Fruvous who played Folk Fest much to my scorn even then) but something about the live show was the energy that kept me running.

The Albert is undergoing another revival, after a completely disastrous decade-plus of drama (holy shit I forgot about this part - and then that guy fucking DIED!!!) I wish them luck whoo boy.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:49 AM on July 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have a friend who goes to some big guitar band camp every year (late summer?), and King Crimson or some of the band members will often be present.

Looks like it may be this
posted by thelonius at 8:17 AM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

First concert: Skid Row opening for Aerosmith, December 1989 at the Richmond Coliseum. Tickets were $18.25, and I missed a family Christmas party.
Favorite concert: Josh Ritter at the 9:30 Club, May 2010. My brother and I went, to celebrate our birthdays. I had met my future wife by that point, but we were still months away from going out on a date.
Worst concert: Grateful Dead, Philadelphia Spectrum, October 1994. I still feel fortunate to have been able to see the Dead while Jerry was still alive, but I was bored enough to fall asleep.
posted by emelenjr at 8:31 AM on July 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Looks like it may be this

Yes! That's it, thanks, thelonius!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:41 AM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love live music, and I've seen some pretty good shows. The closet I got to being a groupie was seeing a small group two nights in a row, whose name I can't recall now :( I think it was Jessie [something] and her [somethings], and it was electronic dance type music, with a saxophone, if I recall correctly. I have their EP somewhere, I'll have to dig it up. Anyway, I was staying in the San Francisco area, and I saw the band one night. I had so much fun that I talked a friend into seeing them the next night.

The next closest was when I saw Radiohead twice in a week. A friend invited me to see them up in the Bay Area, that day. I was in college, but it was the summer and I had no job, so why not? I missed the opener (Beta Band?) and maybe a song, and then sat waaay back on the lawn in an open air venue, where the lawn is waaay in the back. It was good. Then a friend had spare tickets to see them in the Santa Barbara Bowl, in a much smaller venue (where the lawn was up front, so I was confused to find the lawn in the back in SF ;)). We were waay in the back again, but it was much closer. Great shows.

I also saw the Pixies in the Bowl, where I was pretty sure it was going to be just their roadies and their gear, as the tour shirt didn't list this stop ;) It wasn't -- it was really the Pixies. I also saw The Cure there, which was a weird collection of fans, from the older folks who looked like they took out their gothiest gear for the show, plus younger folks. And Beastie Boys, and ZZ Top, with my dad, in the rain. Good times.

My favorite experience was the first Coachella, when no one had any idea what was going on, or how big it would be. They ran out of free water bottles early on the first day, and bands actually sold their own merch after their gigs. That's where I saw IQU as a three-piece, Aaron Hartman, who played upright bass, left in 2000, forming Old Time Relijun (today I learned ...!).

Sharon Jones was great, both at Coachella, and in a little college town bar. I miss her.

I've had fun dancing wherever there's good music to dance to, which has lead me to be asked for various drugs, as if dancing to dance music means you're on something.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was never much of a concert-goer, but 2 stand out in my memory.

1. Laibach 1989 at St. Andrews in Detroit. Great show, terrible afterwards because one of the guys I rode with had (unbeknownst to us) dropped acid, wandered out of the hall and was picked up--completely naked and raving--by the police and transported to a local hospital with a mental ward (they thought he was having a psychotic break). It was February. We spent about 6 hours cruising the streets of Detroit looking for him before giving up and heading home to Grand Rapids. That ride home was one of the worst of my life.

2. Yo La Tengo & the Magnetic Fields at the Magic Stick, 1997. My now wife, then girlfriend, and I went for our first out of town weekend. Concert was great, and I think it was maybe the first time we realized how well we "clicked" together. It is sort of the event that made me realize we had gone from being a semi-casual fling to being a couple.
posted by Chrischris at 9:32 AM on July 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really enjoy the live music scene in my city, which is decidedly medium sized; we don't always get the biggest acts, but the tickets are usually affordable and the venues are all small enough that you are actually pretty close to the performers. I've seen Neko Case in concert twice, and both times it was a great show. Same goes for Iron & Wine (well, one of the times Sam Beam wasn't performing as Iron & Wine, but under his real name for his collaboration with Jesca Hoop) and Andrew Bird. But the best concerts I've seen here have to be Regina Spektor -- she kept apologizing for being sick and having no voice, but then singing amazingly -- and Kishi Bashi, who put on probably the most joyful concert I've ever been to.

I was really lucky as an undergrad to sing in a glee club directed by a man who also directed a very highly regarded amateur choir. This meant that (a) he is a really good conductor and made me a much better singer, and (b) he would sometimes draw on the college group to supplement the other choir. One year, we teamed up with the other choir and a local orchestra to sing Mahler's 8th Symphony. Another year, over the summer, I got to join the other choir for a John Williams tribute concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (I have absolutely no business sharing a stage with the CSO!). I've kept singing since undergrad, but I don't expect to be in any performances that match up to those.
posted by egregious theorem at 9:54 AM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Skid Row opening for Aerosmith, December 1989 at the Richmond Coliseum.

That would have been my first concert as well, and I had a ticket and a ride, but the parents said no. Beatles Fest at the fairgrounds? No complaints.
posted by klausman at 11:06 AM on July 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Most amazing: White Stripes at the Glass House in Pomona. I can't even begin to describe the energy that night.

I probably hold some kind of record for the number of times I've seen Belle and Sebastian, so at this point all of the shows are a blur of cardigans and overpriced wine. Hollywood Bowl was good; Coachella was good. I'm looking forward to seeing them in Brooklyn.

I think I've seen all of the artists I've wanted to see and that it was possible to see, with the exceptions of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits. There was no way I could afford Bruce on Broadway and Tom Waits never seemed to visit a city while I was in it (or even close) and now is apparently retired. I once did poorly on an exam because I went to see Blur instead of studying. Even though it was during their cocaine and incoherence years, no regrets.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:45 AM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Saturday night I took my son to his first* show- saw The Hotelier at the Royale in Boston. They were opening for another band, but the kid is 8 years old and only had stamina for one band, and I love the Hotelier so much, so we skipped the headliner. This was his first real show, but I took him to a day of Boston Calling last year, which I guess technically counts as first, though he couldn't make it through any entire sets, so we heard some songs from a handful of bands that time.

I go to a lot of shows and so many of them have been really fantastic. Favorites over the years include:
-Sleater-Kinney, many times from 1998-present (so sad about today's news!)
-The National at All Tomorrow's Parties in England
-Versus at the Middle East around 1999-ish
-Neutral Milk Hotel, once at the Middle East Upstairs and once at the Middle East Downstairs (upstairs Jeff Mangum bummed a cigarette from a friend I was with! You could smoke inside back then, it was so gross but we thought it was cool!), just before and just after Aeroplane came out
-The Hotelier, every dang show they play is awesome, but whenever they headline the Sinclair it's ecstatic
-Hop Along, every time I see them they are amazing
-The Twilight Sad every time they come to town
-At the time (1997) when Smashing Pumpkins was my favorite band seeing them was a religious experience. I can't say that it was legit one of the best shows of my life now, but at the time it was
-Saw Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties because I more interested in the opening act (A.W.), but that show converted me to a huge fan. Just saw Aaron West again last month, and one of the openers (Pronoun) instantly blew me away, and I have been converted into a major Pronoun fan.
-Almost every time The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die plays
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 11:47 AM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Watching a dude about my age fill in for Rick Wakeman at a Yes concert. Jon basically introduced him as a superfan who'd stepped in because Rick was ill or something.

It wasn't my favorite concert, and while the guy was really good he wasn't, like, better than Rick, but it was pretty cool to see somebody live out what must have been a ridiculously implausible lifelong fantasy.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:22 PM on July 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

Crossposted from here:

Shortly before the end of Pinochet's regime, there was a general loosening of the state-led repression in Chile, a sort of appetizer for democracy.
Inti Illimani and Quilapayún came back from exile, and headlined a massive, open air, free concert in one of the largest slums in Chile. I was in my senior year of high school, and I and a few of my anti-Pinochet classmates were there.
I remember the novelty of walking through a literally dirt poor neighborhood, shouting out protest slogans and songs, with no cops to be seen anywhere near the concert.
Raising a fist and singing el Pueblo Unido in the streets of a soon to be free Santiago was one of the high points of my teenage years.
posted by signal at 2:46 PM on July 1, 2019 [9 favorites]

First concert: Styx, summer of 1983 at the Capital Centre, touring for the release of "Kilroy Was Here". Say what you want about that album, the stage show was AMAZING.

Growing up in southern Maryland, the Bayou in Georgetown was the place to go for music. Before they were famous for "Don't Close Your Eyes", I must have seen Baltimore's own Kix about 2 dozen times there.

Most fun concert experience: tie between PUFFY (aka Puffy AmiYumi) at the 9:30 Club in 2005 and Spinal Tap "Unwigged" at the Fox in Oakland.

Seeing Gogol Bordello open for Flogging Molly (my first time seeing either band) was an eye-opener about cultural influences on punk music.

Weirdest experience at a show: seeing Dead Can Dance at the Strathmore outside DC. I had no idea who they were. Had a surprisingly negative physical reaction to the music, almost like a panic attack that I have never been able to explain.

Most recent show: just took my girlfriend to see Billie Eilish a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco. Holy crap, that young woman has great stage presence.
posted by hanov3r at 4:05 PM on July 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

In 1979 I saw a triple bill concert at the Paramount theater in Seattle that led with a R&B harmony quartet named the Numonics and ended with the Gap Band. But I and the bulk of the audience were there to see Johnny Guitar Watson in between and, oh, did he deliver.

I always respected Watson for being one of the.few bluesmen who kept his core black audience rather than play the oldies for a white college audience. He did it by becoming a funkster in the 70s and recording proto-rap disquisitions on the effects of inflation on the playa with titles like Ain't that a Bitch, a Real Mother for You and What the Hell is This ? and the most hilarious album sleeves -- A Real Mother, for instance, featured Johnny in a Bentley grilled baby carriage pushed by his own mother.

Man, he hit the stage wearing shades, cowboy hat, no shirt and in a pine green velour suit with silver piping, playing a big red Gibson with a wireless transmitter duct taped to its back and he immediately went off the stage and started playing the rail and the aisles.

And the crowd went nuts -- women in their.50s, dressed to the nines, were standing on their seats screaming John-ee! John-ee! when not rushing the stage. And I swear to God I saw one lady bring a baby up to be blessed or kissed, I don't know what, while Johnny performed the laying on of hands in between licks and quips

That crowd knew the words to every song from an oldie like Gangster of Love to all of his funkateer hits and sang along. And when he soloed, he worked the rail and went up the aisles, mugging, snapping strings, his guitar rippling and bubbling like a brook over a pebbled streambed. The set ended with everyone, he and we, exhausted, drenched in sweat and deliriously happy.

I've seen Dylan six times, from Before the Flood to Love and Theft, Ramblin' Jack Elliott as many, Jonathan Richman a dozen, likewise the Dead, starting in '68 with Pigpen and a beardless Jerry Garcia through '74, the Ramones, Bootsy, the Specials, Bad Manners, Laura Nyro, Etta James and the Tumbling Dice Rolling Stones tour, to name but a few, and all those were transcendent to the extreme. And I saw Johnny Guitar Watson twice.

But that night at the Paramount was the best ever.
posted by y2karl at 5:05 PM on July 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

I spent my teens, twenties, and most of my thirties seeing live shows. I have seen most of the people I wanted to see (two exceptions - Bowie and Queen with Freddie.)

The show that immediately pops out for me is a small PJ Harvey club show during the Uh Huh Her tour. I don't think I understood charisma or her talent before that show.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:25 PM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I went to a bunch of shows through high school and college in the late 90s, and was also in college radio so we'd often get free tickets for bigger gigs or help organize smaller ones. In general my favorite shows were small places- some basement punk shows were more memorable than arena concerts for me.

A couple highlights- Seeing Stereolab in a small bar in Grand Rapids. I saw them a few other times, but this venue was small and packed. Spent most of the night right in front of the stage where the pulsing bass would vibrate your whole body - at one point the effect of this and being packed in like sardines got me light-headed, and as I made my way to the back for some air, before making all the way out I actually passed out for a couple seconds. People around kindly helped me up and probably thought I was wasted; one of the only times I've passed out, and not a pleasant experience, but after stepping outside for a few minutes I was back in and fine for the rest of the show. Always loved their gigs - the pacing and intensity of punk or fast rock, but minus the aggro.

Another special show, my friend was opening for Calvin Johnson (from Beat Happening, K Records, etc.) at Tangent Gallery in Detroit, probably around 2005-6, I don't think it was promoted too well so small crowd. When Calvin saw the crowd size, he moved the whole concert into the small lobby/gallery area and everyone gathered around in a circle. He proceeded to do an acoustic guitar accompanied extended story telling of the big Dub Narcotic tour van accident from 2003 (more info) which was funny, sad, and gripping all at the same time, and the perfect intimate atmosphere for it. Also when the few late-comers stumbled into this lobby pow-wow circle, Calvin paused whatever he was doing to welcome them and tell them everyone just introduced themselves and they were up next.

Lastly, my college band opened for Low around '99 in a tiny dormitory cafe- another one where people were crammed into a tiny space. Their music was beautiful as always, but also special in that between every song, you suddenly realized you were in a full of 300 people were crammed in tight, yet somehow totally silent.
posted by p3t3 at 5:29 PM on July 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I must have seen Baltimore's own Kix about 2 dozen times there.

Oh right, Kix. That was one of those bands that you could love or hate, but could not deny what a great live show they put on.
posted by bongo_x at 7:02 PM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

First big concert was The Who, back in the 80's. A friend in my high school mentioned that she really wanted to go. I loved them, too, so I called my dad and talked him into standing in line in front of Tower Records for hours to buy us tickets (we were literally in the school when the tickets went on sale). Still don't know why he did that for me, considering I'd gotten myself arrested just a week or two earlier. Except that he was (is) all kinds of awesome.

Also back in the 80's, saw Todd Rundgren's Utopia play a 3 hour set that was amazing. A friend threw my hat on stage, and Todd actually wore it for a song, then threw it back. Inexplicably, I actually got the hat back, but I gave it to the friend who threw it.

Saw Adam Ant back then, too, which was fun.

Favorites... so many. Radiohead, In Rainbows tour. U2, several times in the 90's. Pearl Jam last summer in Seattle. War on Drugs a couple of times (Phoebe Bridgers opened for them the first time we saw them). Gorillaz. Jack White. Florence & The Machine WITH St. Vincent AND Lizzo! Yes, back in the day. Peter Gabriel and Sting put on a good show together. Beck a couple years ago at Marrymore Park was great. Alt-J. Tori Amos. Dizzy Gillespie blew my mind (pun intended). I think the band we've seen the most is Galactic. Music is the Best!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:28 PM on July 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Not even a little musical but so in love with this...

I live on some acreage in the Great Smoky Mountains. A few weeks ago a mama bear scritched herself on our trail cam and sauntered off with her adorable cub. Please enjoy thirty seconds of bliss with me.

What could be cuter, you ask? She actually had TWO CUBS with her!
posted by workerant at 9:02 PM on July 1, 2019 [10 favorites]

The Levellers on Thursday night at Glastonbury in a thunderstorm was intense - they're amazing live anyway but add in half the site trying to cram into one tent while torrential rain runs off basically everything and it was seriously memorable.

Leonard Cohen's retirement tour, also Glastonbury, was wonderful - I have a habit of seeing brilliant bands and musicians before I figure out how great they are, then they stop, THEN I get into them (see also Pulp, sob). Not this time: I *loved* Leonard Cohen and the energy in that field was beautiful.

But the best moment of any gig was in a local venue, with Jon Boden (at the time still fronting Bellowhead though this was a show with him and the Remnant Kings), where for the encore he came out on his own and sang Stardust unaccompanied. A few notes in and the entire audience was silent, completely transfixed by the song. It was magical and I still replay it in my head when I need something good.

Thanks for the reminders, I need to look and see who's playing anywhere near me soon.
posted by Otto the Magnificent at 1:01 AM on July 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Saw my first Dead show in 1978. Saw my most recent Dead (and Company) show at SPAC a few weeks ago. In between, there were some 147 other Dead shows or shows of the various bands that the original members are in. Saw a Phil & Friends show at the Capital in Port Chester a few weeks ago too. Played with Jorma. All good. Some of the Dead shows were better than others. Some, the music was just not on that night but either the friends with me or the Shakedown Street scene or something else made the event worth attending. Biggest mistake of my life was when I was returning to the US after seeing them in Hamilton Ont. and telling the Customs agent, when he asked why I was in Canada, responding honestly and specifically, to see the Grateful Dead. Two hours later, I was free to go. One of my most memorable shows was when I took my three children, then 10, 11, and 12, to Utica to see Further at their request. We got there early enough to be able to be against the front wall, but after some hesitation they asked if we could move to the side in seats.

My first concert ever was America at Nassau Coliseum. Other concert highlights include Squeeze on a West Side Pier in NYC, Talking Heads in Forest Hills, many of the 30 or so Dave Mathews Band Shows, Elton John at the Garden, Elvis Costello at Hofstra University 35 or so years ago, NRBQ at Biddy Mulligans near Evanston, many Allman Bros shows, any band Warren Haynes plays with, and many more. Also saw the Four Tops once many many years ago and I still play their Live and In Concert album regularly.

When I lived in Chicago in the 80s I used to go down to the Checkerboard lounge to see some of the greatest blues ever played. Kingston Mines was a long walk from my apt in CHicago and saw some blues greats there too. Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy were particularly memorable shows. Great venues I saw music include Red Rocks (natch), MSG, Jazz Fest, and all the small bars that sold cheap stale beer but had a great live band.

I generally like every show I attend except when the band is playing to a track or using autotune. And now, I wear ear plugs to every show and even the loud shows like ZZ Top are good.

Having seen hundreds of live music performances, my favorite of all time are the ones my children were in when they played in the middle and high school orchestra. Seeing them reluctantly wearing some ill fitting white shirt, dark pants and too small shoes while trying to keep up with the students who could actually play and play well were precious moments.
posted by AugustWest at 1:06 AM on July 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Me again, sorry, just remembered - A long time ago (about 2000) I made a list of People I Really Wanted To Hear Sing in Person (But Probably Wouldn't, because they either didn't sing live or they hardly ever came to London): Green Gartside, June Tabor, Elizabeth Fraser, Alison Statton, Robert Wyatt. I'm pleased to say by I got tickets to see Elizabeth Fraser in 2012 I'd seen the all the others - Wyatt did some South American rebel songs with the Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra, Scritti Politti toured again for a bit; Young Marble Giants reformed (and then split again, but I got to see them a few times first; Fraser did two nights at the Royal Festival Hall (performing an album that's never been released, so that was the only opportunity we'd ever have to hear it); June Tabor tours all the time, but hardly ever seems to be in London - I saw her at the RFH on another occasion and I have to say she has the most Immense voice I've ever heard.

The sixth Voice I wanted to hear I knew was impossible, and it was completely understandable that I never had a chance to hear Scott Walker sing live, however much I'd have wanted to.
posted by Grangousier at 5:41 AM on July 2, 2019

I have two!

The summer of 2002 was hot and dry in Colorado. Forests were going up in flames and rivers were drying out. I was living in Laramie when Toots and the Maytals came to the Mishiwaka amphitheater. My friends and I didn't have tickets, but we all drove down anyway. It turns out that the river behind the ampitheater - the Cache la Poudre - was super low due to the drought. SO much so that we didn't bother with tickets, we just waded into the river a bit upstream from the venue and walked on down behind the stage. There were a lot of people just chilling in the river and nobody seemed to care.

At one point I laid down on the exposed rocks in the middle of the river, feeling the cold water rushing over my legs and the warm sun on my face, all while listening to the music fill the air. My friends' two-year-old kid fell asleep in the crook of my arm. It was absolutely blissful.


The other concert was a total accident. Two of my friends (oh, call them Dave and Ed) and I went to Iowa City to see some band that Dave had heard of. Doesn't matter what band, because Dave had the dates wrong and some other band was playing instead. So, since we were there anyway, we went to go see the Lords of Acid.

It was INSANE. They put on an amazing show and there was 100% audience enthusiasm and participation. Ed wasn't much of a concert-goer so this was probably a really eye-opening experience for him. When the music started up, Dave's feet were on the ground for about two seconds before he crowdsurfed away. Ed got caught in the swirl of the pit and the last I saw of him he was bobbing away like a bird on the ocean with a bewildered grin on his face. When we finally stumbled out of there at 2am we were exhausted, bruised, mostly deaf, and in love with life. It was a blast. Granted, it was a bar in Iowa City and the band wasn't exactly the Beatles. But the atmosphere was so electric and the band was 100% ON, and we had the best time. It's one of my favorite memories from college.
posted by Gray Duck at 1:03 PM on July 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've seen Springsteen a few dozen times, in venues ranging from the Uptown Theater in Chicago (capacity less than 4500) to stadiums holding 50k+ and I have never seen a show that was anything less than outstanding. After 40+ years of singing "maybe we ain't that young anymore", a lesser man might get a bit eye-rolly, but Bruce still delivers with straight-up sincerity.

My favorite non-Springsteen shows:

Prince ~1980 in a 3500 seat auditorium at IL State University in downstate IL, a booking I half-suspect was made in error, i.e., an artist not likely to be popular with the "good people" of Bloomington, a town that I doubt the band was particularly interested in playing.

David Gray ~2002 in Chicago. Great show.
posted by she's not there at 11:32 AM on July 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Peter Gabriel, one of his dates on the SO tour.

Yep. Except, the Security tour. Fucking mind-bending. I didn't go to a concert for nearly a year afterwards because WHAT could compare? The band came in the FRONT door of the arena (everyone's backs was to them, as we faced the stage, entrance behind us), 1 usher with a flash light, followed by Tony Levin, wearing a marching Bass drum. Boom-boom... Boom-boom... followed by the rest of the band in single file, each with a marching drum of some sort. Right through the middle of the standing-room crowd, from the door of the venue at the back of the hall, they parted the sea of people to center stage. The Boom-Boom... became the intro to Rhythm of the Heat.

Everything in the middle was phenomenal, of course.

The end of the third? forth? encore, was Biko of course, & the way he transferred the song from the band to the crowd as the band slowly trickled off the stage was an unbelievably powerful transference of... agency? What's the word here? I don't recall him saying anything, buy yeah, that whole room stood there and sang that chant for a good while.

I know I've talked about this show here before, but goddam. That was one hell of a statement - "Here's the message, here's the music, it's yours. Take it & do something with it."

He's never come back to Austin, sadly.

2nd & 3rd favorite acts -- the Neville Brothers, & Burning Spear, both of which I saw so many times that I completely lost count.

Weird historical anomaly - I saw REM when they only had a 4-song EP out, & were touring clubs, opening for the Motels. Nobody had any idea. but hey, I was there.

I could go on all night, but I need some sleep.

Best show I've played? Maybe when my 80's funk-rock orchestra was getting some good press & we packed out a 300-seat club one night. Exhilarating. It didn't last. Don't do drugs, kids.

Also, my dumb cover band used to regularly play a a decent-sized club in Fredericksburg, & sometimes it would just pack out, for whatever reason. One night in particular, we had the whole place jumping & singing along, & as tacky as it may sound, when we really nailed down Don't Stop Believin' & the whole room (200 people?) all sang every word while dancing their asses off, was probably the most fun I ever had on stage. It's a kinda dumb song, but Ross Valory is one of my heroes regardless, & i got to "be" him for 4 minutes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:17 PM on July 3, 2019 [6 favorites]

Also back in the 80's, saw Todd Rundgren's Utopia play a 3 hour set that was amazing.

Ha, yes, these guys. Saw them at the Armadillo in late '79 or early '80. so much talent packed on that stage it nearly collapsed. Roger Powell wore state-trooper style ray-bans through the whole show & was just... beautiful.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:24 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

1984: Sade, Promise Tour for Diamond Life. But not at the stadium. I was a night owl / jazz fan. I was a regular at this tiny bar where Patricia Barber played torch songs. One night I got a call from the bartender telling me to get down-here-right-now. Sade and her band had wanted an intimate practice venue.

The Gold Star Sardine Bar, 666 N. Lake Shore Drive, in the old American Furniture Mart, Chicago.

Sade was luminescent.
posted by lemon_icing at 3:16 AM on July 4, 2019 [6 favorites]

Saw Jimi Hendrix live in 1969 in the Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Definitely had nosebleed seats but it was so, so worth it.

Opening for Hendrix:
Soft Cell
a band I forgot
Iron Butterfly.
posted by Lynsey at 11:33 AM on July 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

RBJ: The best part of the cover he did of The Carpenters' "Close To You" was that he was at the Apollo Theater, and introduced it in a mock-serious way claiming that he specifically chose it "out of respect for the historic venue we are in."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:50 AM on July 9, 2019

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