Live Music: What Are Your 5 Most Unforgettable Concerts?

aco175

Legend
Garth Brooks- Still puts on an awesome show. Saw him a couple years ago in Boston and planning to see him again next month when he comes back. He knows that people come to hear the old songs and not just new stuff off an album they are promoting.
 

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payn

Legend
Garth Brooks- Still puts on an awesome show. Saw him a couple years ago in Boston and planning to see him again next month when he comes back. He knows that people come to hear the old songs and not just new stuff off an album they are promoting.
Also saw GB at one of Target's mid-day corpo parties. The Target Center was under remodel, so we saw him across the river in St Paul at the Excel Center. He was alone with an acoustic and just beaming with charisma. They had these confetti cannons that went off pre-maturely and scared the hell out of him. Was a good time.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I have seen so many great shows, it’s really hard to narrow down to 5.



1) 1990s Dallas. First Lollapalooza tour: Epic lineup- Jane’s Addiction, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Rollins Band, Living Colour, Ice T, B-Hole Surfers were among the highlights. NiN was supposed to be there, but skipped that date. I was disappointed, but not for long- Fishbone filled in their slot, and put on a hell of a show. Between the blue haze from the pot smoking going on and a touch of dehydration, the night had an almost surreal quality to it.



2) 1990s Austin. Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Monster Magnet, Swervedriver: It was $10! PJ & Soundgarden were co-headlining, swapping nights as the closing act. Eddie Vedder was briefly thrown out of the venue for stage diving and crowd surfing. More drugs were smoked at that show than any other I’ve been to before or since, including hashish (which, BTW, smelled like someone lit an evergreen car freshener on fire). The venue, long since destroyed, was a converted airplane hanger from the 1950s, so it was all concrete and metal. There was no place for the earthshaking sound to go except through human bodies, so we felt every throbbing pulse.



3) 1980s San Antonio. My first ever metal/rock concert- Dio, Megadeth, Savatage: unforgettable because it was first, because of the bands, and because it was essentially a Spïnal Tap cosplay all night long. Savatage’s bass player’s instrument cut out every few bars throughout their 40 minute set. When their set ended, he threw his bass 2-handed overhead tomahawk style at the ineffectual road crew in frustration. Megadeth went on, and announced the show was being filmed for MTV. In the middle of the chorus for “Devil’s Island” the stadium suddenly went dark and quiet. Everyone thought it was part of the show and cheered. 10 minutes later, when the house lights came up, Dave Mustaine announced “We blew a f’in fuse!” Dio came on last, with his million-dollar stage show featuring fire breathing and laser shooting robotic dragons and such. When the dragon was fighting the spider, it’s breath set the speaker tower on stage left alight. Everyone cheered, thinking THIS was part of the show. The fire crews with the C02 extinguishers proved this otherwise. It was so comedic, I wondered if I would ever go to another show. (I did.)



4) 1990s Austin. Blue Öyster Cult, Galactic Cowboys, Black Pearl: Black Pearl, a local Austin band, snagged the opening slot on this NIGHTCLUB show. They were great! (The band broke up years ago, but the lead singer, Lisa Tingle, still rules the Austin scene, last I checked.) Houston natives Galactic Cowboys had JUST signed a major label deal, so they were stoked. Unfortunately, their keyboard player was drunk off his ass- he spent Black Pearl’s set leaning on me while hitting on my friend- and when they took the stage, he did NOTHING right. He was fired shortly thereafter. And BÖC? It was essentially a “best of” show by rock royalty, played on a stage only 3’ high in a bar. I could have touched Buck Dharma. It was the kind of venue they probably hadn’t played in more than a decade, so it was kind of bittersweet.



5) 1990s Dallas. California Guitar Trio: The band is made up of three graduates of Robert Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists. They were touring the USA supporting their Pathways album, doing shows at Borders bookstores. They were seated in a semicircle cleared near the store’s coffee shop, with the audience positioned JUST a hair more than arm’s reach away.They did some Q&A after, too. I didn’t realize until YEARS later the Somogyi acoustic guitars they were playing (pictured in the album cover art) cost upwards of $20k each. I knew they were quality, but... One song, they each took turns playing lead while the others played complex, interwoven rhythm…and the quality of the guitars and the skill of their playing was such that you couldn’t tell who was doing what without watching and listening carefully.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
Genesis 1982, concert in Montreal. First rock concert ever. Phil Collins still had long hair and a beard. They played Supper's Ready integral. They had huge mirrors on rotating motors and shot lasers into them. Crazy visuals! Beautiful summer night in the Jarry Park baseball stadium. Lots of bleu smoke in the air.

You can listen to it here:
 

Their sound has changed over the years, and while I love their more recent work, Die Propheten is one of my favorite albums of all time.

I have heard some Das Ich. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I seem to remember hearing that they kind of won the female singer from Swedish EBM-band Cat Rapes Dog in a poker-game.

Edit: nope, I misremembered, that was And One.

Genesis is currently scheduled to come to town at the end of the year and depending on where things stand with the pandemic and if the tour actually happens, I have to say I'm tempted.

Genesis 1982, concert in Montreal. First rock concert ever. Phil Collins still had long hair and a beard. They played Supper's Ready integral. They had huge mirrors on rotating motors and shot lasers into them. Crazy visuals! Beautiful summer night in the Jarry Park baseball stadium. Lots of bleu smoke in the air.

You can listen to it here:
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Just to clarify: I brought up the drug use at those concerts, but I wasn’t an active participant. My only chemical vice is alcohol.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Just to clarify: I brought up the drug use at those concerts, but I wasn’t an active participant. My only chemical vice is alcohol.

Sure sure, Danny.

The trunk of the Danny's car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers . . . and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls . . . Not that we needed all that for Lollapalooza, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge.

And I knew Danny would get into that rotten stuff pretty soon, as soon as Jane's hit the stage and Mountain Song started....
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Hilarious!

…but actually, I’m a real L7 when it comes to all that stuff. Pink lungs, no tracks, etc. Hell, I have a huge booze stash and barely drink anymore! 😂😂😂

Some of my friends, OTOH…😳
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
Rush: Snakes and Arrows Tour.
This was awesome - Rush is an awesome live band, as is well know, and they didn't disappoint.

Return to Forever: the anniversary tour - DiMeola, Corea, Clarke and White. It was amazing. Seeing Al's fingers blur when he did some Spanish guitar was unbelievable. Fusion Jazz isn't for everyone, but this was the best line up of one of the best bands, and each member a Legend on thier instrument.

Styx: Kilroy was Here. My first concert, and they opened and closed with movies - very cinematic. It was a concept concert based on a concept album. I really enjoyed it.

Jake Shimabukuro: Nice small venue - a couple thousand at most; outside. Very Intimate - and he was amazing.

Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith tour. Indoor, couldn't see the other side of the arena for the smoke. Had someone ask me for some hash. (I was 17). The ultimate metal concert, and the band did not disappoint.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Rush: Snakes and Arrows Tour.
This was awesome - Rush is an awesome live band, as is well know, and they didn't disappoint.

Return to Forever: the anniversary tour - DiMeola, Corea, Clarke and White. It was amazing. Seeing Al's fingers blur when he did some Spanish guitar was unbelievable. Fusion Jazz isn't for everyone, but this was the best line up of one of the best bands, and each member a Legend on thier instrument.

Styx: Kilroy was Here. My first concert, and they opened and closed with movies - very cinematic. It was a concept concert based on a concept album. I really enjoyed it.

Jake Shimabukuro: Nice small venue - a couple thousand at most; outside. Very Intimate - and he was amazing.

Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith tour. Indoor, couldn't see the other side of the arena for the smoke. Had someone ask me for some hash. (I was 17). The ultimate metal concert, and the band did not disappoint.
I saw JP a couple of times after Halford rejoined. The last time was when they toured performing all of British Steel. Halford didn’t move much for the songs from that album, hanging over his mic like a gargoyle.

But once they moved on? He started using the whole stage.

That said, at no point was there any doubt as to the power of his lungs.
 

Ive seen so many shows, most were great so its hard to pick 5. These are just a few and honestly not sure if theyre even the best. I will say concerts in the last 20 years or so have lost that raw sound/feel as venue sound has gotten better. So I think my concert days are over unless its really someone I want to see, which I dont think theres any left. For the life of me I dont know why we didnt to go in to see AIC in 91 when they opened for VH but thats one I regret. Think we were drinking in the parking lot.

6/26/91-Clash of the Titans, Alice In Chains, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth: Insane show, saw some girl dragged out of the pit for Slayer, pretty sure she was if not dead, severely injured
10/19/95-Page & Plant: Got into the VIP suite...free drinks.
7/20/03-Lollapalooza: Audioslave: Unknowingly we bought front row pit tickets
5/14/08-The Mars Volta: Probably one of the better shows Ive seen.
11/5/13-Chris Cornell. This show was in a small High School Aud, probably held 1000 people. We thought we were in the wrong place when we pulled up.

I saw JP a couple of times after Halford rejoined. The last time was when they toured performing all of British Steel. Halford didn’t move much for the songs from that album, hanging over his mic like a gargoyle.
Saw them in 2005 and and they were mediocre at best. Everyone has an off night. Ive seen the Black Crowes about 5 or 6 times, and they were awesome a few of those and sucked for others. One time right after Chris Robinson broke up with Kate Hudson he looked homeless and strung out. Thats one I didnt stick around for the whole show. I could only take so much of the 45 minutes cosmic space jam.
 

Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith tour. Indoor, couldn't see the other side of the arena for the smoke. Had someone ask me for some hash. (I was 17). The ultimate metal concert, and the band did not disappoint.
Saw GNR at the CNE in Toronto in 1990. Guy next to us was smoking the worst pot Ive ever smelled. It smelled like a tire fire. I felt so bad for him, as in you actually paid for that garbage?
 



Mad_Jack

Adventurer
Worst show was Bob Dylan, actually - literally no interaction with the audience, they walked out, sat around in a circle under a single light, and essentially did an hour-and-a-half jam session of new versions of songs so far from the originals I didn't recognize a single one. Screw the refund, I want that time back.

Best shows? No particular order...

Trans Siberian Orchestra - seen 'em seven times and they always blow my mind.
Dropkick Murphys - most energetic show I've been to: the crowd in the mezzanine seats were stomping their feet so hard you could feel the place shake.
Vintage Trouble/ The Who - the arena is literally a mile from my house, so I obviously went to be able to cross The Who off of my musical bucket list, but Vintage Trouble put on such a good show that I would have dropped the $70 just to see them.
Herman's Hermits - seen these guys like three times at a free music venue inside the same local casino as the arena, and they still sound great and jump around like they did when they were famous. They always get the crowd (and everyone outside the venue at the slot machines and tables) singing along to "Henry the 8th" so loud you can't hear the slot machines.
Heart - my first real concert in an actual concert venue... It was their self-titled album tour in the '80's, and I was about thirteen or so and totally in love with Ann and Nancy. Saw them again when I was in my late thirties and they were still just as good.
Kool & The Gang - my first live music experience... A few years before the first Heart show, I saw these guys do a small outdoor gig at a thing called SubFest on the local Naval Base. It was awesome since I'd never seen a famous band live and up close before. You could tell they were having even more fun than the audience.


As an aside, when I was fourteen I was at Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island, walking down the side of the road past the side door of a bar, when I heard a band doing a short afternoon set. They played like five or six songs. They were freakin' awesome.
It wasn't until years later, when I saw the movie Eddie and the Cruisers on VHS, that I realized it was the first of the six or seven times I've seen John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, lol.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Due to some oddball acoustics one night, I got to hear most of a set by The Cult playing at an arena near my college campus…while on an elevated walkway on my college campus.

I sat down and listened for most of their set. I had to sit because of the bats feeding above & below the walkway.
 

My top two, for different reasons: Queen (with Adam Lambert) and Carrie Underwood.

Honorable Mention: Jimmy Buffet. We were warned that his concerts were different, but we weren't expecting a stadium-wide costume party!

Honorable Mention: Bob Dylan/Doobie Brothers/John Mellencamp. Apparently the venue my cousin got married at was also hosting a weekend-long music festival. We weren't at the concert itself, but heard every bit of it -- even with the hotel windows closed. Everybody kept making excuses to step outside for a bit. Lol!
 
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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
#1 has to go to Massive Attack in 2019, for the 20th anniversary of Mezzanine, at the Boch Center (former Wang Theater) in Boston. Absolutely incredible on every level, and having Liz Fraser back on this side of the pond to sing with them was the cherry on top. I got out of it seriously tempted to spring for tickets to the New York show immediately thereafter, despite the cost involved. Still kind of regret not doing so.

#2 would be Nine Inch Nails touring for The Fragile, with opener A Perfect Circle supporting their debut album, at the Worcester Centrum in 2000. Amazing energy for a stadium show. Two incredible bands at the top of their game, supporting amazing albums.

After those two it's definitely a drop off. I've seen a good number of great shows, but those two were the top. Three more great ones in no particular order to round out the list.

Green Day, 1994, the infamous free show at the Hatch shell on the Boston Esplanade that turned into a riot. An incredibly massive crowd and a fantastic time.

Bauhaus in 2005, Near the Atmosphere Tour, Orpheum, Boston. Amazing to finally get to see them. Got introduced to the band by my first girlfriend, when I was a teenage wannabe-goth. Seeing them 12 or 13 years later was everything I hoped. I got to see Peter Murphy in a smaller venue, at the Middle East downstairs, I think four years ago, and he was great then too.

Heilung, January 2020, L'Olympia Montreal. A gorgeous, moving ritual of a performance.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Green Day, 1994, the infamous free show at the Hatch shell on the Boston Esplanade that turned into a riot. An incredibly massive crowd and a fantastic time.

Dude! You were there too?

That was definitely in my "Top 20 Riots I have been in and/or instigated."

Let's see, I'm going to add some more to my original five, now .... in no particular order.

Bruno Mars. Caught him in Vegas when he came back for his first show post-COVID. He is a true consummate performer. Pretty low on the riot scale.

Nirvana/Pearl Jam/RHCP. Call it a time capsule, but this was a brief moment of a week or so when RHCP was a headliner, Pearl Jam was a revelation (at the time, I knew Even Flow and that was it I think), and Nirvana blew everything away in the middle. Sadly, I never saw Nirvana again. RHCP I saw a lot more - they're really good live, but I haven't seen them in ages.

Dropkick Murphys/Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I have a vague recollection of a late 90s St. Paddy's day show that had both the Bosstones and the Dropkick Murphys at one of the Lansdowne Street venues. Good shows.

Elliot Smith. Memorable, but not in a good way. I love Elliot Smith. I'm glad I saw him before ... you know. But he just wasn't, well, feeling it that day in concert. I'm being nice. He sucked.

Beck. I've seen him a fair amount, but the best concert I saw was probably when he was promoting Midnite Vultures. He was absolutely amazing as a performer.
 

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