Led Zeppelin 77' Capitol Center. My first concert. The vibe, energy and spirit help push me to buy my first Drum set. I soon joined a working band and I am still playing concerts at 53 years old. 2nd fav was Judas Priest 79' small venue in D.C. Amazing show! We stood up after the first song (even though the staff tried to keep everyone in their seat) soon the entire audience was on their feet! 3rd Arrowsmith 3rd row cap center Pump Tour 1989, 4th Van Halen 1978 they opened for Ted Nugent at Cap center. 5th Judas Priest 1982 Cap Center "Robert Halford shouted "nobody sits down at a Priest concert!" and he was right! LONG LIVE ROCK!
Dead Can Dance at Radio City Music Hall NYC in 90's. Galactic at Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh NC recent. Danilo Perez at Jean Duceppe, Montreal recent. B.L.U.E. live at Bottom Line(I miss that venue a lot!) in 90's Peter Hammil live at Bottom Line Bill Frisell and Ambrose Akimusire at Gesu, Montreal recent.
Lynyrd Skynyrd with Joe Walsh opening, Austin 1979? Bob Marley and the Wailers, Mallorca Spain 1978 Bruce Springsteen, Worcester, MA 1984 or 1985? Richard Thompson, ACL Live 2012 Jason and the Scorchers, Paradise, Boston, MA 1986 Beatles, Star Club, Hamburg, Germany (ok, I made that one up!)
Pink Floyd(post waters leaving)-mile high stadium Denver Moody Blues w/Denver Symphony- Red Rocks Dire Straits-Red Rocks Yes reunion tour-Mcnichols arena,Denver Bruce Cockburn-Lincoln Center Ft Collins George Thoroughgood-Red Rocks Stevie Ray Vaughn opening for the Moody Blues at McNichols in Denver I know that's more than five but my top five are in those seven Is that cheating?
Hard to choose, but 5 of the top ones include the Stones, The Who (early 70's), Mississippi River Festival (early 70's Rock 'n Roll revival including Chuck Berry & Jerry Lee Lewis), Richie Havens (2X) and Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell (Denver 2013).
Mahler 2, Colorado Symphony about 10 years ago. The Infamous Stringdusters, last year at the Targhee Bluegrass Festival Paul Simon 3-4 years ago at the Broomfield Event Center The Dixie Dregs, Rainbow Music Hall, mid-70's Deep Purple, Denver Auditorium, mid-70's
and a nod to Steve Goodman or Jesse Winchester, anytime they blew through Denver before passing on.
Uriah Heep. Gary Thain blew me away! Beck, Bogart & Appice. Wow! Chicago. Chicago V tour with Steely Dan opening. Asia. Original line up. John Wetton sang is ass off! Earl Klugh. Best live sound I ever heard!
Take Six opened for BeBe and CeCe Winans at Kings Island in the early 90s. I've never seen so many musicians have so much fun all at the same time and on the same stage. Three gospel singers who happened to be in the audience were invited to join and in fact did join the crowd on stage.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performing The Planets in early 2002 ... I think it was. I've never seen an orchestra with so many performers before. The stage was packed, and the physical intensity of sound on Mars was something pretty special.
The Cincinnati Pops performing Aaron Copland's Fanfare for Common Man as directed by the late Erich Kunzel. 2003 I think. Kunzel was genuinely proud of the performance and remarked to the audience, "Ladies and gentleman, the best damn brass in the land."
Henry Mancini with the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center in either 1983 or 1984. Mancini was quite the entertainer!
This may be a stretch to call it a concert, but I'll list it anyway. In college, I had the distinct pleasure of listening to fantastic organist three times a week. His name was Gerard Faber and his improvisations were nothing less than concert hall recital material.
Led Zep at the much-maligned old Boston Garden (a dump whose sonic shortcomings were only exceeded by the filth) ca. 1975
Van Morrison on St. Pat's Day 1982 in London
The Clash -- London 1981. Bit of a rough vibe in the audience.
Bob Dylan w/ Tom Petty & The Heatbreakers -- 1986 (Great show although I didn't realize the bar exam was the morning after the show when I bought the tickets. We left before the encores and I got home at a reasonable hour. And, yes, I passed. It was pretty easy in retrospect.)
Tie between Lou Reed touring to support The NY album ca. 1989, Radiohead ca. 2002, and Peter Tosh at a 800 seat club.
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Growing up in Southern California, and being into music since I was a toddler, I took advantage of some of the jazz clubs as a teenager back in the 1950's. My favorite memories are the nights my buddy and I spent listening to Howard Rumsey and the Lighthouse All Stars at the Lighthouse jazz club in Hermosa Beach. We were only 16 years old, but the bar tender let us drink coffee ... and we did, 'till closing time. Fell asleep in class a few times from burning the jazz/music candle at both ends. The LIghthouse is still there too ... at 1 Pier Avenue.
Also heard Big Jay McNeely and Joe Houston in jam sessions in an auditorium on the Santa Monica Pier.
Saw Cal Tjader at Zardi's jazz club in Hollywood when I was about 17.
Saw Dexter Gordon at Howard Rumsey's "Concerts by the Sea" jazz club in Redondo Beach. He blew the roof off of the place. Just great.
Saw Ella Fitzgerald with Mel Torme at the Hollywood bowl. It was Ella's last concert, I believe.
And the kicker ... I saw Art Pepper at Carmelo's in the San Fernando Valley. Absolutely great.
I'll stick with Rock n Roll shows to keep it manageable. There are lots of big name events that are memorable for the hype, but sticking to the actual concert experience, here are five favorites that quickly come to mind:
Nov, 1971 Genesis at the Bergen Couny Community College gymnasium. They were a little known cult band at the time and Peter Gabriel had barely started to get attention for his art-rock sensibilities. This was my first full-blown theatrical rock production, and it was in a tiny gym set with folding chairs. At 14 years old, this was as good as life gets.
John Hiatt touring behind Perfectly Good Guitar at Irving Plaza. Hiatt ditches the singer/songwriter thing and goes full-on rock n roll with a smokin band. An unknown Cheryl Crow (on I believe her first ever tour) does a great opening set.
Fleetwood Mac at the Staples Center touring behind Say You Will. My zillionth Mac show, but first arena concert in 10+ years. Chris McVie is gone and the guitars take over. The hardest rocking FM show since Peter Green hung it up.
Led Zep (1975ish) at Madison Square Garden touring behind ZoSo. A friend got us into the first ten rows and four high school kids get blown away by the band at its peak.
The last one is awful tough, but that slew of great, post-punk, small venue shows in the 80s and 90s deserves one mention.
I'll go with The Bongos reunion show at The Bottom Line in NYC. Richard Barone and James Mastro got together again and tore the roof off the place.