Best CONCERTS of 2012?

I went to a number of great concerts this year. The top 3 all took place in my home state of NJ:

Bruce Springsteen with Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers at the Paramount Theater, Asbury Park NJ in January

Patti Smith and her band at the State Theater, New Brunswick NJ in October

A reunited Graham Parker & The Rumour at the Newton Theater, Newton NJ last night! See them if you can!

So, despite the awful damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, a wonderful year for music in NJ.
I saw Bruce Springsteen earlier this week in Phoenix, AZ and he put on a GREAT show. More energy and excitement than I have seen from any band in years
Cs&N. Merle haggard. Ray lamontagne. Judy Collins. Gordon light foot. Glen Campbell.
Gomez at the TLA in Phila.!!
Lucinda Williams ,free at South Park, Pittsburgh
Damien Jurado
James Vincent McMorrow, free
Mike Doughty, was freakin Awesome!!!! Free, at South Park
Gary Jules at very small theater
Pat Metheny and Unity Band in a small venue.
Joss Stone w opening set by Vintage Trouble at Schubert Theater in New Haven, CT- She can set the house on fire!!!

Alison Krauss & Union Station at Oakdale (OK, it's now named after a car company or something, who cares?) Theater in Wallingford, CT- Still the purest voice I have ever heard and Jerry Douglas is from another planet!
I was at the "This is 40" soundtrack release party last night at The Roxy, a small club on LA's Sunset Strip.

The main act was Graham Parker & The Rumour who did a great 2 hour show. The first half featured lots of new material and was a little spotty for me. However, the band really took off after that segment ended and they lit into the older, more familiar stuff. Other than "Heat Treatment" and "Mercury Poisoning" they played just about everything that ever got airplay, and they played it all very, very well.

Both opening acts, Ryan Adams and Lindsey Buckingham, played 30 minute acoustic sets. I've seen Buckingham play many times and he was great (as always), but I haven't seen Adams since his Whiskeytown days. He was really good and quite different in an all acoustic mode.

In all, I thought that it was a great show and right up there with the solo Buckingham concert that I saw a few months back as my year's best.


I have been a Ryan Adams fan for a long time and heard that he had lost most of his hearing suffering from both tinnitus and inner ear issues that prevent him from playing electric anymore. Did he mention any of this?
Ryan Adams didn't mention any hearing issues.

However, he did mention his fondness for death metal more than once. As noted, his set was acoustic, so the SPLs were not an issue. Unlike Lindsey Buckingham (who mainly fingerpicked his songs and strummed aggressively at some points), Ryan's set was mostly soft strumming - which made it even more subdued.

One more observation: Given the arrangements that I've described, Ryan's vocals were obviously front and center. I've never really paid too much attention to his singing, but I was pleasantly surprised last night.