Just one? I’ll risk inciting the ire of anyone already finding me too "something" by listing a few:
- The Beach Boys at The San Jose Civic Auditorium in the Summer of 1964, my first concert. Brian Wilson was playing Fender bass and singing.
- The Beatles at The Cow Palace in the Summer of 1965. Not as good live as on their recordings. Don’t blame the messenger ;-) .
- The Band at The Berkeley Community Theater in 1969. The absolute masters of ensemble playing, they were like a Jazz band.
- Rockpile at The Country Club in Reseda, CA in December 1980. The best pure Rock ’n’ Roll band I’ve ever seen live.
- The Lyres at Club Lingerie on Sunset Blvd. in the mid-80’s. A great , great Garage band. Much better live than on recordings. I almost lost my mind during "Help You Ann".
- Big Joe Turner backed by The Blasters, also at Club Lingerie, also in the mid-80’s. The first Rock ’n’ Roll singer? What a man!
- NRBQ at The Roxy Theater in the mid-90’s. Bassist Joey Spampinato turned down Keith Richard’s invitation to become the replacement for Bill Wyman in "The Greatest Rock ’n’ Roll Band In The World!" to remain in the best American Rock ’n’ Roll band.
- Little Village on a sound stage in Burbank, CA at the time of their lone album release. Ry Cooder’s guitar solo on "Lipstick Sunset" was the single greatest musical moment I have ever experienced.
- Leonard Cohen at The Universal Amphitheater in the early 2000’s. Very dramatic, unique, and classy.
- Iris Dement at The Troubadour in West L.A. in the 90’s. The room was so quiet and reverential you could have heard a pin drop. Iris is an Angel, a gift from God.
I saw a bunch of Rock bands many may prefer to the above, including Hendrix, Cream, The Who, The Dead, The Airplane, The Doors, The Stones, etc. Kids stuff ;-) .
For me it is a toss up.
I saw REM at a small venue in around 1986. They were breaking into the big time but were not there yet. Amazing show.
Three weeks ago I saw a new band called The Struts. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such an engaging, charismatic front man. The crowd was in a frenzy the whole show and he had us in the palm of his hand. I’m a stodgy, bookish 55 year old. I do not dance. I occasionally tap my foot. During this whole show I was clapping, waving my hands, singing loudly and jumping up and down.
Maybe the passage of time makes The Struts concert seem better in my mind than REM....but its a toss up.
On the plus side, Rolling Stones & Stevie Wonder at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, 1972. Mick & Stevie encore together on Satisfaction & Uptight.
On the minus side, David Bowie & Stereophonics at the Knight Center in Miami, 2004. Stagehand fell from above the stage to his death in plain view of the audience after Stereophonics. Bowie was canceled.
Both memorable for obvious reasons.
More recently, two shows, Wilco & Paco de Lucia, a month apart at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 2012. Both were superb. Haven’t seen anything close to those shows in the past few years.
You attended many nice ones.
When I was in Berkeley on 1980’s, I was listening to mostly classical music.
Thus I attended only classical concerts at that time.
But now I regret not having attended "Grateful Dead" concert held at Berkeley Pavilion. .
Ii would have been fun surrounded with colorful shirts
I've been to hundreds of live shows. Three come to mind however. The most "memorable" concert that I've attended is the Grateful Dead at Alpine Valley summer of 1989. I was straight & sober that night. First time I saw them in that condition & they were GREAT! Saw them many times straight & sober after that, but the first time is the most memorable. Also saw King Crimson in Chicago mid 2000's & they were great. First moe. show was also one to remember. If you like jam bands you owe it to yourself to catch one of there shows.
Oh my where to start!
Will keep it short and start at the beginning.
Everybody’s first concert should be on the list yes?
Van Der Graf Generator, yes truly... Lol
As a snot nosed 13 year old even I could see I was a bit out of place but heck yeah it was good!
Next up following week was AC/DC with Bon Scott on vocals. High Voltage? Darn right!
Then Ritchie Blackmore Rainbow with quintessential lineup of Blackmore, Dio and Powell.
Styx on their Paradise Theater tour.
Rory Gallagher in a smoky whiskey sodden dive club.
But even though was a die hard rocker it was hard to ignore the explosion of punk.
To that end I saw perhaps the most fantastic display of pure energy by a band ever.
All in a tiny underground club( crypt would be more like it!).
The Vibrators... Blew my mind.
So I decided we needed some life at the next college bash and as I was the treasurer on the student union I hired The Clash to play at at our Christmas gig.
Blew the next year’s entire budget in one night...lol
Still not quite sure why they asked me to step down the following week though.
I’ve been to many hundreds of live shows over the last 40+ years. I was fortunate to get a job with Andy Frain Security when I was 17 years old, working concert security at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. At that time, Rupp was the largest indoor basketball arena in the country, so it drew all of the big shows of the day. I saw the Stones "Some Girls" tour on my first paid night of duty. How great is that? Getting paid to see The Stones! Also saw The Who, Rush, Kiss, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, The Cars, Parliament/Funkadelics, and all of the other big shows of the day. It was a great job, working with a bunch of cool people (mostly, except a few people power-trippin). Was luck to see the ELO "Flying Saucer" Tour at Rupp (not working).
Here’s a good one: The Tall Stacks Music and Heritage Festival in Cincinnati 2003. If you were a fan of Americana, as I was (and still am), it was an unbelievable lineup. and All for $12! Tall Stacks 2003 Lineup:
C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
Creedence Clearwater Revisited
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Del McCoury Band
Jay & Molly Ungar
John Hammond Jr.
Steve Earle & the Dukes
Fairfield Four and Nashville Bluegrass Band
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Blind Boys of Alabama
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
Karen Clark Sheard
I still go to a lot of live shows. Two weeks ago I saw Bettye Layette, Emmylou Harris and Courtney Barnett over a 5 day period. Great stuff!
I love bands/artist that can convey emotion. Two of the best shows I’ve seen in the last few years was Shovels and Rope (twice) at The Madison Theater in Covington, KY. Up close, and personal, this duo can match anyone for raw emotion.
Lastly, one of the best arena shows I’ve seen in the last 20 years was Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band w/Tom Morello for the "high Hopes" Tour. Simply spectacular. My best Stadium show in that period - U2 "Joshua Tree" tour (Louisville, KY and Indianapolis, IN)
And as Uberwaltz mentioned, your first show has to be on the list. My First rock show was: 1/1/77 – Blue Oyster Cult / Uriah Heep / Head East - Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY. It was magical!
Live Music Rule! Enjoy, and go out and support your favorite musicians.......
1-November 28,1974 --Elton John with surprise guest John Lennon-MSG.
2-Bruce Springsteen Darkness tour -Beacon Theater NYC
3- Bob Dylan 30th anniversary-MSG
4 -Rock and Roll 25th anniversary (2 nights)-MSG
5-Prince, 2 tours
6-Tie-Various Rainforest Benefit Concerts at Carnegie Hall, original Quadrophenia tour, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young, Van Morrison, a few U2 tours, R.E.M. Monster tour, a few Springsteen tours, EmmyLou Harris Wrecking Ball tour, a few Stones tours, McCartney's first tour in which he performed Beatle songs, Elton John's original Yellow Brick Road tour tied with his 60th birthday concert at MSG, Kinks, Cat Power The Greatest tour, Van Morrison, Los Lobos, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and a number of others that will come to me later.
So three spring to mind -
2017 Sylvan Esso at The Village Underground, London. They just knocked the socks off the place, their catchy chorus lines just got everyone into a really positive happy excited mood that felt wonderful in th intimate venue.
2018 Sons of Kemet at Koko, London. This just a couple of weeks ago. In terms of sheer musicianship the best I have seen. But the thing that really nailed it was that they sounded so fresh, original, unconstrained. I left buoyant about the exciting places new music was going. Plus it was Jazz, and at one point there was a mosh pit. Don’t see that often.
1998 (about). Bon Jovi, Gateshead Stadium, Gateshead. Best handling of a stadium crowd I have seen, ever. At the height of their Crossroads power, they just smashed the place to bits.
Damn reubent, what a festival! The line-up has reminded me of a couple other great shows I have to mention.
In the mid-80’s I went to see The Plimsouls (Peter Case’s pre-solo group) at a tiny little "club" on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City named The Garage. It was an actual garage, like a car repair shop (with one of those roll-up, pull-down aluminum doors), with a cement floor the bands set up right on, no stage. There was an opening band whose name was new to me, and when they started playing my girlfriend and I looked at each other in disbelief, our mouths agape. They were GREAT! Turned out to be Los Lobos, whose first English language album had yet to be released. I was an instant fan. They made The Plimsouls sound like what they were, a modestly-talented Garage band.
Another was Steve Earle with The Del McCoury Band at The House of Blues on Sunset Blvd at the time of the release of their collaborative album. They all stood around a single, large diaphragm mic, which ever member’s part was primary at any given moment (verse vocal, 3-part harmony chorus, fiddle, guitar, or mandolin solo, etc.) positioning himself closest to the mic, then backing away when that moment had passed. Absolutely fantastic music making!
Jethro Tull on his Aqualung tour and James Cotton both at my college in the early seventies. I also remember Frank Zappa playing a scintillating solo on Moving to Montana. The rest of his show was pure garbage.
I saw Bob Dylan sing "Masters of War" at the Zeppellnfeld stadium in Nurenberg, Germany. You all know the stadium from the infamous footage of Adolf Hitler addressing huge throngs of zieg heiling Nazi followers, and that giant swastika banner hanging from the podium.
Dylan, who was of Jewish heritage if you were unaware, performed right where Hitler stood and that Nazi swastika hung. In response to "Masters of War", huge throngs of youthful Germans flashed peace signs.
The most intensely involved musical performance I've ever seen was by one of north India's best classical sitarists Budhitya Mukherjee when he visited Tampa twenty years ago. From the instant he sat down to play his intense concentration and demeanor let the audience know they were in for something special. He built the concert to fever pitch with insanely nuanced virtuosity and his astounding tabla accompanist (whose name escapes me now) were in perfect musical communication. When it was over I felt like I'd witnessed something never to be repeated. It was both exhausting and exhilarating to be part of that night.
I also fondly remember a young Michael Tilson Thomas' 1988 performance with the New World Symphony shortly after establishing the group. The audience was treated to a very enthusiastic and committed performance.
Also greatly enjoyed seeing the Yardbirds and Jimmy Page. It was1967 in a small Lakeland Florida civic arena full of drunks that were there to party instead of listen to music and the atmosphere left Page in a foul mood by the end of the show. I got to sit right beside him off just stage and watch him play, my ears didn't quit ringing until the next day.
The most memorable show I didn't get to see was one of the only two post-Layla Clapton & Allman shows. I had two great tickets center stage for the Tampa show and my Mom got P.O.'d at me and grounded me. So, I gave both tickets to my then girlfriend (and now wife) who still periodically reminds me what a fantastic show and bit of history I missed because I didn't clean up my room.
Hard to single one out from some really great shows, but here goes:
UK with Bill Bruford and Al DiMeola at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 28 July 1978.
Some of the best on that stage, including John Wetton.
Then when DiMeola came out for his encore, he says "I'd like to introduce three very special friends of mine: Mr. Lenny While, Mr. Stanley Clarke and Mr. Chick Corea!" Return to Forever did a 45 minute improv jam.
We were standing on the seats!
Darn it, I forgot about the two really great shows I attended when I lived in NYC (Flushing, Queens, actually ;-) in 1983.
Dave Edmunds and his 3-piece band (which included the late, great Mickey Gee on Telecaster) played a set of 100 proof, blistering hot, pure American Rock ’n’ Roll at, I believe, The Ritz. Still my long-time girlfriend’s all-time favorite show. The music Edmunds made (he just recently retired, he says) is what Keith Richards would love to be able to; Chuck Berry on steroids, with Everly Brothers harmonies. Dave was playing his blonde 1958 Gibson ES335, and absolutely tore it up!
I’ve seen Marshall Crenshaw live a few times, but his show at, again, The Ritz, was the best. Rather than his normal 3-piece band (which included his brother Robert on drums and harmony vocals), for this show he had a 5-piece, which included Graham Maby (from Joe Jackson’s original band) playing a Fender 6 (the 6-string baritone guitar/bass Fender offered in the early 60’s, heard on many early Duane Eddy songs. Real "twangy" sounding) and singing harmony. Marshall and his band sounded SO good; great songs, playing, and singing (2-, 3-, and even 4-part harmonies). The ultimate in Power Pop!
I had seen The dB’s at The Ritz while visiting NYC the previous year, but their limitations were on full display live. Flat vocals (particularly by Chris Stamey), and weak, Garage band-level musicianship. Some pretty good songs (those of Peter Holsapple), however. Drummer Will Rigby, a southpaw, went on to work in Steve Earle’s band for many years.
My "big three:" Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa bands (separately, one month apart), spring of ’73 at Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin TX. Bill Evans Trio, probably 1980, at Lyceum, North Texas State University, Denton.
I saw/heard many other big name artists over the years but these remain special to me above all others.
"In response to "Masters of War", huge throngs of youthful Germans flashed peace signs" It doesn't get much better than that!!
Grateful Dead mostly attracted college students and yuppies by the late 80's. They did certainly retain their die hard base of hippies though... They were great shows
My first concert ever is still waiting to be toppled. Queen in February 1979 during the Jazz tour.
Otherwise, the most otherworldly experience was Mavis Staples at Hard Rock Café on Beale Street. People lined up to be touched/blessed by her close to the end of it. The drummer in his white suit played drums as if they were a piano.
Another in that vein, Percy Sledge at the Damrosch Park, free concert. Goosebumps for an hour. A whiter Shade Of Pale made the entire audience cry.
The most "religious" one, Leonard Cohen on June 6, 2008 in Toronto. Well, Kris Kristofferson is right there at the top, too.
The happiest concert feeling, Chuck Berry for his 75th birthday at The Duck Room. If you did not end up on stage in the end, you were not there.
The most perfect concert ever, Michael Jackson (June 27, 1992 in Munich) the first one on the Dangerous tour. Two and a half hours later a friend asked me "what happened to us, where were we?"
The craziest surprise at the concert, Jimmy Buffet at the Madison Square Garden. I thought they would pull me out of the MSG rubble the following day. I knew he was popular, but that was some enthusiasm among the crowd. I thought I would, for safety reasons, escape before Margaritaville which was to be at the end. And then he did Brown Eyed Girl before intermission. I thought that could be the end of me. I also do not know any concert with so many youngish pretty, happy, women.
Speaking of that, Julio Iglesias. We were not the only men there, but no man came without a woman. Except for a friend of mine and me.
The Rolling Stones in Vienna (July 3, 1982, I believe) were great, Bruce Springsteen and Prince (unannounced concert) at the Pyramid were phenomenal, but Queen was just what you think of when watching Live Aid and then better. Hard to believe, but wow...
PS The Pyramid in Memphis, The Duck Room at The Blueberry Hill club in St. Louis.
"The most memorable show I didn’t get to see was one of the only two post-Layla Clapton & Allman shows."
My girlfriend and I went to a triple header concert at our school SUNY at New Paltz, in 1971. First act was BB King, then Jonathan Edwards followed by some new white blues band. After two shows we were both tired. After listening to the the first song from the third band we headed home. Only after they gained more fame, I realized we’d walked out on Duane Allman and the Allman Brothers. We heard they played until two in the morning. This was the show either right before or after their Fillmore East concert was recorded a couple hours south in NYC. I’m still kicking myself.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, My Corvair broke down the weekend of the Woodstock concert so I couldn’t drive up from Long Island to go to it. Who knew how famous that festival was going to be. At the time it was raining so much, I figured it was just as well I missed it. Doh!
One more great story. Years before I knew him somewhere in San Francisco, or maybe Portland a friend from work stopped in the afternoon to get a sandwich at a nearby night club. Jon said, being a nightclub, it was practically deserted during the day. Anyway, while he was eating by himself, this guy taps him on the shoulder and asks him if he’d mind if he practiced on the club’s stage he was sitting next to. Jon said after almost falling over and saying sure, he got to listen to Miles Davis practice on his trumpet for an hour or so. Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time.
glupson, I thought it was in the late-1990's/early-2000's at The Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles that I saw Cohen, but I just looked up his touring history and discovered he was not performing in that time period. Picturing him on stage in my mind has lead me to realize it was at The Wiltern Theater (also in L.A.) in 1993 that I actually saw him. Hey, I was drinking heavily in those days!
@ shkong78 - Yes, sometimes memorable concerts aren't the best the could have been. I had long wanted to see Ali Akbar Khan, the great Indian sarod virtuoso. I finally got a chance to see him near the end of his life, around 2005 or so. He was far from his prime and his performance wasn't inspired, but I still am grateful I got to see one of the musical greats of that tradition.
@ skyscraper - Those are some great stories. My girlfriend, now wife, had a Corvair at that time too and it let us down more than once as well.
I thought it was a long time ago and you must have mixed the dates. Well, at least you found the right theatre that night and did not end up at Lipps Inc. concert. If they actually existed as a performing group.
The only reason I noticed the error was because Cohen took a long hiatus (15 years or so) from music and I was eagerly awaiting his return. That is how I ended up in Toronto in 2008. It was his first announced concert after the hiatus. He welcomed us with "I know many of you have gone through significant geographical and financial inconveniences to be here tonight", or something to that effect and he was right for at least half of us in the audience. I doubt anyone regretted those inconveniences.
In no particular order:
Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris at Max’s Kansas City
Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna at Columbia University
Jimi Hendrix at the Fillmore East (the New Year’s Eve show that was recorded)
Bruce Springsteen at Max’s Kansas City (after his first LP)
Bonnie Raitt at Max’s Kansas City (see a trend?)
Cesoria Evora at The Bottom Line
Judy Collins at the Tarrytown Theatre
Joni Mitchell Arlo Guthrie double bill
any of a couple dozen shows produced by The World Music Institute in New York City.
Well, just to recall a few:
Jesse Winchester at a broken down movie theater in Denver with an audience of about a dozen;
Blues Image (my favorite under-appreciated band), opening for Three Dog Night in Phoenix;
The Buddy Rich Big Band, Gunnison, Colorado, circa 1972;
Johnny Smith, Colorado State, circa 1970;
Bob Dylan, the Hard Rain concert in Ft. Collins, Co.
Deep Purple, Denver Auditorium, Richie Blackmore leaning against a Marshall stack, rocking it back and forth in time until I thought it would fall;
The King's Singers, Denver;
Manhattan Transfer/Take 6, Mackey Auditorium, University of Colorado just a year or two ago;
Steve Goodman, Rainbow Music Hall, Denver;
Vince Gill acoustic tour, Colorado Springs
Leon Russell and the New Grass Revival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival
Find you too something what Bdp24 whatever your real name is? Lucky you from a 14 year old 1964 die hard Beach Boy fan. It would be MY personal favorite as well and I've seen more than a few in many genres in many places including 3 later Beach Boys concerts, never with Brian performing. Thanks for sharing.
Robin Trower at a local small club venue, mid 80s, standing about 10 feet away.
Lucinda Williams during her "West" tour at a local small theatre/great sound that night!
Kansas, late 70s, Charlotte Coliseum
Doobie Brothers, mid 70s, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke University
Eagles, early 80s, "The Long Run" tour, their first one of their last tours together.
Neko Case, 2013?, Raleigh, outdoors, great sound!
Aimee Mann, 2012?, Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, Greensboro, she was actually in a great mood! Invited audience members on stage to play instruments on one song.
Rosanne Cash/John Leventhal, 2018, at the same local theatre I saw LW. Acoustic evening.
Richard Thompson, 2010?, same venue as above, solo acoustic.
I just remembered a few more, and how could I forget these:
Astor Piazzolla - at SOB’s. I was sitting near the stage, he invites a special guest onto the stage, a petit but statuesque woman sitting right next to me, elbows apart, at the next table gets up and steps up. It was Grace Jones.
Tito Puente - at SOB’s
Kid Creole and the Coconuts - A club in Chelsea, can’t remember the name
Johnny Winter - the show was in the gymnasium of my Catholic high school.
As a rule, I prefer small clubs. I almost never go to large venues, the football field at Columbia for the Airplane, and MSG for Dylan (a horrible experience, that probably turned me off to stadium concerts once and for all), and MSG for the Eagles (6th row center, comp seats or I would not have been there).
Central Park for the Summer NY Philharmonic concerts are always fun, but you go there as much for the picnic vibe with 100,000 fellow NYers.