Sunday, December 11, 2005

Meme in Concert

Ok, here's a fun weekend activity, in the form of a meme. If y'all don't remember what a meme is, check here.

First, share with us your top 3 concert experiences. And I mean, the best three concerts in terms of the music you heard.

Then, the top 3 musical performances you would have liked to have seen. If you can't pick a specific one, just tell us the artist. Below, I have linked, when applicable, the setlists to the post.

Initially, I had 5, but I was tormented by the order, so I reduced it to three.

Join in! The more the merrier!

Top 3 Concerts for Bill:

1) Rolling Stones, Guns N' Roses, Living Colour, October 19, 1989, Steel Wheels Tour, L.A. Colisseum

I saw this concert with Melanie and Chris "Tofu" Ferreira. It was my first Stones show and, despite seeing them again several years later with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Buddy Guy in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl, I felt that this concert was better based on several factors:

There was an electricity in the air based on the prior night's show. Guns 'N Roses had played a song from their Lies album called "One in a Million" which includes "controversial" lyrics in which the "N-word" is used, along with a derogatory term for homosexuals. Living Colour, an African-American rock band apparently took offense, and made a statement at the concert we went to. Axl and the band performed without incident. The Stones were spot-on, and the highlight for me was Eric Clapton joining the Stones on stage for the blues staple "Little Red Rooster." Excellent.

2) Robert Plant and The Who, Madison Square Garden, August 3, 2002

I have to give this show the nod because it allowed Melanie and me to see two living legends. Plant performed an amazing version of "Going to California." The Who had recently suffered the death of John Entwhistle, but the band played on. Flawlessly.

3) Pearl Jam, Madison Square Garden, July 8, 2003, Riot Act Tour

Pearl Jam afficionados give the nod to the previous night's concert as the better of the two they played at the Garden, but this is the one I went to. Pearl Jam will be the subject of a later post, but I went from someone who liked the band to an all-out fan. Pearl Jam makes every show available for purchase hours after the show, and in so doing, they won a fan for life. An amazing show, including the first time Eddie Vedder pulled out a cell-phone and called Johnny Ramone (who wasn't home). They covered the Ramones, the Clash, and the Beatles, with Eddie playing acoustic guitar solo for "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away."

Top 3 Performances I Wish I'd Seen, Live

1) Queen, Wembley Stadium, Live Aid, July 13, 1985

Live Aid aired in Hawai'i at 3 AM and I was with a bunch of my friends at someone's house in Kailua. I remember bits and pieces of the concert, but I still get chills remembering the chills I felt watching Freddie Mercury perform, and the crowd's interaction, especially during "Radio Ga Ga." It was only a 21-minute set, but if you think about it, being there meant you would have seen performances from Status Quo, Boomtown Rats, Adam Ant, Elvis Costello, Sting and Phil Collins, Bryan Ferry, U2, and Dire Straits, all before Queen took the stage, and then, David Bowie, The Who, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

2) Nirvana, Sony Music Studios, MTV taping of Nirvana: Live Unplugged in New York, November 18, 1993

Wait 'til my top 20 album list, this performance is in the top 5. Half the songs are obscure covers, or were onscure covers, but this performance showed the world that Nirvana's grunge was just a facet of their talent. I cannot think of a rawer, more emotional performance by a musician.

3) Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, August 18, 1969

The concert is a legend. The performance is mythical. The man was a musical genius. He closed the show.

(tie) The Doors, Madison Square Garden, New York, January 24, 1969
I have to include a Doors concert, so I'll name this one, but interchange it with any others. A year later, the Doors played several shows at the Felt Forum in NYC, the recordings of which made it into the mainstream Doors' concert albums. I would, perhaps, point the time machine to March 7, 1968, at the Scene Club in New York, when Hendrix jammed with Morrison through 8 songs. Imagine that.

Honorable mentions (lest you think I'm completely oblivious to music other than rock):

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, 1957

Marion Anderson, April 9, 1939, Lincoln Memorial

5 comments:

Benjie516 said...

#3 Springsteen & E Street band, Tacoma Dome, 2000. The whole church revival schtick was mesmerizing. Marred only by the fact that they weren't playing Caddilac Ranch. And if that's my only complaint it must've been a pretty incredible show.

#2 Steely Dan, Maui Arts, 2003. The penultimate show of their Everything Must Go tour (after they returned triumphantly from a near 20 year hiatus to critical AND popular acclaim). Maui is significant because that's where 1/2 of the Dan (Walter Becker) went to sleep off (or extend) his 70's hangover. The date is significant because my son was present in my wife's belly. I also saw their finale show alone the next nite in Honolulu at the Blaisdell.

#1 Ramones, the Bayou, Washington DC 1988. The first time's the charm. One of the last shows that Dee Dee played. A Ramones dilletante (by comparison) until then, I was a believer thereafter, and always will be.

Honorable Mentions: Stones Bridges to Babylon at Aloha Stadium. Dave Brubeck & Sons at the Blaisdell (I got to meet him after the performance).

Wish I'd seen: The Clash (or even just Joe Strummer).

And this one keeps nagging at me: Cheap Trick the night they played here in a medium sized nightclub after very little promotion. Small turnout, intimate setting, flawless power pop. I heard the Illinois Four put out for the 12 people in attendance nonetheless.

mellomouth said...

1. U2 - Picking a favorite U2 performance is a tough one. I'll leave it to 2. One is my first on April Fool's 1985 at Madison Square Garden. Front Row corner(Thanks to a friend who's mom worked for Mayor Koch.) Awesome Cover of Knockin' on Heaven's Door!
But this was topped by racing across the field at Giants Stadium September 14, 1987 for Gen. Admission seating. So many people, so much Bono sweat sprayed on us!

2. The Stones I thought my favorite was the Rose Bowl Show until I read what you wrote about the Guns n' Roses/Living Color Show, but I didn't remember Tofu being there, just Liz and Teri. Although, it was also great seeing them at Trump PLaza Atlantic City with Mom 12/19/89 (although she did fall asleep)... John Lee Hooker AND Eric Clapton for Little Red Rooster.

3. The Who/Robert PLant definetely!

But... that leaves out the Jones Beach concert with Diane 8/28/87(Genie Loves Gezebel/Echo & the Bunnymen?New Order), and 10/6/87 - REM at Radio City - last row but
Superman was a showstopper!

Now... to what I missed.... Oh Ben I am so jealous about the Ramones!!!! I would have given anything to have seen any of the J's Jimi, Jim, or Janis!

Benjie516 said...

Also saw the Ramones a couple more times in DC, once in London (Brixton Academy of "Guns of Brixton" fame, and once in Honolulu. But like St. Pauli says, you never forget your first.

Jill said...

Okay...I've been thinking a lot about this and trying to decide what to post. So many choices!

I think my all-time favorite concert was Railroad Earth on December 31, 2003. Picture this, if you can. An old boyfriend and I were driving through a deserted and very dark rural landscape in the middle of nowheresville New Jersey on a bitter cold New Year's Eve. We hadn't seen each other in years and were testing the waters, so to speak, to see if we still had a spark. So, it's a little awkward. Anyway, we end up at a barn in the middle of a field where I can see that a bonfire is burning brightly just around the back. We go inside and it's like another world. The barn's interior is lit almost exclusively by white Christmas lights and the barn floor is covered with thick oriental carpets. There is a very lovely spread of hors d'oevres and it's toasty warm inside. Absolute paradise. Then, add to that, this band, who I've never heard of before, starts playing for the very small crowd of about the 50 or so people invited to the party. Railroad Earth is kind of a bluegrass jam band in the tradition of the Grateful Dead but much more lively and fun...one of those bands that gets the entire room moving in unison. For a brief moment in my history, everything was right with the world.

Please check out the band if you get a chance. They do tour and do play for bigger audiences. It's worth any effort it takes to see them.

Other greats: U2 in 1981 in a tiny theater in Pittsburgh, James Taylor in a field in New Jersey and Neil Young at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. You can see both the mountains and the ocean from that venue. Amazing!

Concerts I wish I had seen: Woodstock, of course, Joni Mitchell in her heyday, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen (still have a chance there...) It's really an endless list.

Oxypoet said...

Thanks Jill, for reminding me that Led Zeppelin wasn't on my list. Perhaps because of seeing Robert Plant, I dismissed the band. I'll throw in Led Zeppelin, circa 1972, at the show(s) they did at the LA Forum and the Long Beach Arena. The concerts are memorialized in their triple-disc release from 2003 How The West Was Won. Check out the post on October 26, when I discussed in greater detail.

What's everyone else waiting for? Let's hear it?