December 28, 2005

In Lieu of a post, here's this:

Top Ten Concerts I've Ever Seen


11) Black 47 Harbor Yard Bridgeport, CT
Okay, this is a bonus. I didn't know any of Black 47's music when I went to the show at the invitation of my friend Norm. But it was a great show. This was an "Irish Night" program that featured quite a few bands. Crossroads -- a four-piece band of guitar, bass, drums and cello -- had a great set, too. But I've yet to see them perform anywhere else since.

10) Cheap Trick New Haven Collosium New Haven, CT
This was in 1979 at the recently defunct New Haven Collosium. Saw it with my ol' pals Freedom's Slave and Tex Kaliber. This makes the list primarily because it was one of the first concerts I'd ever been too (Ted Nugent -- also at the NHC -- was the first). I didn't take in many "big arena rock" show for years after that because I thought they sounded like shit. It was only years later that I realized that it was the New Haven Collousium that sounded like shit.

9) The Dead Boys Town Hall NYC, NY
The Dead Boys were only the headliner, but I include this because the entire program was pretty good. This was in the late winter of early 1980 at a record convention slash music festival. Saw this with Freedom's Slave and Stac Pinque.
The Troggs were supoposed to headline, but word had it that they'd gotten stopped at the airport in Britain by Imigration for some reason. Imagine that

8) Marillion Toad's Place New Haven, CT
I only knew a handful of songs by them when I saw them with Norm and Ellen some nearly eight or nine years ago, but it was a great show.
While I enjoy their music when I hear it, Marillion is one of those bands that I just can't get into beyond a cursory appreciation of their greatness. They're sort of Yes-meets/plays-Neil Young. Kinda like Radiohead for the old Jethro Tull crowd...?

7) Bob Dylan Oakdale (or was it Pinecrest?) somewhere in CT
This was the most polished of the four Dylan shows I've seen. The first time I saw was with Sister the Younger at Lake Compounce Amusement Park back in '91 or '92 or so. It was raining and he sang a lot of "rain songs". All-in-all, a pretty dismal performance.
The second time I saw him was with Sister the Elder in Manchester, New Hampshire 'round 1992 or so. A much better show by far. "But," I thought, "if this is as good as he gets than I'll never pay to see him perform again".
Like I said: This show was the fourth time I'd seen him -- which means that the third time I'd seem must've been pretty good. But moron that later...!

6) The B-52s The Agora New Haven, CT
This was back in college; circa 1983. While the music must've been great, what I remember most is the colors. The gals had bright tutu dresses and the guys were all sorts'a decked out in neon-like suits. The sound -- for such a small venue -- was so rich, clear and punchy. Lotsa bottom.
I saw X there, as well and, while they were fun, a band like X can get pretty dull after an hour of nothing but. But I digress...

5) Melissa Etheridge Hartford Civic Center Hartford, CT
This was in either late '94 or early '95, just after her big breakthrough with Yes, I Am. Going into the show with Ellen, Jean and Jim I knew prolly three of her songs -- and only one of 'em (Come To My Window) well.
But, oh my.
Tex (who'd seen her show before and encouraged me to go see it even though I protested that it was a sight unseen) called me after the show, knowing that I had very little knowledge of Melissa's music. "So," he said, "Wasn't that the most....." he giggled..."YES!" I burst! "I have had. The Melissa. Experience!"

4) Boh Dylan Danbury High School Danbury, CT
This was prolly sometime in '95. As I said before, Dylan's previous live performances that I'd seen left something to be desired, and that the fourth time I'd seen him was a damn goodt show. But this one -- with Patti Smith as the opening act -- was the Dylan show I was waiting for. The band was tight but loose if ya know what I mean. If an artist feeds off the audience then this was one time when Dylan was a glutton. The crowd was raucus, the band was on fire and, that night, Bob Dylan Wrote. The. Book.
The only reason I took a third chance on Dylan was because Patti Smith was opening. Patti had a good show, but it was a meager setting and her old band -- newly reformed -- seeemed a little un/comfortable with the whole thing.
Little did I know what was yet to come...

3) Elvis Costello Jones Beach Long Island, NY
Saw this with Freedom's Slave. I'd seen Elvis before back in 1983 on his Punch The Clocktour. But this was great show. The first time I'd seen him he seemed to be entering a career mid-life crisis of sorts. The band was great an' all, but the entire show seemed devoid of energy. He was experimenting with horns and off-beats, yet hadn't figured out what to do with them yet. All-in all, an un-even show.
But, at in 1994 on the Brutal Youth tour, Look out!
The sound was awesome for an outdoor, beach-side theater.
He played everything from the well-known Allison to the everlasting Oliver's Army to the obscure-to-all-but-us-afficioinados Shot With His Own Gun. Even the new songs -- which I hadn't heard yet -- sounded great.
Of course, he closed with Pump It Up.

2) Patti Smith Toad's Place New Haven, CT
When I saw her open for Bob Dylan a few years earlier, she had only a band, a stage and an attitude. This time was different.
She wailed away on Ask The Angels like she'd listened to it a million times over and was hearing it for the first time and then then pulled out a scroll to recite the lyric to Byrdland. Okay,. it was just a notebook, not a scroll but, still..
And when she started sing "and the bells in my heart go ding dong ding ding dong..." I swear she saw me in the back -- by the bar -- pounding my chest just as she did on SNL in '76 and started doing the same.
Yes, friends. I am sure that she made eye-contact with my fist that night.

And the Number One concert that I have seen is..... **drumroll crash**

1) Brian Wilson: Pet Sounds tour Mohegan Sun, CT -- circa 1999

Need I say more?

Unless you've ever slow-danced to Please Let Me Wonder played at full volume in the room while it's being played by the guy who wrote it, you have no idea what true love can mean to you.
No, seriously. I promise.
Oh, sure, you think you knpw. "I don't need Brian Wilson to tell me what love is" and all. Trust me. You haven't been in love until you've held her at a Brian Wilson concert. I'm just sayin'...


So, there ya have it. What were yer first slash most memorable concerts?

Posted by Tuning Spork at December 28, 2005 12:10 AM | TrackBack

I was never into going to concerts. I'm not sure I even went to ten let alone having a top ten. Nor could I come close to remembering dates.

If I had to list my favorite, I'm not sure it would even qualify. It was my first real date with my wife. Some time in winter 1993. Norwalk City Hall. Fairfield County Symphony performance of Beethoven's Ninth.

I later learned of her absolute disdain for classical music.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at December 28, 2005 07:16 AM

My first concert - no idea when - was Seals & Croft, and they blew me away. I wasn't expecting much, but they rocked a lot harder than I expected.

Best would be either Jethro Tull or Santana. Both in small auditoriums in Germany. Very intimate and full of energy. Stanley Clark played with Santana.

Most memorable is tied between Elton John and Styx, because they were "dream" concerts for my wife.

Posted by: Ted at December 30, 2005 11:34 AM
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