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Sunday, July 22, 2007

The best concerts I've ever attended

Feeling constrained by the tiny text column of my previous layout, and never having liked the name of my blog, I decided to do some rebranding today.

I thought I'd start the new blog with a list of the best concerts I've ever seen:

1 RADIOHEAD, Blossom Music Center, 8.8.01

My first time seeing Radiohead was magical. They had just become my favorite band, I was in the first row behind the pit, and their performance was phenomenal. I was blown away by how this band that was so experimental and weird on tape could rock so hard live. Having gotten past the doldrums that plagued him on the band's last tour, Thom Yorke was enjoying himself immensely and his enthusiasm rubbed off. This show also featured the first live performance ever of "Like Spinning Plates," a song most people thought they'd never play because its lyrics are sung backwards on the record.

2 RADIOHEAD, Blossom Music Center, 8.21.03

Another incredible show - it would've been better than the previous one, except that their encore was a letdown - they pretty much played the 6 songs I least wanted to hear. Everything else was great - "Sit Down, Stand Up" was one of the best concert-openers I've ever seen, because of the way it slowly slowly builds up and then finally goes berserk at the end. I also love "Myxomatosis" live - its guitars are so explosive, it might as well be a heavy metal song.

I was really lucky to go to this show, as a friend had a spare ticket and invited me. This was simply a case of a legendary act, with a legendary band, being at the absolute top of their game. "The Rising" had just come out, and the set included all of its best songs, plus the best from Bruce's career.

4 DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, Post-Gazette Pavilion, 8.3.02
I've seen Dave 14 times, and while I try not to let where I'm sitting affect my overall review, in this case it probably did, because I was in the third row and the entire evening was nonstop euphoria for me. Objectively speaking, I still think it was an amazing show. When the band came out for the encore, the crowd started chanting for "Two Step," and while I hate the fact that it seemed DMB was being turned into a karaoke act that takes requests, they relented and played a kick-ass 12-minute version of it to top off a great show.

5 U2 & PJ HARVEY, Mellon Arena, 5.6.01
In this case, I know that my seating location did not affect my perception of the show, because I was in the next to last row in section E at the top of Mellon Arena. Still, I was blown away by how U2 commanded the attention of every person in the arena for more than 2 hours. Again, a legendary band at the top of its game.

6 SIGUR ROS, Byham Theater, 3.25.03
I was familar with the work of ethereal Icelandic band Sigur Ros, but their concert far surpassed anything I expected. Their songs are so quiet and beautifully crafted, and that surprisingly translated well to the stage. During the quiet parts, you could hear a pin drop, and the power of those moments was stunning. I never expected to see singer Jonsi play the guitar with a violin bow, or see the guitarist play the bass with a drum stick. The noises they made were beautiful and majestic.

7 PRINCE, Bryce Jordan Center, 4.18.04
Very rarely am I ever in awe of anybody. I can think of only two times it's happened - one was during a Bob Dylan concert, and one was during this show. It probably sounds cheesy to say, but being 20 feet away from Prince during the encore of "Purple Rain," when he played the emotional guitar solo while the crowd sang the "woo hoo hoo hoo" lines, was very nearly a religious experience. Thinking back to when that song came out during my childhood, it was hard to believe I was really there in that moment. I still maintain Prince might be the best guitar player alive, but he so rarely shows it, which made this experience all the better.

The rest of the top 15:
8 COLDPLAY & THE MUSIC, AJ Palumbo Center, 3.2.03
9 DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, Hersheypark Stadium, 8.1.01
10 WEEZER, Mellon Arena, 2.18.02
11 SANTANA & MACY GRAY, Star Lake Ampitheater, 8.16.00
12 DAVID GRAY, AJ Palumbo Center, 4.18.01
13 BRIGHT EYES & JIM JAMES, Club Laga, 2.22.04
14 CHER & CYNDI LAUPER, Madison Square Garden, 6.26.02
15 MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE & RISE AGAINST, Wolstein Center, 2.26.07


BeckEye said...

I would be willing to bet that there's a Springsteen show on everyone's top concerts list. The man is an amazing performer, and the E Street Band just rocks.

By the way, I've dedicated my video of the week to you. Well, you, scum and Lindsay Lohan. Oh just come over and you'll see what I mean.

Scott said...

I feel fortunate I got to see Bruce's show! And I love the video of the week...