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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The lowdown on my first 200 (and one) shows

This post may be of interest to no one other than me, but blogging is a somewhat narcissistic endeavor, so here goes...

Last month's Matt & Kim show was the 200th concert I've ever seen (I've since attended a 201st), and because I'm into analyzing numbers and statistics, I had to break it down. So, here goes.

A couple notes:
-I only count national acts. Including local bands would be a cheap way to artificially build up the concert count.
-I count massive multi-day festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza as one concert, even though in reality it's much more than that.

Concerts attended: 201
Totals bands seen: 537

-My first 5 concerts were country shows my grandmother took me to as a kid – 3 Lee Greenwood shows & 2 Oak Ridge Boys.
-The first concert I went to of my own choice was the legendary triple bill of Spin Doctors, Cracker, and the Gin Blossoms in 1994.

16 - Dave Matthews (15 Dave Matthews Band, 1 Dave Matthews & Friends)
8 - Mike Doughty
5 - Radiohead
5 – Amanda Palmer (1 solo, 4 with Dresden Dolls)
4 - Sophie B. Hawkins
4 - Motion City Soundtrack
4 - Lee Greenwood
3 - Patti Smith
3 - Sigur Ros
3 - !!!
3 - Damien Rice
3 - Okkervil River
3 - Nine Inch Nails
3 - Nicole Atkins
3 - Ben Folds (2 solo, 1 with Ben Folds Five)
3 - DeVotchKa
3 - White Rabbits
3 - Fall Out Boy
3 - The Academy Is…
3 - Pete Yorn
3 - Sondre Lerche
3 - My Chemical Romance
3 - New Found Glory

-I went through my frat boy DMB phase in college. They would come to Pittsburgh twice a year, and I'd see them both times, so that's how my DMB concert count got so high.
-Since I started going to shows in the late '90s, Radiohead has not played Pittsburgh, so I've had to travel to see them – twice to Cleveland, once to NYC, once to Bonnaroo and once to Lollapalooza.
-The rest of the list isn’t particularly reflective of my favorite bands. For instance, I’ve never paid to see Motion City Soundtrack – they showed up twice on the Warped Tour and twice as an opening act for somebody else.


35 – Post-Gazette Pavilion
17 – Mr. Small’s Theatre
16 – Point State Park
13 – Club Café
9 – Bryce Jordan Center
7 – Chevrolet Amphitheater
6 – Club Laga
6 – Rex Theatre
6 – Mellon Arena
6 – AJ Palumbo Center
5 – Byham Theater
5 – Diesel
4 - Metropol
4 – Ponderosa Park
3 – Andy Warhol Museum
3 – Madison Square Garden
3 – Hammerstein Ballroom

-I worked security at Post-Gazette Pavilion for 9 shows in the summer of 2001 - that’s when I really got the concert bug. I quit when they told us everyone had to work Ozzfest. I attended as a fan instead.
-I can’t say I have a favorite venue, but I used to like Metropol and Club Laga. Club Café would be my favorite venue, but since Jon Rinaldo stopped booking the place it’s been shit. I’ve only seen two shows there in the past 3 years.

166 Pennsylvania
15 New York
12 Ohio
2 California
2 Illinois
2 Tennessee
1 Oregon
1 West Virginia

-All 15 of my New York shows were in NYC, 14 in Manhattan and 1 in Brooklyn (Mike Doughty at North Six.)
-In terms of cities Pittsburgh ranks first with 108 shows, followed by Burgettstown, home of the Post-Gazette Pavilion (35), then New York City (15), State College PA (14) and Cleveland (5).

Number of shows I saw for free: 58
19 of these were free outdoor concerts. Of the other 39 times where I managed to not pay, I was on the guest list 23 times; was given a ticket or had a ticket purchased for me 14 times; won a ticket once; and simply didn’t pay once (this was a Mike Doughty show outside WYEP studios, where I just stood nearby and listened.)

Number of shows seen outdoors: 82
I’ve been extremely fortunate weather-wise. It’s only rained at a couple of these. The worst was an Aerosmith show I worked, in which there was a torrential downpour, but I was inside the pavilion. I also saw KISS, John Mayer, and Metallica in the rain. I don’t remember any other shows where there was more than a sprinkle. Amazing.

Number of shows I attended alone: 34
The first show I saw alone was David Gray. I almost didn't go because I was embarrassed to be by myself. But it was an incredible show. After that, I decided I would never let the lameness of my friends keep me from attending a show I really wanted to see.

Number of times the band canceled: 2
I went to more than 150 shows before I experienced my first cancellation. CSS canceled at Lollapalooza, and Robert Randolph canceled his free show at the Arts Fest last year.

Number of shows I fell asleep at: 2
Brendan Benson and Beth Orton, both snoozefests (literally).

Number of shows I got drunk at: 1
I rarely drink at shows. I got into the spirit by tailgating before the Dave Matthews Band show in 2006, but that's pretty much it.

Most expensive ticket I bought: $75 (Dixie Chicks @ Mellon Arena)
This show was sold out for weeks, but the day before the show, a few seats opened up, including one in the front row, so I had to jump on it. I got to shake Martie’s hand during the show. They also made a DVD of this tour, and I keep looking for myself in it, but I don’t see me. I swear I must be on it somewhere.

Earliest show:
The Switches, started at 11:30 am, Lollapalooza 2007

Latest show:
Kanye West, started at 4:30 am, ended at 5:30 am, Bonnaroo 2008

Longest shows:
3 hours – Dave Matthews Band @ Hersheypark
3 hours – Bruce Springsteen @ Mellon Arena

Longest encore:
50 mins – Bruce Springsteen @ Mellon Arena
45 mins – Radiohead @ Bonnaroo
40 mins – Wilco @ Point State Park

Shortest encore:
2 mins – Tokyo Police Club (played 1 song)
2 mins – Polyphonic Spree (did not play a song, just begged people to buy merch)

Show I most can't believe I went to:
Insane Clown Posse & 2 Live Crew @ Bomb Shelter, New Castle PA, 2003

Show I have absolutely no memory of attending:
Maroon 5 & The Thrills @ AJ Palumbo Center, 2005
It's on my list, but I don't remember where I sat, who I went with, what songs they played, nothing. I don't even remember being there. According to my notes from that night, “The best part of this show was seeing the videos played between bands – Sondre Lerche, Phoenix, and Loretta Lynn with Jack White.”

Largest crowd:
~75,000 – Radiohead @ Bonnaroo
~75,000 – Radiohead @ Lollapalooza
~60,000 – Pearl Jam @ Lollapalooza
~60,000 – Metallica @ Bonnaroo
~45,000 – Dave Matthews Band @ Three Rivers Stadium

Smallest crowd:
20 - Brian VanderArk @ Club Cafe
35 - Sophie B. Hawkins @ Rex Theatre
40 – American Princes @ Garfield Artworks

Artists I've met at/after shows:

-Conor Oberst
-Pete Yorn
-Dresden Dolls
-TV On the Radio
-Okkervil River
-Phantom Planet
-Patti Smith
-Rufus Wainwright
-Damien Rice
-Mike Doughty
-Stefan Lessard of Dave Matthews Band
-Weird Al Yankovic
-Sondre Lerche
-Sophie B. Hawkins
-Jill Sobule
-Johnny Hickman of Cracker

I kept sending the picture of me and Conor Oberst to Blender Magazine, in the hopes they'd run it in that section where they print photos of fans with singers, but they never did. Those bastards!

Rock N Roll Hall of Famers I’ve seen:

-Patti Smith
-Bob Dylan
-Bruce Springsteen
-Paul Simon
-Bonnie Raitt
-Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
-Elvis Costello
-Buddy Guy
-Lynyrd Skynyrd
-Black Sabbath
-B.B. King
-Solomon Burke
-The Police


jodi said...

that is im-pressive record keeping!!! you know how much I love live music and the best i do is keep my tix in frames...

Scott said...

I have all kinds of stuff that I still need to frame, actually. That will be my next project.

BNAC said...

One note of trivia: "Radiohead has never played Pittsburgh"

Not true! They opened for Alanis in 1996 or 97 touring in support of The Bends. Weird huh?

I barely count that though...as they weren't the headliner and they weren't well respected by the Alanis fans!

puff said...

Radiohead played Metropol in 97 on the OK Computer tour. I miss that place, Laga, and Graffiti.

Scott said...

I figured Radiohead probably played in Pittsburgh before the Kid A era, which is why I qualified that statement with "since I started going to concerts in the late '90s."

Thanks for giving me the specifics!

Scott said...

I miss Metropol and Laga as well... never had a chance to see a show at Graffiti.

Deena said...

Your concert recordkeeping abilities never cease to amaze me, Scott. I used to at least try to keep track of who I'd seen, but not even where or when, though I have a lot of ticket stubs and such as reminders. One day I strive to be as meticulous as this!