Concerts to me are as close to spiritual events as anything. Well...some of them are, anyway. Somewhere on the list I'm about to start making you'll find Billy Idol...and honestly, while it was a fun show, I didn't exactly carry the mood of the evening with me for weeks and weeks after. I pretty much said, "Damn, that's some spiky hair!" did the obligatory sing-a-long parts to "Mony, Mony," chuckled at the stage-sized blow-up doll that was inflated near the end of his show, and went home.
I've seen my share of concerts. Not nearly as many as some, but enough to be very familiar with the surge of adrenaline that pours through a crowd when a pretty cool band walks out on stage to start its show, or graces the screams and applause with a second or third encore.
I've run the gamut from 40,000-seat outdoor theaters to converted bars that held 200-ish people and were still half empty because people didn't have the good sense to realize that there was affordable, high-quality musical entertainment happening that night.
In no particular order, here are all (or most, because I have a really bad memory, so those of you with whom I've been to concerts, speak up if you don't see the one we attended on the list!) of the concerts I've gone to in my life, with the number of shows seen, and any relevant comments added to make your concert-reading experience just that much more exciting!
Obviously, I know where to start:
Counting Crows (10)
(I've seen them in an amphitheater, a coliseum, a ballroom, a center, a theatre, a fieldhouse, and who knows what else. From 10 feet away, and from an awkard right side angle way too far up and back. Duritz...is a god.)
Matt Nathanson (3)
(As soon as I got a hold of some of his music, he vaulted up near the top of my charts faster than Britney's career went down. (and no, you won't find Britney on this list.) Nathanson is a god, too, and a lot funnier than Duritz, because let's face it...Duritz likes to brood. These two have now become interchangeable at the top of my list, and I'm currently giving the slightest edge to Nathanson. I never thought anyone would topple Duritz.)
Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers (3)
(Formerly The Refreshments, who put out only two discs before disbanding. I've come as close to wearing out those two discs as is possible. I never thought I'd get to hear Refreshments stuff live, and then the lead singer and drummer started this group, and have made several more discs since. Roger Clyne is applying for god status. The first two shows were seen in that converted bar I mentioned earlier. The third was in another small venue that used to be an auto garage. Kick. Ass.)
Carbon Leaf (3)
(A buddy of mine introduced me to these guys one night while we were drinking beer on his deck. I think halfway into the first song I was hooked. Big-time hooked. They're musically perfect live.)
(The first group to appear on the list without a number after it. I wish I could add an (8) there, because it was a phenomenal show. Rob Thomas poured everything into his songs. And they also covered, "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds. Sweeeet. A story about that night, and a meme sorta thingie, can be found here. I'd love to hear your answers to those questions.)
Blue Man Group
(Go! Go! Runnnn to see Blue Man Group! I saw them in Chicago, and I've heard that their Vegas show is even better. I'm sure it's bigger, cuz the Chicago show was pretty cozy. I'll see them in Vegas within the next few years.)
(Very few songs are more powerful in concert than "Naked" and "Good Things" by these guys.)
Barenaked Ladies (2)
(I wanna see them again and again and again. The energy level at their shows is incredibly high.)
(I add her next because she co-headlined with the Naked Ladies the second time I saw them. (coupla Canadians, eh?) She's a great songwriter. But she looked a bit odd on stage because all she did almost ALL night was walk from the center of the stage, about mid-way back, out to the sides and up to the front edge of the stage. It looked as though she was tethered to a bungee cord or something that she slowly stretched to its limit...she'd start in the center, take 20 angled steps out to the front left corner, and then take those same steps backward to the center...then 20 angled steps out to the front right corner, then backward to the center. Lather, rinse, repeat. It got a little annoying. Would I go see her again? You betcha.)
Sister Hazel (3)
(I simply can't NOT have a good time at their shows.)
Def Leppard (2)
(First time was during the height of their "Hysteria" tour, and the show started with a low bass drum beat that got louder and faster, and when the huuuge curtain covering the outdoor stage dropped to the stage floor in front of 40,000 screaming fans.......unforgettable. Europe opened for them. I can't bring myself to give Europe its own line on this list.)
(Up-and-coming artist who'll probably never hit it really big, and I don't know why. Outrageously talented. Great live show.)
Billy Joel/Elton John
(The only show I ever saw at Milwaukee's County Stadium. Wow, how good were they!!)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Goo Goo Dolls
Dave Matthews Band
(I felt so out of place because I wasn't wearing an A&F shirt.)
Jimmy Buffett (2)
(and I've also partied in the parking lot before, during and after a couple of his shows without actually going in to see him.)
Hootie & The Blowfish (2)
Toad The Wet Sprocket
Fountains of Wayne
(Opened for Matchbox 20. Cool stuff.)
Three Dog Night
(Couldn't wait to hear "Joy To The World." And they were so old that it sucked.)
Poi Dog Pondering
Steve Miller Band
(They played guitar solos so long that if you were sober at the beginning of the song, you could be drunk by the end. I like Steve Miller, but not that much Steve Miller.)
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
(They were the headliners of a Blues Fest we were at. Totally psychedelic backdrop images; longer guitar solo/blues jams than Steve Miller; I was bored and wasn't at all unhappy when it was time to go.)
(Opened for Roger Clyne. Great storyteller.)
I'm sure I'm missing a huge handful of them...maybe even some big names. But my brain has decided to stop functioning for now, so I think I'll post this, and add to it later.
I've left the local-ish acts off of the list, like Pat McCurdy (more of a show than a concert), Framing Amy, Road Trip (covers and original stuff mixed together).
If you're both a reader of my blog and one who regularly attends concerts with me, help me out a little.
And if you've read all the way down to the bottom of this...tell me about some groups you've seen, some you'd like to see, some you hated after seeing them.
"You are the music
while the music lasts."