We saw Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field on my birthday recently. When it was over I commented to my wife and our friends that it was for sure in the top 3-5 shows I've seen in my life. It got me thinking what my replies would be if asked what were the best shows that I have attended. So, not in any order, these are my most memorable. And I'm looking forward to seeing what others post.

Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field, 2016 - three plus hours of intensity, very tightly performed. One of my measures of a great concert is the enjoyment level of seeing unfamiliar material played. I probably didn't know about a third of the songs, but it didn't matter. Eddie Vedder's voice was in great shape, and Mike McCready's solos were fantastic as was Matt Cameron's drumming. The audience participation was a cherry on top. Good sound and the ballpark made a great backdrop, as did perfect weather.

2007 Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival, Toyota Park - Sunny day with almost universally great performances by the list of artists below with a great sound mix and nice weather. Enough said.
Sonny Landreth
John McLaughlin
Alison Krauss
Doyle Bramhall
Derek Trucks Band with Susan Tedeschi
Johnny Winter
Robert Randolph
Robert Cray
Jimmie Vaughan
Hubert Sumlin
B.B. King.
John Mayer
Vince Gill
Albert Lee
Sheryl Crow
Los Lobos
Jeff Beck
Eric Clapton (w/ Steve Winwood and Robbie Robertson)
Buddy Guy

Metallica, 1991, Rosemont Horizon - they were absolutely at the height of their live performance abilities as a band. Hetfield's voice had all of the bark but with more power then before, and Lars played not only all of the double-bass parts but added fills here and there that weren't on records. Three hours of bad-ass intensity playing their best material. While I still like them, their live performances took a steep decline since 2000. Lars is a lazy, sloppy "drummer" now who may as well have the same kit used by the Stray Cats. Other metal drummers of similar age can still rage - because they choose to. Hetfield's live vocals no longer have any bite. And while Robert Trujillo is a good bass player, his background vocals are pathetic and that stupid crab-walk thing he does looks beyond stupid.

Lollapalooza II, 1992, Alpine Valley, WI - back when Lolla was a touring festival - Pearl Jam's 1st tour of large venues supporting Ten, Soundgarden supporting Badmotorfinger, Ice Cube, Ministry and headlined by a still relevant Red Hot Chili Pepppers. PJ was the performer of the day IMO, with Soundgarden a close second. Eddie lowered himself from the pavilion overhang by a rope. Soundgarden was awesome in every way, and seeing Chris Cornell pull of his vocals live was something. 20+ years later with Audioslave, his voice was still incredible.

Bruce Springsteen and (the entire) E Street Band, United Center, 2007 - this was my only time seeing them. While a relatively short show for them at about 2:15, it was fantastically paced. It was also one of the last shows by Danny Federici, who passed from cancer about 6 months later. Our seats were in the third level of the cavernous UC, but the band's energy made it all the way upstairs. I feel fortunate to have witnesssed the entire band, and this show met all expectations.
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by billhike:
We saw Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field on my birthday recently. When it was over I commented to my wife and our friends that it was for sure in the top 3-5 shows I've seen in my life. It got me thinking what my replies would be if asked what were the best shows that I have attended. So, not in any order, these are my most memorable. And I'm looking forward to seeing what others post.

Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field, 2016 - three plus hours of intensity, very tightly performed. One of my measures of a great concert is the enjoyment level of seeing unfamiliar material played. I probably didn't know about a third of the songs, but it didn't matter. Eddie Vedder's voice was in great shape, and Mike McCready's solos were fantastic as was Matt Cameron's drumming. The audience participation was a cherry on top. Good sound and the ballpark made a great backdrop, as did perfect weather.

2007 Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival, Toyota Park - Sunny day with almost universally great performances by the list of artists below with a great sound mix and nice weather. Enough said.
Sonny Landreth
John McLaughlin
Alison Krauss
Doyle Bramhall
Derek Trucks Band with Susan Tedeschi
Johnny Winter
Robert Randolph
Robert Cray
Jimmie Vaughan
Hubert Sumlin
B.B. King.
John Mayer
Vince Gill
Albert Lee
Sheryl Crow
Los Lobos
Jeff Beck
Eric Clapton (w/ Steve Winwood and Robbie Robertson)
Buddy Guy

Metallica, 1991, Rosemont Horizon - they were absolutely at the height of their live performance abilities as a band. Hetfield's voice had all of the bark but with more power then before, and Lars played not only all of the double-bass parts but added fills here and there that weren't on records. Three hours of bad-ass intensity playing their best material. While I still like them, their live performances took a steep decline since 2000. Lars is a lazy, sloppy "drummer" now who may as well have the same kit used by the Stray Cats. Other metal drummers of similar age can still rage - because they choose to. Hetfield's live vocals no longer have any bite. And while Robert Trujillo is a good bass player, his background vocals are pathetic and that stupid crab-walk thing he does looks beyond stupid.

Lollapalooza II, 1992, Alpine Valley, WI - back when Lolla was a touring festival - Pearl Jam's 1st tour of large venues supporting Ten, Soundgarden supporting Badmotorfinger, Ice Cube, Ministry and headlined by a still relevant Red Hot Chili Pepppers. PJ was the performer of the day IMO, with Soundgarden a close second. Eddie lowered himself from the pavilion overhang by a rope. Soundgarden was awesome in every way, and seeing Chris Cornell pull of his vocals live was something. 20+ years later with Audioslave, his voice was still incredible.

Bruce Springsteen and (the entire) E Street Band, United Center, 2007 - this was my only time seeing them. While a relatively short show for them at about 2:15, it was fantastically paced. It was also one of the last shows by Danny Federici, who passed from cancer about 6 months later. Our seats were in the third level of the cavernous UC, but the band's energy made it all the way upstairs. I feel fortunate to have witnesssed the entire band, and this show met all expectations.

That Crossroads show would have been a blast, billhike. And any Springsteen show makes for great memories. Nice.
In random order...
The Who, John Couger and loverboy. Sure, there was no Keith Moon by they still killed it. In was shortly after jack and Diane came out, and John didn't have the Mellencamp in his name. 1982 and I was 12.

David Lindley, Los Lobos, Grateful Dead, Laguna Seca 1988 or &89

Allmans and little feat, starlight bowl despite the air trafic.' I've seen both several times and seeing together was epic...must have been '92 or so

San Diego Street scene in the early 90's Buckwheat Zydeco, Taj Majal, others

Il nozze di Figaro, at la Scalia, not a concert per se, but a musical event of my life.

Interested to see Bomba's list....if he can narrow it down to 5.
quote:
Originally posted by Jabe11:
In random order...
The Who, John Couger and loverboy. Sure, there was no Keith Moon by they still killed it. In was shortly after jack and Diane came out, and John didn't have the Mellencamp in his name. 1982 and I was 12.

David Lindley, Los Lobos, Grateful Dead, Laguna Seca 1988 or &89

Allmans and little feat, starlight bowl despite the air trafic.' I've seen both several times and seeing together was epic...must have been '92 or so

San Diego Street scene in the early 90's Buckwheat Zydeco, Taj Majal, others

Il nozze di Figaro, at la Scalia, not a concert per se, but a musical event of my life.

Interested to see Bomba's list....if he can narrow it down to 5.


This will not be easy. Btw I was at the early 90s street scene concerts which were awesome. X, beat farmers, fab thunderbird, buddy guy, bb king, no doubt, mojo Nixon, beausoleil, los lobos among others were memorable.

It's gonna take some work to put this list together and it will likely go well past 10 but #1 experience has got to be Woodstock 94. My brother in law was the first guy hired by Michael Lang and put most of it together. I got four all access passes and brought three of my best friends. It was a rainy, muddy mess. We had nice warm dry accommodations, showers, catered meals, behind the scenes access to get from stage to stage without fighting the crowds and stood on the side of stage for many performances. It was epic beyond any measure.
SARS Fest has to be up there. Amongst many others like The Guess Who, Rush, Blue Rodeo, Justin Timberlake etc. fantastic performances by The Flaming Lips and The Rolling Stones but the concert was totally dominated by an epic AC/DC performance.

The Decemberists & Andrew Bird and the entire LA Philhamonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Maybe the best outdoor venue anywhere, Andrew Bird was spectacular and having the whole LA Phil backing a mostly hipster acoustic band was awesome.

Elbow at Danforth Music Hall. A year and a half removed from closing the London Olympics and a band that has sold out the 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium I got to see with about 300 other people.

Colin Hay at the Hugh’s Room. He can never fully get out from under the shadow of his Men At Work past but he’s phenomenal as an acoustic singer-songwriter. I didn’t actually know of his past association until the concert, just loved his acoustic work through things like the Garden State soundtrack. Small little venue, sitting at tables 10 feet away from a guy playing for you is always special.

One of those wild & crazy nights that you can (or should) only do when you’re unmarried and young and foolish. Half our (small) office drove down to New Haven Connecticut after lunch from work (from Toronto!) to party with one of the guy’s brothers (Ralph) who worked for JP Morgan. Go to a Blues bar and during the course of the night Keith Richards comes on to do part of a set. We closed the place down and somehow (and for some reason) rented a limo that took us into New York to some after-hours place Ralph knew until the sun came up. I burnt my hand from flaming shots pouring all over me, three of us slept with the Ralph’s kid’s nanny who somehow we had come out with us (and apparently Ralph’s wife promptly fired afterwards…). Still, I got to see Keith Richards in a tiny little bar. He wasn’t really fantastic, didn’t play much of anything I knew but it didn’t matter. I got to see Keith Richards play in a tiny little bar.
5. 1987 - Motley Crue with Guns N Roses (Lakeland, FL) - Ok, the Crue sucked, but why this show was so great was 1) how much better G'N'R was than Motley Crue, but also, with only 1 album under their belt, they practically played the entire Appetite for Destruction album

4. 2011 - Judas Priest (Epitath Tour, Tampa, FL) - was special in that they played an extended show with a balanced setlist with songs from 1974 to 2008.

3. 2016 - Iron Maiden (Book of Souls Tour, Ft. Lauderdale & Las Vegas) - Amazing set design, good balance for songs from new album and classics

2. 2012 - Iron Maiden (Maiden England Tour - Atlanta, GA) - with Alice Cooper opening. Amazing to see both Alice and Maiden in 1 one show. Was a retro tour for Maiden - played songs from albums released 1980-1992

1. 1988 - Iron Maiden (7th Son Tour - Tampa, FL) - Opening band was Savatage which has sort of morphed into Trans Siberian Orchestra these days and local to the Tampa area. Bruce Dickinson in his prime, when he truly was the "Air Raid Siren"

I bet nobody can guess who my favorite band might be...LOL
My most unique concert, if you could call it that, was seeing very early Sublime and No Doubt play a backyard party at a friends house when I was in high school. I saw them both a couple more times at small venues before they got big.

I went to 5 Rage Against the Machine concerts but my favorite was my first in probably 95-96 sometime. Small place in LA standing room only. Just awesome.

Jay-Z and Coldplay at Wembley stadium was a cool one.

Diana Krall at Royal Albert Hall was great.

Jamie Cullum at Ronnie Scotts.

My friend worked with Blink182 from the very early days so I went to a lot of small shows in San Diego back when their music was fun and way less pop.
in no particular order:

Phish @ The Gorge (George, WA) - Summer 1998
you shouldn't need to ask why...

Norah Jones @ The Hollywood Bowl - i think 2008-09
awesome cus i was front row and sat next to Ravi Shankar and his entourage

Nas @ House of Blues Hollywood - mid 2000's
awesome venue and one of the few rap artists i've seen who sounds better live than recorded

Fleetwood Mac @ The Forum - 2014
i know they were past their prime, but i'm not old enough to catch them during the 70's/80's and this was their first tour with Christine McVie in like 20+ years

Metallica/Guns N Roses @ The Rose Bowl - 1992
Stadium tour during the Use Your Illusion I/II albums & The Black Album, plus i was in 8th grade Cool
quote:
Originally posted by GlennK:
My most unique concert, if you could call it that, was seeing very early Sublime and No Doubt play a backyard party at a friends house when I was in high school.


Legitimately, the dream. Sublime is the one band I never saw (dude died when I was 18, and I don't think Tucson was ever a huge spot for ska-punk in the mid-90s).
My top 5:
Tom Petty at the Fillmore in SF in 1997. So good, such a great venue.

MXPX in the basement of some bar in Tucson in 1998. Growing up in Tucson, I'd never seen a basement in any establishment. Throw in a bunch of punk kids running around in a pit, in the basement, in the middle of summer. Dumb idea. Lead singer ended up blacking out in the middle of a song b/c it was so hot in there.

Pearl Jam in the Veterans Coliseum in Phx. around 1998. First time I saw them, and they were amazing.

Jimmy Eat World at the Rialto in Tucson in 2002. Probably my favorite band, at my favorite old school theater-style venue, in my hometown.

Rage Against the Machine at Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernadino. Greatest/scariest show I've ever seen. It started with the fact that it was a rap festival that usually had 5000 people, but then Rage decided to play and it got moved to a 65,000 capacity outdoor venue. You had a majority of people who wanted to see Rage, but they had to sit through 8 hours of rap (not really the same fanbase). You also had 65K people all with general admission, but the lower bowl of the amphitheater had 10,000 seats and no system devised as to who or how many people got those seats, which led to security/fan issues. And it was hot as crap out. Needless to say, when Rage came on, there were bonfires everywhere on the lawn, helicopters flying over head flashing their lights, and then Rage coming out and just making the place explode. Amazing.
Some great shows and memories in this thread. Love it!

I’ve seen many memorable shows since the 70s, but these are probably the five that had the most impact on me. I have ticket stubs from some of these shows. For the rest, I had to look up the dates.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
February 13, 1977
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
The second half of the Born to Run tour. This part of the tour was called “The Lawsuit Drags On Tour”. Bruce wasn’t quite a household name yet, so this was in the concert bowl configuration with the stage at centre ice, facing sideways, and half the arena curtained off. Bought front row red seats at the box office the day of the show.

Heat Wave Festival
August 23, 1980
Mosport Park outside Toronto
Backstage passes for a legendary lineup of so-called new wave bands.
Teenage Head
BB Gabor
Holly and the Italians
Rockpile with Dave Edmunds & Nick Lowe
The Rumour (post Graham Parker)
The B-52s
Talking Heads - their first show with the expanded lineup including Adrian Belew on guitar and Bernie Worrell on keys
The Pretenders
Elvis Costello & the Attractions
The Kings

The Rolling Stones
Opening act: Stevie Wonder
July 15, 1972
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
Exile on Main Street tour. I was 15 years old. Mind blown.

The Band, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Jesse Colin Young
September 2, 1974
Varsity Stadium, Toronto
One of my first dates with my girlfriend and now partner, Patricia.

The Rolling Stones
Opening act: New Barbarians (Keith, Stanley Clarke, Ian McLagan, Bobby Keys and Ziggy Modeliste)
Sunday April 22, 1979
Oshawa Civic Auditorium east of Toronto
The infamous CNIB concert for the blind. Keith was order by the judge to play this charity concert after he was busted for heroin possession while performing two surprise shows in Toronto at the El Mocambo (which my girlfriend Patricia attended, but that's another story). Patricia’s mother was legally blind so she was able to get two tickets to the show. The performance by the Stones was probably the worst I’ve heard (at one point Keith and Ron were about two beats ahead of Charlie and Bill, so Charlie just stopped drumming until he could figure out where they were in the song), but as an event it was one of the most memorable.


Honourable mentions:

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Sunday Nov 18, 1979
Seneca College gymnasium
About 200 kids sitting on the gym floor for Petty’s first Toronto concert just after the release of Damn the Torpedoes.

The Ramones
October 9, 1977
The Edge, Toronto
A tiny 50 seat pub near Ryerson Polytechnical, famous for hosting one of the first Toronto concerts by The Police.

Bill Evans & Robben Ford
Perhaps 2010?
Ronnie Scott’s, London
I’ve always wanted to see a show at Ronnie Scott’s, so we dropped by on our first day in town to see who was playing. Got dinner & show tickets for this and sat about 10 ft. from the stage. Brilliant performances from Bill on sax and Robben on guitar.

Supertramp
April 17, 1975
Massey Hall
Crime of the Century tour
Their first show in Toronto. They were virtually unknown south of the border but Crime was a big hit in Canada.

Billy Joel
November 20, 1974
Massey Hall
Streetlife Serenade tour
A sold out show, but he wasn’t yet a massive star. The previous Piano Man album only reached #27 on the US charts and #26 in Canada.
Not a huge concert goer in my youth, but a few stand out.

Stevie Ray Vaughn and Lonnie Mack UCSD Gymnasium (1985-ish). Awesome show in small venue. We were able to get right up front for SRV. SRV's omitted many of his hits from his set and instead seemed to try to out-blues Lonnie Mack. Best show I have seen.

US Festival heavy metal day 1983 Glenn Hellen Amphitheater. headlined by Van Halen with Judas Priest, Scorpions, Motlie Crue, Ozzy and Quiet Riot. Just hangin' with about 100,000 of my closest friends.

Social Distortion Wabash Hall 1987-ish. Small venue, very high energy. I found myself in the mosh pit several times that night.

Jane's Addiction with Pixies Hollywood Palladium 1990-ish. Great performance from both bands that night.

ZZ Top San Diego Sports Arena 1979-ish> SD Sports arena is probably the worst place to see a concert. Acoustics are awful. Still, this was my first real concert as a teenager, so I have fond memories.
In no particular order:

Billy Joel (can't decide between Bridge, Storm Front, and River of Dreams. he always does a great job of singing his new stuff and bringing back old material)

Crash Test Dummies (circa 1991): way back when just after there song "Superman" started playing on the radio. Small venue in Denver

Bare Naked Ladies (circa 1997): Small outdoor venue in Philly in old town

Avett brothers (circa 2004): played at a tiny venue in Cambridge, MA for a crowd of about 20 people

Fresh Beat Band (circa 2014): live concert with my then 5 year old daughter. She joined a "mosh pit" of 3-8 year olds right in front of the stage. Was just awesome to be a dad that night

R.E.M. at RedRocks (ok that's six)

Some honorable mentions would go to Tori Amos (Boulder Theatre); Shawn Colvin and Alyson Krauss (Chicago outdoor venue north of the city whose name I am blanking) and Harry Connick Jr at RedRocks

Most of my more memorable concerts were in really small, intimate venues
quote:
Originally posted by Parcival:
Shawn Colvin and Alyson Krauss (Chicago outdoor venue north of the city whose name I am blanking)


I'm guessing you're talking about Ravinia in Highland Park?

I'll have to give this some thought myself, but it's mostly going to be various Jimmy Buffett shows that my wife and I have attended over the last 30 years. Big Grin

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