Friday Filler – Your Favorite Concerts of All Time?

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

It’s been a rough week out here in the baking, hot, West.  I know there are some of you from AZ, and we have a few from the Middle East, where 115 degrees is common. But, dingdangitallgoodgolly it is hot out there! Records on Wed and Thurs…a good to time to sit inside, in the AC (sorry to Al Gore) and write a Friday Filler post.

I realize that this update is not exactly easy for some, as hunting down fans and lawyers is a PITA (that last one is arse, according to Alissa). But, I’m having a blast creating my version of a “bad rock concert” in my Springfield.  I am doing it as an homage to the “Woodstock 99” festival that pretty much ended any ideas of “Peace, Love and Music” by being staged at an old Air Force Base…on concrete…without enough water or toilets…and resulted in fans rioting, and setting fire to the place…on live MTV.  Cool.

I built my Rock Arena right next to my airport…behind the town dump and rail yard. I’m guessing the music that the likes of Homer and the ghost of Bleeding Gums Murphy concoct there, is in the “perfect place.”

This got me thinking to the “good old days” of concerts…

First of all…I am going to admit that the “Good Old Days” for any generation is completely relative, and based on your own personal journey. As Carly Simon said, “These are the good old days!”

But, sorry…when it comes to concerts…that isn’t the case, at least for me.

I’m old. I get it. And yes, because of my past incarnations in and around broadcasting and music (sorry to those who are sick of me referencing that…it is what it is…LOL), I have a different view in regards to “My Favorite Concerts Ever!”

Let’s start with the price…
Back in “the day,” bands made money from records, and publishing, and all sorts of other ways, and didn’t have to rely as much on concerts for income, as they do now, in the “nobody buys musics anymore” world.  For this reason, concerts were cheap in comparison…even allowing for inflation.

My first concert ever? The Beatles… Memorial Colosseum…Portland, OR. August 22nd, 1965. I was just getting ready to start 6th grade…and the ticket cost was $6.50 (with handling charge).  It was not my favorite concert ever, because after all of the build up…we could hardly hear a thing over the screaming…and we had nose-bleed seats. But damn…we had the “cool factor” at school for weeks.

My next real rock concert wasn’t until 1970…again at the Memorial Colosseum…Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, playing what was to become part of the live 4-Way-Street album…at the height of their popularity…before Stills and Young got into a fist fight in Malibu, and they broke up. Amazing. One of the best ever…and it was just $12. I was in row 4…dead center…close enough to see real tears from Crosby when he sang “Triad.”  As a side-note…I saw CS&N three summers ago at the Cuthbert, here in Eugene. It was awful. Stills couldn’t sing…and didn’t seem to notice…and the tension on the stage was palpable. The tickets were $125 each.

Unfortunately, for me…this last bit has been the story for the most part…in that I saw, or produced so many concerts over the years, that were amazing for one reason or another…and at the height of the performer’s talents…for a FRACTION of the cost that tickets cost now…that it kind just puts me off to seeing huge shows these days.

Elton John? Saw him 3 times…when he was great…not a Vegas act.
James Taylor? Always good…but kinda the same…with the ticket prices just getting more expensive.
The Eagles? Saw them a bunch of times when they cared…
Jeff Beck? Never a bad show. Ever…but, he is always with some act that he has to be “polite” to…last time it was ZZ Top. He was polite…I wanted him to blow them off of the stage.

The next concert I am going to see?  Tedeschi Trucks Band…this married pair rocks it…and Derek Trucks may just be the greatest slide player on the planet. I paid big bucks to sit row 4, dead center. I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed.

As far as favorite concerts in the past…there are four that stand out…each for different reasons. And saying that, when I have seen over 600 shows over the years, makes it hard…like choosing just three top albums, or movies, or books.
But, I’ll try…

#4. Linda Ronstadt with Jackson Browne and the Eagles…for $1.02 at the Paramount in Portland for Kink’s “catch a rising star” series. Amazing. Linda…sooooooo hot.
#3. A bar-owner friend of mine allowed me to “produce” the first Dave Matthews show at his bar in early 1995. The place held just over 200…bursting at the seams. Dave and his band played for almost 5 hours…for a $10 cover. Next time he came through six months later, he was at the Cuthbert…from then on, nothing but arenas. Lightening in a bottle there.
#2. Little Feat and Melissa Etheridge- Masonic Temple- 1989. This was the “come back tour” of Little Feat…the first since the band broke up after Lowell George’s death in 1979.  These guys were my favorite band for years…”Waiting for Columbus” is still my favorite live album ever. So this one was a “must see.” Melissa came out to open…solo…with just an acoustic guitar…and my first thought was, “this crowd is going to eat her alive…they are here for some rock!”  I was wrong. She kicked ass. She blew us away. She was amazing. This was the first show of the tour…and Feat played like someone who had been locked in prison, getting a chance to have their first beer…and then pulling out a keg. It was epic. Sweaty…tight...and rocking.
#1. This may not surprise you…but for me, there is no way I can say “this show was the best ever” because I have a HUGE range of musical tastes and loves. So…I’ll cluster 5 shows at the top…because they were all so different.
1-1-Peter Gabriel…Tacoma Dome (Up tour)…one of my favorite artists of all time. Brought it. Amazing band…amazing writing…and theatrics that blew my mind.
1-2-Randy Newman- Britt Festival…solo…did an hour interview with him after…he is still one of my top three favorite writer/artists of all time.
1-3-Lyle Lovett with John Hiatt…acoustic, no backing band…3 hours of two of my favorite “quirky cowboys” laying it out.
1-4-Ladysmith Black Mambazo on their first American tour…just after Paul Simon brought them to fame with his song “Homeless.”  I wept…openly…throughout most of the show…their inner beauty and amazing A Capella voices reaching into my heart…and giving it a gentle squeeze.
1-5-Strength in Numbers, Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The best of the “Newgrass Guys” getting together for what became one, epic, album. Look it up. Nobody still compares.

There you have it…that’s as close as I can come to “my favorites,” knowing that I am leaving out TONS.

So What Are YOUR favorite concerts of all time?  There are no wrong answers… Music is a personal thing…but, I will warn you, if you don’t “get” Randy Newman and Tom Waits, we will likely not be close friends…LOL!

132 responses to “Friday Filler – Your Favorite Concerts of All Time?

  1. KISS is by far my favorite stage show and I do like the music. Springsteen was the longest but did not seem that long, Live Aid at the old Philadelphia JFK had a lot of variety with Parliament Funkadelic, Lynyrd Skynard ( pre tragic plane crash) Frampton and J. Geils. Zappa, Yes, ELO, Renaissance, Meatloaf, Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper and a few trips to CBGB’s in NY, NY were all memorable. Too many really to count as I used to take pictures for friends in exchange for tickets plus expenses but unfortunately 98% of the photos were destroyed in a fire years ago.
    FYI, if in Las Vegas Mr. Cook E Jarr plays there occasionally as a lounge act that is old school Vegas and covers all varieties of music and is a party in itself, he could easily fit in Springfield without any alterations for this event.

  2. StupidSexyFlanders

    I’ve only been to a handful of concerts but have enjoyed them all.
    4. Ozzfest – The weather and lead in bands were not so good the times I went, but watching Ozzy rally the crowd was great. The fans all loved it despite him being past his performing prime and it was cool to be a part of.
    3. Blue Man Group – Fun combination of rock and pop and they do the craziest stage effects. I think my favorite was when they once stopped the whole show, mid-song, to sound a buzzer with “LATE ARRIVAL” on all the video screens, then camera focus on this embarrassed random guy walking in while someone sang “you’re laaate, you’re laaaaate” in an opera voice.
    2. Sammy Hagar and The Circle – Probably the best classic rock show I’ve ever seen. Awesome lead in tribute band to Stevie Ray Vaughn, too. Really talented guitarists!
    1. Weird Al – My all time favorite. Been to more of his concerts than any other, and got to see some songs performed live for the first time at his Mandatory World Tour.

  3. 1) Live Aid in Philadelphia
    2) Talking Heads at heat wave
    3) Pink Floyd (4x)
    4) Rodger Plant with Phil Collins on drums
    5) Yes with original line up
    6) The Who and the Clash opened – tenth row
    7) Peter Gabriel – So tour

  4. Big Cypress Phish festival NYE ’99 they played an 8 hour set to ring in the 2000’s.

  5. Been to many great shows – standouts are Paul McCartney 2013, Roger Waters “The Wall” 2012 and Tenacious D 2001 ( Best variety was Don Walser and the Pure Texas Band/Bad Livers/Butth*le Surfers – one amazing show!

  6. I came late to the party, but I made the first one count. My first concert ever was at the end of my freshman year at the University of Rhode Island. The concert was George Thorogood and the Destroyers, with Johnny WInter as the opening act. The best concert I’ve ever been to cost me only the cover charge of maybe $3 to get in. We were in Boston and hanging out at a bar that Aerosmith owned, which was a cross the street from Fenway Park called Mama Kin (I still have my Mama Kin shirt). While drinking, they announced that the next band was a local band, and out came Aerosmith who played a couple of sets.

  7. All my favorites were in the 1990’s ,I guess cuz my teens years were so fun. Madonna’s Blonde ambition tour, Rolling stones and Def Leppard because I got to see a one armed drummer and was bought every over priced t shirt and junk by my date. My true all time favorite was a neighborhood band ,The Lizards. Set in a teen’s parent’s wooded land in the then undeveloped Houston north side with over three hundred teens there and I knew everyone, we had a blast.

  8. For me, 95-96 were awesome for concerts here. Old CanadInns stadium…..Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and U2 all within a year, all outdoors. They were all amazing shows. But as a guitar player, one of the best mind blowing shows ever was, Jeff Healey….for free on a side stage at Red River Ex in the early 90’s. That man could play.

  9. johnnyicemaker


  10. Just has passed a amazing musician here in Brazil

    Luiz Melodia

    his show was a melodic Soul MPB fusion
    it’s very disturbing that i will not have the pleasure to see him anymore

    but – his work it’s a experience
    for much more generations

    transcend music type
    it will make a mark for much more ones that will come….

    Luiz Melodia died, what a wonderful genius

    “It’s a sound matrix …
    at the time of … everything in the cloud
    I’d rather go in the cloud that is Luiz Melodia ”
    João Marcelo Bôscoli, for the CBN Radio

    CBN = Brazilian Central News

  11. Julie Rodriguez

    I have 2 “best concert ever”: U2 Houston/Austin 2001 Elevation tour. The Houston show was in April and so amazing! I was so close to the band that I think I got hit by Bono sweat…lol. The Austin show was in November and you could feel the sadness in the air but U2 were able to lift us so high that I felt like our souls were being saved. I cried during some of the songs cause they felt different and I needed to release. That show will always be with me.

  12. GG Allin!


  13. Almost exactly five years ago, I made a trip to Singapore to catch Garbage. Definitely my favourite gig ever. I’ve been going to Singapore yearly to catch gigs, with 3 of them for Rachael Yamagata. Will be going again in October for Dream Theater.

  14. Talked with an old school friend about this post, and she reminded me of two concerts that totally blew my mind back in the day – at least I couldn’t stop talking about it at the time, as she pointed out to me…
    Both were about 30 years ago now, and both local bands nobody here ever heard off. The first one was “Fury in the Slaughterhouse”, late 80s, and my then boyfriend took me. Back then, everything was “Neue Deutsche Welle”, and he liked his music more rock-y. Anyhow, this was in a small club in Hannover, don’t even remember the name, and it made me a fan for quite some time. Might also have been the company, or the fact that I wasn’t used to going to concerts. Don’t listen to them any more, maybe I have to dig out the old CDs. Same boyfriend also took me to a Scorpions concert – also a “small local band” from Hannover 😉 – but didn’t impress me as much. And it was way to crowded for my taste.
    The second one was “Sahneschnitten” – an all girl’s band who never made it, but since I was friends with half the band, I enjoyed it far more than I should have (i.e. there weren’t all that good…). Sadly, all my old cassette tapes didn’t make it, so I have no recording of them any more. Not that they ever sold them, this was just a tape someone made at the concert and passed around. Fun days…

  15. All time favorite was Beastie Boys in Orlando, 92. We got there early to be in the front and when they let us in we ran to the very front. I held on to the barricade at times to prevent being pushed away. Been a huge fan. Also seeing Joe Jack from the Dead Milkmen play at a coffee shop with my 11 yr old daughter at the time, maybe 25 people were there, he played his originals and a few dead milkmen songs. To make it even cooler, he emailed me the chords to one of his original songs to learn! Awesome guy!

  16. Best Concert: Sir Paul McCartney at Pacbell Park 2010, I think 17 rows back from the stage. The man was a machine, played close to three hours. Teared up at Hey Jude. My sister (who isn’t a Beatles fan) and I saw him drive in and she went crazy.

    First Concert: Weezer, That Dog and Teenage Fanclub 1995 The Warfield.

    Happy to see: Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie and Prick 1995 Shoreline Ampatheater. Happy to see Bowie even though I didn’t know many of his songs. Seen NIN twice, Trent puts on a good show.

    Sad not to see: Pink Floyd. Might try to see either Brit Floyd or The Australian Pink Floyd. Anyone know who is better?
    David Gilmour is my favorite guitarist, he’s on my bucket list.

    • The Australian Pink Floyd are amazing! I’ve seen them twice. The closest you can get to seeing the real thing in my opinion! Music and vocals and light show are perfect! Not seen Brit Floyd yet, so can’t comment on them.

  17. Two best concerts I ever saw:

    Paul McCartney – saw him with my wife, and she’s the biggest Beatles fan I know. The look on her face when he came out was priceless. We found out she was a few weeks pregnant a little while before, so the whole family technically saw him. He played Safeco Field in Seattle. I’m from there (my wife is from Baltimore) and I am so a big fan of the local Grunge scene from the 90’s. Paul ended the show bringing out the surviving members of Nirvana and blowing my mind. They played “Get Back” and “Helter Skelter” with him.

    Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – my #1 favorite artist of all time, easily. He inspired me to become a singer-songwriter himself, and I owe him a lot for his music helping me through some tough times. Heard the legendary live shows couldn’t be missed and luckily scored a ticket. He played the entirety of “The River” double album plus every one of my favorite songs of his after that. Played for 4 hours straight! Brought out Eddie Vedder for a duet of “Bobby Jean”, too. A few months later I got to meet Bruce face to face and shake his hand and get his autograph in his memoir. Tried to think of something meaningful to say to him but all I could bring out was an honest “Thank You” and he gave me a pat on the back and a raspy “Alright, alright”. One of the best moments of my life.

  18. Intocable 2007, Satoshi Tomiie 2006, Metallica and Cold Play 2009, all in Guadalajara, I did not went to Metallica and Cold Play but I heard them pretty clear from my house

  19. U2….Chicago (2001), Auburn Hills (2001), Chicago (2005) Auburn Hills (2005), Chicago (2010) East Lansing (2011), Cleveland (2017), Detroit (3 weeks from now)…Each time was the best time. So most recent is always best.

  20. Molly’s Hatchet opened for the Outlaws in ’80 or ’81 and kicked the Outlaws’ ass (blew them off the stage). After standing and dancing for the whole Molly Hatchet show, we just sat back and got super mellow for the Outlaws.

  21. I saw Andrea Boccelli in concert once and he was pretty amazing too.

  22. Love Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Patric! Saw them perform with Paul Simon & it was amazing – Graceland was also the first CD I ever bought and I still listen to those songs!

    My best concerts:
    Amnesty International Concert in Harare, Zimbabwe, in the late 80s when bands wouldn’t perform in South Africa because of apartheid. Over 20 000 South Africans went to the concert so it took over 8 hours just to get across the border but it it was worth it. The main acts were: Youssou N’Dour, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel (Biko 😢), Sting & Bruce Springsteen. Picture Sting singing Bruce’s The River while Bruce played the harmonica!
    Joan Armatrading (Twice). Had to drive all the way across the country (I lived far to the west in South Africa in those days) to Swaziland to see her two years in a row. First time she was the supporting act to Eric Clapton (great but not as good as Joan!) but second time she was the headline act – and she waved at me!!!
    Frank Sinatra! I mean it was Frank!
    Kiri te Kanawa. Best thing about it is that it was the day after South Africa beat New Zealand in the 1995 Rugby World Cup! She blew us all away by walking onstage, said the best team won 😄 and then sang our National Anthem. Putty in her hands 😄 👌
    Jonny Clegg with both Jaluka and Savuka – Asimbonanga 😢
    Bright Blue – Weeping (covered by Josh Groban recently) was our protest song as it contained a sample of Nkosi Sikelel, iAfrica (God Bless Africa) which was banned by the apartheid government at the time!
    Shirley MacLaine – such a character!
    Elton John – full of energy;
    Jean Michel Jarre – spectacular show;
    UB40, Laura Brannigan, Bryan Adams, Duran Duran & even Black Sabbath (not really my scene but got given a ticket) were loads of fun and I’m sure there were more but memory fails me right now…

    An odd mix – just like my taste in music

  23. I am LOVING this thread! Everyone’s lists are bringing back so many wonderful memories and regrets for shows that I should have gone to. My first and best concert was Traffic with (a new band on the scene) the Doobie Brothers at Winterland (Ballroom) in SF in 1971. I was 14 and it was the best because it kicked off a lifetime of seeing great shows both in small and tiny venues. There were too many to list here but the highlights were the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones (with Phish as the opening act), the Who (numerous times but the best was the Quadraphenia tour), Jefferson Airplane (and Starship), Quicksilver, Yes, Procol Harum, ELP, Cream, Van Morrison (several times but the best was in a small bar in San Anselmo), Robin Trower with Golden Earring and Sha Na Na (first really LOUD concert I ever went to and a strange lineup), also saw Robin Trower again recently in Eugene and he did not disappoint, Boz Scaggs, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Clover (before Huey Lewis went big), Rod Stewart and the Faces, BB King, Chuck Berry, Chuck Mangione, AC/DC with Ian Durie (Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll!), Eurythmics, Al Jarreau, Paul Simon, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, XTC, Whitney Houston, Herb Alpert, Tower of Power, Prince, the Bee Gees, ska bands The Madness and The Specials, Ray Charles, Stanley Clark, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, Puddle of Mudd, Peter White, etc. etc. I guess I have a LOT of highlights! 😉

    After reading some people’s posts here I am sad that I have not seen Breaking Benjamin, Good Charlotte, Sum 51, Green Day, Staind, Evenescence, Stone Temple Pilots, Queens of the Stonage, Metallica, Tool, and now Weird Al. I am happy I get another chance at Foo Fighters and A Perfect Circle here in Eugene this year! I also wish I had seen Linkin Park. They will never be the same without Chester Bennington, R.I.P.

    The first concert with my (now) hubby was Winton Marsalis and Marcus Roberts at the outdoor Saratoga Winery under the stars. Stunning view. Magical night.

    My first Thanksgiving away from my family was also my most historic show I ever saw: The Last Waltz at Winterland in 1976. Before the show they served us a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings. This was the Band’s farewell tour with Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Star, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Neil Diamond, Bobbie Charles, the Staple Singers and Eric Clapton (I had to go to Wikipedia to remember them all!)

    The one concert I REALLY regret not seeing are The Beatles’ last show at Candlestick Park in 1966. I was 9 and my friend’s Dad worked at KFRC, a local radio station, and got free tickets and was going to take us. But my parents wouldn’t let me go because I was too young! Aaaarrrggghhh!

    Sorry this was so long but music is so invigorating. And I am lovin’ this event. Thanks Patric and Alissa for helping us out on the intricacies of play and providing a fun forum so we addicts can share a variety of topics.

  24. My first concerts were John Denver twice. I went with my mom who was a big fan. I was like 8 or 9.
    My first concert by myself was KISS with Queensryche opening for them.
    I saw Def Leppard in 87 with Tesla.
    I saw Pink Floyd in 88 at Ohio State football stadium. I still have that ticket stub. Best all time concert for me.
    I’ve seen James Taylor twice. Once in the early 90’s when the ticket was less than 20$ and last year when it was 80$. Still great.
    I saw Guns n Roses in 91. Sucked!
    Skid Row opened and was great but only played for an hour. Then GNR started like 2 and a half hours late just when the crowd was about to start rioting. Axel Rose comes out on stage and starts ranting about how he had to pay a fine for starting late and the concert going over. He told us how he know what it was like to grow up in this “Nazi concentration camp of a state” (Indiana) and how people like him were all us kids had to look up to. He was just an ass. I guess they played alright but he ruined them for me forever.
    I saw Pearl Jam in Toledo in 96? I think. That was also a great concert.
    Jason Aldean was good a few years back.
    Shine down was fantastic.
    Last concert I went to was Ed Sheeran . I had to drive my wife and daughter to it. I’m not a big fan but it was good.
    Correct that, last concert was Styx. They were awesome!

  25. Long time reader of the wonderful addicts, but this event (and post) made me want to join in the discussion.

    I love gigs, and have spent over half my life playing in bands or promoting shows. My favourites in no particular order have been:
    -Frank Turner at the Bridge House/Wembly stadium. He first time I saw FT in about 2004, he was playing in my friend Brian’s pub to about 30 people, just after leaving Million Dead. A few years later, having been to see him about 15 times in the interim, we saw him at Wembly. Great to see the progress of a guy who’d started out playing in my mates bars.
    -Foo Fighters-Reading Festival. Dave Grohl is an amazing front man, and makes you feel like you are his buddy in his living room, even though there’s a good few hundred thousand other people watching. Only time I’ve seen them and loved every second.
    -Jaya the Cat-Southampton. One of my favourite bands, the band I played in at the time got the chance to support these when the came to town, really nice guys too.
    -Reel Big Fish/Less than Jake in Cardiff. My 2 fave bands playing together for the first time in the Uk in like a decade, made the 6 hour round trip to see them in Wales!
    -Bruce Springsteen at Wembly Statium. The exception that proves Patricks rule. The Boss gets better with age. Saw him play nearly 4 hours on the wrecking ball tour, including Darkness on the Edge of town in full and a section chosen by the audience (the E street band practised over 300 songs so they could play any rarity that was picked). Then had the humility to end with a Beatles cover. Amazing.

    Special mention to Eminem, Biffy Clyro, Floors and Walls, Blink 182, Madness, Arcade Fire, Ed Sheeran, Greenday,

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