As an avid music fan and musician, I tend to see a lot of shows. Case in point, I drove my ass to San Francisco to see Crowded House last night. I know many people are not familiar, or only know "Don't Dream It's Over" but for my money, their songs are better than any other band out there. They're sort of like the Beatles, if the Beatles were quirky New Zealanders who actually enjoyed playing live. I'm pretty sure it was the best concert I've ever seen, but I know that anyone who has a fun time at a concert is liable to say that without thinking about it, so here is a list of the best concerts I've ever seen. Feel free to add in your best concert experience:
- Pearl Jam at Spartan Stadium in San Jose - This was a make up concert for Eddie Vedder getting sick at Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco (which was my first concert ever.) Ben Harper actually opened the show before anyone knew who the hell he was. Pearl Jam's set was very solid, and they are very active as a band. Their set was comprised of mostly songs from Ten, Vs., and Vitalogy (which was awesome and you would NEVER get that now if you saw them.) Overall, a great show.
- Dave Matthews Band at Concord Pavilion in Concord - My friends and I scalped tickets for this and paid $10 below face value due to a scalper becoming very desperate. The seats were about 8 rows from the stage on the side. I remember them playing a great selection of songs. I've seen the band 12 times (though, I'm not that into them anymore) and this was the best one of all of them. The second best was probably when I saw them at the Alpine Amphitheater in East Troy, Wisconsin. Luckily there was a show going on because that city is the armpit of the universe.
- Paul Simon and Bob Dylan at Concord Pavilion in Concord - My friend scored (same one from the DMB story) scored some free tickets for this gem in 1999. We sat about 12 rows away, but closer to center to watch two legends of rock get after it. Dylan opened, and at the time, I was embarrassingly not as into him as I am today. He still put on a great show, occasional mumbling aside. Paul Simon absolutely blew everyone away. He played a wide variety of songs between hits, non-hits, solo stuff and Simon and Garfunkel tunes. Definite bonus points for this show because 1) it was free and 2) I was pulled over by a cop for speeding to the concert and he let me go. In fact, I'm fairly certain that the cop's racism was why he didn't give me a ticket, but that's a story for another day...
- Muse at the Concourse in San Francisco - This band absolutely shreds. They are (by FAR) the most rocking band playing live these days. By toeing the line between metal, pop, rock, industrial, and classical music they've separated themselves from many people's original diagnosis as a Radiohead copycat. If you like rock, go buy (illegally download?) their albums immediately. Start with Absolution, then get Black Holes and Revelations. This particular show was also free for me and went with a friend who had just gotten back in the country from Europe. Very good times.
- Crowded House at the Fillmore in San Francisco - The show last night kicked major ass. They played from 9-11:20, took requests from the audience, promoted audience participation, were very funny, and played damn near every song I could've asked for. They even broke into "American Woman" by the Guess Who out of nowhere. The conversation on stage drifted toward Canadian rock (which was due to some audience members yelling out something) and their multi-instrumentalist, Mark Hart, had to switch instruments to play it and he ended up singing it as well. It was like watching a band fully know how good they are, but take the time to goof off a little and challenge themselves with unrehearsed songs and little jams. It was such a wonderful, wonderful show.
Other shows that kicked ass, but didn't make it on the list:
Oasis and Third Eye Blind at Bill Graham Civic in SF
Wilco at the Vic Theatre in Chicago
Verve Pipe, Tonic, K's Choice at the Vic Theatre in Chicago
Neil Finn at the Seventh Note in San Francisco
Radiohead at Shoreline in Mountain View
Bridge School Benefit at Shoreline in Mountain View
Bright Eyes at Freeborn Hall in Davis
Nine Inch Nails at Freeborn Hall in Davis
Pixies at Freeborn Hall in Davis
DJ Shadow at the Warfield in SF