I decided to get creative and write my own concert “meme,” and I’m tagging Bookhart and La Turista to do it as well. Add any categories I may have inadvertently left out. And rock on, freaks.
3 best live shows you ever saw (large venue)
This was not easy, as I’ve been lucky to see many kick ass shows. But narrowing it down, in no particular order…
1. Tool. Aenima tour. Atlanta.
I’d never seen Tool live, and I’d gotten introduced to them by a hard-rockin’ friend of mine named Lane who lived in Atlanta. I loved them, and was totally thrilled by the concept of seeing them live. I knew something was up when there was no one—not one single person—selling their tickets outside the venue. But there were hundreds of people outside the venue looking to buy. It was general admission, and the venue was like a big airplane hangar—all one level, no seats. The audience was at least 75% male, but that didn’t stop Lane and I from weaseling our way up toward the stage and into the middle of the most intense mosh pit I’ve ever seen. From the minute the band took the stage, I was mesmerized. Totally transported. The only word I’ve ever been able to find that comes close to describing the whole experience is “tribal.” I was sweaty and exhausted and exhilarated afterward.
2. Radiohead. Kid A tour. Houston (The Woodlands).
Despite the fact that it was a gazillion degrees and about 8000% humidity and that mosquitoes the size of hamsters were eating me alive, this show was beyond amazing. The Ex and I had driven to Houston and spent the day at Astroworld (RIP) riding roller coasters and getting sunburned. Then we drove to the La Quinta near the venue where every room was occupied by other people who were going to the show. The entire hotel was one big party. It was the first American date on this tour, and they came ready to play. Our seats were really good, and the crowd was totally, completely into the music. I got goosebumps at least 50 times during that show because they were just so fucking wonderful.
3. U2. Unforgettable Fire tour. Dallas.
I was a total and complete U2 fan in high school. This show was simply a dream for me. I was 15, and rode the 127 miles to Dallas with a high school dude I had a crush on. He may as well not have even been there during the show, because I was totally transfixed the entire time. When the show finally ended and the lights came up, I burst into tears because I was so overwhelmed and sad that it had ended.
Honorable mention: Prince, Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz
3 best live shows you ever saw (smaller venue)
1. David Bowie. The Backyard. (Austin)
2. The Tragically Hip. 5 Points Music Hall. Birmingham, AL
3. Calexico, Emo’s (Austin)
3 most disappointing live shows you ever saw
1. The Cult
2. Eddie Money (go figure!)
3. The Breeders
3 bands that you wish you’d seen live
1. ELO. Jeff Lynne can do no wrong, as far as I’m concerned, and plus they had a big ass spaceship or some such shit on the stage.
2. Earth Wind and Fire. In the 70s. With the outfits and the horns and all the choreography. Get outta town! That would’ve RULED.
3. Jane’s Addiction.
First live show you saw (without parents)
Van Halen. Diver Down tour. Shreveport, LA. I was like 12, and got funny feelings “down there” when David Lee Roth was strutting his stuff. I’d ridden to Shreveport with my friend Traci’s 16-yr. old pothead brother Mark and his friend. I’m sure they were thrilled to have to take us dorks along. We rode in the back of his kidnapper van (no windows, no seats) and weren’t allowed to talk to them during the entire trip. They kept chucking empty beer cans at us. Again: How did I NOT die when I was growing up?
Last live show you saw
Calexico and Iron and Wine at Stubb's this past October.
Most surprising live show you ever saw and why
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Liberty Lunch. It was SXSW, early 90s, and I’d gone to Liberty Lunch early to get in, and camp out to make sure I had a good spot for the final band of the night, The Tragically Hip, who I fucking loved. I had no idea who the other bands were on the line up preceding them, and I didn’t care. Then, all of the sudden, the Blues Explosion took the stage and fucking rocked my ass so hard I couldn’t see straight. They had such attitude and were just on fire. Plus, Jon Spencer is a severe hottie, and that didn’t hurt the experience at all.
Live show I went to that would probably surprise you.
Farm Aid. Dallas. Early 90s. And I was on acid, no less.