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Old 12-14-2019, 11:16 PM
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greatest rock and roll concert you ever saw


No folk singers, no blues artists, no country rock. Will leave it up to the posters to define it. Do the Eagles count? Well I guess so.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse. 1991 with Sonic Youth and Social Distortion.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:38 PM
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Off the top of my head...

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock.
Rolling Stones at Baltimore Civic Center 1969 (B.B. King, opening act).
Jeff Beck Group opening for Big Brother and the Holding Company, Alexandria, Va. 1967.
Velvet Underground, 1970, Unicorn Coffee House, Boston.
Jefferson Airplane, Music Hall, Boston, 1971(?)
The Pogues, 1986, Opera House, Boston (last show before they closed down the Opera House for structural defects.)
Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, Jonathan Swift's, Cambridge, Mass. 1985

That's off the top of my head...
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:41 PM
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I'd probably have to say Tom Petty. If nothing else, he put on such a great show. I saw him 9 times over the years and every show was great.

I managed to catch Roger Waters twice and those were both amazing as well.

Oh, and Jimmy Page with the Black Crowes. I'd go seem them again in a heartbeat.

Last edited by Joey P; 12-14-2019 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:47 PM
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Woodstock. 1969. Sly and the Family Stone. Arlo Guthrie. Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Jefferson Airplane. The Who. Sha Na Na. Jimi Hendrix. The most memorable to me, among just a few others.

Singer Bowl, New York, 1968. Chambers Brothers. Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin. Jimi Hendrix.

The Concert for Bangladesh. 1971. Ravi Shankar, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan.

Last edited by Colibri; 12-14-2019 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:53 PM
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God damn I feel lame looking at the list of concerts other people have been to in their lives.

I've seen bands like seether, papa roach, avenged sevenfold, etc. but they can't compare to going to woodstock.

For me the best concert I've ever been to was the Offspring.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:54 PM
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Suicidal Tendencies with opener Snot at the Huntridge Theatre in Las Vegas back in 1997 was one of the greatest rock shows I will ever see. I reserve the right to remember a better show, but man, it's gonna be hard to top that one.

The first time I saw The Flaming Lips back in 1986 they glued me to the back wall of the venue with their volume and their non-stop psychedelic freakouts. A life-choice-affirming show for me, to be sure.

The Ramones show in 1986 was epic but I admit I conflate the events of the entire evening and the show itself may not have been as memorable for everyone else (who still had both their shoes at the end of it).

The two best shows-by-a-band that I've ever seen were both by Universal Congress Of, but I'd argue they are/were a jazz band not a (punk) rock band (but that is one of my arguments, isn't it? ).
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:55 PM
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I've seen only a handful of concerts. Best by far was in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, November 1, 1981. The Rolling Stones, with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and ZZ Top opening for them.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:56 PM
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Metal is a sub-genre of rock, yes?

Any Gwar show, but especially in their heyday in the early/mid 90's, will redefine what being at a concert means.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:05 AM
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The Who, 1982 and 1989, both times in Toronto, and both times at Exhibition Stadium. The 1982 concert was a helluva lot of fun; we must have been fifty feet from the stage.

I also caught Supertramp in Toronto in 1983. Great show; they must have done a twenty-minute version of "Fool's Overture."
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:08 AM
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The best concert I ever saw was Sugar and Magnapop in 1994.

They played at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, which is about as out of the way as one could get for a show like this, and as I put it in a review I wrote for a zine, "You know you're in a small town when they advertise a rock concert on the public access community billboard, along with church bazaars and the band booster chili supper."

Sugar only played for a little over an hour, but what an intense hour it was.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:39 AM
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The Who, 1982 and 1989, both times in Toronto, and both times at Exhibition Stadium. The 1982 concert was a helluva lot of fun; we must have been fifty feet from the stage.

I also caught Supertramp in Toronto in 1983. Great show; they must have done a twenty-minute version of "Fool's Overture."
Spoons. I was at that 1989 Who concert at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. The content of the performance was spectacular, but for reasons I've previously shared, the floor seats sucked. About 10 seconds into the show the people in the front few rows decided to stand. Then the people behind them stood. Then the people behind them stood on top of rickety folding chairs.
I spent the entire concert perched upon a rickety folding chair, on my top toes, to even see anything at all. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

So, for me, I'll go with the first concert I ever saw: KISS at Cobo Arena, Detroit, 1976. They just absolutely killed the place, as you can imagine.

My second place is Neil Young in Ottawa circa 1987. It was at an arena that only held 10,000 people, but with the configuration I'm guessing only about 6,000 were present. Neil was completely on top of his game: a really great show.

Last edited by Leaffan; 12-15-2019 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:41 AM
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Woodstock. 1969. Sly and the Family Stone. Arlo Guthrie. Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Jefferson Airplane. The Who. Sha Na Na. Jimi Hendrix. The most memorable to me, among just a few others.

Singer Bowl, New York, 1968. Chambers Brothers. Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin. Jimi Hendrix.

The Concert for Bangladesh. 1971. Ravi Shankar, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan.
You weren't at Woodstock. 400 thousand were there, 10 million claim to have been.

I'm joshing you. I am 57, sometimes at parties I tell the story of how, at age 7, my mother, who was a hippie, and I hitchhiked from Virginia to go to Woodstock. Their eyes get wide before I tell them I am only kidding.

I am just now putting together some pictures of famous headlines to frame and put on the wall in my library. This is one - https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&sour...76474864817521
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:51 AM
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You weren't at Woodstock. 400 thousand were there, 10 million claim to have been.
Even Woodstock wasn't at Woodstock.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:21 AM
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November 1987 Aerosmith/Dokken was hard to beat but March 1988 David Lee Roth may have done it with his aerial boxing ring and flying surf board.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:43 AM
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Judas Priest at The Palladium in NYC 1980.

Fantastic venue with good acoustics ( although very warm/hot ), the band was playing their best stuff and you could hear every chord, drum hit, bass note clearly. Like hearing a studio album played live with all the live energy.
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:47 AM
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Opening act: The Dickies.
Second act: The Ramones.
Headliner: Iggy Pop.

Aragon Theater, Chicago, around 1991 but I'm not quite sure of the date. I went to see the Ramones, but all three acts were incredible.

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 12-15-2019 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 03:45 AM
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Spoons. I was at that 1989 Who concert at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. The content of the performance was spectacular, but for reasons I've previously shared, the floor seats sucked. About 10 seconds into the show the people in the front few rows decided to stand. Then the people behind them stood. Then the people behind them stood on top of rickety folding chairs.
I spent the entire concert perched upon a rickety folding chair, on my top toes, to even see anything at all. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
You can blame me and a few hundred others for that. We (my then-girlfriend and I) had seats fairly close to the stage, and when those in front of us stood up, so did we. I guess it followed all the way to the back.

The 1982 Who show was interesting. My friends and I had General Admission tickets, so we had to get there early. As did thousands of others. We ended up in a great place, but after seven hours on a football field on an unusually hot October day, we were a little tired of it all. As the time for the show approached, the crowd surged towards the front, and we were swept along. Then, they got out the fire hoses, to both keep the crowd back, and to cool it off. Like I said earlier, we were only about fifty feet from the stage, and I ended up getting blasted by a fire hose.

Good times!
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:37 AM
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Counting Crows/Live/Unified Theory

Target Center in Minneapolis, circa 2000.

Live and Counting Crows alternated as headliners on this tour, and the Crows were it that night. The energy was up, both hands were loose and having fun.

If we're allowing "pop" concerts, Billy Joel would certainly be in the running. And I saw Ray Charles when it was just him, a piano, and one background singer. Just amazing.
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:01 AM
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Pink Floyd, Boston Music Hall, 11/11/71
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:17 AM
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Greatest rock and roll concert you ever saw
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Off the top of my head...

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock.
Rolling Stones at Baltimore Civic Center 1969 (B.B. King, opening act).
Jeff Beck Group opening for Big Brother and the Holding Company, Alexandria, Va. 1967.
Velvet Underground, 1970, Unicorn Coffee House, Boston.
Jefferson Airplane, Music Hall, Boston, 1971(?)
The Pogues, 1986, Opera House, Boston (last show before they closed down the Opera House for structural defects.)
Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, Jonathan Swift's, Cambridge, Mass. 1985

That's off the top of my head...
I love how folks ignore the question being asked and instead answer the question they wanted to be asked.

For me it's The Who, 1980. They performed at a fairly small, intimate venue that was not scheduled as a regular tour stop. I was in the balcony, but front-row and center. I knew I was seeing something special.
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:53 AM
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Not the greatest sound (you couldn't even hear them!) but seeing The Beatles in the summer of 1966 was special.

Best concert? Either Pink Floyd 1973 Dark Side of the Moon Tour, or Jethro Tull in 1972.

Last edited by KarlGauss; 12-15-2019 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:03 AM
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For me it is either The Who in 1989 at Giant Stadium (NJ) or Pink Floyd at the LA Colosseum in 1987 for the A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour.

Very honorable mention:
December 25th 1989 at the Stone Pony I saw about 6 acts and then at 12:30am December 26th Bruce Springsteen got on stage and kept playing until almost 4am. Keep in mind the Pony had to stop serving at 2am. I'm not the biggest Bruce fan, but live in a small environment, he is awesome.
As a bonus the show was a small fund raiser for an environmental group I had recently joined and so I go roped into being extra security and helped form a human barrier around the stage. So for the bulk of the time Bruce was playing, I was only a few feet away.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:49 AM
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On October 13, 2007, Elton John played the first concert at Kansas City's newly opened Sprint Center. It was a huge deal, pretty much the biggest news of the week. I wasn't there. I was at an outdoor venue about six blocks south at a Wilco show. Andrew Bird opened. Both artists put on an outstanding show. They knew what they were competing against and made sure people were glad they came to their show instead of that other one.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:00 AM
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U2 in Boston. I think it was the first IS date of the Joshua Tree tour.

Cake around '96 in a small venue in San Diego.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:01 AM
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June 2018. Rolling Stones in Edinburgh Scotland. We were there for 2 weeks and although the trip was planned a year in advance, we didn’t know about the concert. Managed to get legit tickets the morning of.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:16 AM
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The Who playing the whole Quadrophenia album in 1997 (saw them 2x) and 2012.

Also Weezer in 2015 and 10,000 Maniacs in 1989 before Natalie Merchant quit the band.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:02 AM
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Thin Lizzy, on the "Live and Dangerous" tour, Empire Pool Wembley.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:10 AM
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Jethro Tull at The Mosque, Richmond, VA, on 11/1/1970. It was a short (pre-Aqualung) set, but they were at their peak and the venue and sound were perfect.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:11 AM
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I love how folks ignore the question being asked and instead answer the question they wanted to be asked. ......
The Tubes......nope, they don't count
Deaf School......nope, they don't count, too arty
Magazine......nope, too avant-garde

(Just teasing, mmm - I know what you mean. )

OK, I was in Victoria Park, April 1978, the Anti-Nazi League/Rock Against Racism Rally. Tom Robinson, X-Ray-Spex, The Clash, Steel Pulse. That rocked.

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Old 12-15-2019, 11:11 AM
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The Who, Kemper Arena, Kansas City, 1975.

Opening act was Toots and the Maytals.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:30 PM
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Toss-up between two.

Led Zeppelin at what became their last concert ever in the USA at the Oakland Coliseum on July 24, 1977, because I loved them and it basically epitomized the concert experience in those days.

Tom Petty at the Columbia River Gorge Amphitheater in August 2008, because it was like a lingering stroll through the soundtrack of my youth.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:33 PM
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Seen a lot of good ones, but the one that stands out is Drive-By Truckers in a small room in Tahoe. It was snowing pretty good, and the opening act didn't make it. So, at 8pm sharp (the opening act slot), The Truckers take the stage, blow the place away for maybe 3 1/2 hours straight, no chit-chat, no constant guitar changes, just Wall-to-Wall sonic glory. Straight from one song to the next. Just wrecked the place. People who came late expecting an opener didn't get screwed. They played long enough to cover both time slots.

Only hitch was when Hood's amp blew up. Hardly missed a beat. Unplugged and hooked into one of Cooley's amps until the roadie got his swapped out. Went right back to rockin'. Great show!

I can still almost smell that amp smoking.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:57 PM
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Mock me all you want, but I've seen Weird Al in concert twice, and at each show he brought the house down. His live performances are legendary.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:21 PM
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I just want to thank everyone who posted to this thread. I found it to be extremely valuable. It gave me several ideas for updating my "Favorites" list.

I was especially surprised to read about Weird Al. I would never have ever guessed he would put on a great live show.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:44 PM
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I can back up the claim about Weird Al: his live shows ARE legendary.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:52 PM
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Greatest single moment: Pete smashing his guitar, Oakland 1982.

Greatest concert...hmmmm, I'll say it's a tie between a couple of shows in 1975: Pink Floyd at the Cow Palace and Peter Frampton at Winterland.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:01 PM
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I attended very few rock concerts. I think I heard Big Brother at the Winterland Ballroom in the late 1960's, but that whole period is a blur.

But one concert I did attend was ... the Altamont Speedway Free Festival in December 1969.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:02 PM
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The Jason Becker Benefit Concert, Nov. 17, 1996 at the Riviera in Chicago. A who’s who of shredders coming together to raise money for Becker and ALS. Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine, Richie Kotzen, Vinnie Moore, Zakk Wylde, Dave Uhrich and many more forgotten in the years since. For some reason Enuff Z’Nuff was also on the bill. 8 plus hours of in your face guitar shredding (except for Enuff Z’Nuff).

And the headliners- Eddie Van Halen, Steve Lukather, Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey played a 30 minute set of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and of course Van Halen. It took me 2 days to recover from that concert.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:08 PM
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Jaycat setting the bar second post in, Damn.

Greatest show / performer I've ever seen is Jack White with the White Stripes in Glasgow. Rubbish, too big warehouse of a venue, Meg prob the fiftieth best drummer in the room, yet he absolutely slayed it.
Seen loads of bands I liked better who were really on form, or the music meant more to me personally, but never seen a performer on that level.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:35 PM
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Bruce Springsteen, coming to the Dome in Syracuse (LATE 1970'?) . Tickets selling out fast. A lady working in the mail room where we all worked said, 'I'm going up there to try to get tickets;.
And OMG she got me a ticket and everyone was congratulating us as if we had won the lottery!...So the big day came and OMFG THAT SHOW WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY WORTHLESS LIFE! it was A-maz-ing. JFC. I stopped at the all-night grocery a 2 a.m. for some milk and the cashier said 'oh, we've seen you Springsteen people in here all night, lol" (I had the sticker badge on my shirt)....( went to work in the morning still in my Springsteen souvenir t-shirt, still floating on air, and The Big Boss stopped me in the hall and said, 'you know, ordinarily we would send you home to change, because this is a business. But I know it's Bruce Springsteen, so we'll let it slide. This ONCE.' I can't tell you how amazing that concert was, it was transcendent, only childbirth approached it as an experience to remember forever.

Last edited by salinqmind; 12-15-2019 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:49 PM
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Off the top of my head;
Blue Oyster Cult before they got big, first concert that really blew my mind.
Brian Setzer Orchestra I'd call it a mix of rockabilly and swing rock.
ZZ Top when they were starting to break. I think DegŁello was the new album.
Storyville At their peak, in a big bar with an excellent sound system. There was a great vibe in the room, unlike any I have experienced at a concert.
Robin Trower First time I saw him live, early eighties. Probably my best ever.


The last three were definitely blues based rock but not blues artists in my opinion.
Assuming bar gigs count and not just arenas and theaters.
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:12 PM
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Saw Led Zeppelin in 1970.. My boyfriend sold his leather jacket to buy us tickets, just fucking amazing. Robert Plant sat on top of those enormous speakers while Jimmy Page fiddled around - literally - we walked home, him 2 miles, me alone for another 3 miles. Heaven! Worth it all.
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:26 PM
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ELP 1974 San Diego, the Brain Salad Surgery tour.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:38 PM
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I can back up the claim about Weird Al: his live shows ARE legendary.
Thirded. Seen him twice
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:05 AM
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Not as exciting as most of these, that have me foaming with jealousy, but in 1977 I saw Jimmy Buffett at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. My sister had been living in Key West and told me about this crazy drunk that played good music. I noticed a small ad that he was in Phoenix, and so that same day, after work, I went to the Celebrity and bought a ticket. No line, no big deal. It's a small venue, with a revolving stage, so there are really no bad seats. I think I paid $16 for my ticket. Sat down front since I was early. He and his band played for about an hour, and they left to take a break. Jimmy propped up his broken leg on a stool, and did a solo set for about 1/2 hr. Then the band came back for another hour. I loved it.
I was a huge Parrothead until, oh, I don't know, his music became very sort of self-indulgent and phony because he was a rich as hell mofo, but that was the best show I ever saw.
Second best was Roger Clyne, same venue, the release party for Americano.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:07 AM
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The three best/most influential concerts I've been to were

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Caley Cinema, Edinburgh June 6th 1974
The so-called 'tragic band' tour, but I had virtually never heard his music before seeing the gig, and I loved it! the support was Henry Cow, which even today I think was a somewhat odd choice.

Doctor Feelgood - Cambridge Corn Exchange, June 8th 1976
on top form, at the height of their success. As a prog fan, this was utterly different to the big gigs I had been to before!

Van Der Graaf Generator - Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh, September 14th 1976
I was already a fan but this was the first time I managed to see them. The classic 4-piece line-up. Amazing stuff; they were touring for Still Life, but World Record was due out soon and I saw them touring that as well only a couple of months later in Glasgow... The support was Brand X, which I remember almost nothing about...
(Already giot my tickets to their Edinburgh gig in Spring next year... )

Last edited by Meurglys; 12-16-2019 at 07:09 AM. Reason: add detail about 2020 gig
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:23 AM
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It would likely be one of the dozens of Springsteen shows I've seen over the years. But since the OP discounted anything that smacked of folk, that eliminates the Benefit for Steve Goodman concert. So I'll pick the Los Angeles ARMS concert.
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:31 AM
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Lesser known but big band... I saw Fishbone in Atlanta in 1988 and I've never seen anything like it before or since. A black punk/funk/ska hybrid, I about died when they started doing Van Halen covers better than VH themselves.
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:33 AM
SykoSkotty is offline
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Based on this thread, I need to seriously re-evaluate my concert going experience.


The Becker benefit sounds like it was beyond amazing, wish I could've seen that, or at least, I wish there was a live CD made.

Greatest rock and roll concert I ever saw was KISS on the 1996 reunion tour. I'd never seen KISS in full makeup prior to that, but spent most of my youth staring at magazines with their photos in them, and buying KISS trading cards.

It's a personal experience, but finally getting to see the original 4, with all the fireworks and special effects that I'd only read about, was really special.
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  #50  
Old 12-16-2019, 10:14 AM
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Congratulations, Dopers! For the first time in a while I wish I were older (I missed a lot of hippiedom and classic concerts; my friends' older siblings went to Woodstock, but I was in middle school).

For a long time my best concert was Tull, right before Aqualung was released. Totally dark theater, lone pianist in white tux comes out and plays ten minutes of classical piano... leading into that powerful hook that kicks off Locomotive Breath. Lights come up, whole band's onstage. They did the entire album... that none of us had heard before.

But then this guy I'd just met in Florida said "C'mon, after this show we're gonna drive to this bar and see a kid from New Jersey." Yep, Bruce (and the young E Street Band). For a while he was playing atop the stack of speakers a foot in front of us, and the wind was parting my hair.
Years later, I told a girl that she had to see him before we got married (she did, we did).

Thought that was the pinnacle. But fast forward to me as a dad, taking a minivan full of 8th graders to... Green Day.
Hey, American Idiot had just dropped, I figured it'd be okay... but holy shit! The energy, the punk-gone-pop-but-that's-okay, the unselfconcious fun! At one point during the three-hour party they pulled kids up on stage and gave them super soakers!

Whole night was full of stunts. My favorite was when they got a good beat going, and Billy Joe asked everyone to crowd-surf a young girl (who'd raised her hand when they asked who could play bass) and taught her the part, had the crowd send up a grade school drummer, then pass a kid down from the balcony and put a guitar on him. Kids got jamming pretty well, and the band popped a couple cans of beer and lounged onstage nodding their approval.

Nothing beats seeing your kid at his first concert, being passed up to the stage (on his back, pretending to swim). While his best friends in the world are losing their voices cheering for him.
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