Archive for April, 2010
If you took some time to read my Top 100 list from Wednesday you probably noticed that I avoided any kind of ranking system. Instead I went with an alphabetized list because trying to rank 100 bands sounded difficult and pointless. However, ranking concerts seems custom fit for a Friday 5 list. Time to rock.
Top 5 Concerts
1. The Strokes and The White Stripes, Radio City Music Hall 2002
Without a doubt the best concert I’ve ever seen. It was two of my now favorite bands at the exact moment they hit the big time. And as it turns out, it was one of two times the biggest bands of the 00’s ever shared the stage together. Back in late 2001 and early 2002 I was obsessed with these two bands. The Strokes debut album Is This It? and The White Stripes major label debut White Blood Cells were the coolest things in the world back then.
In the spring of 2002 I planned a trip with my sister to visit my family up in the Philly/Jersey for August1. This concert was announced days after I booked my airline tickets and it sold out so fast that I had to pick up a ticket off of eBay.
The day of the show I walked around New York City with my dad and my sister and by the end of the day I managed to down a whole bottle of DayQuil to fight off my head cold. By the evening I made my way to Radio City Music Hall in a daze not knowing what to expect. What I found was an amazingly beautiful venue and a collection of the coolest people I’d ever seen. The place was packed with an awesome mix of New York hipsters, back before that was a dirty word. I was in awe.
The White Stripes opened the show with a loud set bursting with energy. They ripped through most of White Blood Cells and half of their indie label album De Stilj. It was pretty incredible that only two people were able to rock a place that big.
But the stars of the nite were definitely the Strokes. The show was a triumphant homecoming for the scruffy haired hipsters, and they were in top form. The tore through every song on Is This It? and then stunned the crowd by playing New York City Cops for an encore. But the real surprise was that Jack White came on stage with them to play the guitar solo. It looked something like this.
There were lots of other amazing parts of the evening, like berating Gideon Yago of MTV news in the beer line for not playing enough videos on MTV2 and running into Macaulay Culkin on the way out of the show. But the music is what makes this concert hands down my favorite of all time.
2. Jane’s Addiction and Nine Inch Nails, Ford Ampitheater 2009
My second favorite concert was last year’s NIN|JA tour that I caught down in Tampa. You can read all about it here. Waiting 18 years to see my favorite band do a full blown reunion tour was worth everything and more. Not much else to say, so here’s a better quality version of the amazing intro song, Three Days.
3. Jane’s Addiction and Smashing Pumpkins with Goldie, Aragon Ballroom 1997
Up until last year, my second favorite concert was the Jane’s Addiction Relapse tour in 1997. While it wasn’t quite the NIN|JA tour, it was still pretty damn incredible. My college roommate Eric had a friend living in Chicago at the time who was able to score us tickets for the show. We ended up driving to Chicago and back in less than 24 hours just to see the show, which was tiring but way worth it.
While we knew that trip-hop pioneer Goldie was opening the show, the rumor around Chicago that day was that there would be a super cool mystery band opening too. And this way back before the internet was able to spoil secrets this big. The entire audience was shocked and thrilled when Billy Corgan walked on stage in a Raggedy Ann wig and launched into Zero. It was a short but amazing set that left me super charged for the main act.
Jane’s played a great set with Flea standing in for bass player Eric Avery. The show had what I would call a Caribbean Strip Club theme that was a little strange but seemed to work nevertheless. I was lucky enough to be standing by a hidden side stage when the band came out to play Jane’s Says for the encore. I was almost close enough to touch Perry! It was quite a visual feast.
But the highlight was definitely getting to hear my favorite all time song, Summertime Rolls, 1½ times. The band started playing the song as Perry was attempting to scale a high set of scaffolding, but he was having trouble singing and climbing in 6 inch platforms. When he finally got to the top, he said to the band “How about once more from the beginning?” He then sang that beautiful song like an angel high above the crowd. I still get chills when I think about it. The show left me so excited that I was able to stay awake for most of the eight hour car ride back to Springfield in the middle of the nite.
4. R.E.M. and Wilco, Red Rocks Amphitheater 2003
Back during my days as a traveling apartment inspector in 2003, I often found myself in various major U.S. cities on weekends with no plans. In September of that year, I had a weekend to kill in Denver. On a hunch I pulled up the schedule for Red Rocks Amphitheater and I was thrilled to see that R.E.M. was playing on Saturday nite with Wilco. I had seen R.E.M. once before, but it was on the Monster Tour in 1997 which wasn’t that great. This time around they were playing an all request show, which was an amazing idea!
If you’ve never been to Red Rocks, you should definitely make the drive to Denver at least once in your life. The Amphitheater is carved out of a mountain that sits high above the city. In person it’s breathtaking. On that particular evening there was a full moon and clear skies3, so the entire city was illuminated in the background. Absolutely gorgeous!
Wilco played a fantastic set heavy on tracks from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and with a few gems from Summerteeth. And for the encore they seemed to sense the beauty of their surrounds by playing California Stars, which coincidently is my favorite Wilco song.
R.E.M. did an even better job of playing to their surroundings. They played a mostly fan favorite set from the late eighties and early nineties, but saved the best for the encore. Bathed in moonlight, Michael Stipe came back out on stage and treated the crowd to Man In The Moon followed by a stunning rendition of Nightswimming. What a perfect setting.
5. The Strokes and Kings of Leon with Regina Spektor, Next Stage 2003
This was another bit of luck from my traveling days in 2003. I was in Dallas in November of 2003 with no plans4, and The Strokes just happened to be in town. I didn’t know it before hand, but the show was being held at a brand new, state of the art facility. The venue was basically an oversized, super plush movie theater with a huge stage. Every seat was comfortable and had an amazing view, and the sound quality was top notch. It was a music geek’s dream.
Regina Spektor came out first and played an acoustic set from her major label debut, Soviet Kitsch. Most of the crowd seemed puzzled, but I loved it. I still think she’s the second coming of Tori Amos.
She was followed by a rollicking set by Kings of Leon, who managed to play every song off their astonishing debut album, Youth and Young Manhood. They had a certain type of rawness to them when they first burst onto the scene that they’ve managed to dilute over the past few years.
But all of that paled in comparison to The Strokes. They played damn near every song off of their debut and off of their recently released sophomore album Room On Fire. Seeing Hard To Explain followed by Reptilia almost rocked my face completely off. And for the encore they brought out Regina to sing a b-side they were in the process of recording called Modern Girls And Old Fashioned Men. Seeing Julian and Regina duet together was a treat that I’ll never forget. Here they are singing it at a much larger venue, Madison Square Garden.
This show is sonically probably the best I’ve ever experienced. But as you can tell from all these entries, the totality of the experience is what makes a concert truly great.
1. The other highlight of that trip was catching a Cards-Phillies game at the Vet with my family. It was Scott Rolen’s first game back to Philadelphia after being traded to the Cardinals. Fans booed him mercilessly and a few actually threw batteries at him. Way to stay classy Philly.
2. Which actually seems funny now, arguing for the artistic integrity of MTV. Looks like I was on the wrong side of that debate…
3. While the sky was clear and beautiful, the temperature was in the low forties. Having just spent most of my August traveling through the Southwestern states, I was unprepared to be that cold. Still, that show was totally worth freezing my ass off.
4. If you happen to notice, three of my top five concerts were solo affairs. While they were all amazing experiences, they would’ve been even better if I had someone at the time to share these experiences. Going to concerts alone is a bittersweet affair.
Days Until I Am Married: 166
Current Weight: 173
As I sit watching the Cardinals/Brewers game this evening, I’m still surprised by what I saw last nite. When I sat down to watch the game yesterday, I had no idea that Josh Hancock had died. However, that’s not what really surprised me. The ESPN coverage of the game featured the St. Louis Police Chief giving a press conference about Hancock’s death. The chief referred to the car accident as happening on highway “farrty” twice in the conference. This was mind-boggling to be because a) no one outside of St. Louis would understand that “farrty” was actually forty, and b) no one outside of St. Louis would know that highway “farrty” is actually interstate 64. Way to do St. Louis proud, Chief.
So as St. Louis prepares for a funeral, Megan and I are preparing to attend “farr” weddings in a six week span. Four weddings in four states: New Jersey, Florida, Missouri, and Virginia. The first of the four wedding was two weekends ago in New Jersey. Megan and I attended my father’s wedding which coincidently was his fourth, or “fooarwth” as they would say in Jersey. We flew up from Tampa into Newark with my grandma for a nice three day weekend. We were all worried that the weather would be horrible, mostly because my dad’s hometown was in the part of Jersey that flooded earlier this year. Luckily, the water had receded and the weather was about as nice as anyone could expect for April in Jersey.
The weekend turned into a regular family reunion, with my sister flying up from St. Louis to attend and three of my uncles driving over to Jersey from Philly. As is typical with most families getting together for a special occasion, we spent most of our time together eating. The highlight of the weekend binge was the rehearsal dinner on Friday. We had a five course meal at Italian place owned by an actual immigrant from Italy. The best part was that the restaurant didn’t have a liquor license, so we got to bring our own wine! I really enjoyed seeing my Philly family, and I was glad Megan got a chance to meet the rest of my crazy clan.
The whole weekend I kept having flashbacks to my summer vacations as a kid. My sister and I spent about a month in Jersey every summer for fifteen years straight. Being back was quite a trip. To make it as authentic as possible, I went with Megan and Cathie to the Mecca of central Jersey, the Bridgewater Commons Mall. This is the quintessential Jersey mall; 3 stories of paradise for the local mallrats. It looked a little different than the late-80s metal days that I remember, but it was still basically the same. Jersey is such a unique place, from the mandatory full-service gas stations to the WaWa convenience stores. The best part was reliving all of this with my sister. We spent a lot of time together in Jersey, and it was nice to relive old times with her.
With all of the eating I did in Jersey, it’s amazing that I still managed to lose a pound in the past two weeks. In the end I probably gained two pounds and lost three, but the net effect was the same.
Megan and I made a concerted effort when we returned to Florida to go back to being healthy. We spent this past weekend trying to stay active and relaxing at the same time. This past weekend was also spent drinking with my buddy Amir in anticipation of his wedding on Cinco de Mayo. We also managed to take a boat out on Sunday with some friends and dropped anchor on a sandbar. The weather was gorgeous, and the atmosphere was super laid back. It was nice to have some down time, since we now have three weddings to attend in the next “farr” weeks.
Added bonus: only two weeks until our triumphant return to good old Narth Counny!
Last week my friend Britpop Mandy1 posted something quirky on Facebook that seemed like a fun idea. In honor of buying Muse tickets, she decided to make a list of the top 75 bands she’s seen live in concert. It was quite an impressive list.
While reading her list I was inundated with memories of past concerts by the numerous bands on her list. I started jotting down on a notebook all the bands she included that I have seen live. Since we both grew up in St. Louis and attended Missouri State during the same years I managed to catch a concert by about half of the bands on her list.
At this point I started listing some of the other fondly remembered concerts I’d seen by bands not on her list. Soon I had a list of over 80 bands and a new goal in my mind of hitting 100. With a little help from Wikipedia in filling in memory gaps, especially from festivals, I hit over 100 in just under an hour.
I started my list last Friday and since then I’ve been tinkering with it non-stop. Several bands I’d forgotten made their way onto the list, which gave me room to drop off some of the more embarrassingly lame entries.2 At some point I thought it would be fun to try and list where and when I saw each band without realizing how labor intensive this activity would become.
The end result of my labor is now ready for public consumption. The list is alphabetized for convenience sake, and sticks to a Band Name – Venue & Year format. I also indicated when said band was the opening act, and put in the city location for some of the more obscure venues.
I realize that this list is super self-indulgent and is probably not interesting to 75% of people who will read it. But I figured that it might be interesting to a few folks from my past and that the act of writing anything in a blog is somewhat self-indulgent. So fuck it, here’s my list. Rock on.
Top 100 Bands I’ve Seen In Concert
1. A Tribe Called Quest – Kiel ’99 (opened for Beastie Boys)
2. Ambulance LTD – Lollapalooza ‘05
3. Audioslave – Lollapalooza ‘03
4. Band of Skulls – Pageant ’10, (opened for BRMC)
5. Beastie Boys – Kiel ’99
6. Beck – Shrine Mosque ‘97
7. Ben Folds Five – Pointfest 4 ’95, American Theater ‘99
8. Ben Folds – Fox ‘05
9. Billy Idol – Lollapalooza ‘05
10. Black Keys – Lollapalooza ’05, Pageant ‘10
11. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Pageant ‘10
12. Brian Jonestown Massacre – Lollapalooza ‘05
13. Bob Dylan – Gateway Grizzlies Stadium ’05, Fox ‘06
14. Cake – American Theater ’99, Lollapalooza ‘05
15. Cheap Trick – Pointfest 6 ‘96
16. Christopher O’Riley – Orpheum Theater ’03
17. Chuck Berry – Pageant ‘10
18. Collective Soul – Pointfest 3 ‘95
19. Cracker – Pointfest 5 ‘96
20. Cure – Riverport ‘96
21. Dandy Warhols – Galaxy ’99?
22. Dave Matthews Band – Riverport ‘97
23. Depeche Mode – Riverport ’94
24. Descendents – Pointfest 6 ‘96
25. Digital Underground – SMS Campus ‘00
26. Distillers – Lollapalooza ‘03
27. D.J P – Burgundy Room ’00 – ‘01
28. Donnas – Lollapalooza ‘03
29. Eagles of Death Metal – Pageant ’05 (opened for the Strokes)
30. Everclear – Pointfest 4 & 5, SMS Campus ‘00
31. Faith No More – Pointfest 3 ‘95
32. Fishbone – Juke Joint ‘97
33. Flight of the Conchords –Fox ‘09
34. G Love and Special Sauce – Juke Joint ’99
35. Garbage – Pointfest 5 ‘96
36. Girl Talk – Pageant ‘08
37. God Lives Underwater – Pointfest 5 ’96, Juke Joint ’98 & ’99
38. Goldfinger – Juke Joint ‘97
39. Goldie – Aragon Ballroom’97 (opened for JA)
40. Gomez – Vic Theatre ’03, Pageant ‘05
41. Interpol – Pageant ‘07
42. Jane’s Addiction – Aragon Ballroom ’97, Lollapalooza ’03, Ford Amphitheater (Tampa) ‘09
43. Jimmy Buffet – Riverport ’02?
44. Julian Casablancas – Pageant ‘10
45. Jurassic 5 – SMS Campus ‘01
46. Kaiser Chiefs – Lollapalooza ‘05
47. Kings of Leon –Aragon Ballroom & Next Stage (Dallas) ’03 (opened for the Strokes), Mississippi Nights ‘05
48. Liz Phair – Lollapalooza ‘05
49. Love and Rockets – Pointfest 5 ‘95
50. Luscious Jackson – Galaxy ‘96
51. Marilyn Manson – Shrine Mosque ‘97
52. Matthew Sweet – Pointfest 4 ‘95
53. Moby – SMS Campus ‘00
54. Mooney Suzki – Lollapalooza ‘03
55. Nine Inch Nails – Riverport ’00, Kiel Center ’05, Ford Amphitheater (Tampa) ‘09
56. Perfect Circle – Riverport ’00 (opened for NIN)
57. Phish – Riverport ‘98
58. Pixies – Lollapalooza ’05, Mizzou Arena ‘05
59. Poe – Pointfest 5 ‘95
60. Primal Scream – Riverport ’94 (opened for DM)
61. Primus – Lollapalooza ‘05
62. PJ Harvey – Riverport ’95
63. Pulp – Pointfest 5 ‘96
64. Queens of the Stone Age – Lollapalooza ’03, Kiel ’05 (opened for NIN)
65. R.E.M. – Riverport ’95, Red Rocks (Denver) ‘03
66. Radiohead – Riverport ’95 (opened for REM), Riverport ‘03
67. Raveonettes – Pageant ’05 (opened for the Strokes)
68. Ramones – Pointfest 4 ‘95
69. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Kiel ‘96
70. Reel Big Fish – Juke Joint ’97, UMSL Campus ‘06
71. Regina Spektor – Aragon Ballroom & ’03 Next Stage (Dallas) ’03 (both opened for the Strokes)
72. Roots – Shrine Mosque ’97 (opened for Beck)
73. Rufus Wainwright – Fox ‘05
74. Run DMC – SMS Campus ‘01
75. Save Ferris – Juke Joint ‘97
76. Silversun Pickups – Crowbar (Tampa) ‘07
77. Smashing Pumpkins – Aragon Ballroom’97 (opened for JA)
78. Son Volt – Juke Joint ‘97
79. Spacehog – Kiel ’96 (opened for RHCP)
80. Sponge – Pointfest 3 ‘95
81. Strokes – Radio City Music Hall (NY) ’02, Aragon Ballroom ’03 & ’05, Next Stage (Dallas) ’03, Pageant ’03 & 05
82. Stone Roses – Pointfest 3 ‘95
83. Taylor Dayne – Forest Park Rendezvous ’90 (My first concert!)
84. They Might Be Giants – Pointfest 3, 4 & 6 ’95-’96, Mississippi Nights ‘96
85. Three Eleven – Pointfest 6 ‘96
86. Toad the Wet Sprocket – Pointfest 3 ‘95
87. Toadies – Keil ’96 (opened for RHCP)
88. Tori Amos – SMS Campus ‘96, Fox ‘02
89. Two Skinee J’s – Juke Joint ‘00
90. Underworld – Riviera Theater (Chicago) ‘99
91. Urge – Pointfest 4 & 6 ’95-’96, Fox ’96, Juke Joint ’97, The Attic (Springfield) ‘98
92. Vampire Weekend – Pageant ‘07
93. Veruca Salt – Riverport ’95
94. Violent Femmes – Fox ’96 (opened for the Urge(?!)), Blue Note ‘01
95. Walkmen – Lollapalooza ‘05
96. Weezer – Riverport ’97, Lollapalooza ‘05
97. White Stripes – Radio City Music Hall (NY) ’02, Pageant ’03, Fox ‘05
98. Wilco – Red Rocks (Denver) ’03, Fox ‘05
99. Willie Nelson – Gateway Grizzlies Stadium ’05
100. Ziggy Marley – SMS Campus ‘97
1. I’ve never actually called her Britpop Mandy, but I’m a firm believer in using nicknames instead of last names on my blog.
2. For example, I’ve seen No Doubt and Bush when they headlined different Pointfests, but they have no business on a top concert list of mine.
Oh Delmar Loop, why don’t I live by you anymore? The last few nites I’ve spent on your streets have been wonderful, even despite all the cold and crappy weather. The anniversary dinner at the Melting Pot on Friday was beyond delicious, especially desert.
I loved it, and I’m not even that much of a desert guy. Megan, she went crazy.
And then we both went into a food coma. I love being married!
And last nite’s show at the Pageant was kick ass. I wasn’t sure that Julian Casablancas’ solo effort would be worth a damn live, but I needn’t worry.
The opening band, Haim, was surprisingly good for a group based on a novelty concept, i.e. three guitar playing sister. And Julian’s short set was worth the price of admission. The eight songs from his solo disc sounded pretty awesome live, especially Out Of The Blue. But it was the extras that made the show. He sang my favorite live Strokes tune, Hard To Explain, as well as two wonderfully goofy covers of I Wish It Was Christmas Today and Dancing In The Dark. Julian is still one hell of a good showman1
After four years of waiting, I’m super stoked The Strokes next album is finally coming out this year. Now I’m off to freeze my ass off at the Cardinals game tonite. But no complaints as I’m getting to see my fave Carpenter pitch against Eric Hinske and the hated Braves!
1 Although his wardrobe needed an intervention. Julian is just a little too old to be squeezing his ass into a pair of red skinny jeans…
Today is the sixth anniversary of my first date with Megan. Now that we’re married and both in our thirties we decided to celebrate accordingly; we’re staying home to eat dinner and watch TV with our dogs. And in another telling sign of our age, we are going out tomorrow nite for dinner and drinks to celebrate because staying up late on a weeknite is tiring and stuff. Yeah, it’s kinda lame on my part but I don’t really give a shit.
So please join me on wishing my wonderful wife a happy anniversary. She’s astonishing and I’m astonishingly lucky.
If you’re still looking for the perfect anniversary gift to give us, might I suggest a matching set of these:
That’s right, the clever folks over at Palmer Cash just released this brilliant shirt that would be a perfect gift for Meg and I. Or if you can’t afford two shirts, then maybe just get one for me. You know, since I’m The Captain and all…