First Concert, Last Concert and Best Concert — Jon Gabriel

 

As many of my Twitter followers know (and regret), I’m a bit of a music geek. In the evenings, I often spin obscure tunes, inflicting my off-kilter tastes on an unwilling audience. Yes, it’s tragic when people don’t recognize genius in their midst, but I soldier on. In addition to collecting terabytes of MP3s (and before that CDs, cassettes and vinyl), I’ve always loved live music. Heading into a busy weekend, I’d love to hear the first concert you ever attended, the last concert you attended, and your favorite show of all time. Here’s mine:

First Concert: Cheap Trick

I talked a junior high friend into leaving the rides at the Arizona State Fair to catch the power pop legends. Cheap Trick was supporting one of their forgotten albums of the early ’80s but played all the classics. They put on a great show as always, though guitarist Rick Nielsen had bronchitis and was hawking loogies off-stage most the show. Total groupie magnet, that Rick. As a result, I didn’t attempt to catch one of the 100 picks he tossed into the crowd. (P.S. I’m discounting the time my dad strolled us kids by Jerry Reed at the Lake County Fair and when I was forced to see Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco Family with my older sister. You can’t hold those against me.)

Last Concert: Half String and The Tennis System

The first rule of hipsterdom: only listen to bands that don’t get airplay. In the early ’90s, I dove deep into the British shoegaze scene, listening to one-named, lower-cased bands like ride, lush, swervedriver, et al. The slow tempo, laconic vocals and insanely loud guitar inspired many musicians here in the Sonoran Desert. Tempe, Ariz. band Half String organized a series of Beautiful Noise festivals and reprised the scene recently with newer bands rediscovering the wall-of-guitars-and-effects-pedals sound. Killer show; hearing protection recommended.

Best Concert: The Loud Family

The late songwriting genius and rock auteur Scott Miller formed two NorCal bands: Game Theory and The Loud Family. Both were brilliant and feted with critical acclaim, but received little airplay. Kind of a hyper-literate Cheap Trick (or Big Star), Miller’s bands weaved perfect pop songs out of obscurantist references to culture high and low. I had been a slavish fan in the mid-’80s, but never saw them Miller live until the late ’90s. I helped promote the show, so I got to share dinner with my idols and even got a shout-out from the stage. That earned serious cred for my ego and duly impressed the missus.

Now it’s your turn: What was your First Concert, Last Concert and Best Concert?

 

There are 89 comments.

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  1. Admin

    BSbottomFrsFirst and Best Concert: Springsteen at the Bottom Line in August of 1975. Yup, I was there. I was a kid, but a very hip and plugged in friend of the family took me. Unforgettable.

    Beat that, Gabriel.

    • #1
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm
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  2. Inactive

    First–The Who at the Houston Astrodome in 1982. Last–Hall & Oates at Austin City Limits last February. Best–NRBQ at the Paradise in Boston in 1989.

    • #2
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm
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  3. Member

    First- Alabama Mt. Music Tour (early 80s?)

    Last- Jewel at the Puyallup Fair many years ago. Sweet voice, and she came out on the stage with just her guitar and took requests for the first hour or so.

    Best- Exodus ’90 in San Antonion (6 Christian bands including One Bad Pig, Vengeance Rising, and other less notables.) I got to play roadie for the sound company, so it was an experience. Loudest thing I’ve ever heard as it was in the Lila Cockrell Theater with a very, very large sound system.

    • #3
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm
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  4. Moderator

    My first concert was Eddie Rabbitt some time in the early 1980’s. The last one was a twin billing – Kid Rock and Bob Seger, a few months ago. I went to see Bob Seger but have to admit, Kid Rock wasn’t bad. As for the best . . . that’s really hard. Probably Ronnie Milsap, but I’d give honorable mention to Sara Evans and Eric Clapton. Oh wait, there’s also Rod Stewart! I’ll probably think of more later. [edit] I had to come back and add Vince Gill to the honorable mention list.

    Worst concert (not that you asked) would be a tie between Hank Williams, Jr and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Hank was drunk or high and mumbled his way through some of the songs, seemingly forgetting the lyrics even though he wrote them. Mary Chapin Carpenter was half in the bag and complained about the injustice that the “rich people” had better seats than the masses.

    • #4
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm
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  5. Inactive

    First: Jethro Tull, San Diego, 1971.

    Last: Everly Brothers, Orleans Casino, Las Vegas, 2001

    Best: I need more than one for this as my recall of many of the experiences may be shrouded in a smokey haze.

    • #5
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm
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  6. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    The King Prawn:

    Best- Exodus ’90 in San Antonion (6 Christian bands including One Bad Pig, Vengeance Rising, and other less notables.) I got to play roadie for the sound company, so it was an experience. Loudest thing I’ve ever heard as it was in the Lila Cockrell Theater with a very, very large sound system.

     One Bad Pig? I remember those dudes. I think they played at Cornerstone ’91 (the only year I saw that festival).

    • #6
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm
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  7. Admin

    Side note: It was recently brought to my attention that a duo by the name of Ricoshëi is playing at Coachella this weekend. Meet-up anyone?

    • #7
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm
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  8. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: One Bad Pig? I remember those dudes. I think they played at Cornerstone ’91 (the only year I saw that festival).

    I got to hang out with them a couple of times around concerts. Really, really cool guys.

    • #8
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm
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  9. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Blue Yeti:

    First and Best Concert: Springsteen at the Bottom Line in August of 1975.

    Beat that, Gabriel.

    Can’t beat that one. My only Jersey rock show was The J. Geils Band on their Freeze Frame tour. I came for the opening band on their first U.S. leg. A little band I like to call… U2.

    • #9
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm
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  10. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    The King Prawn:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: One Bad Pig? I remember those dudes. I think they played at Cornerstone ’91 (the only year I saw that festival).

    I got to hang out with them a couple of times around concerts. Really, really cool guys.

     I was really into Christian alternative late 80s/early 90s. There were a lot of great bands and labels for about 3 years, but they never sold, so they all seemed to disappear.

    • #10
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm
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  11. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: I was really into Christian alternative late 80s/early 90s. There were a lot of great bands and labels for about 3 years, but they never sold, so they all seemed to disappear.

     I was into the Christian metal/punk/thrash scene at the time. I still queue up some of them like Deliverance and The Crucified on Pandora. Barren Cross still makes people think they’re hearing Iron Maiden.

    • #11
    • April 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm
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  12. Listener

    With the caveat that there are several concerts I cannot remember:

    First Concert: Black Sabbath, Ted Nugent, 1976, Capital Centre.

    Last Concert: Aerosmith, 2006, Orlando.

    Best Concert: I really enjoyed Dylan at Radio City, 1988. I’ve heard he can suck, but I thought it was outstanding. Part of it was the serendipity of catching it with a friend. Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town tour was outstanding as well. 

    Most Shameful Concert: Suzanne Vega, Lisner Auditorium. To try to impress a girl, of course.

    • #12
    • April 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm
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  13. Member

    First concert: Three Dog Night 

    Last concert: Asleep at the Wheel

    Best concert: The Allman Brothers Band with Duane Allman at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis.

    • #13
    • April 11, 2014 at 2:04 pm
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  14. Member

    First: Supertramp at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis about 1983.

    Last: Ruthie Foster at someplace down on Barton Springs…The Backyard? 2007?

    Best: Anonymous Four and Lionheart at Krannert Center in Urbana.

    • #14
    • April 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm
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  15. Thatcher

    First: The Beatles in Seattle 1964. I call it the worst, too, since all the girls in the audience were standing up and screaming, so I couldn’t see or hear them very well. I remember complaining to my Dad in the car going home.

    I don’t remember the last, but I gave up going to rock concerts some time in the 1980’s.

    Best: More than once, Steve Goodman. We saw him in Minneapolis, and multiple times in Seattle. He had leukemia, and had a bone marrow transplant here at Fred Hutchinson, and he died here. He did the definitive rendition of “City of New Orleans”. He really knew how to move an audience.

    • #15
    • April 11, 2014 at 2:40 pm
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  16. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    The King Prawn:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: One Bad Pig? I remember those dudes. I think they played at Cornerstone ’91 (the only year I saw that festival).

    I got to hang out with them a couple of times around concerts. Really, really cool guys.

    I was really into Christian alternative late 80s/early 90s. There were a lot of great bands and labels for about 3 years, but they never sold, so they all seemed to disappear.

     Wait! You saw One Bad Pig in concert?! Jon, I go to church and/or Austin House of Prayer with most of the members of that band today! 

    • #16
    • April 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm
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  17. Inactive

    First Concert: Bon Jovi, 1986.

    Last Concert: Yes, last weekend.

    Best Concert: Springsteen on a Labor Day weekend a few years ago. Opened with Summertime Blues. It was like a giant block party.

    Special mention for B.B. King. I went to see him about a year ago. He led an extended round of “You Are My Sunshine.” At one point, he was taking requests. No one wanted to go home. I wanted to say, “People, he’s 87 years old. Let him get some rest.” Amazing entertainer.

    • #17
    • April 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm
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  18. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Hartmann von Aue:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    The King Prawn:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: One Bad Pig? I remember those dudes. I think they played at Cornerstone ’91 (the only year I saw that festival).

    I got to hang out with them a couple of times around concerts. Really, really cool guys.

    Wait! You saw One Bad Pig in concert?! Jon, I go to church and/or Austin House of Prayer with most of the members of that band today!

     Say “hi” to them. “Swine Flu” was a fun album.

    • #18
    • April 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm
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  19. Inactive

    Shoegaze. Always been such a confusing, amorphous category for me. That said, try these. I think they count?

    Fluorescent Grey EP by Deerhunter

    “Crippled Croon” by Crystal Stilts (also see “Spiral Transit”)

    “Wake Me When It’s Over” by Longwave

    Bonus proto-shoegaze: “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus

    1st: Snoop Dogg

    See: “Gin & Juice

    Last: Hurray for the Riff Raff

    See: “Little Black Star

    Best: Incubus

    See: “Drive” (Live at Red Rocks)

    • #19
    • April 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm
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  20. Member

    First Concert: Freddy Cannon in 1962 at North Dekalb Stadium.

    Last Concert: The Allman Brothers Band at Lakewood Amphitheater, SE Atlanta. Warren Haynes had just joined the band and Derek Trucks was a teenager brought out for a couple of numbers. The band performed a great acoustic set, also.

    Best Concert: Doc and Merle Watson at the Great Southeast Music Hall.

    • #20
    • April 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm
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  21. Inactive

    “Concert” seems to apply to one circle of a diagram here, and I’m in another planet. The earliest I can remember–I was 7 or 8–was the opera “Don Giovanni” at the LA Philharmonic Hall. My folks gave us kids a bowdlerized plot synopsis, and I remember enjoying it all. Last: by a little jewel in small local ensembles, the Tucson Chamber Artists, in a collection of short Bach pieces that don’t frequently make it into concerts, and a solemn cantata by Britten based on the Good Samaritan. Kathryn Mueller sang the shimmering silken soprano solos in the Bach. Best: Christmas, 1960, Rockefeller Chapel at U of Chicago, New York Pro Musica performed “The Play of Daniel” in the most enthralling piece of time travel I’ve ever seen or heard. It makes me shiver to think of it.

    • #21
    • April 11, 2014 at 6:23 pm
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  22. Thatcher

    Blue Yeti:

    First and Best Concert: Springsteen at the Bottom Line in August of 1975.

    Beat that, Gabriel.

     

    I am very jealous.

    First – Springsteen, Philadelphia Spectrum, Dec 9, 1980. (Unless you count when my mother dragged me to see Bobby Vinton or Davy Jones at the John Wayne Theater, Knots Berry Farm in the early 70’s)

    Last – Springsteen, Met Life Stadium, Sept 21, 2012

    • #22
    • April 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm
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  23. Member

    First – Dr Hook and Three Dog Night, 1974

    Last – Jerry Jeff Walker at Billy Bob’s Texas, 2013

    Best – Any or all of the five times I’ve seen Jimmy Buffet

    • #23
    • April 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm
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  24. Thatcher

    First: The Lovin Spoonful, 1966 in my high school gym

    Last: Robert Randolph & The Family Band, March 2014, Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix. Great live band.

    Best: Very hard choice but I’ll go with The Who, May 1969, Fillmore East, NYC. Second performance of Tommy. Powerful, entertaining, crazy. Original band lineup. Have never seen anything like Keith Moon. Building next door caught fire near end of the show. Audience refused to evacuate. Plainclothes policeman tried to grab mike onstage and Townsend and Daltrey assaulted him (and were later arrested) as they kept playing.

    • #24
    • April 11, 2014 at 7:18 pm
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  25. Inactive

    First: Social Distortion

    Best: the Pogues

    Last: Tom Petty

    • #25
    • April 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm
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  26. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Hartmann von Aue:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    The King Prawn:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: One Bad Pig? I remember those dudes. I think they played at Cornerstone ’91 (the only year I saw that festival).

    I got to hang out with them a couple of times around concerts. Really, really cool guys.

    Wait! You saw One Bad Pig in concert?! Jon, I go to church and/or Austin House of Prayer with most of the members of that band today!

    Say “hi” to them. “Swine Flu” was a fun album.

     I sent an e-mail about this exchange to Phil. I’ll mention it to Daniel when I see him Sunday.

    • #26
    • April 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm
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  27. Member

    Oh, and Ruthie Foster was at the Shady Grove, not the Backyard (we drove past on the way to worship led by Georgian and Winnie Banov this evening…it jogged my memory).

    • #27
    • April 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm
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  28. Member

    First concert: Electric Light Orchestra at the Pontiac Silverdome, summer of 1978.

    Last concert: Billy Joel and Elton John at the Pontiac Silverdome, summer of 1994.

    Best concert: For the music, Billy Joel/Elton John. For my life, ELO, as it brought me and my future wife together.

    • #28
    • April 11, 2014 at 8:22 pm
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  29. Thatcher

    First one I can think of was Mountain, back in the early seventies. Warmed up be Peter Frampton in a group he called Frampton’s Camel, and John Mayall. (Missed out on “Summer Jam” in 1973, a crazy fest that sprawled out of control attendance-wise – 600,000 showed up at the small upstate NY town of Watkins Glen (20 miles from me) to see The Allman Bros., The Band, and The Grateful Dead. Yes, 600,000. It was crazy.)

    Last one was The Flaming Lips a couple of years ago up at Osheaga in Montreal, a weekend festival featuring 100 bands. Eminem played to 40,000 that Friday night. I’m “not his target audience”, but I’ve rarely seen a more impressive performance. The Lips came out to close the festival Sunday night performing live, for the last time in history (so they said) their album “The Soft Bulletin” . If you’re a Lips fan, this was monumental.

    • #29
    • April 11, 2014 at 9:08 pm
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  30. Thatcher

    Best? Haven’t seen many; only go when it’s a band I love. So my favorites are: Paul Simon in DC back in the 90’s, Paul Simon in a small theater in Manhattan a few years ago, the Talking Heads in DC, and the Roches every time I saw them (which was at every opportunity). Also Pink Floyd 3 or 4 times; always the same, but the same was good.

    • #30
    • April 11, 2014 at 9:11 pm
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