What was the best concert you've ever been to?

The best concert I ever went to was The Smiths in November 1983, at Leicester Poly. I went with my friends Keith and Hat Top, and Keith's two brothers. The older brother was a miner (the UK had mines back then) and I recall him wearing his miner's helmet, complete with torch. The band we just superb, and played three encores. They didn't have many songs written, so had to play a couple twice! It was just the most wonderful evening. 

The other best, and I can't really divide then, was Joy Division and The Buzzcocks at Bangor University, in October 1979. It was my first year at Uni and I want with my friends Tim, Frank and Marten. It was in the Refectory, and despite the sound being ropey and the fact that the full lighting rig couldn't be used because there wasn't enough power, it was just wonderful. Joy Division were such a high energy band live, very different to their two albums. It was so hot that the walls were running with sweat. Of course, we were all dripping with sweat and after turning out into the Welsh evening and walking back to our hall, we all ended up in bed with dreadful colds. But it was worth it. And only £2.50 too. 

A couple of years later one of my friends told be that he was having lunch in the refectory on the day of the gig and four mancunians joined him at the table. If was only when the band came onstage that he realised who they were. 

Original Post

The Grateful Dead, Empire Pool Wembley 8th April 1972. My first Dead show and still one of my favourites - includes Dark Star into Mind Left Body Jam 

Available to hear for free on Archive - just Google the first sentence of this post. Also released as part of the Complete Europe 72 series available on Tidal - isn't life good?

Led Zeppelin at Knebworth on 4th August 1979. Led Zeppelin were my favourite favourite band at that time and Jimmy Page was my favourite guitar player and at last I had the opportunity to see them. They played for three and a quarter hours. I enjoyed it so much that I went the following weekend too, but the set list was subtly different and it just wasn't quite so 'magical'. Pleased I did though because it was the last concert they ever played in England before John Bonham died.

Stones at Wembley in 82. The long intro on Under my Thumb with which they opened still makes the hairs stand up when I play my Still Life record of the tour.

Coming out of the new wave, in a way they were everything I was against.

I later heard they'd done a warm up at the 100 club on the Thursday before. Wembley was still awesome.

C.

I can't pick one, we go to perhaps a dozen a year and we've been fortunate to see some great shows.  In no particular order I'd certainly remember the following;

Rush - 1982 Signals tour, first time I saw them and they were at their very best, just awesome although I missed seeing them in a small venue because D-Side Leisure centre burned down before the gig.

Del Amitri, several times and quite possibly the tightest group I've seen musically with really strong songs.  One of the first gigs my wife and I went to see, it's our 16th anniversary today, so it was a good few years ago!

Nerina Pallot in Gorilla last year - just brilliant, and a wonderful intimate venue.

Simon & Garfunkel, I've loved them since I was a kid and never thought I'd get to see them until they last toured.  Tickets were like gold dust and I was expecting it to be a bit proper and boring but it was easily the best atmosphere I've ever been in at a gig and they, and the Everleys who were their support, were awesome.

Sex Pistols at the MEN.  Another group I never thought I'd see and I almost didn't go because I thought they'd be crap and how wrong I was.  Utterly brilliant and an incredible atmosphere, a real joy to see so many punk fans,

And a last one, at outdoor festival at Wembley around 17 years ago with Aerosmith, Lennie Kravitz, The Black Crowes, Three Colours Red and the Stereophonics - such a good line up and a blisteringly hot day,  Stereophonics stole the show.

Don't you just love live music?

Couple of years ago, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters at Leeds O2.

For all that Robert chooses to engage his forward seeking radar, rather than kick back and simply replay the Zep glory days, it's still true that any audience hopes for some of the old hits.

To hear the roof lift off when the audience recognises the intro to some of these same songs, followed by wide grins of pleasure at the reworking of familiar tunes, proves that he remains relevant today.

A fab night out, and my daughter's comment in the car on the way home that, "for a bunch of old guys, they don't half rock", sort of confirmed my feelings.

Mind you, a few months later, again in Leeds, The Cult turned in a satisfyingly LOUD set, which, again, my daughter absolutely loved.

Good idea for a topic.

Quite a hard task to select one so I'm going to offer three:

(1) Most recent was Medley Gardot at the Royal Festival Hall. Fabulous music, fabulous band, fabulously professional throughout

(2) Pink Floyd at Wembley on their Pigs tour. I hadn't seen Floyd live before and the scale, visuals and obvious care in set-up was stunning.

(3) Going back even further I'm going to nominate a Van der Graff Generator concert at Portsmouth Guildhall. But not for seeing them. They were quite forgettable.  No. What I hadn't clocked in the run up to the concert was that the warm-up act was a band called Genesis. They has just released Nursery Crymes (during which Peter Gabriel donned his plant costume).  I and my mates were utterly blown away and I been a huge Genesis fan every since.

Oh, and I'm very jealous of Clive B for seeing Led Zep in their pomp. I agree with dayjay about Nerina Pallot live. She's great. 

Steely Dan in 2009 and, in 2011, Paul Simon at Arena in Milano,  summer Jazz festival. Steely Dan best sound, Paul Simon greatest musician. I read with some surprise that some refer to something form the early 80s as the best they have heard live. Why aren't they still using chrome bumpers?

Difficult......

 

Coldplay in Munich - open air, great sound, super concert......, just super...

Lang Lang in Nürnberg - Chopin 2nd piano concerto

Christian Scott at North Sea Jazz Festival - first time, blowing everybody away

Dream Theater - playing there Scenes of a Memory Tour

.......

 

so so many good memories ......

In no particular order:

Elizabeth Fraser, Royal Festival Hall, 2012 - indescribable so I won't try.

Happy Mondays at GMex, 1990 - second summer of love, mental.

The Wedding Present playing Ukrainian folk songs supported by The Wedding Present, London, possibly Mean Fiddler, c1990

Carter USM, Cambridge Junction, c1990 - the whole venue was a moshpit

John Grant, Royal Albert Hall, 2016 - guest slot by Kylie...

Neil Young, Finsbury Park, 1993 - I was standing just behind John Peel and Andy Kershaw

Am insanely jealous that HH saw The Smiths AND Joy Division...

Max_B posted:

Steely Dan in 2009 and, in 2011, Paul Simon at Arena in Milano,  summer Jazz festival. Steely Dan best sound, Paul Simon greatest musician. I read with some surprise that some refer to something form the early 80s as the best they have heard live. Why aren't they still using chrome bumpers?

Wow, Steely Dan. I'd have loved to have seen them live. They are one of my very favourite bands. For some reason it got me thinking of Randy Newman, who we saw in the late 80s in London. Just him and the piano, with about 40 two minute songs. Wonderful. 

It's an interesting comment about surprise about why something from the early 80s is the best. To be a boy from Worthing, who listens to John Peel every night, and then to end up at a Joy Division gig in one's first term at Uni, well, it's going to make an impression. And to see them in a small venue - the university refectory - and be twenty feet from the band, it's a connection that you don't get at Wembley. 

I remember seeing Alkaline Trio with my son, who was 15 or 16 at the time, at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth about three years ago. He was at the front and told me afterwards how he caught the eye of their guitarist, who winked at him. That's what makes live music wonderful, not some great sound quality or light show. It's the human interaction. 

We are off to see the Chiaroscuro Quartet next week, with the wonderful Alina Ibragimova, who to me is the best violinist playing today. Three rows from the front. Will she wink at me? Unlikely. 

Haim Ronen posted:

Anuar Brahem Trio at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art probably in 2001. The delicate synergy between Brahem's oud, a Turkish clarinet and a tambour was out of this world. Seatings and acoustics were also first rate.

Now, Anouar Brahem is someone I'd like to see. 

nickpeacock posted:

In no particular order:

Elizabeth Fraser, Royal Festival Hall, 2012 - indescribable so I won't try.

Happy Mondays at GMex, 1990 - second summer of love, mental.

The Wedding Present playing Ukrainian folk songs supported by The Wedding Present, London, possibly Mean Fiddler, c1990

Carter USM, Cambridge Junction, c1990 - the whole venue was a moshpit

John Grant, Royal Albert Hall, 2016 - guest slot by Kylie...

Neil Young, Finsbury Park, 1993 - I was standing just behind John Peel and Andy Kershaw

Am insanely jealous that HH saw The Smiths AND Joy Division...

The Mean Fiddler in Kilburn?, what a place that was. Mid 90's I spent some time there as I had some cousins who lived within walking distance. I saw Blyth Power play there and it was stunning, one of the most wonderful  venues I have been to.

My best was my first - Genesis at Earl's Court in 1977. I was 15 and totally blown away. 

Kate Bush Before the Dawn comes very close, though. I was in the front row on the second night, having got myself a returned ticket that morning. I still can't believe it happened.

Led Zeppelin at Knebworth were amazing, I agree.

I was lucky enough to see the Smiths at a free festival on the South Bank (save the GLC!). They were very very good. Billy Bragg was there too.

Also, the Fall at the Heaven Club in June 1984 were awesome.

Keith

The first Knebworth was, I agree, very special. It seemed an age before the band eventually came on stage, with a huge video screen behind them . Allegedly there were many more than the official ticketed audience. After they finished it took me hours to find my car as all the parking fields looked the same in the darkness! I went back the following week with Mrs Wanderer. I agree week 2 was not the same, with a smaller audience (only 100,000 I recall) but it was still a great show. I still have(somewhere!) the colour transparencies I took at the time .in between the two shows In through the Out Door was released.

I was dying to see them again and a year or so later I managed to get a ticket for their Rotterdam concert at the end of their Euro tour. As it happened though there were consecutive dates at the Brummy Odeon for Genesis and Rush on the same weekend so I decided to give Rotterdam a miss, anticipating seeing them when the UK tour dates came round. Genesis and Rush (then at the height if their powers) were both amazing but I have always regretted not getting to Rotterdam. I may be wrong, but I think that was their last concert. How sad��.

I would add to the hit list a Status Quo gig, probably around 1980, at the NEC. It was the first rock concert in aud of the Prince's Trust. An hour of the concert was televised and Charles and Diana were both in attendance. I was right at the front with the crush and the atmosphere was truly electric., with the auduence going really wild. The band played on after the TV went off air.

Happy Days indeed. No wonder I have the dreaded tinnitus, but it was worth it!

Best single concert was Burning Spear at the Town and Country in 1989

Best Festival I've been to, with a total overload of bands I'd pay plenty to go back and see again was the Phoenix Festival in 1993 where I saw, in no particular order, in the Jazz big top - Courtney Pine, Steve Williamson, Gil Scott Heron, Cypress Hill, Gangstar Quartet with Roy Ayers and Donald Byrd. Utah Saints in a dance tent and Sonic Youth and House of Pain on the main stage. 

Best this year so far has been - Fly my Pretties at the Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch NZ

Best last year was Courtney Barnett in University of Canterbury Student union.

Hungryhalibut posted:

Elizabeth Fraser. What a singer. I saw her, again at Leicester University, in the Cocteau Twins, with the John Peel Roadshow. Wonderful. Probably 83 or 84. 

She was wonderful at RFH and as second encore sang Song to the Siren. So wish I had seen Cocteau Twins.

I need to add Dexys at Duke of York Theatre, London, 2013. They did a residency playing the then new album followed by some old stuff, closing with a 20-minute rendition of This Is What She's Like (contender for my best song ever). Religious.

I've seen The Fall more times than I can remember but enjoyed them supporting (and blowing away) The Magic Band at RFH in 2004 - imagine sitting down at a Fall gig, unheard of!

Very much inspired by this thread HH !

KRM posted:

I was working behind the bar at the Lakeside County Club in 1980 or 81 and saw Marvin Gaye. He came on very late (Princess Margaret had already left). He was amazing.

He was a brilliant performer. I saw him with Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross.

He was extraordinary. It was a charity gig and Princess Margaret was there. Unfortunately they couldn't get him out of his hotel room and she had gone before he came on stage. He was incredible, but only did about 45 minutes because the owner of the Lakeside pulled the plug because he was so pissed off at the snub to her Royal Highness.

 

Led Zep at Knebworth was was a great gig. I think they played around three hours and did three encores. At one point everyone held up thir lighters so they swung the cameras round and there was a full moon low above the crowd. Everyone turned round to see it and gasped. It felt special.

There have been a few my parents where big music fans and by the time I was 13 I had seen The Who, The Stones and Bob dylan but the best by far me at that age was The Jam Brighton Centre 1980.  Dennis Brown Reggae Sunsplash Clapham common 1987 was pretty special. Ive  been to quite a few festivals over the years but for best line up Glastonbury 1994 wins hands down Paul Weller was fantastic.

I saw the Jam in Liverpool on their last tour, didn't want to go but we had a deal at college that you all went and took turns picking the gigs.  They were excellent, as we're Thin Lizzy at around the same time also on their last four. I would guess it was 82 or 83.    Excellent topic this Nigel by the way

dayjay posted:

I saw the Jam in Liverpool on their last tour, didn't want to go but we had a deal at college that you all went and took turns picking the gigs.  They were excellent, as we're Thin Lizzy at around the same time also on their last four. I would guess it was 82 or 83.    Excellent topic this Nigel by the way

Yes '82 I saw their very last gig at the Brighton Centre.

ewemon posted:
KRM posted:

I was working behind the bar at the Lakeside County Club in 1980 or 81 and saw Marvin Gaye. He came on very late (Princess Margaret had already left). He was amazing.

He was a brilliant performer. I saw him with Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross.

Wow!

Looking further back in time I Was, in my pre-teens and early teens, a big fan of swing and big band music, Glen Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington etc. Also Ted Heath, the only British band to rank among them. When I was about 15 my older brother let me accompany him and his girlfriend to a New Year dance celebration at the local Hall, where Ted Heath was the star attraction. The local band played the early part and then the Ted Heath band came on. The difference was stunning - really tight, precision playing with great solo performances. It was like  Rolls Royce following a Ford. I was on cloud 9!

About 5 years later I had the privilege of seeing the great Duke Ellington orchestra at the Birmingham Odeon. I still have the programme. That was another unforgettable experience.

It really is great to have these memories to look back on and many thanks to HH for raising the thread and letting us wallow in nostalgia!

Mentions of charity gigs above reminds me of THE concert I really wish I'd seen: Live Aid at Wembley in 1985. That must have been some show. I watched it on TV at the time and have the DVD now, but I so wish I'd been there. Status Quo opening the show with Rockin' All Over The World and then there was that Queen set - exceptional.

Knebworth .. 1975 .. Pink Floyd .. 

This was a year I was "living life through pharmacology" and whilst most of it is still a tad hazy the evening PF played will stay with me forever.  The site was/is a natural amphitheater and PF had erected this huge tower on the top rim with a guide wire from the top of it to the stage .. no-one had any idea what it was for.  

Then after dark when they were playing a "rocket" ignited at the top of the tower (which could no longer be seen) and flew into the stage and "exploded" .. whoa .. the place went crazy .. i just wish I could remember the actual track playing at the time.  

Captain Beefheart were there too but PF stole the show .. great concert.

The Caribbean centre 1987 Ipswich. A bill that had Napalm Death. Extreme Noise Terror. Deviated Instinct and a couple of other Grincore punk bands ( the sets didn't last that long ) got too much in the mosh pit after stage diving and was shoved propelled out. Knocking into an older gentleman, who was worried that I was ok and then went to get me a pint. After saying thank you I realised it was John Peel, and spent a little while having a chat.

What a great story. John Peel always seemed such a nice man. I asked him to play something on his show once, but of course he never took requests. Rather than ignoring a letter from a callow youth, he wrote me a charming letter talking about how he was stationed down the road from Brysiencyn (where we lived as students) during his national service, when he was Gunner Ravenscroft. 

I'm pleased people are finding this little thread enjoyable. It's the stories around the concerts that are really interesting. I was racking my brains earlier about a Fleetwood Mac concert I went to at Wembley Arena in June 1980, but other than that I went I can remember nothing - who I went with, how I got there, where I stayed afterwards, or even what they played. Whereas with the Smiths or Joy Division and Buzzcocks gigs, I can remember them almost like it was yesterday. 

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