So posting by moi will be sporadic for a few days.
But in the meantime, here's another little fun project for you folks:
Best Major, i.e. Arena-Worthy, Rock/Pop Act You Were Lucky Enough to See in a Small Room!!!
No arbitrary rules here, as I'm going to be flexible about what constitutes a small room. A club like the departed Bottom Line in NYC sat about 400, which to me should be the outside figure, but B.B. King's, which is the contemporary equivalent, seats about 700. Anyway, I'll leave it to you guys to be honest about this. And hopefully, your examples will be from a time when whoever you nominate was on the way up, rather than down.
Oh, and incidentally, if you're puzzled about the clue downstairs, I saw Dolly Parton at the aforementioned Bottom Line sometime in the late 70s. Not really an arena act, I suppose, but you get the point.
Also, I have the unsettling feeling I may have done this topic (or one awfully similar) before, but cut me some slack. As you'll see from the list below, I'm obviously extremely old.
And my totally top of my head Top Seven is:
7. Patti Smith
At Max's Kansas City, which sat 150 people tops, performing the just released Easter album in its entirety. At one point, Patti kicked over the drinks on the table where my girlfriend and I were sitting; said girlfriend was totally freaked and made me take her home, and thus I missed the live version of "Because the Night." Irksome, as you can imagine, but I've forgiven both of them since.
6. The Cars
The aforementioned Bottom Line again, circa the first album. They were quite good in a steely sort of way, although I thought they were surprisingly deficient in the charisma department. Also, the late Ben Orr really shouldn't have been wearing leather pants.
5. The Police
At the aforementioned Bottom Line as well. They had been booked there before "Roxanne" hit, so it was your basic contractual obligation gig. Place was packed, obviously; I watched from the bar and had a very good time.
4. Dire Straits
Bottom Line, same deal; "Sultans of Swing" was Top Ten at the time. Knopfler was awesome, the more so for being totally nonchalant.
3. Bachman Turner Overdrive
Max's Kansas City, touring the first album, circa 1973. They played with tiny little Fender amps and I thought they were hilarious.
2. Cheap Trick
The Bottom Line, again, around Heaven Tonight in 1978. I went with a fanatical punk/New Wave fan who was disappointed they sounded so much like a metal band. Heh.
And the numero uno show featuring incipient superstars I ever saw at a hole in the wall dive, it's not even a contest as you'll see, obviously was --
1. The Wailers/Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band
Max's Kansas City again, early 1973 (the clip is from '72, but you'll get the idea). The Wailers (with both Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, for crissakes) were making their New York debut; Springsteen was pretty much an unknown. Both bands were utterly amazing, but most of the crowd left after the reggae, and so I saw Bruce for the first time in the company of fifty or sixty hardcore fans from the Jersey Shore. Bruce asked for requests, I shouted "Route 66," and they actually did it.
Awrighty then, who would your choices be?
[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: best revised re-released film, classic or otherwise -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could possibly go over there and leave a trenchant comment, I'd be your best friend.]