Monday, February 20, 2023

Scenes From a Misspent Life

The following little trivia challenge has sort of gone viral at La Livre du Visage Facebook, or at least in the precincts I haunt there, so I thought I'd put my two centimes in and share it with you guys. Obviously, I'm curious about how you'd respond in the same categories, so please -- comment away!

The Beach Boys, Asbury Park Convention Hall, July 10 1965. Glen Campbell(!) was standing in for Brian, and they premiered(!!) "California Girls," which wouldn't get released to radio for another couple of days. I should add that this was the only Teen Scream show I ever attended.
Robert Plant and Allison Krauss at Forest Hills Stadium, summer of 2022. I'm a fan, but the show struck me as a bit of a snooze. Maybe it was the humidity.
Queen, the Beacon Theater (I think), 1973, touring the first album. The band arrived in NYC trailng clouds of hype; I had been moderately intriqued by the kitchen sink over-production of the debut record, and went into the show ready to be convinced. But boy, did they stink. The sound was heavy metal aural sludge (with a yowling lead singer up front who was way too impressed with himself) that resembled the album not at all. Every song sounded like every other song, and the whole act was massively headache-inducing; if there hadn't been a reliable headliner (can't remember who) on the bill, I would have fled the theater in mid-set. Obviously, I mellowed about Queen over the years as the radio hits kept coming, but it wasn't until the Bohemian Rhapsody film that I finally became a raving fan, mostly because of the memory of that 1973 live show. Boy, did they stink.
Blue Cheer, the Fillmore East, April 1968. Wall to wall Marshall amps (turned to eleven) employed as a weapon of torture by a trio of speed-freak-skinny biker punks who thought they were doing something socially valuable by transforming the surrounding air into cottage cheese. I endured their sonic assault from an 8th row center seat, and it was the only time I ever wished the Fillmore's justifiably celebrated sound system wasn't so good.

The best single concert in a concert-going lifetime? Really?

Not really sure, but if I had to guess, it would be either Springsteen, Southside Johnny, or The Smithereens (who used to play all the time at a club across the street from where I lived). It's a Jersey thing -- you would't understand.

The MC5, Lincoln Park, Chicago, August 1968 during the Democratic Convention and its attendant police riots. Never got to see the 5 anywhere else either, alas.
Buffalo Springfield. I had tickets to see them at (I think) a Murray the K extravaganza in ' 67 or '68, but I got sick and missed it (one of the great regrets of my adult life). Runner up: The Bangles.
I have no idea. What am I -- Kreskin?


steve simels said...

The Queen show was at the Uris with Mott the Hoople in 1974. Obviously, it traumatized me even more than I knew.😀

Anonymous said...

1st: Boston at the Oakland Colisseum Arena, 1978. The performance was good, but it was my first clue that smaller gigs would be my preference.

Most recent: Tedeschi Trucks Band at Amager Bio, Copenhagen 2022. A top band in one of my favorite venues, but a 30 minute break after the first hour killed the momentum a bit.

Worst: A toss-up between two stinkers, the Replacements, San Diego 1985 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the I-Beam, San Francisco on the Freaky Styley tour. The 'Mats were so hammered that the roadie sang about 7 or 8 songs. I left at that point. The Chili Peppers were each in body paint and a single sock and sounded as if they had never met before, let alone played music together.

Loudest: Another toss-up between to excellent shows, The Who, Oakland Colisseum Arena, 1980 and U2/Waterboys at San Francisco Civic Auditorium, Dec. 1984. The Who were just being their normal loud selves. The U2 gig had the bands at typical concert level, but the music in-between sets was much louder. Both wrecked my hearing for days. I've used earplugs at gigs ever since.

Best: Couldn't choose one.

Wish I had seen: Jeff Beck at Amager Bio June 29, 2022. Delayed the purchase and the gig sold out. No chance to correct that mistake!

Bands I wish I saw: 801 (Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno, et al.) One of my favorite live albums. Thelonious Monk and Roland Kirk are two others.

Next concert: This may get pre-empted by another gig, but I have tickets for Peter Gabriel, Royal Arena, Copenhagen, May 30, 2023. I've seen PG several times. Definitely among the best shows I've seen.

- Paul in DK

Alzo said...

I saw the mighty Mott the Hoople on that tour here in Chicago. Queen were the scheduled support act, but for some reason they cancelled and we got to 'enjoy' Kansas.

Alzo said...

Okay, I'll bite.
First: Mott the Hoople/New York Dolls- I forget which venue, but it was as hazy as my memory.

Most Recent: The Strokes, last summer in a benefit for a Congressional candidate whose campaign was blatantly ageist. The old liberal lion she tried to knock off is still there.

Worst: Not musically, but atmospherically. I saw Bad Brains deliberately whip a crowd of skinheads (of all colors) into a violent frenzy- a mini-Altamont.

Loudest: Handsome Dick Manitoba & the Dictators packed enough amplitude for a stadium gig into a small club. Painful, painful.

Best: I've seen James Brown and Iggy Pop, but Bruce Springsteen IS the hardest working man in show-biz.

Seen most often: Jonathan Richman, best appreciated in a small club.

Show I wish I had seen: My future wife and I were going to see the Replacements outdoors, but it was raining so we goofed off. Of course, that was the one where they would break up onstage.

Band I wish I had seen: Creedence. Just a little before my time.

Next show: Sparks are on an endless world tour and are coming back around. A total delight and not to be missed.

JB said...

I'll give this a shot:

First - Alice Cooper Band with The Chambers Bros and Commander Cody. @theSpectrum.

Worst - Steve Miller with Boz Scaggs - what a snooze fest.

Loudest - Heart opening for the Beach Boys. My ears rang for days.

Best - This is an easy one. The Faces. Badfinger opened, I was really there to see them but they did not sound good at all. The Faces had the Spectrum rocking,

Most - David Bowie - probably a dozen times over the years.

Wish I'd Seen - Hendrix.

Sal Nunziato said...

First- John Denver, MSG, 1974. First rock show, Zeppelin, MSG 1975

Most Recent- NRBQ, Jersey City, December 2022. Always outstanding.

Worst Concert- Little Richard, Tramps, 1991 or 1992. He looked and sounded amazing, but he had just released a children's record. So I finally get to see the architect of rock and roll and instead of Bama Lama Bama Loo and Ooh My Soul, he plays "On Top Of Spaghetti" and "Itsy-Bitsy Spider." Lots of preaching, too.

Loudest Concert- Iggy & The Stooges at United Palace. The balcony was shaking and I thought I was going to have a heartache. Left after about 30 minutes.

Best Concert-- This is easy and the answer will never change, Elvis Costello, all five nights on Broadway, 1986. Never experienced anything like that week.

Act You've Seen Most- Todd Rundgren/Utopia- over 100.

Show You Wished You'd Seen- Cream Reunion, MSG 2004, I think, any of The Rat Pack shows at The Sands.

Band You Wish You'd Seen- Like Paul In DK, I am going with 801. What an album!

Next Concert- nothing lined up.

Sal Nunziato said...

*heart attack!

David Derbes said...

Loudest: (no contest) Chicago, roughly October 1969, The Warehouse, Tchopitoulas Street, New Orleans. I had to chew up napkins and stuff hem in my ears. The Warehouse was, surprise, a not that large warehouse with brick walls, absolutely atrocious acoustics, and the loudness was exceedingly painful (I have damaged ears from childhood and family deafness. Ugh.)

Best: Well, I've been really lucky. Probably Rickie Lee Jones in a bar in the summer of 1979, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, just across the Huey P. Long Bridge from New Orleans. No more than 40 people there. I would be surprised if any straight man in the audience (most of us were standing) had not spent the concert in a state of continuous arousal. But I saw (about eight years later) Bonnie Raitt under similar circumstances, again a bar, again a small audience, Carrolton Avenue, New Orleans. Cat Stevens played my college in my freshman year (1970-71) and I thought he was superb.

Concerts I'm really sorry I missed: Across the street from the Maple Leaf, Oak Street, New Orleans, a small venue had in the space of a few weeks Elvis Costello and then the Police for five bucks each. 1978, if I remember correctly. I was overseas and in town for Christmas to see my parents, but couldn't make the shows.

Finally, not the greatest concerts but ones I am very, very glad to have gotten to: Santana, July 1969, New York Pavilion at the old World's Fair site, Flushing. Outdoors. Astounding. Laura Nyro, at the Metro (I think) around 1993. Only time I've ever seen her. Patti Smith, her 70th birthday, about seven years ago at the Riviera, North Chicago, New Year's Eve. (All of Horses. Guest appearance with birthday cake at the break by Michael Stipe.) Also in college, October 1970, James Taylor (basketball court!) with a surprise guest, Joni Mitchell.

BG said...

If Queen had played the Beacon (which seems as though it would have been too small for them), it would have contributed to the aural sludge … worst acoustics in show biz. They didn’t finish the Mott the Hoople tour because Brian May got sick.

First: Beatles at Shea, 1965. Also saw them in 1966.

Most recent: Plant and Krauss. Same assessment as yours - boring.

Worst: Dylan at Barclay’s Center. The croaking dove me crazy, and the orange light was sickening. Knopfler opened. No stage presence.

Loudest: The Dead at the Cafe Au Go Go, 1967. Tiny club. Sat right in front of Weir’s bare feet. Couldn’t hear for three days after (not because of his feet). Stray Cats in Atlantic City … the bass drum was so loud and persistent I felt it in my solar plexus; I thought I was going to puke.

Best: Prince at MSG. Stage was in the middle of the floor. We will not see the likes of him again.

Seen most: Stones, Bruce, Willie Nile … at least six times. U2 and Jeff Beck, five times (although one Beck show he was playing with Imelda May’s band).

Wish I’d seen: Queen in the ‘80’s, Sly and the Family Stone.

Glad I saw: Tom Petty, The Who and Cream at a Murray the K extravaganza in 1967, Terry Reid, Ray Davies’ one man show, Peter Wolf.

Next: Schubert’s 9th conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas at the NY Phil. Hey, I’m versatile.

Gummo said...

First concert: Buzzy Linhart in my high school auditorium. And he was pretty good! First rock concert: Edgar Winter's White Trash and the James Gang at the Capitol Theater.

Most recent: It's been a while. I think it was David Byrne touring behind his American Utopia album before he took it to Broadway; at King's Theater, Brooklyn - either '18 or '19.

Worst: There's been a few but the first that comes to mind is Peter Frampton the summer of Frampton Comes Alive - at that point he coulda gone guitar hero or teen heartthrob - he came out all blow-dried hair and shirt open to the navel and we realized he'd chosen teen heartthrob. Luckily J. Geils opened so it wasn't a total loss.

Loudest: This one's easy: Rolling Stones, summer of '75, Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. My ears rang for 3 days. Runner-up: The Clash at Bond's - I was righ up front but it was so loud I had to move to the back of the room.

Best: Near impossible to choose! The Dead at Roosevelt Stadium, summer '74 - they played for hours & hours until my poor flat feet hurt from standing. A New Year's triple bill at the Palladium in NYC of Television, John Cale and Patti Smith. 'Nuff said. A double bill summer of '78 at the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park of the B-52s and Talking Heads. Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review in 1975. Also the Who in 1975 - my only time to see Moon. Keith Richards solo at the Beacon. David Byrne at the Prospect Park bandshell in 2005. Prince at MSG while the missus & I both had the flu but refused to miss that show! And we had no regrets!

Act I've seen the most times: The Grateful Dead. Duh.

Show You Wish You'd Seen: Any Beatles show (I hate you, BG!)

Act You Wish You'd Seen: Morphine. We were planning to see them when the leader of the band died.

Next Concert: I dunnno, the pandemic has really gotten me out of the concert habit. We'll see.

Gummo said...

No, I'm wrong - pretty sure my most recent was The Floor Models reunion show! And a memorable night it was!

cthulhu said...

First: Eagles on the Hotel California tour, 1977. Not everyone’s cup of tea but they were great, and Joe Walsh in particular was awesome.

Most Recent: The Who, November 2022. Excellent show; Townshend was having sound trouble all night but pretty much any show when Pete is engaged, for good or ill, is great.

Worst: this is difficult for me; I really haven’t seen any really bad shows. Maybe Hall&Oates opening for ELO, 1981.

Loudest: ELO in 1981, our seats were close to the speakers by the side of the stage and my ears rang for three days. Last show I saw without some kind of ear protection.

Best, in no particular order:
Richard Thompson solo acoustic is a 100-seat club, a few months before Rumor&Sigh came out; we got a preview of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning among others.

Pete Townshend, solo acoustic in a 400 seat theater, in 2001. A true once-in-a-lifetime show.

The Who, doing Quadrophenia, in 2013; Zac Starkey came down with tendinitis and was replaced by Scott Devours (who had drummed for Daltrey’s band before) on a few hours notice and one runthrough. Yes, you heard that right - the drummer played Quadrophenia for 12,000 people after one runthrough. And it was great, the whole band seemed finders off the audacity of the whole thing.

Seen the most: Richard Thompson, a dozen times.

Show I wish I’d seen: Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton, their 2008 tour. The DVD of the MSG shows is spectacular.

Band I wish I’d seen: The Who with Moon; Cream

Next show: nothing on the schedule yet

Cleveland Jeff said...

First: Rolling Stones (I was ten, my brother's date got sick)
Most Recent: Allen Toussaint
Worst: Grateful Dead
Loudest: Wilco
Best: Neville Brothers at Tipitina's
Seen Most: Don Dixon and Marti Jones
Show Wish Seen: Roy Orbison Black and White Night
Band Wish I'd Seen: Calexico
Next Concert: Mitsuko Uchida

Anonymous said...

First: The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. I know.. my parents dropped me off and picked me up after the show. It was a different time.
Most Recent: The final night of the Monkees last tour at the Greek Theater.
Worst: Fleetwood Mac at the LA Forum - sometime in the late 70's. Apex of insanity/apathy on stage
Loudest: The Tubes at the Cal State Fullerton Gymnasium. A basketball court is not designed for rock and roll.
Best: Hendrix at the Forum. I've never seen anyone play like him. Ever.
Seen Most: Jethro Tull. So sue me.
Show Wish Seen: Bowie and the Spiders at the Santa Monica Civic
Band Wish I'd Seen: Love
Next Concert: Good question

dave said...

First: the Banana Splits at Selland Arena in lovely Fresno - the summer of '69.

Most Recent: Elvis Costello with Alain Touissant, about ten years ago.

Worst: the Eagles, the year before they added Joe Walsh. Way too mellow!

Loudest: the Who, indoors at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. My ears still ring!

Best: have to give it to Bruce and the E Street Band, December 1978;/ at Winterland.

Seen Most: Elvis Costello

Wish I'd Seen: Hendrix

Next Concert: One that lets old people sit!

M. Bouffant said...

First: Steppenwolf at Seattle's Eagles Auditorium, July '68.

Other interesting Eagles Auditorium gigs:
Electric Flag, Silver Apples August '68

Jeff Beck Group (W/ Rod the mod), Chicago Transit Authority, Thanksgiving Eve '68

Muddy Waters, Spirit, Feb. '68

Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, Guess Who, Alice Cooper, April '69.

One more from Seattle, May '69 Led Zeppelin played a free gig at the Aqua Theatre in Green Lake. A Zep roadie invited me, my friend & our dates to sit on the stage, which we did. In retrospect I wonder if they were after our 15-yr. old gal pals, but no further moves or offers were made. Page played a theremin, too.


Most seen? Couldn't say for sure, but it's probably the Mothers or the Angry Samoans.

M. Bouffant said...

Mott The Hoople: Saw them at the Fillmore West in Dec. 1970. Opening act was Bobby Blue Bland, who had a one-armed trumpeter in the band, then Mott (two younger guys near me were trying to decide if Ian Hunter was a "girl") & the headliner was the Mothers. said...

I am going to be # 18 on this list but at
72 I hopefully have a bit more insight.
So. Let's do these questions-
1. Best concert - toss up
Cream / Blind Faith
2. Worst - Hendrix
3. Loudest - Mountain
4. Missed Janis / Doors
5. Most Intimate - sitting next to Neil Young and Crazy Horse - 3' said...

Let me add one more
Saw Chicago at the Fillmore
Had know idea who they were
They came across like a Sherman
Tank division- blew me away said...

Reading through these lists ,
Most Surprised - Springsteen/ E Street
An aside - Ian / Mott lived near us
He would occasionally show up to
see a friend of ours - nice guy

danny1959 said...

First: Cheap Trick 1978
Last: Steven Wilson in Mexico City
Worst: (Tie) B.B. King and Little Richard (both at the end of their careers)
Loudest: Average White Band and Tower of Power
Best: (Tie) Steely Dan doing The Royal Scam at The Beacon Theatre and Heart doing "Stairway to Heaven" with a full gospel choir
Most: Steely Dan
Show Wish: Elton John at The Troubador
Band Wish: Mott the Hoople

rockwell said...

Firstly, it's great to have you back at the controls, Steve!
Now to the business at hand --

FIRST CONCERT: Probably MASON PROFFIT, Fall 1970, in my hometown of Missoula, Montana. A pretty good, almost forgotten band.

FIRST "BIG" CONCERT: THE ROLLING STONES, June 4, 1972, (afternoon show) Coliseum, Seattle, WA (my first visit to Seattle!). STEVIE WONDER was the opening act, as he was throughout the Stones 1972 tour. The Stones have always been my faves and this was the first of many Stones shows for me. The only time I ever saw them with Mick Taylor in the band.

MOST RECENT CONCERT(S): THE ROLLING STONES, August 14, 2019, Century Link Field, Seattle, WA; BRIAN WILSON/THE ZOMBIES, September 16, 2019, Paramount Theater, Seattle, WA; ELTON JOHN, September 17, 2019, Tacomadome, Tacoma, WA.

LOUDEST CONCERT: DWIGHT YOAKAM, September 26, 2016, Wilma Theater, Missoula, Montana. I don't know much about him and I couldn't decipher a word of any of his songs. He never played a quiet ballad, just white noise though the whole show. A real disappointment.

ACT YOU'VE SEEN THE MOST TIMES: The STONES, natch! (12 times -- and counting!)

OTHER NOTABLE GREAT SHOWS: BOB DYLAN AND THE BAND, February 9, 1974, (evening show) Coliseum, Seattle, WA. His momentous return to touring; the Band played their own songs, too. See "Before the Flood." THE WHO, October 15, 1976, Coliseum, Seattle, WA. My first Who show and one of the very last shows Keith Moon ever played. He did his quirky introduction to their "Tommy" section. I believe he dedicated it to the Queen and a couple of other eminences. The band was in vintage form.

SHOW I WISH I'D SEEN: BOB DYLAN, January 1980, Opera House, Spokane, WA. I was a student living in Spokane and could have gone, but I skipped it because he was in his Christian phase and I didn't want to be preached to. Big mistake. After listening to "Trouble No More" in the Bootleg Series, I really wish I had gone to that one.

BAND I WISH I'D SEEN: THE KINKS in the late '60s - early '70s. I came close to seeing them in early 1985 at the Paramount in Seattle, but arrived one day too late. I DID see JAMES BROWN in the same venue a couple nights later (March 2 1985), however, along with "The Queens of Soul:" MARY WELLS, MARTHA REEVES, and ETTA JAMES. That was outstanding! ALSO: CHUCK BERRY, September 1972, University Center Ballroom University of Montana, Missoula. I skipped seeing a legend. Inexcusable!

NEXT CONCERT(S): I've got tickets for RINGO STARR AND HIS ALL-STARR BAND in Las Vegas on May 24, and ROBERT PLANT AND ALISON KRAUSS in Bonner, Montana, (near Missoula) on June 20. I'm finally getting back into the concert game! I hope you're wrong about Plant and Krauss, Steve, and it turns out to be a great show.

That was a fun exercise. Thanks for the memories, everyone!

rockwell said...

HIGHLIGHTS OF RECENT SHOWS (ABOVE): STONES: The Stones were still amazing 47 years since the first time I saw them! One of Charlie Watts' very last shows, so memorable for that reason alone. BRIAN WILSON: Blondie Chaplin sang and played on "Sail on Sailor." Colin Blunstone (Zombies) guested and sang "God Only Knows" an inspired pairing of singer and song. Brian presided more than performed, but with his crack band (Darian Sahanaja and the rest of the WONDERMINTS) reproducing all of the sounds of his music, it was still a great concert. They featured the "Friends" album, playing several songs, which was cool! ZOMBIES: The Zombies performed all of "Odessey and Oracle" in the same sequence as the album. After seeing them, I'm now a big fan! ELTON: I'm not a huge fan, but my friend wanted to see him. I've got to say he was stupendous. I was impressed that he still has a couple of the same musicians he has played with since his beginnings in the early 1970s (Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper, I believe).

WORST CONCERT: I'm drawing a blank here. They've been mainly great!

BEST STONES CONCERTS I'VE SEEN: Seattle '72 (played several songs from "Exile," including "Loving Cup"); November 2, 1989, BC Place, Vancouver, BC (played "2000 Light Years from Home" and a smoking "Gimme Shelter"); February 4, 1999, Delta Center, Salt Lake City, UT (I got seats on the floor four rows from the stage next to the runway, and slapped pinkies with Keith and Charlie on their way to the B-stage!); October 4, 2006, Washington-Grizzly Stadium, University of Montana, Missoula (playing in my native city at my alma mater; I took the wife and kids!). My late wife saw the Stones with me SIX TIMES!

BAND I FEEL FORTUNATE TO HAVE SEEN: PROCOL HARUM, August 12, 2012, Mountain View Plaza, Snowqualmie, WA. They opened for YES, who I sat through, but I was there for PH. Their appearances in my part of the world were infrequent, and I love their music, so I was glad I made it. And I owe my discovery of them to you, Steve, thanks to your debut feature in the magazine formerly known as Stereo Review. It was their last show ever in the Northwest. Gary Brooker, RIP.