December 6, 2001 4:50 PM   Subscribe

Ok. We know which albums you liked, but what was the single best concert you saw this year, and very importantly, why?
posted by tcobretti (105 comments total)
Mine: Shiner
posted by tcobretti at 4:51 PM on December 6, 2001

Collective Soul @ Trump Marina in Atlantic City, NJ. It was amazing, the band even performed two new tunes, one of which ended up on their greatest hits released a few months later. I saw this show the day after I saw Bon Jovi @ Giants Stadium in NJ, which I thought was the best concert ever until I saw Collective Soul.
posted by riffola at 4:52 PM on December 6, 2001

Art Of Fighting at the punters club, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia; the band are amazing, and the fact that nobody talked at all during the set is another big plus.
posted by cheaily at 4:53 PM on December 6, 2001

Forgot the important part (I suck). I've seen a lot of concerts, and they were one of the most dynamic bands I've seen. Very quiet, very loud, at times pretty frenetic onstage and the drummer is great. The music was alive; they weren't just playing the songs.
posted by tcobretti at 4:54 PM on December 6, 2001

Mrs. Butterworth and The Flapjacks

without a doubt.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:55 PM on December 6, 2001

posted by tcobretti at 4:55 PM on December 6, 2001

What defines an entertaining concert?
posted by tcobretti at 4:56 PM on December 6, 2001

Rush in 1981 on the Moving Pictures tour.

My favorite band at the peak of their powers, it doesn't get any better than that.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 4:58 PM on December 6, 2001

Tortoise. They played at UCLA in a theater and it was awesome. Two encores, even.
posted by hellinskira at 5:05 PM on December 6, 2001

Pixies. LA Palladium. 1989. Every song from Come On Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa and Doolittle. Every B-Side (The Manta Ray, Heaven). Three and a half hours. I should have just stopped going to shows after that. Nothing this year could have compared.

What defines an entertaining concert?

It's entertaining?
posted by eyeballkid at 5:05 PM on December 6, 2001

El Vez at the Great American Music Hall. Why? This guy says it best:
"Fabulous. Magnífico. Ridiculously entertaining. Possibly the most fun one can have with pants on. "
posted by kirkaracha at 5:07 PM on December 6, 2001

tcobretti, I know you're going to get a few snarky comments, such as kafka's, above, and rightly so, for a non-link post, but I'll let that go and answer your question. Of the three concerts I saw this year (Jimmy Buffett, Funky Meters and U2), I'd have to say U2 put on the best show. Barebones, just straight-on the best songs of the best band since 1980. Also, it just seemed the right concert at the right time, post-9/11. Bono and the boys may have played that up a bit too much, but the concert was awesome. A great band on top of their game. Jimmy Buffett also put on a great show, the best out of the 4 Buffett shows I've seen over the years.
posted by msacheson at 5:10 PM on December 6, 2001

Best concert this year was Wilco at the Fillmore a few days ago. Once they got warmed up, they filled the hall with the best sounds they've ever come up with. Plus: they came back and played like 8 songs or more for an encore. Now that's entertaining.
posted by shugashax at 5:10 PM on December 6, 2001

well, some people are answering 'best concert ever', so i'll stab at both

best concert this year:
Belle & Sebastian at the Wiltern, Los Angeles. Jonathan Richman was the opening act. During B&S, there were up to 15 musicians on stage at a time..they sounded great, had fun with the audience, and played a really long set

best concert ever:
Bob Mould at Saratoga Winners, Schenectady, NY (i think it's in schenectady, i get confused)..this venue is more or less an old barn, and this was in October (on my birthday), and was freezing cold. A friend and I ended up chatting with Bob for like 45 minutes before the set, as he hid inside a huge jacket and scarf trying to stay warm. Rasputina (gothic cello rock) was the opening act, and Bob played an intense, very loud acoustic set followed by an encore, solo, with his electric guitar + distortion box. He alone is way louder than most bands.
posted by chacal at 5:13 PM on December 6, 2001

Radiohead, at Grant Park in Chicago. Outdoors, under a full moon. So good, no one gave a damn that it was 98 degrees and 100% humidity.
posted by gsh at 5:18 PM on December 6, 2001

Dave Matthews Band, Giants Stadium, 6/11/01

Thunderstorms threatened the entire evening. The last encore song began. Dave sang

"I look above, the clouds they opened up their hands and let it down...all you could say was let it rain until it washed us all away"

On cue, it *poured*. Lightning and thunder and hail and torrential rain, the band playing in sync with nature for a wonderfully long, extended Two Step jam. One of the most amazing things I've ever been present for. The crowd was through the roof.
posted by tomorama at 5:18 PM on December 6, 2001

Oh, this year, that's what I get for posting from work while I look over my shoulder for the shift cops.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 5:19 PM on December 6, 2001

Van Morrison, The Gaiety, Dublin 1982. 4 encores. ANyone who knows Van Morrison will know that it had to be special. Caravan followed by Shakin All Over. Non plus ultra.
posted by Zootoon at 5:24 PM on December 6, 2001

Joe Strummer -- Worcester Palladium a couple of months ago. The fact that he doesn't allow security to keep people off stage made the beginning of the concert frustrating (people ran up and shouted requests into the microphone in the middle of songs, drunken clowns wouldn't get off stage, etc.), but it also makes for an experience. Where else could you get a 50 year old guy being hauled off stage after dueting with Joe on "Armagideon Time?" Or the third or fourth encore with Joe holding the mic stand over his shoulder to ward off singers? Or a whole room full of people going wild to "Blitzkreig Bop?" Two+ generations screaming out "Rudie Can't Fail?"

A close second to P.J. Harvey twice-- once on her own at the Orpheum in Boston, once opening for U2 at the Fleet Center (they, 2, put on a great show).
posted by yerfatma at 5:25 PM on December 6, 2001

tcobretti, that's a great description of the Shiner experience. Gotta love it.

For me, the best show of '01 was probably Leatherface at Bottom of the Hill in SF. I'd heard of them before but hadn't heard any of their music -- it's good, honest, British, melodic punk rock -- and I was legitimately moved by their presence and obvious dedication. It'd been a while since I'd seen a band like that.
posted by redshifter at 5:26 PM on December 6, 2001

Flogging Molly at the Whisky-A-Go-Go...

That was a fun show....
posted by davros42 at 5:28 PM on December 6, 2001

Now that I'm at it, Bob Dylan, Slane 1984 (supporting acts UB40 and Santana), joined on stage by Van Morrison for Tupelo Honey and then Bono for Blowing in the Wind. Bono had been asked by Bob Dylan moments before if he knew the lyrics. He lied and said "Of course" (who wouldn't). Best improvised lyrics ever. A Bob Dylan interview by Bono subsequently appeared in that great Irish mag Hot Press.
posted by Zootoon at 5:29 PM on December 6, 2001

St Germain, January 2001 at the Wellington Town Hall. God damn, they are great.
posted by animoller at 5:34 PM on December 6, 2001

best concert this year: don't know if you could
call it that, but both shows by the Kamichaos Twins
here in SP. To the sound of Mozart's Requiem, John Kamikaze and Helmut doing wild things like swallowing lightbulbs, swords, walking on glass, etc, etc, and ending with a beautiful suspension to the sound of .... Abba!

best concert ever:

two, which i had the privilege of photographing:

jimmy page and robert plant in istanbul about two years ago.


jello biafra with andreas and max cavalera from sepultura, plus joao gordo from ratos de porao, in the defunct aeroanta, also in SP. Holiday in Cambodia never sounded so good.
posted by ig at 5:37 PM on December 6, 2001

This year?? I don't thin kI've gone to one... best ever?KISS on the reunon tour when they first hit MSG in NY.

KISS always gives a good show (weather you like the music or not) but bringing my wife and younger brother to thier first KISS concert, and them being in makeup was thrilling for me... and seeing 3 generations of fans in the audience (the 6 yr old in the full Ace costume down to the space boots and the beaming father was the best)

posted by niteHawk at 5:40 PM on December 6, 2001

Sigur Ros at St. Andrews Cathedral in Vancouver, hands down. Absolutely mesmerizing, both musically and visually.
posted by icathing at 5:45 PM on December 6, 2001

I saw U2 at the United Center here in Chicago. That was the best concert I've been to.
posted by ktheory at 5:58 PM on December 6, 2001

Ben Folds at the the 40 Watt. Simply amazing. He rocked his new tunes through my face and then did an encore of Ben Folds Five songs that was as long as the show. He played a couple songs that I have never heard before and then brought the house down with a knock-down drag-out version of "song for the dumped." Simply amazing.
posted by untuckedshirts at 6:04 PM on December 6, 2001

Sasha and Digweed at the Mayan, Los Angeles.

Tribal, trance, progessive....breathtaking.
posted by NoMoreLSAT at 6:07 PM on December 6, 2001

Guided By Voices, because it was 6 years in the waiting
posted by dilok at 6:07 PM on December 6, 2001

Sasha and Digweed at the Mayan, Los Angeles.

Tribal, trance, progessive....breathtaking.
posted by NoMoreLSAT at 6:08 PM on December 6, 2001

Ben Folds at the El Rey in Los Angeles. Why? Ben is a piano grandmaster who can ROCK.
posted by hitsman at 6:10 PM on December 6, 2001

You suck, untuckedshirts. Was going to go to that, but forgot all about it. Sad excuse, ain't it? PLus, i saw Bens Fold at On the Bricks and they weren't that great there.
posted by jmd82 at 6:12 PM on December 6, 2001

A toss up between The Lucksmiths and an amazing collaboration between Eugene Chadbourne and Toshi Makihara. Sweet, driving antipodean pop vs. an inspired collision of free jazz and country . . .
posted by ryanshepard at 6:15 PM on December 6, 2001

Chuck Prophet at the Starry Plough. Not only did I meet Etienne de Rocher after the show, the show itself was absolutely great. Watching a man and his wife (and the rest of his band) play a small club together just touched me. I actually began to cry a bit when they started singing cheek-to-cheek out of the same lead mike (the club is too small to provide enough to go around - they just had to make do). Oh yeah, the music was great too. He's the love-child of Tom Waits and Tom Petty. Check out Homemade Blood if you haven't heard of him.
posted by scarabic at 6:28 PM on December 6, 2001

Best concert I went to this year was Lyle Lovett at the Mountain Winery in Sonoma. It was the third time I've seen him and he's always wonderful -- this is a guy who really appreciates his fans. And what an amazing venue for a show.

Worst concert: Madonna in Oakland. A nice piece of well-rehearsed performance art, perhaps, but a lousy concert.
posted by shauna at 6:31 PM on December 6, 2001

built to spill, at the launchpad in albuquerque. in june.

or, you know, my friend's band mugged by bums, because really, how can you go wrong when the singer puts the gutted skin of a teddy bear around his head, with his face going where the teddy bear's was?

i heart my friends.
posted by sugarfish at 6:34 PM on December 6, 2001

Rev. Horton Heat at the House of Blues - New Orleans last week was a good show - good venue, awesome band. Runners up would be Cross Canadian Ragweed at Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar in Austin during SXSW 2001.
posted by deviant at 6:41 PM on December 6, 2001

This has been an amazing year for concerts. First of all, The White Stripes at Bowery Ballroom in March, was it? Mindblowing. Also, Radiohead at Liberty State Park in August. Breathtaking. And then Dylan at the Garden couple weeks back. Stupendous. I can't pick between those three.
posted by edamame at 6:47 PM on December 6, 2001

Mike Watt at the bottom of the hill, because a)it was orignially scheduled for 09/11, and he made a special trip back up from LA after the end of his tour just to play SF b) he's the "living embodiment of punk rock", and I respect how he totes his own gear, schedules his own shows, slings his own gear, and lives outside of the music industry even though he doesn't have to c) he's our greatest living bass player d) Stooges covers!
posted by emptyage at 6:47 PM on December 6, 2001

squarepusher at coachella... cuz he doesn't give a fuck! the bass was so massive that it shook my eyeballs enough to blur my vision. he scared away all the ravers and hippies and downed a bottle of vodka in 45 minutes. suck on that!
posted by afx114 at 6:48 PM on December 6, 2001

a perfect circle back in march at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Its the first time i've ever been to a concert where the band sounded better live than they did on CD. The Aragon is one of the best indoor live venues I've ever been to. I've always been a big fan of TOOL, so a perfect circle would naturally fit my tastes.
posted by ashcraft at 6:53 PM on December 6, 2001

Best show ever? Phish New Year's Eve 2000 at the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation in Florida. 80,000 people in the swamps and a 7 1/2 hours monster set that raged from midnight to sunrise.
posted by muckster at 7:03 PM on December 6, 2001

What I would have given to be there, muckster...
posted by tomorama at 7:04 PM on December 6, 2001

hrmm so many this year. Fishbone at the Metro in Austin. Its been 10 years since i've seen them last and they still make me bounce uncontrollably. Or maybe The Roots at Stubbs. 1st time seeing them live, been waiting a while for that one, though.
posted by jbelshaw at 7:15 PM on December 6, 2001

Minneapolis got screwed this year for the two shows I cared about. So I ended up flying to Seattle to see Radiohead at the Gorge, and driving to Chicago to see Bjork at the Civic Opera House. Both were orgasmic, or something like that.
posted by emoeby at 7:19 PM on December 6, 2001

best this year: pj harvey, without a doubt. i didn't catch many concerts and missed a few i would have love to have seen (circulatory system and u2 among them), but her passion and sexiness and skill blew me the fuck away.

best ever: (warning, self link) neutral milk hotel. this was a little over a year after my dad died (i got in the aeroplane over the sea on the first anniversary of his death), and the catharsis was necessary and incredible; the music was amazing; and because of jeff's up-and-down state i don't know if i'll ever see them again.

runner-ups: sugar before the release of copper blue, tori amos after under the pink, maybe ida?
posted by pxe2000 at 7:28 PM on December 6, 2001

Unfortunately I haven't gone to many shows this year, but my favorite would probably be The Ex @Bottom of the Hill. Why? Because The Ex put on a great show, and I hadn't seen them live yet -- I had long counted them as one of the bands that I must see before I can't anymore.

Nearly as good would be Michael Gira's Angels of Light @Great American Music Hall. The former Swans bandleader is a fantastic entertainer, if you go for his kind of performance. Amber Asylum also played that show. I keep thinking that they're going to be really big someday soon. The other bands that night were really boring though.

Most memorable show however, would have to be Modest Mouse @Warfield. I thought they were mediocre live, but their visuals were remarkable: videos of buildings demolished by explosives played in reverse. The date: September 10.
posted by mlinksva at 7:29 PM on December 6, 2001

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones at Toad's Place in May. The Bosstones aren't my favorite studio band, but the energy they get in a live show is unbeatable.
posted by jed at 7:31 PM on December 6, 2001

Best concert I saw this year was Lucinda Williams at the State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ. Lucinda was amazed at how good the sound coming out of her monitors was, so she and the band just kept playing and playing and playing.... She did songs from every album, I think, except the earliest ones of straight country blues reissued on Smithsonian Folkways. The whole evening was very relaxed and energetic, an interesting combination. The opening act, Ron Sexsmith, was a very pleasant surprise. I hadn't really paid attention to him before, but I walked out a fan.

Best concert I didn't see this year was The Clean at Maxwell's in Hoboken. It was the first time they'd played in the US in 11 years, and I had tickets. I've been a huge fan for about forever. And then airplanes hit the World Trade Center. And I couldn't find my way to Hoboken, because the New Jersey Turnpike, which leads to the Holland Tunnel, was closed off at the Jersey City exit because the tunnel was closed, and I couldn't find my way through Jersey City to Hoboken because I never spend any time in Jersey City, and I didn't have a map. On top of that, the trip was my first view of the ruins in person, albeit from across the river. It was a horrible night. I hope it's not another 11 years before they come back, or I'll have to fly to New Zealand to see them.
posted by geneablogy at 7:34 PM on December 6, 2001

Hmmm, lots of shows this past year for me. Standouts would be Modest Mouse in Toronto, Fu Manchu in Buffalo, and the Queens of the Stoneage in Toronto a month before the new album came out.

On a side note, also saw Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys two more times this year, and they are always worth a trip to see!

Best concert I ever seen? Hands down... nothing can compare to the road trip from hell: three nights in a row of GG Allin! Yeah!
posted by punkrockrat at 7:50 PM on December 6, 2001

I can't afford concerts any more. The only one I've seen in the last year was my kids singing at the Christmas concert in the park by our house.

But it kicked ass.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:18 PM on December 6, 2001

My three favourite shows: Ken Vandermark Five ("The Led Zeppelin of new jazz") at the Now Lounge and Top o the Senator and Bill Grove at the Now Lounge, Toronto.
New jazz pushing the boundaries without being pretentious and the tight interplay among the members. The audiences were dead-quiet at all the shows too; everyone breaking into applause at the end of each tune and back to silent listening.
posted by philfromhavelock at 8:28 PM on December 6, 2001

Trey Anastasio solo tour, Alpine Valley Wisconsin. They had John Medeski along for the ride, and his relentless organ drove the show like hell. I had to gnaw on my hands during set break... I really hope that had to do with the music and not some other affliction.

The Phish break-up is kinda tough on some phans, but if this is what I get to hear besides, I don't mind. There was a raw energy that night that the band hasn't produced since Sugarbush.
posted by Dane at 8:34 PM on December 6, 2001

They Might Be Giants put on a great Halloween concert at the 9:30 Club in DC. TMBG is great live in a small venue, especially when you're standing around with people dressed like zombies, kitchen appliances, superheroes or their mom (among others).
posted by Alison at 8:42 PM on December 6, 2001

best ever: (warning, self link) neutral milk hotel.

So very, very, envious...

Okay, now that I'm over that...here's what my ears liked this year:

First: Concrete Blonde's reunion concert. First time they'd played together in like twelve years. WTC Benefit, week or two after the 11th. Small club, couple of hundred folks, all of us cheering and crying and feeling so happy to be there together. Catharsis, baby!

Second: Flaming Lips. Twice. Had never listened to a single one of their songs, got dragged to the Pasadena show by a friend, I loved them so much I bugged her to drive with me to the San Diego show the following night.

Third: Tenacious D in Los Angeles. Mainly due to the fact that I went to the theatre in hopes of scoring a scalped ticket to the sold out show. Scalpers were asking ridiculous amounts of dough (meaning "more than I had"). I was not happy. I was just about to leave, when, out of the Wiltern Theatre walks Paul Reubens. He spys me looking dejected, walks over to me, asks me if I need a ticket, I say "yeah". He hands me a fourth row ticket, turns on his heel, and disappears back inside. Yes, folks. I got miracled into a Tenacious D show by Pee-Wee freakin' Herman. Sometimes I love L.A.
posted by Optamystic at 8:47 PM on December 6, 2001

And You Will Know Us From the Trail of Dead with Explosions in the Sky at the Abbey (Chicago) a month and a half ago.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 9:04 PM on December 6, 2001

I'm just a statistic by now, but Sigur Ros was the best show I saw this year (in a mediocre venue in Minneapolis known as the Women's Center). And, I know this wasn't the question, but I'm compelled to say it: Best Show Ever: Sonic Youth and Public Enemy 1991.
posted by rex at 10:08 PM on December 6, 2001

The best concert I saw this year was Heather Nova. Why? I guess that would require too much time and space to write about. :)
posted by ckemp at 10:28 PM on December 6, 2001

Jason Webley's last halloween show. After that, The Beta Band and Radiohead this summer. After that, Poe and Depeche Mode this summer. After that, The Cure several years ago.
posted by j.edwards at 10:41 PM on December 6, 2001

Air at the [Corporate Internet Service Provider] Live venue in Atlanta.
posted by Wizzle at 10:47 PM on December 6, 2001

I have two 'best shows' this year:

Doves at the Crocodile Cafe and Low at the Paradox...
posted by black8 at 10:51 PM on December 6, 2001

I saw Les Savy Fav tonight. It was good.
posted by corpse at 11:00 PM on December 6, 2001

I saw Lucinda Williams twice, who was great, with unusually good sound quality for a live show, but my friend, who saw both shows, said that neither was as good as the New Brunswick gig referred to by geneablogy, above. That must have been something.

The Radiohead show in Liberty State Park, NJ, was amazing, and given added resonance, with hindsight, by the backdrop of the downtown NYC skyline, three weeks before September 11.

But the best shows of 2001 that I attended were by Kruder & Dorfmeister, and Rickie Lee Jones.
posted by liam at 11:41 PM on December 6, 2001

Britney - Last night at MSG.

As for why? well, she was hot - and the audience was pretty damn hot too.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:43 PM on December 6, 2001

Gavin Friday, playing 'Ich Liebe Dich', the music of Kurt Weill, six times at the Tivoli Theatre in Dublin. Why? Because it was the spectacular return of a man who for various reasons hasn't been able to play live since 1996. He returned and triumphed - having improved and honed his skills somehow without setting foot near a stage in so many years. He made Kurt Weill's songs his own, brought them alive in front of 6 differing audiences. He nearly collapsed from exhaustion in the process, but no one would have noticed. He is his song incarnate. That's why.

... also, U2. Saw them 12 times this year. Bono taking to the stage only hours after his father passed away. Heartbreaking. Not the best gig, but we won't forget. Paris the first night was beautiful, so was Antwerp and Cologne.
posted by prolific at 12:03 AM on December 7, 2001

ET Lipscratch; it was part of Plankton Exploit.
posted by EngineBeak at 12:25 AM on December 7, 2001

Radiohead, in their hometown gig in Oxford. Wow. Not even the rain could spoil it.
posted by salmacis at 12:47 AM on December 7, 2001

Faithless, last night in Birmingham.
posted by ajbattrick at 12:54 AM on December 7, 2001

I'll be the third to say Lucinda Williams. I saw her at the Warfield in San Francisco. Why? She's the best songwriter of her generation. At least, that was my line before I visited her website just now and saw that Time magazine says so too... so I guess this isn't big news anymore.

Seeing 100% still-steaming bluegrass legends Ralph Stanley (Berkeley, CA) and Raymond Fairchild (Maggie Valley, NC) was pretty swell, too. The latter concert's venue deserves special notice: if you're ever in Haywood County for the warmer half of the year, and you want to see some amazing bluegrass in a barn complete with comedy and spiritual interludes that seem like they belong on a scratchy record from the 50's instead of happening right before your eyes, you must drop by the Maggie Valley Opry House. (See here for the news, and catch a show with R.F. and "Humphammer" for extra kicks.) All the regular musicians are great, and they play hundreds of days a year. Unbelievable. We should have a thread about out-of-the-way music venues that blow your mind just to walk into.
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:37 AM on December 7, 2001

It's a toss-up:

Travis & Remy Zero at Universal Amphitheater - 10.24.01
There are few bands that can put on a show like Travis does. If you enjoy their music and have yet to see them live, you are missing out on 1/3 of the Travis experience. This show, in particular, was quite amazing for a couple of reasons. 1) Travis was in top form and just performed amazingly. 2) In addition to performing a cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" with Remy Zero, dedicated to the heroes in NYC, they played a spot-on cover of AC/DC's "Back In Black."

The Strokes at The Troubadour - 08.03.01
With more buzz and hype than many could possibly live up to, The Strokes put on a stellar show with every bit of heart and soul the band could muster up. I suppose the drinks and/or drugs they had ingested prior to playing seemed to help as well. It was so packed you could barely move and that was just perfect.
posted by whatevrnvrmind at 1:50 AM on December 7, 2001

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra at the Jazz Cafe in London. Absolutely wicked, fantastic vibe and best of all - call and response bits with incredibly difficult responses! Hilarious!

"Now when I say 'hey', you say... 'hmm...boorahchakachahngharhey'"
posted by bifter at 3:05 AM on December 7, 2001

The Orb. De Montfort University, 1991.

I was absolutely off my tits.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:13 AM on December 7, 2001

Wow. Huge toss up. Either A) Air at Avalon in Boston (8/01), B)Tenacious D at Higher Ground in Burlington(10/01), or C) Wilco at Higher Ground (also 10/01). That all could change, though. Tomorrow night is King Crimson and John Paul Jones......
posted by brand-gnu at 5:19 AM on December 7, 2001

Bjork at Radio City Music Hall. 5 October.

Because it was like some kind of fairy tale.
posted by joshua at 5:28 AM on December 7, 2001

Frasermoo: I've got a bootleg of a concert of theirs around that time and it is amazing, I'm very jealous as I never got round to seeing them live.

My best ever has to be Kraftwerk at Tribal Gathering, 1997. It was breathtaking. For the first 6 tracks or so, they stood stock sill behind their machines. Then for the encores, first they ran all over the place with pocket calculators, then they had their robots take over for a bit and finally they came back on stage dressed in tron outfits.

As for this year, I haven't really had the chance to see many concerts, but I'm going to put that right ASAP.
posted by davehat at 5:48 AM on December 7, 2001

Probably Radiohead in the Vaison-la-romaine arena. Once they are on stage these guys are incredible.
posted by nims at 6:00 AM on December 7, 2001

Recently, probably Kronos Quartet, about a month ago. Why? Great musianship and they played music from the 10th century to works composed this year. They also had an intimate question and answer session after the show with anyone who cared to stick around.
All time? Tie between Hendrix at the Carousel Theater (Framingham, MA) in 1969 and Dylan at Plymouth, MA town hall in 1976 (Rolling Thunder) Why? Obvious, plus small venues, charismatic performers, great music.
posted by martk at 6:36 AM on December 7, 2001

This Year: Slayer, Best Ever: Shellac played in a grade school
posted by Instant Enemy at 7:04 AM on December 7, 2001

This year, the Rheostatics toward the end of an 11-night stand at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto.

All time? Maybe the Pixies in 1989. Can't remember the venue, but watching Joey Santiago flip his guitar over and scrape the strings across this thigh and make it music was incredible.
posted by jmcnally at 7:04 AM on December 7, 2001

This year, the Rheostatics toward the end of an 11-night stand at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto.

All time? Maybe the Pixies in 1989. Can't remember the venue, but watching Joey Santiago flip his guitar over and scrape the strings across his thigh and make it music was incredible.
posted by jmcnally at 7:06 AM on December 7, 2001

Of the five (!) U2 shows I attended this year, any of which could be considered the "best" show I saw, the Hamilton, ON, show was the most moving, for very personal reasons I won't get into here. I also had the chance to see PJ Harvey (3 times, once so close I got her water bottle after she was done), Garbage and Stereophonics as openers, any of which I would pay good money to see again (particularly PJ, who makes my marrow quiver).

Take U2 out of the mix, and the best shows I saw this year were the Magnetic Fields at CMU and Ben Folds at M in Pittsburgh. Both were amazing nights, for entirely different reasons: Magnetic Fields for the sheer force of their musicianship, Folds for his (their) remarkable energy.

Runners-up: Radiohead at the Blossom Music Center (great show, grossly mismanaged venue) and Folk Implosion at Club Laga in Pittsburgh. I'm going to see Weezer and Tenacious D tomorrow night; we'll see where that lands on the list.
posted by arco at 7:07 AM on December 7, 2001

The U2 shows at the Fleet Center (June 5, 6, & 8) - First, PJ Harvey opened all 3 of the shows I went to. Second, They went live to the NBA Championship Halftime show, so there was extra energy in the place and third, they also taped the entire June 6 show for the DVD. And the best part, I snuck into the corridor near the upper edge of the heart and was relatively close to the stage for most of the third show.
posted by jerseygirl at 7:11 AM on December 7, 2001

Davehat - i also saw The Orb at Glastonbury a couple of times. Equally awesome. At one of the gigs, they played 'Little Fluffy Clouds' and it started raining. Crowd went mental.
posted by Frasermoo at 7:15 AM on December 7, 2001

For me, best this year would be Echo and the Bunnymen and the Psychedelic Furs a couple of weeks ago. Hey, I had to wait over ten years to see both of them again.Best all time?

That would have to be Lou Reed on the New Sensations tour (also my first concert).
posted by trox at 7:36 AM on December 7, 2001

Certainly, it had to be Wilco's 10/2 show at the Avalon in Boston. Amazing band, tight and truly on-it.
If I can sneak best-ever show in here, it was either The dBs at the Jockey Club in Newport, Ky or Husker Du at the Newport in Columbus, OH.
posted by O Boingo at 7:52 AM on December 7, 2001

I've seen some great concerts this year, but the top two have got to be:

1. Belle and Sebastian on the night of Sept. 11th. I wasn't sure if the show would go on, or even if I wanted to go out, but the band was amazing.

2. Old 97's. I love this band, and they ended up being probably the best concert performers I've ever seen (certainly better than dour "I wish we weren't here" Weezer).

Citizen Lane was also really good, simply because I'd never heard of them until I wound up at their show, and now I have two of their albums. Rock on.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:19 AM on December 7, 2001

Best concert ever was probably Leonard Cohen at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus in maybe 71 or 72. Michelle Phillips was one of the backup singers.

What made this the best of the hundreds of concerts I have seen was, early in the set, a crazy jumped up on stage and started ranting about something. . . .a cop came up and was going to take him away, and Cohen stopped this arrest, sat and talked quietly with the man, holding hands with him, and after awhile of this, invited the rest of the audience onstage with them. . .

So for the rest of the evening, the musicians were in a sea of people sitting on the floor of the stage (I was with my straight sister for this to I didn't go up there).

Another highlight of this evening was someone handing him a glass of champagne, and Cohen pouring a sip onto the micorphone. . .to share with the audience.

Best concert MOMENT was Indigo Girls in Eugene, encoring with Neil Young's Down by the River.

Best concert this year. . .easy. . . Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer
posted by Danf at 8:45 AM on December 7, 2001

Much like davros42 I'd have to say Flogging Molly and The ScotchGreens durring the last week Linda Jemison owned the very classic (And now under new ownership) Doll Hut in Anaheim, CA.
posted by dincognito at 10:49 AM on December 7, 2001

I was at the Bjork show at Radio City Music Hall as well joshua.

It was a magical, magical night.
posted by brittney at 11:28 AM on December 7, 2001

Man... nobody mentioned the Roxy Music tour. Have you no shame? No sense of your history?

Anyhow, Stereolab, P.J. Harvey and Mike Watt were all spectacular shows this year. It's been one of my best since the mid-80's.
posted by coolgeek at 11:56 AM on December 7, 2001

Sigur Ros, Philly-style. Sounds of demented whales singing and angels chanting in slow motion. Weird. Fantastic. Ethereal.

Beta Band, Boston. Single best show I have ever been to. Or maybe that's the four gin and tonics I had before the show talking. Nope. It was the music. I'm convinced...

Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire @ Middle East, Cambridge. What happen? Someone set us up the rock?!? I am turn on! Folk/Swing/Bluegrass/Rock goodness. Oh, the swimming hour...

Winner- Beta Band
posted by kahboom at 12:13 PM on December 7, 2001

Jane's Addiction, Lollapalooza '91, in the middle of the woods in New Jersey somewhere. I had an out of body experience during "Three Days".

Close second: Dinosaur Jr. with My Bloody Valentine at the Avalon in Boston, winter 1992.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:54 PM on December 7, 2001

Ani Difranco, greek theater. Seku Sundiata opened. Amazing.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:24 PM on December 7, 2001

Ever: Smashing Pumpkins, Metro, December 2, 2000. Last show they ever did. Ever. If anyone tells you that it was the United Center show three days prior, slap them. This set lasted for four and a half solid hours. 3 "acts" (electric, acoustic, electric), 4 encores. Silverfuck was the last song. It lasted for thirty-five minutes of pure improvisational insanity. This was unquestionably the most amazing musical catharsis of a band I've ever seen. Billy's voice wavered as he sung the chorus to "For Martha" (a song dedicated to his late mother), he had guest stars galore come on stage (The Frogs did Blissed and Gone, Cheap Trick did Cherub Rock, Billy's dad covered a blues song), and he broke down crying at the end of it all. This was not a concert. It was a religious experience.

In the past year (2001): Orbital, Metro, October 17, 2001. I was front and center at the barrier for a band that has so much musical significance to me that it hurts my brain to ponder it. They put on a fantastic set with one of the most impressive and innovative light shows/stages I've ever seen.

Honorable mention: Crystal Method/Uberzone, Riviera, August 25, 2001. Another front and center show, I picked up Uberzone's thrown-out slipmat. Yay for concert paraphernelia.
posted by nickd at 1:34 PM on December 7, 2001

Jack Johnson at IOTA was a good time. Coincidentally, his album, Brushfire Fairytales is my favorite album of the year.
posted by uftheory at 2:51 PM on December 7, 2001

The best show for me in 2001? By far is has to be TOOL at the Berkeley Community Theater. Real small show, and amazing performance both nights. (So amazing that I caught them three more times on the Arena tour)
posted by darian at 3:21 PM on December 7, 2001

les savvy fav at the golden west in abq, nm.
but the best part was that my friend's band opened for them. not that they managed to rock as hard as les savvy fav, but it was an incredible show.

at one point the lead singer took off for the back of the bar and started batting at the lights over the pool table. he also mic'd the pac man machine.

all around sweetness
posted by clockwork at 3:22 PM on December 7, 2001

a 4 day cruise to key west and cozemel mexico with sister hazel. 400 fans went and i got to meet a lot of them that i had only talked to online before. got to hang out with the guys. and then saw a great show on the last day of the cruise. can't wait for next year.

posted by hazelmeg at 6:37 PM on December 8, 2001

posted by redhead at 10:46 PM on December 8, 2001

This year - Acid Mothers Temple @ Nottingham Social. Four songs, 1 hour 30 minutes. Absolutely fucking unbelievable. Further back; Oooh, sooo many memories. My personal all-time fave would be Supergrass and the Bluetones on the same bill at the Princess Charlotte, either late 94 or early 95. Tiny venue, great bands, great songs. The Manics on the 'Holy Bible' tour at De Montfort University was pretty special. Also, Orbital at Glastonbury '95, a revelation for me, opened my mind to a lot of new things. This years other golden greats include Super Furry Animals at Rock City and Muse at De Montfort Hall, both stunning. Honourable mentions to Stereolab at Glastonbury '98, Portishead (G'98 also) - knee deep in mud, bottle of wine in hand, not a care in the world. Also every Pulp gig I've ever been to.
posted by boneybaloney at 4:17 PM on December 9, 2001

*...hmm, nice*
wild silk - european jazz, simply a piano and a drummer. both tippett and fairclough were on top form, an amusing and interesting journey.
*like seeing menuhin and grappelli*
buena vista social club - cuban son classics, performed by the masters. unbelievable combination of energy and musical ability.
*iceland's latest hit*
sigur ros - new songs, new line-up, but fantastic as ever.

best gig of the year must be orishas and ozomatli double bill, which i missed.
posted by asok at 5:20 AM on December 10, 2001

my three favorite concerts of the year were Radiohead, Ween and Oysterhead. Radiohead was huge, provocative, rockin and so much fun. Ween played at the Beachcomber on Cape Cod which is a really fun place to see good bands. The crowd loved them and Ween tore the roof off for us. Oysterhead is Trey, Les and Stewart Copeland. They played the crappy Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA, but still owned every molecule of air in the place. I'd never seen Copeland play before and the man is simply a musical god. He puts such precise energy and desire into every beat and motion.
posted by Bones423 at 9:22 AM on December 10, 2001

Concerts suck. Why would anyone pay $$$ to fight traffic, sit in the middle of a crowded theatre/stadium, possibly inhaling things that aren't good for them, in the dark, hear songs that are horribly mangled compared to the version that is deemed "perfect" and recorded for history...? See, this is why we have CDs and recorded music -- so that we don't HAVE to endure all that hassle in order to hear music. End rant.
posted by davidmsc at 2:38 PM on April 5, 2002

Just cause the bleating corpse formerly known as Stevie Nicks didn't live up to your lofty expectations is no reason to piss on everyone else's parade.
posted by Optamystic at 8:06 PM on April 6, 2002

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