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Best Live Show You've Ever Witnessed? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 21st May 2009
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Beyersound's Avatar
Originally Posted by Nycoel View Post
For me, any show at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO. My first gig was as a production assistant at that Venue in 1988. For some reason, I am remembering and hearing Howard Jones in my head right now.

Beyonce. That girl deserves credit for how hard she works.

Great place, great shows, just wish it wouldn't rain every friggin afternoon there!
Old 28th May 2009
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analogtodd's Avatar

Originally Posted by edwinhurwitz View Post
I saw the Who at Tanglewood in 1970 with Jethro Tull. The Fillmore East put on a series there for two summers. I was only 9 and don't remember much.
Do you have any idea how many times I've watched the WHO Tanglewood 1970 DVD???? Talk about an amazing show!!!!
Old 28th May 2009
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nightchef's Avatar

I think the best live show I've ever witnessed might be the one I just saw: the Bangles at the House of Blues, Boston, May 27 2009.

Holy CRAP they were good. I mean, I wasn't expecting them to suck, obviously, or I wouldn't have bought a ticket....but I really wasn't prepared for how good they were.
Old 28th May 2009
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Fast_Fingers's Avatar

The Roots. I was front row center and they played for hours upon hours with unstoppable energy. I had no idea they had a tuba player, but man did he put out. Guitar shredding, solid rapping, and drum battles. Insane. Even got to high five most of the members at the end.
Old 2nd December 2010
Gear Maniac
DMichaelJohnson's Avatar
Let's rekindle this thread...

What was the saying about Studio 54? "....if you can remember the party, you probably weren't there~!"

Anyway... I saw Crosby, Stills and Nash about 10 years ago in Boston... Had seats left of center in about row 6. I thought, this will be cool...even if they just called it in... I mean how many times can you sing Suite Judy Blue Eyes across 30 years and make it seem like "new"???

In the dark, just before the show, what appeared to be a guitar tech came out and was adjusting the floor monitors and amps on our side of the stage...ultimately kind of blocking our line of sight. My girlfriend at the time went up to the edge of the stage and asked the guy if he could move the equipment back to where it was... (no fear) ...the "guy" looked up and it was Stephen Stills! He started talking to our seating section and moved things around so we had a better view...very cool...

In any event...the show totally rocked... ROCKED... it was as if they were out playing their hearts out for the very first time... With such love and energy for the sheer joy of making music for people... I was blown away...
Old 2nd December 2010
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tourtelot's Avatar
Ahmad Jamal last night at Jazz Alley in Seattle. Going again tonight.

Old 2nd December 2010
Gear Maniac

A couple off the top of my head:

Marillion w/Fish in Rochester NY in 1987
Accept - Cleveland Agora - 1984
Metallica - Variety Theater - Cleveland 1985
Tool - Agora Theater 1996
Joe Satriani - Peabodys Down Under - Cleveland 1988
Wacken Open Air 2000
Kings X - Gretchen Goes to Nebraska tour Cleveland
Trouble and Candlemass - Odeon - Cleveland 2003
Tears For Fears - Music Hall - Cleveland 1985

Probably more I'm forgetting...
Old 2nd December 2010
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boojum's Avatar
The Old Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band at the old (real) Birdland back in, ohhh, 1960?! Egad. Was there music that long ago? He blew the walls down with a very tight, very hip, wonderful band. Gerry was also very healthy that night.

He also very kindly spent about 15 minutes talking to me, along with Symphony Sid, and I was just a nervous kid from the 'burbs who was nuts about jazz. He was gracious, as was Sid. "Rockin' with my boy, Sid, in the City, . . . "
Old 2nd December 2010
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Best Live Show You've Ever Witnessed?

I saw Meat Loaf at the Giant Center in Hershey over summer and it was spectacular. The music was excellent, as well as his showmanship.
Old 2nd December 2010
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by Jax View Post
I saw Stanley Jordan perform about 12 years ago. He had one guitar on a stand that he played chords and rhythm accompaniment and wore the lead guitar. The Stanley Jordan show was less spiritual, but still mind numbing.
Interesting Stanley Jordon story: I was in High School (1983ish). The band I was in was accompanying the "Orchasis" dance troop. They were doing an interpretive dance to a Stanley Jordon song from his first (independent) album. I showed up for rehearsal and there sitting in the middle of the little theater was a still undiscovered Stanley Jordon with his guitar and a little amp and our band's guitarist sitting right in front of him with his jaw on the floor. Apparently Stanley's sister was in the dance troop and convinced him to come out for the week of shows. He was TOTALLY cool and hung out with us lowly high schoolers giving us MANY musical tips and MUCH inspiration.

Other great shows:

Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Riv Theater-Chicago (Before their first Lalapalooza tour)

Ben Harper at the Riv

Prince surprise "after show" gig at the Metro (Chicago) during his Diamonds and Pearls tour (holy [email protected]#t can that guy play guitar AND lead a smoking band). AND I found a bootleg of this show some 10 years later, what a treat to re-live that show on CD.

Jon Brion at Cafe Largo ad-libbing music mashup requests from the audience. This guy is an encyclopedia of Rock.
Old 2nd December 2010
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toneguru's Avatar
Two Foot Yard

Doc Watson

Del McCoury

Fountains of Wayne

Los Popines

For arena shows Pink Floyd is hard to beat.
Old 2nd December 2010
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johnsound's Avatar
Two stand out, although one I've only experienced on DVD, which was The Concert For George Harrison at The Albert Hall. The other was a concert by Colin Towns Mask Orchestra at The South Bank Centre in London, where he'd assembled the cream of British jazz musicians, another seventy orchestral players and Norma Winstone and Maria Pia de Vito. Nothing flashy or showy, just breathtaking music, superbly played. One live track from that concert (albeit fifteen minutes long) can be heard on his album "Dreaming Man With Blue Suede Shoes". It's called 'Shining A Light On God's Footprints' and it's just stunning.

The Concert For George, especially the work done by 'George's Band' is just a supremely uplifting event.


Old 2nd December 2010
Gear Nut
Swamp Thing's Avatar

Hard one... But I'll say Down. Phil Anselmo is one of the best singers of all time and the sound at the concert was great!
Old 3rd December 2010
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rmx16's Avatar

Roger Water's "The Wall" in Philly three weeks ago with my wife heh AMAZING... It was also my kid's first IA hand gig. I think I got a keeperthumbsup

Old 10th December 2010
Gear Head
InvertedPhase's Avatar

Best show or best live audio at big show???

Best show, Steely Dan at the Mann Music Center on their first reunion tour few years back ... Kid Charlamagne and Bodhisahtva (sp?) live.
Police Synchronicity tour at the Orange Bowl in Miami with flock of seagulls and the animals... weird line up but heck of a show.
Best Audio: Real Big venue would be Billy Joel at Hershey Giant Center - the warm up for his big Shea stadium show 2 years ago. Incredible Clair Bros rig, dialed in for a few days of rehearsals there.
(note: Clair uses Hershey to test gear for tours. Main offices are in Lititz PA just down the road. U2's ZooAmerica tour was rehearsed outdoors here for 2 weeks - pretty fun times in the parking lot!)
Smaller Venue: Yes at the Hershey Theatre last year (2009). 2000 seat venue, sounded like a sweet pair of headphones. Was fun to watch the patch changes for Howe and Wakeman from the FOH desk.
Old 10th December 2010
Gear Nut

Pink Floyd Division Bells-NY- 1994
Led Zeppelin-No Quarter-1994

James Brown NY-1995
Old 11th December 2010
Lives for gear

Best concert I've ever seen was Dirty Projectors and the Alarm Will Sound orchestra performing "The Getty Address" at the Barbican in London last summer.

Stunning musically, and it sounded great as well
Old 11th December 2010
Here for the gear

Dave Holland in Edmonton around 2003-2004
Ralph Stanley at the Edmonton Folk Fest, 2007
Les Claypool in Edmonton, 2009
Primus in Edmonton, 2010
Old 11th December 2010
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Beyersound's Avatar
Originally Posted by rmx16 View Post
Roger Water's "The Wall" in Philly three weeks ago with my wife heh AMAZING... It was also my kid's first IA hand gig. I think I got a keeperthumbsup

Very cool! Hope Local 8 isn't still beating up stage managers! heh
Old 11th December 2010
Gear Addict
Horslips - Buffalo, NY 1977

Captain Beefheart, Halloween, Buffalo, NY 1978.

Carlene Carter, Lewiston, NY 1979 (The soundman was forced to use 2 different PA systems, 1 for the band, 1 for vocals & it sounded great!!)

The Country Gentlemen Sunset Park, Lancaster County, PA ~1969

McCoy Tyner Trio - Towne Crier Cafe, Beekman, NY ~1992. I had the privilege of mixing this show. Just incredible!!!

Richard and Linda Thompson - The Chance, Poughkeepsie, NY ~1990
They were in the midst of a very unpleasant divorce, and yet the show was amazing. I have seen Richard perhaps a dozen times and he is always great.
Old 11th December 2010
Lives for gear
hbphotoav's Avatar


Buddy Rich Band at the Akron Ohio Brown Derby restaurant ballroom, winter 1970. About 200 seats. My drummer pal from high school Eddie K and I got tickets in the front row, about nine feet from his kick drum. Wowser.

Steely Dan and Elton John at the Cotton Bowl in late 1972. Steely Dan had just released "Do It Again" and Elton was working on "Yellow Brick Road". Steely Dan was amazing (same basic lineup as played on "Can't Buy a Thrill" and "Pretzel Logic") and Elton finished up with a smokin' encore of "Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting"... which nobody had ever heard before. I also got amazing photos when a stoned couple left their front-row, 50-yard-line aisle seats between the bands and didn't make it back for the headliner. Boo-yah. My borrowed 300mm lens was juuust right...

Joni Mitchell at Heart o' Texas Coliseum in Waco, 1974. Didn't even have a date. This was a Tom Scott Express show in support of "Court and Spark"... one of my "desert island" recordings. Also introduced me to Beyer M500 vocal mics. Ultra tight band... wonderful songs. I also made some great stage photos...

Ashley Cleveland Band in 1996 at 12th & Porter Playroom, a bar and small performance venue here in NashVegas. She had just finished an album of (get this...) hymn arrangements. Stone blues and boogie hymn arrangements. She opened the second set with "Revive Us Again" and 200 people stopped talking and drinking and listened. Awesome set. Awesome band, including Kenny Greenberg (gtr) and Michael Rhodes (bass). Blew the roof off the dump. In the nicest possible way, of course. ( YouTube - Ashley Cleveland "Revive Us Again" )

Finally... 2001 in Washington DC, Dave Brubeck was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by an association I photograph every year. He was introduced by his biographer (and an amazing pianist in his own right) John Salmon. After the award was given and received, Brubeck sat down at one of the two 9' grands onstage (side-by-side, not curve-to-curve) and played an amazing solo piece ("Dziekuje", I think... help me, Tomasz...) he composed for a 1958 tour of Poland, the first American jazz musician to perform behind the Iron Curtain ( YouTube - Dave Brubeck 1958 Polish Tour at about 3:27). Then, he invited John Salmon to the second piano for a 25-minute romp through a significant portion of his catalog. The entire room (mainly pianists and piano teachers... maybe 800) was transported. Just two guys on two pianos. Incredible. Oh, for a bit bucket...

Old 11th December 2010
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Boschen's Avatar

Originally Posted by Jax View Post
Who, what, when, where was the best live performance you've ever been at?

Genre doesn't matter. Year doesn't matter. Venue doesn't matter, etc.

Why did the show whoop on your soul so hard?

I saw Stanley Jordan perform about 12 years ago. He had one guitar on a stand that he played chords and rhythm accompaniment and wore the lead guitar. There was a backing band cosisting of standup bass and drums, but they didn't need to be there, and they looked it. I have never heard anything like this done on guitar. He did a version of "Elenor Rigby" that seemed like it was imported straight from a habitable, undiscovered planet where music was developed by altogether different means. The song was still recognizable, but it was something completely different.

My friend and I left that show in utter disbelief of what we had just witnessed. This might all sound a little dramatic, but I'm reflecting on the experience shared by the whole audience. It was one of the two most astounding musical performances I've ever had in my life. The other was Zakir Hussain with Ravi Shankar and other equally proficient accompanists on harmonium and clay drum. I didn't go there expecting to weep at the beauty of it, but I did. The Stanley Jordan show was less spiritual, but still mind numbing.
Years ago, I ran sound for Stanley at a tiny little music hall in Longmont CO. This was well after 'Magic Touch', and his career had slowed, which was why the hall was able to book him. That changed after he stuffed the hall and blew everyone in the room away; in the months afterward I was pleased to see him appearing at numerous other CO venues that were considerably more high-end.

Stanley was a breeze to work with as a solo artist; the PA and room were both good, and this is a guy that would sound amazing plugged into almost anything. He was also approachable and easy-going, a clear winner as a person. He actually joined the sound crew for dinner (!), and as a huge fan, I put him to the question for an hour, which he patiently endured. I made only one musical request: 'Eleanor Rigby'. Stanley seemed surprised; said he hadn't played that song in a long time.

By the end of the show, I thought he'd forgotten, but then he played it as the encore, a slightly different version than the one on the disc, but simply amazing, a musical voyage that left me feeling like I had just witnessed and participated in something truly significant. I was 'transported' to another place during that seven minutes, and I returned to this world was a somehow different person.
Old 12th December 2010
Gear Addict
francois's Avatar
Zappa circa late 70' in Paris that had to be the best performance by all the musicians on stage that I saw
Old 15th December 2010
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I've seen a lot of great shows, but sitting in front of the Art Ensemble of Chicago at Reed College in Oregon in the early 1980s, where Lester Bowie kicked off the show by invoking the sounds of a farm waking up in the morning, complete with roosters and cows and such, all from just his trumpet, was pretty astonishing.
Old 15th December 2010

J Geils gave a show at The Fillmore Detroit back in 2009 - it wasn't really a tour per se as they gave two shows in Boston (their home town) and two shows in Detroit (their 'second home' owing to the tremendous promotion the band always got here). I saw but one of the shows at The Fillmore Detroit.

I hade never seen Geils live until that night...and the crowd was quite simply, electric (and loud). Great, great show (with Peter Wolf in rare form), and arguably the best energy that I have experienced save for their 2010 appearance at DTE Music Theater (AKA Pine Knob for those of us old enough to remember) - so the 2009 show at The Fillmore Detroit and the 2010 show at DTE were life-changing; never have I had as much fun as I did at those two shows.

For all out would have to be when I heard Zappa Plays Zappa back in 2008 (I think) at the Motor City Casino (small venue...maybe 1,000 seats). Dweezil was channeling FZ and the other members of the band were channeling their respective fore-runners. A truly amazing show featuring the ever-challenging music, meter changes, and modalities of FZ...the central scrutinizer.
Old 16th December 2010
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rmx16's Avatar

Jeese McReynolds at the Philly folk fest doing the music of the Greatful Dead.thumbsup

Old 16th December 2010
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My first concert, ABBA changed my life. My brother took me to their concert when I was little. They were at their peak and was ruling the world at that time.

Any band at their peak has a magic. I hate LEGACY concert. Utterly boring.
Old 16th December 2010
The best concert I ever attended was The English Beat at a place called Bogarts (maybe 1500 people), in 1981. It was the original line up, and the only time I've ever seen 1500 people dance non-stop for over an hour, with no violence or injuries. The music was terrific.

The best musical performance I ever witnessed was Big Black at the legendary Jockey Club in Newport, KY (across the river from Cincy) in 1986. I was one of the house sound guys known for my ability to make the house system sing, but Iain Burgess was travelling with the band, and got the system louder and clearer in sound check than I'd ever managed in a show, even with the bands tiny amps! I'd never heard of them, but after they checked with "Jordan, Minnesota" I was on the pay phone next door calling everyone I knew to come hear this terrifying act in person.

It was a miserable, snowy night, so my 6 friends who made it down and the 4 of us working made up the entire audience. No matter. Albini, Durango and Riley tore our heads clean off, and threw down the nastiest most entertaining set I've ever witnessed. A lot of their act was about ambivalence - you didn't quite know where the band stood with respect to the characters in their songs. Is "Fists of Love" pro or con wife-beating? Is "Texas" a good place or bad? By the time they left the stage you knew where they stood, but only after they scared the bejesus out of you with the explanation.

The fact that they delivered so fiercely, with such a tiny audience completely blew me away. Only weeks before Green River had phoned in a performance with similarly weak attendance, and to be fair, most bands half-assed it on bad nights. Not Big Black. I saw them 2 other times in sold-out settings, and will testify they played as hard for 10-12 as they played for 1000-2000. In fact, I've never seen them put on a better show, and in hundreds of nights at the Jockey, no one was ever louder, harder or better than Big Black. I remain in awe.

Old 26th February 2011

Bruce Springsteen & The (Original) East Street Band, The Main Point, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania...July 1973.

Sat in the front row two feet from Bruce. It was the most indelible experience, because he was "acting" out his songs. When he would sing about characters in his songs, you actually thought Bruce was singing to them as if they were in the room! His eyes would dart around as he sung, and it F-ing tripped me out!

Never saw such veritas in a performer since...including Bruce in later shows. David Sancious on keys--whoa! Bruce played the piano, a 60s Martin acoustic and his Telecaster, which at that time had a cool brown leather pick guard he has subsequently replaced. Bruce also played all his own lead guitar, and he has great chops.

His album, Greetings from Asbury Park was available only at the was released two months later to stores. I went the second night to bring my brothers and friends. No one knew him.

I left those shows thinking: "This is the best thing I have ever seen, but the great ones never make it." Two years later, I was walking down Van Ness Street in San Francisco, and saw his mug on the covers of both Time and Newsweek. "Sometimes," the cream really does rise to the top. heh
Old 26th February 2011
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Andy Hamm's Avatar

Sarsfest in Toronto.

The Tea Party were awesome and AC/DC were godly.
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