Today’s questions from Music Memoirs are all about concerts.
What’s the best concert you’ve attended?
I’m going to cheat and name two.
1.Over the Rhine in Kent, OH; April 2005: I traveled a ridiculous distance by car to go see them, was sleep deprived after spending one night driving straight through from Pennsylvania to Michigan and spending the next night sleeping on a floor or a couch or something, followed by more long and tedious driving (in a snowstorm, no less) from Michigan to Ohio. I was more than a little delirious by the time of the concert. This was my first ever Over the Rhine concert, and I was in the company of great friends who loved the group as much as I did. Being an almost-hometown show for the group, there was a very special vibe in the theatre that night. I couldn’t tell you much about the set list now, only that I sat spellbound in a creaky old Ohio theatre listening to new and old songs from one of my favorite bands.
2. Andrew Bird at Millennium Park, Chicago; September 3, 2008: I could name any Andrew Bird show that I’ve seen so far, as they’ve all been “the best” for their own reasons, but this one wins simply because it introduced me to the sheer genius that is an Andrew Bird live show. I’d been a fan for a while, since around the time The Mysterious Production of Eggs was released, but had never had the opportunity to see him perform live before. I’d always managed to miss his shows in Chicago for some reason, but this was a free show downtown, and I wasn’t going to pass it up. From the second that man stepped out on stage and began performing, I knew I was going to see something amazing. I don’t know how anyone could have walked away from that show without being completely blown away.
What’s your dream concert lineup?
There is no good answer to this question. But let’s see… I would probably organize a Dream Festival Lineup if I sat down and really thought about it. One day would be performances from the whole Wainwright clan there, plus their friends and associated acts. Like one of their Christmas concerts, only better and longer. One day would be Classic Rock Music That I Love, Even If Those Artists Aren’t Alive Anymore. And one day would be be so hip and indie that it would make Pitchfork cry. The end.
Smallest/largest concert you’ve attended:
For smallest, I’m going to exclude things like cover bands in bars in my college town, and instead go with the category of “Anything I’ve Ever Seen at Schubas”. I think the Teddy Thompson show I went to was potentially the smallest show I saw there, as I distinctly remember being able to breathe and maybe even back up a few paces from where I was standing. But for the most part, I think all the crowds have been more or less equal there. Even the uber-sold-out Andrew Bird show didn’t make me feel as crushed and claustrophobic as I have at other larger venues (yes, I’m talking to you, House of Blues and your incredibly drunk, rude patrons).
As for largest, if you exclude Lollapalooza, it would probably be the Vote for Change tour (My Morning Jacket, Jurassic 5, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, and Dave Matthews Band) from October 1, 2004. It was held at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA, which has a capacity of 16,000+ for concerts. Anything I saw at Starlake Amphitheater (now known as the Post-Gazette Pavilion) may beat that: it apparently now has a capacity of 23,000+, although I don’t know if it had the same capacity back in the 90s.
One artist you’d like to see in concert:
Hm. I’ve been fortunate to see most of my favorite artists perform. (Of the top 10 from my stats on last.fm, I’ve seen 7 of them.) I’d kind of like to see someone huge and iconic from the classic rock era — Elton John or the Eagles come to mind — but only if I could be sure to have a seat where I could actually see things instead of just looking at the giant screens, and also if that awesome seat didn’t cost ridiculous amounts of money. Of recent artists that I’ve been enjoying, I’d like to see Florence and the Machine, and Thao with the Get Down Stay Downs (who are coming to town but on a night when I’ve already got other plans). I’d also like to see Jason Webley, who doesn’t get out to the Midwest often. I can never just pick one of everything. 🙁