What is the best concert or live musical performance that you have attended?Porcupine Tree (2009), Mumbai India
I had just started to play a few instruments, Porcupine Tree was one of the best concert experience ever. The lights, the sound, the music, the set-list was unmatchable, they put up a perfect live experience.
Current Top 5 Live Performances
1. The Roots -- San Francisco (2001)
2. Dada Life -- Anaheim (2012)
3. The Chemical Brothers -- San Francisco (1999)
4. Machine Gun Kelly -- Atlanta (2013)
5. Gareth Emery -- San Bernardino (2011)
Honorable mention: Steve Aoki, Disclosure, Donald Glaude, Armin van Buuren, Kaskade and Markus Schulz
The Roots' show was a part of their OK Player Tour. The show lasted over three hours, and every minute of it was great. When doors opened at the venue, Questlove was on the turntables spinning records, mostly disco and old school tracks. I can honestly say that in addition to being an elite drummer, he is also an exceptional DJ. This is my favorite by a huge margin.
I've seen Dada Life twice. These guys are just nuts. Mesmerizing to watch. They really know how to make the crowd bounce.
The Chemical Brothers played with Underworld and DJ Shadow. Great lightshow and fantastic music. Pure energy when they're onstage.
I honestly didn't know much about Machine Gun Kelly before watching his show, but he instantly made me a fan. He has built up a solid following over the years through his live shows. He is one of the best showmen you'll ever see. His choppa-style flow never fails, his personality always shines through, his backing band and hype man were great, and he always engages with the crowd. Guest appearance by Ace Hood.
Didn't know much about Gareth Emery when he performed other than the fact that DJ Mag had him ranked as one of the top ten DJs in the world at the time. Epic show. His mix was perfect.
Guns N' Roses 2012 ,Mumbai \m/!
India had seen quite a few rock bands performing in past 3 years,mostly at Bangalore.Not so much in Mumbai where I currently reside. So when Guns N' Roses announced their India tour, with a date for Mumbai I jumped at the first given oppurtunity.
Here's me on the left, with a friend.Being over excited fanboys,we reached early at the venue.Just like the others.
On 2 May 2015 I watched Paul McCartney OUT THERE Tour in Seoul, South Korea and it's one of the most memorable moments in my life. Watching a Beatle in concert is listed in my bucket list and when the Seoul tour date was announced, I went crazy.
I live in Indonesia and I know that there's no way Paul McCartney will have his first tour in Indonesia. Correct me if I am wrong but in Asia, Paul McCartney only made it to Japan (and Philippines when he was still with The Beatles, later he made his first South Korea tour). Both Macca and I won't live forever so I think it's like now or never.
I booked a ticket before I booked my flight and the tickets were sold very fast. Unfortunately I didn't get the front rows, I only got the tribune which was not far from the stage but not that close either. I thought, whatever, I only have one chance to watch a Beatle.
I took a 7 hours flight to Seoul from Jakarta to see Paul McCartney and the trip is memorable because I went to the concert alone.
Paul McCartney arrived on 1 May and I had a chance to greet him at the airport. I was very close to him. The next day I took subway to reach the Jamsil Stadium where the concert was held and I had no idea if subway in Seoul stops operating at 12 AM so on the way back to the hotel I was "forced" to stop at 6 to 7 stations before my stop and it's funny that in the end I had to share a cab with a stranger to reach my hotel.
Some of the best performances and most memorable shows I've seen, in chronological order:
R.E.M. - 4/18/1989 - Capital Centre, Landover, MD. Not too long after Rolling Stone had just deemed them America's Best Rock and Roll Band and this was a breakthrough tour. Furious energy throughout. Tourfilm gives a pretty good sense of what it was like.
Feelies - 5/13/1991 - Gaston Hall, Georgetown University. Beautiful venue and they played all their songs incredibly fast. Bill Million seemed to break a string on every other song.
Ravi Shankar & Alla Rakha - 7/17/1993 - National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. The friggin' National Cathedral! He played 3 ragas if I remember correctly and it was over two hours. I closed my eyes at one point and traveled to far away places in my mind. This is what the best live music should do for you.
Phish - 12/29/1994 - Civic Center, Providence, RI. In the middle of the New Years run, they pulled out an epic version of the song David Bowie. I had always wanted to attend a show where fans agreed that a song was the "definitive version" and this Bowie was the best Bowie every played. It's a rare feeling when you realize that as it's happening right in front of you.
Grateful Dead - 6/26/1994 - Sam Boyd Silver Bowl, Las Vegas, NV. I know, I know, '94 Dead isn't "real Dead" but this was the best Dead show of the 15 I saw. The jam out of Terrapin had Phil and Jerry trading licks and smiles and the group joy was palpable and contagious. The Morning Dew closer, despite the flubbed lyrics, was terrific.
David Grisman Quintet - September 1995 - Aladdin Theatre, Portland, OR. Very emotional show as both the band and audience were mourning the death of Jerry Garcia one month prior. There was nary a dry eye in the house when they played Shalom Aleichem. Before the third and final encore, David asked the audience if we wanted a long one or a short one. We chose a long one and got a 20+ minute Arabia.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - 9/14/1996 - Gorge Ampitheater, George, WA. Torrential downpours couldn't dampen the spirit and only added to the drama of Like a Hurricane. Captured by Jim Jarmusch in Year of the Horse. Neil and the Horse in great form and Patti Smith (with Peter Buck) opened!
Ween - 1/20/1998 - 40 Watt, Athens, GA. The band was chugging Cuervo the whole show and was as drunk as the audience by the end. Still sounded fantastic and it was loud, glorious rock n' roll. We met Gene after and thanked him for the show but he quickly lost interest in our conversation when he realized we didn't have any blow.
Headhunters - 6/13/1998 - Tibetan Freedom Concert - RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. Tons of great bands in their prime (Beastie Boys, Radiohead - with Michael Stipe!, Beck) but I went to see the long-awaited reunion of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. Their debut album is the #2 selling jazz album of all time, behind only Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. Shortly before the Headhunters took the stage, seriously dark and evil clouds descended over the open air stadium. Two songs into the set, lightning struck a young woman about 25 yards away from me and things got pretty scary for a few minutes while we wondered if a stampede would ensue. The band stopped, the audience calmly evacuated the field, and the show was cancelled for the rest of the day. Thankfully, the young woman not only survived, but went on to start a fund for her rescuers. I finally caught the full Headhunters show at the 9:30 Club later that year.
Bob Dylan w/ Joni Mitchell - 11/5/1998 - Cole Field House, College Park, MD. Two legends on the bill, though they didn't play together. The performances were not particularly mind-blowing, but I'm so glad I was there to see it.
Built to Spill - 9/14/2001 - 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. Emotional and cathartic show after losing my mother to cancer on 9/10 and the terrible events of 9/11. For anyone who's ever actually wanted to hear Freebird at a concert (though nobody actually yelled it this time), the version encored at this show absolutely slayed.
Beck - 8/18/2002 - Lincoln Theatre, Washington, D.C. Another beautiful and intimate venue, graced by a solo Beck playing songs from Sea Change. Also saw Jeff Mangum here in 2012 and it was just as powerful. Go to this venue if you have a chance.
Kevn Kinney's Sun Tangled Angel Revival - 2/24/2005 - Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Seeing my best friend (Bryan J. Howard) play bass, with one of the best singer-songwriters ever, in Amsterdam, is something I will never forget. Great show, great times.
Neil Young 11/15/2007 - Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C. Acoustic first set, electric second set. I basically paid $130 to hear Ambulance Blues played live and have zero regrets.
Wilco - 3/30/2010 - The Music Center at Strathmore, Bethesda, MD. Probably the longest show I've ever seen, 37 songs clocking in at almost 4 hours with no set breaks. Fantastic sounding venue. The band cranked out tune after tune without a dull moment.
This question is a tough one for me to answer, because I've been to a lot of concerts and love a lot of bands. But one that stands out in my mind is Queen with Adam Lambert, whom we saw last year. I know a lot of people write-off Queen since Freddie Mercury died, but Adam Lambert more than held his own. He is as flamboyant as Freddie, with a vocal range that is pretty close as well. Roger Taylor & Brian May were phenomenal, even at their advanced age. Lots of theatricality, with several costume changes from Lambert. My fiance saw Queen with Freddie back in the 80's and even he ranked this show up in his top 5 off all-time (and he's been to hundreds of concerts). Adam says during the shows that he doesn't want to replace Freddie, he just wants to honor his memory by putting on the best show he possibly can. And he does.
Another must-see is Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Again, incredibly talented musicians (especially Chris Caffery, one of the lead guitarists and Roddy Chong, one of the two lead violinists) putting on a show that not only sounds good, but is so much fun to watch. Chris and Roddy have SO much energy, it's hard to believe that Chris is 51. If you're a fan of a slightly heavier take on Christmas music, this show is perfect.
For just stripped down vocal ability, Pat Benatar. We saw her in 2016 and I was hoping she would still sound decent. Nope. She blew the doors off with her voice, especially on the song "Hell is For Children." She's a tiny thing, maybe 5 feet tall. But her voice...omg. Upon leaving the show, the only thing I said for a good 5 minutes was "Oh my god. Holy shit. Oh my god." Oh and her husband Neil Giraldo is no slouch on the guitar.
Finally (sorry if you got more than you bargained for), for sheer fun and musicality, Styx is at the top of my "will go see every single time they're in town" list. Tommy Shaw's voice is still flawless, James Young and Tommy can still shred with the best of them, and Ricky & Todd make up a fantastic rhythm section. But the addition (20 years ago) of Lawrence Gowan is what makes them so much fun. The guy has more energy than guys 1/3 his age, and he can play anything on keyboards, no matter if he's facing the keyboard or playing them behind his back. And he can hit those high notes that Dennis de Young is sadly no longer able to hit (we've seen him twice since 2013). Since seeing Styx for the first time as a part of a three band line-up in 2015, and three more times since, they've gone from a band that I enjoyed to one of my all-time favorite bands.
As a bonus, I'll tell you what band I'll never see again. Def Leppard. I've been a DL fan since the early 80's. I had every album and considered them to be one of my all-time favorite bands. I saw them in 2009 and while they didn't sound amazing, it was good enough for a lifelong fan. Then we saw them again in 2015. Joe Elliot's voice is iffy at best, but the backing vocals were horrible. I've since watched recent concert videos to ensure that it wasn't just us, but nope. Bad. Almost cringe-inducing. Which made me realize that when I see a band I love that puts on a bad show, I lose some interest in them. The opposite (see Styx above) is also true. An amazing show can make me fall in love with a band that I had just previously liked.
There have been a few (all of them funded by my daughters, who totally RAWK).
Best visual stage performance: Rush
Mind-bending light and laser show, coupled with some of rocks finest musicians playing some truly iconic tunes...I was amazed at the number of teens who attended that were into the music even more than I was.
Most fun: Dave Matthews Band.
No matter what you may think about Bro. Dave's music, you gotta admit that his band projects a certain infectious enthusiasm. You get the feeling that the band would have had a great time playing without an audience.
Most iconic: John Fogerty and Willy Nelson.
John played his music with the same craftsmanship that made him legendary. Willy probably didn't even know where he was, but still delivered a solid performance.
Biggest party concert: KISS and Aerosmith
KISS put on a great show...it should be great, because they've put on the same show for almost 40 years, so they've gotten pretty good at it. Too many years and too many drugs have not been kind to Steve Tyler, but his cast-iron vocal cords showed that he can still match or beat about any singer.
Most head-banging: RHCP and Snoop Dogg
Snoop lived up to his weed-infused reputation...his tribute to Tupac was memorable and touching. His backing band was solid and totally rocked it.
Anthony didn't have as much hair as I had remembered, but it didn't detract from his head-banging a bit. Flea was as spastic as he is in the videos, and laid out some scalding bass riffs. So much weed was consumed that night, that the pavilion (Walnut Creek, Raleigh, NC) smelled like a fire at a mattress factory, but it didn't detract a bit from the music.
If you'll excuse me, I have to find something to snack on. I have no idea why I'm so hungry...