Thursday, October 9, 2014

On Tour With Ten

A couple friends of Donna and I took their father to see Santana at the Riverside Theater last night as his birthday gift. They are not really Santana fans, but their father/father in-law is and they told him they'd take him. I told my wife to tell them I was jealous and if they needed a stand-in in his place, I would be glad to take it. They went and ended up having a pretty good time.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers - Orpheum, Mpls.
In one of my more recent posts, I mentioned that I went to see the Black Keys and Cage the Elephant with my son. When people mention on Facebook that they are going to see so-and-so, I am usually seething in jealousy. I love concerts and would go to many more if I had willing company. (Not everyone likes who I like.)

Having said that, here's a rundown of my top 10 concerts of all time. I'll try and rank them, with #1 being the best, but reserve the right to shuffle at the whim of any future conversation depending on my mood. Also bear in mind that my favorite bands are not always part of this list. Sometimes they just don't do good concerts (e.g. The Cars, who were always a favorite band, but were robotic and distant onstage.)

Top Ten Concerts (So Far)

  1. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, circa 1980 (The River Tour). Two hour-plus show, amazing energy and the Boss and Clarence. 
  2. George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the Prom Ballroom in St. Paul, 1980. General admission seating, raucous crowd, small venue, sweaty confines and butt kicking rock. I remember being worried when I got to the front door that they were "carding" and I was a few days shy of my 19th birthday. Luckily I got a passover. Came out to find my friend's car battery was dead. We got a jump from a guy with a single cable. (It can be done if you touch each others bumpers.)
  3. Grateful Dead at Alpine Valley. Some things just go together. Will never forget the guy running around naked. Until the cops could catch him, of course.
  4. John Lee Hooker at the Cabooze in Minneapolis. It was epic! Came out in a three piece corduroy suit and hat and rocked the place. His supporting band, The Coast to Coast Blues band was smoking hot.
  5. Eric Clapton for his "August" tour in 1986. This album is still my favorite of all of his. The tour featured Phil Collins on drums which was an extra bonus. Clapton's searing, wandering guitar solos are straight from heaven. Don't forget the cigarette holder on his guitar.
  6. The Rolling Stones, 1981. Main floor with the Stray Cats opening. Oddly enough the Cats almost got booed off the stage. No one had heard of them and their Rockabilly was a tough sell to Stones fans. (Judging from the Cats' subsequent success, it shows you what the Stones fans knew). This wasn't the best concert ever, due in part to bad sound mixing, but still, to see Mick perform and Keith play guitar, well, it's right up there.
  7. Electric Light Orchestra at the St. Paul Civic Center. First concerts are always memorable. This was my first and it had a laser show. I absolutely loved this band and was disappointed there was no stage sized spaceship for this show, as I'd heard there was for others. Word was it was a labor intensive set to assemble. 
  8. The Ramones, at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Buzzsaw punk rock for an hour and a half. Every song sounded the same, and it was still a fantastic show.
  9. Pink Floyd at County Stadium in Milwaukee. Flying pigs, crashing WWII planes, a video show that was second to none. And I saw it all for $5.50. Ask me for details sometime. 
  10. Black Keys and Cage the Elephant. See prior post or Click Here.
Mick Jagger 1981 (Start me up!)
Runners up: Norah Jones, The Church (Madison), Robert Cray (Opening act for others) and PIL/New Order (Marcus Amphitheater).


Of course there's a host of groups and artists I'd wish I'd seen, but that will have to wait for another time.

Blogging off...

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