June 4, 2007 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Comment Diversions | June 4, 2007 |


A couple of weeks ago, after “The American Idol” piece I wrote, several commenters went off-topic (as you are apt to do) and began kvetching about what a pain in the ass/pointless experience it is to see a live musical act these days — “Nothing I can’t get from the album,” some of you suggested. And while I am sympathetic to a degree — I haven’t seen a stadium show since the overpriced, underwhelming U2/Rage Against Machine spectacle back in the 90s — there’s still almost nothing that beats watching your favorite band or performer rock your face off live and in person. The absolute best shows are downright levitating, and in a smaller, more intimate setting, they are even worth the exorbitant Ticketmaster fees.

So, I put this simple, extremely self-indulgent question to all of you: What are the five best live performances you’ve ever witnessed? Your one most disappointing concert experience? And the one band/performer you always wanted to see live but still haven’t. Go forth and show your cool. Here’s mine, in order of awesomeness:

1. Ben Folds — Smith College, 2004. Last show of the tour — he rocked a shitload of mullets that night.

2. Old Crow Medicine Show — Ithaca, NY, 2006. Ithaca is where they started, and it was their first return in five years — absolutely flooring.

3. Ben Folds Five — Lawrence, KS, 1997. A then unknown Travis opened, and halfway through Five’s set, the electricity on stage went out — Ben did two numbers, A capella, standing on top of the piano.

4. Pearl Jam — Little Rock, AR, 1993. Got dropped to the floor during a crowd surfing excursion. Gotta bloody black eye from a cast in the mosh pit. I returned to school the next morning like a wounded and heroic soldier, back from an epic grunge battle.

5. Dave Mathews Band — Memphis, 1994. This was before the frat boys co-opted them, at a small-outside venue in Memphis — Rusted Root opened. Phillip’s older brother took a leak in a beer bottle, and some stoned chick was too far-gone to notice (“This beer is warm.”) Good times.

Most Disappointing: Ryan Adams — Boston, 2002. Adams stood with his back to the crowd the entire time. What the fuck?

The Band I’ve Always Wanted to See but Haven’t: Crowded House — but now that they’ve reunited, there is still hope.

BenFolds385x292.jpg

Five Concerts

An Afternoon Comment Diversion / Dustin Rowles

Comment Diversions | June 4, 2007 | Comments ()




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