Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Best Concerts Ever

It has been awhile since I posted any top 5 lists. So, I thought I’d do something a little different today, meaning that this one is even more subjective than all the others. So, I present to you, my humble readers, the top 5 Concerts I have personally experienced.

5. Leftover Salmon – May 2, 2000 – Knoxville, TN

The Salmon are an eclectic mix of bluegrass, country, Cajun, southern rock and boogie. We go front row tickets at the Bijou and smiled every minute of it. There music is all about fun, and I danced my little rump off until the last cord. These guys made sounds come out of the mandolin and banjo I wouldn’t have thought possible.

4. Lucinda Williams – September 25, 2001 – Bloomington, IN

Lucinda is one of my all time favorite musical acts. We got there early and were rewarded with spots right off the stage (there were no seats) and to the left. Dressed in a low cut, red tank top and tight fitting blue jeans, Lucinda was dressed to please, and she did just that. I would have preferred it if the band had stretched some of the songs a bit, but what they left out in improvisation, they more than made up for with energy. She sang all my favorite songs, and a few that quickly became new favorites.

3. Ratdog – April 10, 2001

I’ve seen Ratdog several times before, but this was my favorite performance. I decided to go at the last minute, on a whim, and I’m glad I did. It was a mixed setlist, containing both songs I really don’t like and some of my very favorites. But even on the crappy songs they played tremendously.

2. Furthur Festival – June 25, 1998 – Atlanta, GA

Through various circumstances I was never able to see the real Grateful Dead in concert. What I have to live with is their various incarnations minus Jerry Garcia. In the second year of the Furthur Festival, a touring festival featuring members of the Dead as well as other Dead influenced bands, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead (minus drummer Bill Kreutzman) formed The Other Ones. This was the first time since Garcia’s death that all of them were playing together, and the first time they set out playing the old classic Dead songs. It was not a disappointment. The jams were hot and smooth, in fact much of the three hour show seemed like one giant medley of music. It was a perfect time, perfect place and I enjoyed some great music with even better friends.

1. Willie Nelson
I’ve seen Willie Nelson twice: Once at the Brady Theatre, in Tulsa, OK and again at the IU auditorium in Bloomington, Indiana. They were completely different types of shows, and yet I cannot claim that one was better than the other. In Tulsa they took all of the seats out of the theatre to give it a livelier atmosphere. The bar was running plenty of drinks out and the crowd acted like it. Willie’s music was up to the task. He played a huge medley of all of his classic hits without taking a break to say a word. It was loud, obnoxious and fantastic. I’ll never forget Willie standing on the stage with a wrinkled face, and broken guitar running through a Amazing Grace and Uncloudy Day with about 20 bras having been thrown on the stage and the audience saluting their beer mugs to the gospel music. It was quite a time.

In Bloomington, the atmosphere was completely different. It was an academic auditorium and the people were all dressed appropriately. Willie played his songs as songs, pausing between each one to say thank you. The audience sat politely in their seats, except a few moments when they gave an ovation to the giant American flag and his tribute with some patriotic songs. It was vastly different than the crazed party scene I had witnessed before, and yet it was still a wonderful night of music.

That was really tough. There are another of concerts that just barely missed the top five. The Indigo Girls, Sam Bush, and Jamgrass were difficult to cut out. But that's what a top list is for, I guess.

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