Last week, my best friend and I had the privilege of attending the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds concert in Asheville, NC. We had fifth row tickets which didn’t matter in the least. Everyone just started moving towards the front as the band took the stage so we ended up about three people deep as the show started. In the video in the playlist we are on the left side with the guitarist that looks like Darryl from the Walking Dead. It’s kind of funny watching our hands pop up clapping.  There was no opening band and they played about 2.5 hours. We had seen them four years ago in Nashville, but it is a whole ‘nother ballgame at the stage.

Cave obtains energy from the crowd and works it like a carnival barker/street preacher. At 58, he still crowd surfs and stage dives and touches everyone at the stage as he allows them to paw him up and down. His stage dives aren’t maybe as bold as they used to be but at one point I looked up and he landed on top of me. Luckily I was able to raise my hands up and a few other guys held him up. He got up and gave us a look that said “so lame”. His suit felt like silk. I had always assumed that they were cheap throwaways, discarded like Marla Singer’s condom after a tour’s worth of stage sweat.

I only got one decent photo. It takes too much concentration to get them and you miss too much actual entertainment dicking around with the phone. My hat’s off to the people that got recordings for YouTube, but I am just not skilled enough to multitask like that. I am sufficiently goobery to be mesmerized by physical contact with Nick Cave. There is a reason that his art means so much to me. I am actually a different person than I might have been right now because of him. It is sort of a butterfly effect catalyst that reverberated through my life at the time I discovered his music, quite by happenstance.

I would like everyone to relate your favorite concert experiences and post some songs, live if they are available. This can be:

  1. great concerts, or;
  2. notably bad ones, or;
  3. the ones that got away. I never got to see the Grateful Dead and it is a big regret on my part. My ex was a big Dead head and Jerry Garcia died before we could get to a show together.

Here are your dedications:

Spootyjim – I have seen Alice in Chains five times, two with Layne Staley and three with William DuVall. Duvall is an acceptable frontman but AiC will always be Staley for me. The second show, for the Dirt tour in 1992, was my favorite. I still have my tshirt with an X-ray of Layne’s broken foot on it (he was on crutches onstage for some of the tour). That show set up the definition of a perfect concert for me – great live band, small venue, general seating.

Zurvan – Atlanta had these big all-day festivals during the summer in the 90’s called “Big Day Out”. They were put on by a local alternative radio station. In 1995 the band set to play at 2:00pm was replaced with Blind Melon, a very big band upgrade. What normally would have been a build up to the main acts later on was immediately unleashed on the early birds just putting out their blankets. It was raining and did I mention that this was an outdoor venue?. The whole place was transformed into make-shift trampolines, mosh pits and mudslides in the early afternoon. I only knew “No Rain” and did not know that Blind Melon was so good. A month later Shannon Hoon was gone. In this video you can see that he is unwell.

westvirginiarebel – One of my first concerts was AC/DC’s For Those About to Rock, We Salute You tour in 1981. My brother and I stood in a long line around the Omni Arena in an ice storm to get tickets. It was worth it – AC/DC has always put on a great show. I took a friend that looked old enough to get beer and we loaded up before the show since we were basically kids.

Thrill – My best friend and I had another friend back that went to concerts with us. I had tickets to see the AiC “Jar of Flies” album tour but they canceled due to Staley’s growing drug addiction. I was supposed to go with Curt but they subbed in Candlebox. Uh, no. I sold back my tickets and we went to see Offspring instead. That show was way wilder than I thought it would be; lots of leather in the mosh pit. My suede shoes fell off in the mosh pit and I found them against the stage after the show looking pretty rough. Curt is a chemist and he claims he tried to clean them to no avail. He now claims that we saw Candlebox and not Offspring but I know I wouldn’t have gone to see them and I pouted pretty big that they subbed for AiC. I have looked it up, Offspring did several dates in 1995 for the Smash tour all in tiny venues just like I remember.

Santino – I had no exposure to Tragically Hip before they went on their final tour last year. I have another friend on Facebook from Canada and he posted some articles and videos. They look like a very cool band and for some reason they didn’t really make it out of Canada. Here is my favorite selection from their last show. You can see the pain and rage that Downie must be feeling.

Grendel – Worst concert ever – Jethro Tull at Chastain Park c. 1986. Chastain Park is a great venue to go to a concert, IF you are looking for Il Divo or Buckingham/McVie (scheduled for next week). It is nestled in a neighborhood of really really expensive old money homes. You can bring a huge cooler with wine and snacks or a full course meal. As Tull took the stage, Ian Anderson explained to us that they had to keep below a certain (pretty low) decibel level. I was disconcerted, of course. Locomotive Breath should be cranked up until the speakers pop. The crowd booed at the shit show mercilessly until Tull said “fuck it” and left. As we went back to our car we noticed that some people left some biological gifts on the nicely manicured lawns, queued up as if for a round of golf. Whomever scheduled that show should have been removed from the gene pool for sheer idiocy.


  1. The very first rock concert I went to was to see The Smashing Pumpkins in ’96 during their Mellon Collie tour when the band was arguably at the apex of their career. I started coming down with the flu about 2 hours before the concert started, and I was one hurting unit by the time they started the second hour of their set. Even so, it was one of the greatest shows I’ve seen to date.

    Back in April I took the whole family to see Breaking Benjamin in Madison, WI. It was a special event because it was the very first concert for my daughters aged 7 and 10. Breaking Benjamin has always put on a hell of a show, and seeing my kids singing every song word for word for the entire 90 minute set was a parenting win moment. Breaking Benjamin – Breath (Madison WI 4/29/17)/a>. It’s not my video, and we were closer to the back where there was general admission seating. My kids are a little small to take into the crowds, and my wife’s health issues make that dicey at any show I’m at.

    I’ve seen Hatebreed live three times to date. I’ve been to everything from bars to arenas, and they are the single loudest band I have ever heard regardless of the setting. I’ve never had any other band make my ribcage vibrate for an entire show. Hatebreed – I Will Be Heard.

    As for the one that got away, it’s a tossup between Static X and Killswitch Engage during the Howard Johnson years. KSE never really got to my neck of the woods, but Static X was a couple hours away when they were on the Wisconsin Death Trip 10th anniversary tour. I could have called in sick and gone, but it was just far enough away that I didn’t want to make the trip solo. Static X – Push It (Ozzfest 2000)

  2. Here is my favorite selection from their last show.

    I was at that concert. It had been years since I’d seen Tragically Hip (I’ve seen them now about 15 times). It was exhilarating and sad (Gord Downie has incurable brain cancer) all at once. You can tell he had to keep his eye on a monitor to follow the lyrics to some of the songs.

    During the 90s they were the IT band in Canada, and like you said they never made any headway into the US. That didn’t stop them from touring in the US and I saw them in a bar in Grand Rapids Michigan when they were at the height of their popularity in Canada. I’m used to seeing them in sold out arenas or outdoor festivals in front of 20-30 thousand people. It was a treat to be at the stage with only about 1000 fans. During the concert my friend met someone who got us backstage after the concert. I patiently waited behind many people to speak to Gord. When it was my turn, I simply asked him if I could rub his head (it was fully shaved, I was full of beer), he said something to the effect of “Uh, I’d rather you not” and I said “Ah, C’MON!!”, rubbed his head and headed for the exits.

    First time I saw Tragically Hip –

    I didn’t get a chance to see AIC with Layne Staley –

    First time I saw Muse I was blown away –

    Disappointment: I saw Guns N’ Roses and Axl walked off the stage during Paradise City, PARADISE CITY GOD DAMN IT!! In fairness to him he did just got pelted by a full water bottle. I cant believe I actually found the video. You can see him walk off at about 43:00 minute mark, then Duff took over.

  3. Hatebreed – I Will Be Heard.

    Love that one!

    I have done a pretty terrible job with my son and music. He got into country for awhile but he says he’s moving to 60’s music; I need to encourage this. He has an iPhone full of good music and he chooses country.

    Smashing Pumpkins is another one that got away, I think. I am trying to rack my brain to remember if they played any of the Big Day Out festivals before they appeared on my radar. The headliners for the one with Blind Melon in it were Silverchair and The Ramones. Quite frankly, I missed a lot of BDO headliners due to passing out after a day of sun, beer and music.

  4. I didn’t get a chance to see AIC with Layne Staley

    Great selection! That was around the time I saw AiC the first time opening for Megadeth and Anthrax. People just stared at them; that sound was so new, like Marty McFly playing for the 50’s kids.

    Paradise City, PARADISE CITY GOD DAMN IT!!

    Layne got hit with a beer bottle when I saw them and they kept on playing. He had played on crutches so back then he was pretty tough. By the time they cancelled the Jar of Flies tour he obviously didn’t have it in him.

  5. Quite frankly, I missed a lot of BDO headliners due to passing out after a day of sun, beer and music.

    AWESOME!!!! That made me lol 🙂

    I was disappointed the next day after a Killers concert I went to because they didn’t play All These Things That I’ve Done only to find out later, via YouTube, that it was in fact their last song. Completely forgot it.

  6. I loved music festivals when I was younger – the best had to be the Isle of Wight 07. Amy Winehouse in the afternoon with Muse playing the evening set. Next day was Keane followed by The Rolling Stones first festival gig in 30 years. Just epic.

    New Zealand is often the last stop on musicians world tours, so we often get a few amazing gigs. I saw Ed Sheeran last year, and Adele a couple of months ago. Both were their last stop on a world tour, so they were pretty epic (Adele in more of a ‘your mum will love this’ kind of way). We’ve got tickets to Bruno Mars later on in the year, and we’re also going to see Adam Lambert and Queen, which I’ll be interested to see if it’s anything more than a tribute act.

  7. I haven’t been to a concert in many, many years unfortunately. There were some memorable ones though.

    Great concerts: For tops, I’d have to go with the time my sister took me to see Duran Duran on my birthday (we enjoyed their music tremendously in the 80’s, one of the few things we agreed on). It was just a couple of weeks after the 7/7 bombing in London and they did a special performance of Ordinary World.

    I’ve been thinking about it since the London Bridge attack.

    I can’t say I’ve ever been to a bad concert. A couple of more fun acts I’ve seen live:

    Veruca Salt (1996):

    Bush (1996, mandatory!):

    STP: (1997):

    Mindless Self Indulgence (the singer was a hoot):

    Tool (Lateralus Tour, must’ve been 2001 or 2002, I think):

    And one of the greatest performers in rock history:

    For one that got away, I’ll go with Cornell:

  8. There are a few on your list that got away, sadly. I never saw Duran Duran, Tool, Manson or Bush. I saw STP at a Big Day Out Festival and thank you for introducing me to Mindless Self Indulgence.

    I don’t go anywhere nearly as often as I used to. With my son turning 15 this year, perhaps we could do Music Midtown this year, but I gotta confess, I don’t really care for Foster the People.

  9. I know how you feel. My dad listened to old school country and western when I was growing up, and he was horrified when I started listening to alternative rock and heavy metal.

    My oldest daughter listens to J-pop most of the time, and it’s hard for me to suffer. My youngest only knows the title of one Rammstein song, and she asks for it by name. A .500 batting average isn’t too shabby 🙂

    I saw Hatebreed with Devil Driver and Devil You Know at a hole in the wall club back in January. Amazingly powerful show, but it took me about two days to recover, and I don’t have what it takes to mix it up in the pit anymore.

  10. it took me about two days to recover

    Unfortunately, this is a problem for me as well. Most of my concert days are way back at least 15 years. I see a handful now and plan ahead for the couple of wasted days I know are ahead.

  11. I saw Five Finger Death Punch, at Davenport Iowa last year. Was one hell of a fun concert. ME and my buddy got very close to the stage due to our early arrival and the arrangement of fencing between the VIP section and the Non Vip section. Other than having a great time and getting hit on by some tatted brunet with enough tackle in her face to open a shop, nothing much out of the ordinary happened. well prior to FFDP coming on stage we wittiness a line of extremely well made up ladies.. young ladies, dressed as school girls and whatnot, march in line into the trailer behind the stage…… hmm local strippers i assumed..

    I saw Coal Chamber, System of a Down open for Ozzy in 98 at Ozzfest in St Louis..dont remember a lot, maybe that has a bit to due with the free flow of beer, and industrial strength week the guy next to me was smoking out of a old pipe, but i do remember the hot ass female guitarist.. dammshe bounced all over the stage.

  12. As much as I love music, I have not been to too many concerts, more so when I was younger.

    One of my most memorable was seeing Soul Asylum, Matchbox 20, and a relatively unknown band called Semisonic back in the mid 90’s. I really grew to love Semisonic. Their biggest hit was probably Closing Time, but my favorite song of theirs is still “Singing in my Sleep.”.

    Probably the biggest band I’ve seen in concert was Aerosmith. I listened to Sweet Emotion a lot back in the day. I’ve actually seen them twice, though the second one was on my employer as they had them play at a tech conference last year.

    I’ll add a category – Bucket List Band – More than any other band, I’d like to see U2 before I die…or they die. With or Without You.

  13. And one of the greatest performers in rock history

    I’d say I’m a casual Manson fan. In 98 I won tickets to see him play in the burbs in a convention hall. I was pleasantly surprised how great of a performer he is. Fantastic show.

  14. with Muse playing the evening set

    Shows in Toronto are very tame, even at a Muse concert (I get to see them outdoors for the first time this July). My bucketlist includes seeing them play at Wembley or some big show in England.

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