29 December 2009

Favorite Shows of the Decade

OK, so keeping tabs on these things, I was able to go back and see that I've seen right around 850 concerts in the past decade -- ~85 a year! Not too shabby seeing as I also had two children, got a PhD and maintained a happy marriage over the same period.

Here is a limited list of some of my absolute favorites over the past 10 years, with some comments where appropriate; it's possible that more recent shows got more love due to my fading memories

  1. Bonnaroo 2009 -- I have to admit I've never been to a real orgy before, but I imagine it would be something like the weekend I had in Tennesee this past summer. I literally saw live music from noon til 4am every night, discovered tons of great new music, saw plenty of my favorites and had an all-around amazing time. Put it this way, I saw two pretty decent Phish shows and neither was in my top 10 moments of the weekend. That good.
  2. 9/12/2000 One for Woody -- Allen Woody's passing hit me as hard as any musician's passing in the 2000's and this tribute show was utterly befitting the man. With emotions running rampant throughout, the music was both hard-hitting and phenomenal. It was a little bit of everything and a whole lotta love.... and Warren. I'll never forget Haynes singing Low Spark with the videos flashing images of Woody -- powerful stuff. Also notable for the first Phil and Friends lineup with Jimmy/Warren/Rob/Molo which became one of the nastiest bands to play the entire decade.
  3. 10/30-11/1/2009 Phish in Indio -- the perfect weekend.
  4. Panic Halloween run @ UNO 2000 -- WSP played some great weekends in NOLA, but this has to be my favorite.... and they didn't even play on Halloween proper Bustouts, breakouts, blow-outs, special guests and plenty of sickity-sick-sick playing, I don't think I've ever had as much fun at run of shows as I had that weekend in New Orleans.
  5. 9/2003 -- Zorn month @ Tonic -- In September of 2003, John Zorn celebrated his 50th birthday by taking over a month at one of my all-time favorite venues of the decade. I reviewed it here for Jambase but suffice it to say, it was a month to remember (and I only saw a sliver of it!).
  6. 9/17/2005 -- Burton/Lent wedding, Whitehall, NY -- the wedding to end all weddings... Joyce and Bret are the only people I know who not only get a top-notch band (Col Bruce & Codetalkers) to play their wedding, but have a late-night aftershow that tops just about everything else. NYC/Neddy faves Rana played the epic set to end all epic sets in a cloud of smoke (yes, smoke machine in full effect) in a tent in upstate NY. Fuelled by Makers Mark and a whole lotta love and lovely people, it was illegally fun. And the food was pretty darn good, too!
  7. Freaks Ball I-IX -- like my own children, I love them all. Starting in 2001, every year of the decade was marked by a party for the NYC-Freaks that was inevitably the party of the year. It'll be much the same next year and the year after that. So long as I can remember it all in the morning...
  8. 4/28/2001 Phil & Friends @ Asbury Park -- For a while, it seemed the best band on the planet was the "Phil Lesh Quintet" and, undoubtedly, this was my favorite show I saw from these guys. Standing front and center and watching Jimmy Herring and Warren Haynes pick each other's brains clean via the electric guitar was a sight to behold.
  9. 9/10/2001 -- Project Logic @ Wetlands Preserve -- It was the night before the world changed, but all we knew at the time was that the Wetlands was closing and we'd better get boogeyin'! Featuring sweet sit-ins by Mike Gordon and Warren Haynes, the Project kept it going until well into the morning of the 11th. It was the end of an era in more ways in one, but mostly it was a really amazing night (and morning) of music.
  10. 5/4/2003 -- Rock N Bowl New Orleans -- Hanging with two of my favorite people in the world, this turns out to be my favorite Jazzfest show I ever saw. The bill was Snooks Eaglin, Anders Osborne and Sonny Landreth = 3 Louisiana guitar giants... and they all played like giants. So much fun.
  11. 12/1/2006 - MMJ/Duo/Slip @ Electric Factory, Philly -- my review
  12. 1/2008 -- Benevento Residency @ Sullivan Hall -- wow, just wow! Reviews here (1/3/08), here (1/10/08) and here (1/31/08)
  13. ACLFest 2004, 2005, 2007 -- looking back it's hard to separate these. Easily my favorite festival of the decade was ACLFest. Quite perfect for my own personal sensibilities. Hoping to get back there some day and you should make it a point to get there yourself. 2007 reviews day 1 day 2 day 3
  14. 1/20/2005 -- Rana w/ Hell is For Children opener -- whole residency turned me from mere mortal fan to superfan in a matter of a few weeks, but coupled with this opener, whew! Review here.
  15. Krantz/Lefebvre/Carlock: 2/1/2001 @ 55 Bar (1st time), 4/2/2004 @ Tribeca Rock Club, 2/25/2009 - @ Sullivan Hall -- almost every time K3 plays together is absolute magic and utter insanity. Here are three of my favorites including the 1st time (you always remember your first time).
  16. 2/19/2004 - Broken Social Scene @ NYU -- My wife was 7 months pregnant with our second, but still a card-carrying NYU grad student, so we got a babysitter and trekked into this show. The Big Squeeze bulging amongst a small crowd of maybe 100 freshmen and sophomores, the band who's album I dug a whole bunch showed me a new level of awesometown that I couldn't have imagined existed.
  17. 8/29/2003 - Duo w/ Metzger - Zeppelin cruise -- I've had some good ideas in my day, usually no one listens, but this time someone did. The idea was "why doesn't my beloved Duo play a set of Zeppelin;" the facilitator was Jake S. who added some Scott Metzger; the venue was the Half Moon Cruise Ship floating on the east river; the results were rock and roll history. The opening notes of "Song Remain the Same" still give me tingles when I remember that opening riff, but things weren't the same after that night on the boat.
  18. 5/11/2001 -- Randolph & Friends @ Walker St Studio -- some parties just work better than others, and this private gig set up in a loft in Tribeca worked out perfectly. Robert Randolph playing with Marc Ribot, John Medeski, Tony Trischka and others (with a keg tapped in the back) was like some surrealistic fantasy coming true.
  19. 4/26/2002 -- late night "nasty" jam @ Lennox Lounge in Harlem -- speaking of surreal; every once in a while you go to a show and look around and think "what is going on here!?!" This was one of those nights. Perhaps the funkiest show I saw in the decade... ladies and gentlemen, Justin Wallace.
  20. 11/21/2000 Robert Randolph @ Lakeside Lounge -- first time for everything. Just the right amount of whiskey in my system; just the right number of people in the room. The fog in the window and people looking in with a "what's going on in there?" look on their faces. The music, oh that sound! Chills thinking about it.
  21. 7/28/2000 - Panic @ Atlantic City -- I saw a lot of Panic shows in 2000, maybe too many. This one stands out all these years later.
  22. 7/18/2003 - Stephen Malkmus @ Prospect Park Bandshell -- Let's put it this way, Malkmus & Co. were so good the good wife and I stood in the pouring rain the entire set. Even better -- we made our 1 and a half year old daughter sit in a barely-protected stroller in the same downpour.
  23. 2/29 & 3/1 /2008 - Dreamers/Filmworks @ St Ann's Brooklyn -- What would my decade have been like without John Zorn? I could do a best Zorn of the decade list, too... this would be near the top. Review here
  24. 6/20/2004 - Phish @ SPAC -- I will admit that Phish didn't do a whole lot for me between 2000 and 2008, but this night seemed a bit different. With things winding down, the band proved it still had it inside of them. I figured this would be their last shot, so both the kids were in attendance this night on a beautiful night on the lawn in Saratoga.
  25. 3/21/2002 -- Benevento/Russo Duo @ Tap Bar -- first time. Maybe 5-10 people there in the old Tap Bar. And then every other time after that. I do miss the Duo.
  26. 11/6/2001 -- Widespread Panic, Syracuse -- This was a special Panic show for a couple reasons. One is that I took my Dad -- he doesn't know WSP from Adam, but I always trace my love for the band to my discovery of his record collection, so it was great to find that he really enjoyed the show (except drums!) -- and we even got some Blind Faith (Do What You Like). The second reason is that this is the last time I saw Mikey Houser play. The third reason is that it was a really nasty, deep dark Panic show in my hometown. I've made many pilgrimages up to the Cuse for music and rarely has it been worth it. It was worth it on this night.
  27. 10/25/2002 -- Anders Osborne @ loft in SoHo -- The private party by which I will measure all others. You know how there's "drunk" and then there's drunk. The difference between them was the difference between a party/show/night and what transpired in this private space on Houston St. A Halloween to remember.
  28. 12/31/2002 -- Electric Masada/Marc Ribot>Gov't Mule>Robert Walter/Duo -- I had tickets in my hand to see Phish's post-hiatus return @ MSG and parlayed those into 3 shows each of which I am positive I enjoyed more than I would have enjoyed the Garden. One of my all-time favorite NYE's. Review here.
Also: 6/6/2001 -- Russo, Rubano et al @ Lanksy Lounge; 2/17/2001 Snow Core -- Galactic, Claypool et al @ Electric Factory; 4/2/2003 - The Bad Plus @ Joe's Pub (first time); 7/1/2006 - GRAB, Phil, Duo @ Holmdel; 12/31/2004 -- Wilco, Flaming Lips @ MSG NYE; 8/3/2005 Frisell plays Buster Keaton @ Bandshell; 2/9/2007 Midlake, St. Vincent @ Bowery Ballroom

1 comment:

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Phish, i have bought tickets from
http://ticketfront.com/event/Phish-tickets looking forward to it.