Now that I am retired from gigging I listed the best 10 concerts that I have attended. I’ve spent many years of my life going to concerts but I lost my way in recent years, going to a gig has become a burden to me. I don’t blame anyone for this, the problem is me. I was just tired of the effort required to get to the venue and back, I stopped willing to fight the crowds to get a drink at the bar and grew tired to be pushed around by people trying to get a better spot on the floor. All these things are normal stuff that are supposed to happen in a concerts but it was really annoying me. So in May of 2014 I decided quit going to gigs and now, two years later, I look back at my gigging days and share with you the best bands I saw playing live.
10 - NOFX - Brixton Academy November 04, 2007 & Rancid - Brixton Academy
November 16, 2006
I am going to start this list already cheating, I really wanted to fit both - Rancid and NOFX on this but the only way to do so was to put them tied as my 10th favorite gig, so I did it. Deal with it!
For many years if you asked me what was my favorite band I would say NOFX. That changed lately and I am not really sure if I even have a favorite band anymore. Having said that, I have to acknowledge how fun this gig was because when NOFX truly hit their stride, it’s hard to imagine a more entertaining way to spend an evening. On this show they played all fans favorite songs and also included a light reggae cover of Radio from Rancid. They’re also made fun of people in the front row (Should you be here? You look like a geek!) and talked smack about England, like they always do. But what made this show so special was when they launched into their 18-minute epic The Decline and played it flawless, no mistakes. Definitely one of the best musical experiences of my life.
With no new record to promote, this gig was purely a thank you to the fans. Rancid played a greatest hits set and recorded a DVD that, for some reason, was never released. But that doesn’t matter because we were treated to a truly luxurious trip through the group’s mighty back catalogue, with almost every crowd-pleasing song being played. From the opener Radio, through many songs of the 1995’s classic… And Out Come The Wolves to the always special treat of the much loved Operation Ivy song Knowledge. The best part of the whole night though was something completely unexpected - an acoustic encore. Playing amazing unplugged versions of Fall Back Down and Lars' To Have And To Have Not - Rancid managed to rock our socks off that night.
09 - Butch Walker - The Borderline August 7, 2013
Butch Walker is better known as an in-demand producer for artists like Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Panic! At The Disco and Pink. He was also the band leader of the Marvelous 3 and now he is a solo artist. I was fortunate enough to catch an intimate, one man show that he did in this small club in London and it was Amazing! Butch has an authentic stamp of aura around him. When you watch him perform, you feel like you’ve known him intimately for years. It feels like he is just your very talented old friend that is back in town after a successful world tour. He is such a good performer! Throughout of the 90-minute show, he shifted from the acoustic to electric guitar, keyboard to piano and even hopped on the bar to a quick drink. Lots of fun!
08 - Jay-Z & Kanye West: Watch The Throne tour - O2 Arena - May 18, 2012
In 2011 the multimillionaire american rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West released a joint album, Watch the Throne, and in 2012 the tour of this album stopped in London and I could not resist the opportunity to check them out. The gig was really, really good and for my and all the other twenty thousand fans delight they played numerous tracks from their impressive back catalogue of hits. Jay-Z’s Jigga What, Jigga Who and Big Pimpin’ takes older fans back to the Roc-A-Fella heyday, while West’s did Can’t Tell Me Nothing and All Falls Down. But they were best when they got together for Watch the Throne material. There was an atmosphere and energy in the crowd that you would not find at many other shows. I felt naturally inclined to dance and sing along. The vibe was ecstatic throughout the two and a half hours. The super stars closed their breathtaking set with an extended version of N**s In Paris Jay and Kanye were truly sitting on top of the hip hop throne that night.
07 - The Cure - Madison Square Garden - June 20, 2008
I was visiting NYC and while talking to a friend of a friend I was offered two tickets to see The Cure at the Madison Square Garden even though the tickets price were a bit high I could not pass the opportunity to see The Cure live and go inside MSG both for the first time ever! The energy at the Garden was contagious and the show was so long, probably the longest gig I ever been, the band left no song unturned, they dug deep and came up for air with new tunes as well. The crowd was a mix of young people, middle aged rock fans and traditional goth revelers. Yet we were all there celebrating this great band that has been around for so long and still can deliver.
06 - The Descendents - Brixton Academy - August 24, 2011
The mighty Descendents hit London's Brixton Academy after a massive disappoint show they had a few months earlier, in April at the Shapers Bush Empire. Back then the singer Milo Aukerman, lost his voice and could not perform leaving the singing duties to band mates and other musicians that were watching the show from the backstage. I was really disappointed. But for my surprise a few months later a restitution was announced but they were not offering money back but free tickets to a new performance. Needless to say I was very excited. That is one of my favorite bands and they rarely play live anymore. The performance was everything I could expect from the band, it was fast, fun, very melodic and with a lot of heart. Milo’s voice lasted the whole show this time and the set was packed with classics like Silly Girl and I am The One followed by an encore with two covers from Black Flag. After waiting for so many years to see them live, I was finally vindicated!
So that is it for now, guys. Keep your eyes peeled for the Part 2 next month, see ya.