Monday, 23 March 2009

Tickets! Anyone Want Tickets...?

Some posts ago, I protested that I couldn’t really give an answer to the vexed question of my favourite gig of all time. This was based on the premise that I couldn’t remember them all and even if I could, it was impossible to go back in time and inhabit your younger self to ‘feel the moment’ as it were. Well, since then I have made a concerted effort to create a list of gigs attended and have surprised myself by recalling, with the help of ticket stubs and old diaries, just under 100 occasions where I tried to make myself permanently deaf! There are bound to be more but for the time being this list will suffice. Now, trying to remember them all in any detail is a much more difficult task owing either to too much alcohol at the time or lack of memory now (or both really).

Nevertheless here is a list of 11 gigs that I feel were definitely a fun night out. They may not be the best gigs I have attended but they are events for which I have real memories rather than hindsight imaginings. Nor do they always feature the biggest bands or the best venues but each has a place in my hall of fame.

Curved Air (Hatfield Polytechnic 1972) – My first ever gig. Truly awe-inspiring despite having to leave during the set due to parental curfew. (Huh! How rock ‘n’ roll!) Set me on the path to music as an unpaid career.
Argent (St Albans Civic 1974) – One of my favourite bands of the early 70s. This was one of their last appearances before Russ Ballard left. In the days when musicianship counted for something.
Split Enz (St Albans Civic 1976) – Tim Finn’s weird and wonderful band before little brother Neil took them away from the avant-garde and onto the path of commercial pop.
Talking Heads (Hemel Hempstead Pavilion 1978) – A night throbbing with massive rhythmic integrity and psychosis from a band at their prime.
Martha and the Muffins (Nashville 1979) – Before they were famous, playing the back room at the Nashville pub and filling it with sweaty energy.
The Bangles (Town and Country Club 1985) – 4th July gig gave it a certain poignancy. Who said women can’t play? One of my favourite live bands...ever.
The Smiths (Royal Albert Hall 1986) – Better than I thought it would be. Great tunes and Morrissey on top form complementing the grandeur of the venue.
Siouxsie and the Banshees (Royal Albert Hall 1986) – my favourite of all the gigs of theirs I attended (and there were many). ‘Nightshift’ rules!
Ghost Dance (Riverside Studios Hammersmith 1987) – A solo outing on a whim to see an unknown I’d picked out of the NME and turning out to be one of the best nights of my life. You live for these moments.
All About Eve (Astoria 1988) – Another great live band melding some old fashioned guitar histrionics with Julianne Regan’s fabulous voice.
Go-Go’s (Shepherds Bush Empire 1994) – With The Bangles’ Vicki Peterson filling in for a pregnant Charlotte Caffey, and Belinda Carlisle back in the fold, how could they fail?

So, there you have it and not a mention of Pink Floyd at Knebworth 1975, nor Queen in Hyde Park 1976 but then I never really enjoyed outdoor events. Perhaps I’ll dig out a few more intimate venue favourite gigs for a future post. Or maybe the worst gigs...


TR1-Guy said...

Been quiet for a while... busy cartooning you know... But here's my favorite of all time:
George Harrison's 1974 visit to Chicago on his first and only solo tour of the USA. It was my first ever concert. It was held at the old Chicago Stadium, home for the basketball Bulls and hockey Hawks teams. It was a horrible sounding place, and I was WAY up in the "nose bleed" sections. But all the second-hand pot smoke made the evening enjoyable none the less. I guess it got me going down that path, so to speak! :) Some folks critized George for choice of songs, and his voice was not up to par, but he put on a great show and it was very memorable indeed.

I have seen scores of groups from tiny pubs to hugeg outdoor festivals, but none as memorable as George's concert. Maybe it's the fact that I can actually REMEMBER it helps too, but I ramble.

Honorable mention would be a 1976 Bachman-Turner Overdrive concert that had TWO opening acts; Canada's own Trooper and Chicago's Styx. Both acts blew out their best, and made me worry if the boys from Vancouver were up to the task and they did not disappoint at all. Great stage lighting and a really tight well played set left us all a bit deaf and hoarse. A true sign of a great concert!


musicobsessive said...

Hey Byron! Some great memories there at a time before rock became over-commercialised. You hit the nail on the head saying that these were gigs you actually remembered - that was the prime consideration for my list. I can still recall how I felt and what I saw at the time and for that alone they remain favourite occasions.

Great times. Great memories!