Thursday, June 26, 2008

25 Concerts

I really should quit doing memes and photo/pencasts and things and write a proper post, especially since Courtney recently described me as a “marvelous, brilliant writer” (I won’t argue with her, because, well, it takes one to know one, right?), and then she told everyone if they’re not reading my blog, they should begin immediately. So, people are going to come over here from her place, find nothing but memes and photos, and think poor Court has lost her mind (something I definitely don’t want them to do). However, I could not resist this truly fun one that I found at Sprite Writes. (And besides, what’s summer for if it isn’t for memes, the “beach reading” of blogs?) So, for all those of you who are sick of the have read/haven’t read/love/hate book lists going around out there, this one might be a bit of a breath of fresh air, looking at music rather than books. Here you go:

Copy this list, leave in the bands/singers you’ve seen perform live, delete the ones you haven’t, and add new ones that you have seen until you reach 25. An asterisk means the previous person had it on his or her list. Two asterisks mean the last two people who did this before you had that band/singer on their lists. Three asterisks, etc.

1. CSN (with or without Y)** — I wish I’d seen them with Y, but alas, not. Still, it was a great outdoor show at an old amusement park with a good friend from college who’d moved to Connecticut for a couple of years not long after I did.

2. Dar Williams** — She’s my cousin. Of course I’ve seen her, and I’m thrilled that she’s on this list and has two asterisks. Oh, and I get to brag and say I bet not many, other than family members, can say that on a number of occasions they’ve had dinner with her parents before a show.

3. Janis Ian** — a few years ago at a folk festival. She’s still wonderful.

4. Sting ** — I saw him twice with The Police, and he once opened up for The Grateful Dead.

(Gee, this means there were only four on this list that I had seen. Let’s see if I can possibly come up with 21 more.)

5. B.B. King – oh man, oh man was he ever GOOD! I think that was definitely the best concert I ever saw.

6. David Bowie – more like watching great theater than a concert. I’d love to see him again, but it’s never happened.

7. The Grateful Dead – about a gazillion times, but I’m only a fringe Deadhead. I mean, I didn’t follow them all over the country, strung out, becoming best friends with complete strangers, and selling falafel and friendship bracelets, or anything. I just happened to live in places that were close to arenas where they came a lot (Madison Square Garden, Giant Stadium, etc.), always had friends (and a brother) who were willing to go, and I loved to hear Jerry Garcia play the guitar.

8. Queen – yep, saw them before poor old Freddy Mercury died, before anyone even knew what AIDS was, I think.

9. Syd Straw with the Golden Palominos – wouldn’t life be grand if I could perform like that?

10. Talking Heads – they came to my college and put on a helluva show the year Stop Making Sense was filmed. Just loved it. I’ve also seen David Byrne solo in New York (and Paul Simon was wandering around in the audience that night).

11. R.E.M. – a number of times. We used to see them down South before anyone knew who they were. Most recently, I saw them at MSG right after the disastrous 2004 election.

12. Jethro Tull – that was my first concert ever at age 13. Pretty impressive, huh?

13. Bruce Springsteen – it took forever, because I wanted to go see him when I was in high school, but Bob and I finally saw him a number of years back at The Meadowlands.

14. Cream – we saw them on their reunion tour a couple of years ago at MSG. I’m telling you, I don’t care how old he is, Eric Clapton is still a hot guitar god.

15. The Jayhawks – Bob and I are a bit obsessed with them. We went down to The Town Hall in Manhattan where they played (and were sold out) and hung around for hours until the poor guy at the ticket booth finally conceded some tickets to us. It was worth it.

16. Marti Jones and Don Dixon – oh, they were just so much fun to see together. I had a tape of that show (Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill) for years, because a friend of a friend had worked sound for them, but it eventually wore out.

17. The Nields – it’s so much fun to watch them bounce all over the stage.

18. The Proclaimers – they played at the infamous Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT and Bob and I were busy shopping in one of our favorite CD stores before the show, and they happened to walk in, so we talked to them (or I should say, Bob talked to them. I don’t do such things).

19. Cowboy Junkies – saw them at Toad’s Place, too. Twice. And we got to go backstage and meet them, because Bob befriended their photographer while hanging around waiting for the show to start.

20. Marshall Crenshaw – I remember dancing so hard, I accidentally kicked off one of my shoes.

21. UB40 – what fun, fun, fun! Everyone was so happy at that show.

22. Guadalcanal Diary – a number of times. They were my favorite “bar band” in their heyday.

23. Iris Dement – she was introduced to us by a friend of Bob’s, who’d interviewed her for a journal article, so after her performance, she’s another one we got to talk to (it pays to hang out with Bob. Somehow, it often means you get to talk to performers).

24. Suzanne Vega – we saw her just last fall at a really cool theater here in Pennsylvania. She was just terrific and very funny.

25. Michelle Shocked – oh, I’d follow her all over the world (even though that's a Marti Jones song) to see her perform. If you ever get the chance, go see her. She’s also very funny and she so obviously loves to play music. (Wish I’d been with Bob. She’s one I would have loved to talk to.)

Actually, I’ve just realized I could go on with many more than 25, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll give you some I almost saw:

  1. Elvis Costello – had a ticket, but got a horrible flu and didn’t get to go
  2. James – again, had a ticket, but a huge blizzard hit Connecticut, and the show was cancelled
  3. Wilco – well, Danny (Jeff Tweedy’s brother-in-law) offered to get me passes when they were in Philadelphia last winter, but that didn’t work out. However, I will see them one day (maybe even with Danny, which would be truly awesome).
  4. Rolling Stones – a guy who wanted to date me called me up the day of the show and told me he had a ticket for me. My sister was coming to Connecticut from North Carolina, so I turned him down (besides, I didn’t want to encourage him).
  5. U2 – another guy who wanted to date me called me up a few days before the show and told me he had a ticket. I already had plans to go to Provincetown that weekend and turned him down.

(From this, you’d think I had lots of guys wanting to date me and offering me tickets to great shows, but in all my single life, that only happened these two times. Both times, it’s really a good thing I didn’t go, but sometimes I find myself thinking, “Rolling Stones? U2? Free tickets? I should have cancelled all plans and just gone, even if Ted Bundy had been offering to take me.”)

Let’s get the music conversations going. I’d love to know who else has seen some of those I’ve seen. If I’ve ever commented on your blog, please consider yourself tagged and do with your tag as you please (no pressure, but you do know that the Queen o’ Memes -- by the way, I found out that some of you who are newer to my blog don’t know how I got that moniker. It was bestowed upon me by Hobs some time ago when I had tagged him for the umpteenth time – has the power to do as she will with those who ignore tags).

Oh, and all right. I promise my next post will be a real one. It might even be about something really substantial (nah. I doubt it).


Anne Camille said...

If I were to do this meme, it would be very short because I've gone to so few rock concerts. I could probably count them on one hand: Bob Dylan, Harry Chapin, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Buffet, BB King. If I could remember the names of the performers I saw with my former husband, I suppose I could count them on the other hand, but they were all country stars that I didn't know who they were, nor did I care. Next week we are going to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Seems weird to be doing this -- it's so out of character for me. Now, if this meme were "25 operas", it would be a different story, but I don't think too many people could name any where near that number.

Anonymous said...

Did you see CSN at Lake Compounce? (I grew up in Connecticut...)

We saw Bruce this winter and I was seriously impressed with his stage presence. I'd definitely pay to see him again.

I'm jealous you got to see REM. They're one of those bands that I would *love* to catch.

I agree with you about the Nields, although I think they were better before the 5-piece band (and Nerissa and David's marriage) broke up.

Emily Barton said...

Cam, lol, you're probably right, since I can list only two operas I've seen in my life.

Sprite, yes, it was Lake Compounce, so my guess is we were at the same show.

Anonymous said...

I actually tried to do this meme but couldn't because I haven't seen that many concerts in my life--I am a disgrace to my musical family. Even my 12-year-old nephew has seen way more (and he's on his own second band!). On your list I've only seen Janis Ian (once at a free concert in Central Park), Sting (with the Police in one of my few stadium concerts in Chicago), David Bowie (but I have no memory of it), and R.E.M. (when Wilco opened up for them at the Hollywood Bowl). The Jayhawks and Suzanne Vega used to play my sister's bar in Chicago but I'm not sure I saw them (but Gary Louris is also in Golden Smog with Jeff) and oh, Jeff also opened for Michelle Shocked which I did see (her brother used to be in Wilco and then left to travel with her). But who could I add to bring the list to 25 unless I could add Uncle Tupelo and Wilco 20 times? Unless people like Steve and Eydie, Dionne Warwick, Sammy Davis Jr., and John Denver (oy!) are allowed! Oh, I did see Simon and Garfunkel once...and I guess I could add all the freaky bands I saw at my sister's bar Lounge Ax.

Emily Barton said...

Danny, I would have thought with your musical family you would have seen all of these and then some! Simon and Garfunkel were on the list I was working from, but I've never seen either (or both), so had to take them off. It doesn't matter who you've seen, though, because if you got to see Wilco and Michelle Shocked in the same show, you need never see anyone else again.

Susan said...

I'm so sad, I have seen maybe three concerts in my life - Foreigner, and The Cult. Yes, I believe it's actually two. this is pathetic! No wonder my teenage son thinks I'm a dinosaur!! I love music, - OH! Lynn Miles! I saw her live at Bluesfest here in Ottawa! Hurrah, it is three performances :-) very very shabby next to yours, but I always preferred books to tickets for concerts!! I did see Sir Yehudi Menuhin live, does that count? 4! I'll let you know if I remember any more.....I know I saw bands play at university, but can't remember tham at all (and I wasn't drinking, I swear!!).

Emily Barton said...

Susan, don't feel bad. I was actually amazed to discover I'd seen as much as I had. And I've forgotten probably half of what I saw in college. (Then again, I WAS drinking. Maybe I've forgotten three-quarters.)