First, Worst and Best
My first ever rock and roll show was a 4th of July concert up at the old Rice Stadium at the University of Utah. I was 16 years old and still very sheltered from most of the subculture of music that I would soon enough grow to love. The fireworks show was to be preceded by a live performance by Richard Marx. Yes, I paid to see Richard Marx, hair and all! It really wasn’t a bad show, lots of energy, fun music and the crowd was really into things. Some concertgoers were allowed to watch from field level and they packed tight towards the stage. I remember three or four people being helped out by security, overcome by the heat and pressure of the crowd (this is a common site at most of the shows I have attended, but I never expected it at a Richard Marx show). For years, I was embarrassed by this being my first show, but having seen worse and much much better (also being more forgiving of my younger self now) I look back on this with fondness. I had fun, the people I went with had a good time and I don’t regret it.
The worst show I attended has to be the Lilith Fair in 1997. Not because the bands were bad, or the people were annoying, more that the venue was bad; and it rained, cold rain, all day. I was too far away to see anything and the sound quality was poor as well. People having normal conversations around me would often drown out the musicians. Hard to get into a show when you feel like it is being piped over the PA at a mall.
It is very hard to pick the best show I have been seen. Easily in the top five: Halloween show with PIL and Flesh for Lulu where John Lydon abused us verbally all night. Such a fantastic performer. Also up there has to be the TOOL show in 1997. Also, seeing Nitzer Ebb in 1992 was the most energetic and violent show I had ever been a part of. The first time I saw the Cure, also in 1992 was a memorable experience as well. Of the more recent shows, the last time I saw ISIS will stay with me for a long time. I have been to few shows where the band and the crowd seemed to be on the same page emotionally; a truly mystical moment, if I believed in such things. If I had known it would be their last tour, I would have traveled to see them at least one more time.
Remembering this has me wondering about other first shows, worst shows and best shows. Got any good stories to share?