Superlative concerts I have attended

from Seals and Crofts to Sheila E.

Tom PettyLots of fine folks seem to be doing this meme. So what the hey.

First concert: Seals and Crofts, November 12, 1971 in New York City, Boz Scaggs opening.

Last concert: Janet Jackson, July 26, 2018 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. No, wait, I saw Cheap Trick February 7, 2020.

Best concert: I have always said that it was Talking Heads at SPAC or the Temptations at the Colonie Coliseum during the Reunion tour, both from back in the 1980s. Still, Paul McCartney, July 7, 2014, with my daughter rates very high.

Worst concert: Almost certainly Joe Jackson at the Palace Theater in Albany in 1989. I swore I told this story but I couldn’t find it. Jackson, after playing one or two familiar songs, played the entirety of Side 1 of his new album, Blaze of Glory. Then a couple old songs, then the entirety of Side 2.

The audience was ticked and many of them headed for the concession stands or the bathrooms. They returned when he played stuff they knew. I should note that I subsequently bought the album, and I think it’s fine. But playing a half dozen unfamiliar songs is not a way to win over the crowd.

At least Jackson was comprehensible. The 2007 Bob Dylan concert in Albany at the Knick* was awful. Fortunately, the opening acts, Amos Lee and Elvis Costello, were great.

Seen the most: the Temptations; Lucinda Williams; Pete Droge; the Neville Brothers; Crosby, Stills, and Nash – no Young; Joan Armatrading; Sheila E.; and infamously, Joni Mitchell I’ve seen twice each.

Next concert: God only knows.

Most fun concert: Probably Bruce Springsteen in Albany’s Knick* in 2009. Though Elton John c 2000 at the same venue was a hoot. And there was a battle of the bands in San Diego in July 2018, which my niece’s band, Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact won, and I got free drinks.

Loudest: actually, it might have been Sheila E. at the New York State Fairgrounds in September 2019. They crank out the sound so even those not in the audience could hear it.

I need to note a band I saw open for No Doubt in Albany in 1997. I THINK it was MxPx. The sheer constant audio assault was unnerving. The Specials were also on that tour, and a bunch of the idiot kids literally turned their backs on them.

Wish you could see: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

* There’s a venue downtown originally called the Knickerbocker Arena. Then they sold the naming rights and it became one of a number of entities called the Pepsi Arena. Currently, it’s the Times Union Center. I just call it the Knick.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Superlative concerts I have attended”

  1. Sounds like you caught some great concerts. My first concert was CS&N (again, no Young) at Boston Garden, circa 1969, but probably the most remarkable was…..Jimi Hendrix/Band of Gypsies, again at Boston Garden. Blood, Sweat & Tears was the opening act (and they were good) and then Jimi, Billy Cox & Buddy Miles came on, and the joints were lit. My uncle quickly figured that I was one of those stoner types (although back then, candidly I wasn’t). Among some of the best I’ve seen were Grateful Dead (twice, once at Harpur, maybe 1973 and once at U of Rochester 1971), the Byrds (Harpur 1970), John Mayall (Harpur 1970 or maybe 1971) and probably the best concert was….wait for it……
    Miles Davis (Harpur 1970). He had Keith Jarrett playing a Fender Rhodes, Steve Grossman (soprano sax), Airto (percussion), Dave Holland (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums) – and it was a continuous two and a half hour jam.

    Seeing Miles turned me into a jazz guy, not so much what he was playing but his body of work, which I studied and absorbed. I particularly liked his last great acoustic quintet with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams.

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