What's the most memorable concert or live performance you ever attended?I was lucky enough to grow up in the late '60s and early '70s--the glory years of rock music. I saw many great shows with...
I was lucky enough to grow up in the late '60s and early '70s--the glory years of rock music. I saw many great shows with many unforgettable memories to go with them. Vintage Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull and so many more that I've forgotten some of them. Probably the most memorable was seeing YES play in my home town of DeLand, Florida on the Stetson University campus in 1971. The venue was called The Pit--a sinkhole on fraternity row with a wooden stage at the bottom. Several thousand people turned out along the slopes to hear the band. Rick Wakeman had just joined and "Roundabout" had not yet been released. It was great to see a band about to take off for international stardom in our sleepy, little town. They promised to come back, but they became so big they never did.
ELVIS. My husband was a fanatic for Elvis--still is--, having listened to his old music and his newer after his comeback. When Elvis came to Chicago, I had to wait in line for the longest time I have ever waited: seven and a half hours! I only did this out of love and because I did not want to see a grown man cry when I had to tell him I did not procure any tickets. For me, at that time, missing Elvis would not have been too disappointing.
However, I must say that I have never experienced such an aura of electricity from any other performer than I have seen (and we have gone to many great concerts--rock and roll, jazz, blues, symphonies, etc. with big, big names performing)
While we waited for Elvis to come out, the Colonel had all his pictures, etc. being distributed for sale. Suddenly, without warning, a trembling silence swept over the huge crowd in Chicago. People looked at each other with wonder as they felt Elvis before he became visible. What unbelievable charisma! It was amazing, and I was an unbeliever, too. (My husband yelled, "Oh my god, there he is!!!!")
This electricity that Elvis had, the ability to hold an audience in his hands, and touch their souls with his gloriously rich voice that communicated so much emotion was what made him truly "the King." We saw him one more time shortly before his death in another state, and he still generated those vibes. He is truly a legend.
Memorable-"Are you kidding me?" (as they say in Chicago.)
Second to him: Ray Charles. Versatile and poignant, the man had hundreds of people weeping when he sang "I'm So Blue" with that voice of tears and cries itself. What talent! What soul!
I feel as though this is going to reveal just how young I am, but my most memorable live performance was a Green Day concert. I've seen them over ten times (and I strongly recommend seeing the Broadway musical "American Idiot." It almost was my post for this!) About 2 years ago I saw Green Day in Pittsburgh. I traveled about 500 miles to see them because they were not coming near me. It was lat minute and rushed, and I don't do spontaneous well. We got the show, they played every song I wanted to hear. Most of it was older stuff, classics from Dookie, Insomniac, and Kerplunk, with a few new tunes from AI and 21st Century in there as well. But what made this night so amazing was when a little boy on this guy's shoulders held up a sign that said "Please Play JAR." "J.A.R" is by far my favorite song in the world. I have played for inspiration for almost every difficult situation in my life and not to mention part of it was my senior quote in high school. For the 14 times I have seen this band play live for the past 12 years, I have never seen them perform "J.A.R" live, and that night they did. I don't know if it was planned in their set list (although I had friends in California see the same tour and say they did not play it) or if it was because of that little boy, but that was the best concert ever because that song means so much to me, and I know it means a lot to Green Day. I tear up thinking about how amazing I felt during that song.
The Twelfth Night, Royal Shakespeare Company, Freud Theatre at UCLA.
They performed an "original" production-all men, everything proper for the time period: costumes, instruments, food, props, etc. They brought the audience in through the house, but used downstage as their dressing room. The entire audience got to see how they would go about producing authentic makeup, wigs, etc. The audience sat on the stage instead of in the house, in a kind of stadium seating, looking down on the action. Also, as house manager that night, I got to seat Tom Hanks and family. Pretty cool.
On a different note, as far as music goes, it's a toss-up between the Magnetic Fields at the E-Bell theatre in LA, and the Coughs at the Il Corral in LA. The Magnetic Fields play a stripped down, all acoustic show, with the most incredible sound. Only concert I've ever been to where the speakers didn't blow out my eardrums. The Coughs....well, the "Il Corral" is someone's house with a one-room stage, the lead singer (or screamer, more like it) was wearing coveralls with nothing underneath, there was a saxophonist who was running through the crowd & laying on the ground playing at one point, the drummer was beating metal trashcans, people were swinging back & forth on a rope hanging from the middle of the ceiling...and it was the most surreal experience I've ever had at a show.
I am an actress/director as well as an educator, and I have to say that while ,living in New York I got to experience a lot of AMAZING live performances, so it is hard to pick just ONE. But, if I had to, I would have to say that it would be Debbie Allen's wonderfully directed "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" - this is an amazing work to begin with, but the concept of taking Williams' work, set in the rural south, and reinventing it with an all black cast was just AMAZING. Physlicia Rashad and Anika Noni Rose were fabulous as Big Mamma and Maggie, respectively, and James Earl Jones was the epitome of Big Daddy. As a performer, I am not a "stage door groupie": but I decided to be for this show because they were just so amazing. Phylicia Rashad and Anika Noni Rose were so nice to talk to. My group comprised the only white faces in the crown and we stayed the longest, waiting until those who just wanted photos and autographs had gone (it was about 15 degrees out) just to express our thoughts and tell them that the work was amazing - which it was! It just goes to show you that attitudes and human interactions have no boundary in race or even in time. What was true of human failings and insecurities then is still true today.
I haven't really been to many music concerts, but I have had two particularly moving experiences at live performances.
One is the first time I saw Les Miserables. We were in a glorious old London theatre, and I'm embarrassed to say I knew very little about the story going into the show. But as I sat and watched, I was mesmerized by the glorious music and heartbreaking story of redemption and loss and love. I've seen it many times since, and it still stirs something in me that I can't explain except to say I feel it to my core.
On a much less sublime note, I'll never forget seeing Stomp! This production is simply stunning to all my senses. I've taken students, family, and friends with me; they have all been moved as I have by the sheer energy and brilliance of the show.
I think it's hard not to be moved by any live performance if the performer(s) display passion. Something in us connects with that on whatever level, and we are changed for having been part of the performance.
I recall a performance of the Tales of Hoffman at Chicago's Lyric Opera in the mid 80's which had the soprano Ruth Welting playing Olympia the mechanical doll. As she sung her main aria there was something so extraordinary, something so wonderful in her performance that you almost stopped breathing just to take it all in. It seemed note perfect, yet it also filled with nuance, warmth and feeling. There was a sense of both artist and audience sharing some wonderful connection. When she was done the whole house eruptded in the most thuderous applause I ever heard in the opera house. She graced us with a repeat performance of her aria.
1991,The Coliseum in Seattle, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their "Into the Great Wide Open" tour. During a minutes-long drum lead in for "Don't Come Around Here No More", Petty strolled slowly to the edge of the stage where there was a huge polished wooden box on a pedestal. With effort, he pushed open the heavy lid and a spotlight was inside which instantly silhouetted him. Lost inside the light, we saw him lean forward for a moment, then he raised his famous Top Hat from the music video out of the box, put it on with both hands, then slammed the lid as the guitars kicked in.
We went nuts.
1999 was the last time I was in Hawaii. I was at a hotel bar/restaurant with live music. It was a guy called Ledward Kaapana (relatively famous in Hawaii) who was related to a former student of mine (who was with me). The power went out and the band and my student just hung around playing and singing. A couple of wives or girlfriends were dancing hula... It was like a backyard jam session (kanikapila, as it's called in Hawaii) except with professional quality musicians...
Well, this is very different from the previous comments but when was in my very early twenties I went to a Metallica concert that I will never forget. I have always been a well-reserved person and going to this concert (I went with some Metallic loving friends) was a culture shock for me. I am not a big Metallica fan but after the concert I was awe struck by the performance they delivered. It wasn't really the music but it was the interaction they had with the audience.
Metallica was one of the best ones because it was back in '92 and the end of the hard rock/beginning alternative era. I truly feel that it was "the last rock concert" I really attended. Music, ever since then, looks like processed cheese, and the artists look like kids I would have babysat for back in the day.
The real essence of good rock and roll has been dead for a while, but I am happy I had one last chance to experience it.
One of the more memorable concerts I've attended was a Ryan Adams concert in Chicago in 2003. The band played the very same song five times in a row: once as a country song, once as a punk song, once as a pop song, once as though it had been written and sung by Cookie Monster, and finally as the song appeared on the album. It really showed the range and abilities of the musicians on stage and also the quality of the songwriting.
I was lucky enough to see Robert Goulet play King Arthur in "Camelot." It was magical! Many of the most memorable live performances I've seen, though, were by unknown (at least then) artists. I went to Belmont College (now University), which is renowned for its music education. I got to see young actors and singers and musicians perform, and many of those performances will be in my memory forever.
They Might Be Giants and Soul Coughing. 1996. The Vogue, Indianapolis.
Soul Coughing opened with their Ruby Vroom set. There's nothing like a stand-up bass. It's like a man dancing with a fat woman.
TMBG said they had never, in all their shows, gotten the entire venue in a conga line, but we did it that night.
"Particle Man" was fun, as always.
I attended a live performance of "Wicked" at the Apollo Theatre in London with a group of students--our group traveled there during the summer to see the places where much of the AP literature we had read was set and written. That performance was incredible--everything from the talent of the actors to the set and the special effects was exciting.
The best live performance I've had the privilege of viewing was of The Black Watch and Her Majesty's Royal Band. They were touring the US, and I had never seen anything like the group before. They were amazing--the pipers and drummers danced all while playing their instruments. They used swords, etc. It was just a spectacular concert.
Aida performed in Verona in 1997. It was my first opera and I had very little experience of the music before the event. I was enthralled by the spectacle, sound, emotion and atmosphere. I have never had an experience like it before or since. It does not matter if it is not 'your' type of music - the intensity is captivating.
This past year I went to an El Dive concert. I received the tickets for my birthday and had barely heard of the group before that. I was not very excited, but I went. It turned out to be the best concert I have ever gone to. Their harmony was beautiful and the women were going crazy. It was a lot of fun.
The Polyphonic Spree, Austin City Limits, 2003.
I'd never even heard of them before. It was like weird-cult-worship music and impossible not to get sucked in.
I've been a fan ever since. I sort of have this dream of one day being on stage with them in a choir robe with a tambourine.
I'd have to go back in time and say that the most memorable concert would have to be seeing the Phil Collins and Genesis. The concert was outside, at a Phoenix amphiteatre, and even the oven-like heat didn't keep down the crowd. The lights, the music, and the stage presence couldn't be beat.
The most memorable live performance I've attended was a modern rendition of The Taming of the Shrew at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, CA. I still remember Petruchio riding in on a motorcycle. Or at least that's what my memory tells me. ;)
I saw Rudolf Nureyev dance in NYC during the early 1970s but was too young to appreciate the moment. He was considered so valuable to the Russian ballet that Nikita Khrushchev personally signed the order for the KGB to assassinate him.
I do believe Elvis trumps all the other music mentioned (The Coughs???!!!). Soooooo glad to have grown up in the '60s and '70s.
My most memorable concert was when I went to a Hollywood Undead concert. It was in a small venue, and I didn't know many of the new songs. Despite that it was amazing. It was over five hours long because there were three opening acts. All of them had different styles of music and showed different personalities. Seeing the crowd all excited together, dancing, singing, jumping, everything was amazing. I've been to some concerts that were just fun, but the atmosphere at this one was like no other. The lights flashing through the crowd. The steam rising up as the whole room heated up during the show. It was an amazing feeling to experience it all and be feeling the same way as so many other people in the venue.
I'm not sure if this counts but my state holds this annually and it is called the "Virginia International Tattoo". This is a 'concert' or 'performance' that many military bands or non-military bands get together to perform music together in front of many audiences. I loved going every year when I was in middle school because you saw military bands, but you also saw different bands from different cultures performing and it felt like I was traveling the world in my own home.
The most memorable concert I've been to was a group called Exo. I've been to quite a lot of concert but this one stuck to me because of how well the fans were united. For example, there were three levels and all the seats were filled, each and every one of us had these light sticks and we were swinging it to the beat of the music. All of us were also chanting the fan chants for the songs. The most memorable part though was when we all held up this poster thing at the same time and it spelled out " we are one ". This concert was definitely memorable.
I have 2 favorites. 1-Phantom of the Opera. It was incredible. The music was so powerful it moved me to tears. 2-I saw Sandi Patty. Her Soprano voice is so amazing. Again I was moved to tears and felt so close to the Lord.
I am no music snob, I try to like everything (or at least give it a chance.) However, when my boyfriend bought us tickets to see ACDC I was not enthused. We watched or participated in the scream-singing and dancing that goes along with late nights and the song "You Shook Me All Night Long," but that was definitely not a concert I wanted to sit through.
As we found our way to the 6th row (yes, he "had" to sit close) I was, if possible, even less excited than before. There was a full size train engine on the stage under their massive famous logo. I tried to finish my beverage quickly so I could have a reason to get up.
However, after they opened with "Thunderstruck" I became, against my better judgement, a screaming ACDC fan. No wonder those guys have had a career as long and crazy as their's has been. They are amazing and talented and older than my dad. Their energy and intesity made me feel bad about getting off the eliptical machine sooner than I planned. They were doing 10 times as much as I my usual gym workout, for 2 plus hours, while playing an instrument, and often, with a cigarrette in their mouths.
Play - "Cabaret" with Neil Patrick Harris on Broadway
Music Concert - can't pick just one...but Ani Difranco and Kristin Hersh are definitely up there.