Monday, May 11, 2009


Here's a nice one for a Monday morning.

I was thinking about all the 100's and 100's (nay, thousands and thousands) of gigs we all must have seen over the years. I used to collect all the ticket stubs and stuff for about the first ten years and then, inevitably, I lost track completely. It made me think - out of all those gigs I did get to, which ones am I most proud of? Not always because they were the best (although sometimes they were) but also because they were so formative or historically significant or whatever. And for that matter, which ones do I most wish I HAD been at?

So, i'll start the ball rolling:

sourpus' 5 most treasured gig going experiences:

1) Townes Van Zandt (Woolwich Tramshed, 1987)

Townes was pissed. Very pissed. I knew nothing about him and was easily the youngest crowd member. But a couple of songs in, I was crying like schoolgirl.

2) The Pixies (Leicester 1989)

Joey Santiago's guitar had my stomach in knots and during 'Debaser' I experienced complete molecular restructure

3) Echo and the Bunnymen (Leicester 1983)

The tour which preceded the release of Ocean Rain. They road tested the new songs and blew the heads off the first few rows. A band on fire.

4) Jonathan Richman/Orange Juice (Leicester 1984)

I already told this one in an earlier post. I saw lots of great double headers in my life (Pixies/Throwing Muses, Throwing Muses/Sundays, Cocteau Twins/Throwing Muses all come to mind - sure I was a TM fan) but this was an evening of life changing magic to beat them all.

5) REM (Leicester 1989)

Speaking of bands on fire, I had been a fan of REM since Chronic Town, but this was REM at their best for me. Green was less like an album and more like a prayer book. First date of the tour, summer on the way and something (for a while at least) to really, really believe in.

(already im itchy...what about Butch Hancock and Jimmy Dale Gilmore at The Spread Eagle pub? Mark Eitzel at the Shaw Theatre? All the Glastonburys? The Tindersticks in St Petersburg, Russia? Green on Red in Vienna? Far too many bound to get left out...)

3 gigs sourpus wishes he'd been at (and could have been in theory)

1) Jeff Buckley at Bunjies, London

When I was at University, I was a regular there in the cellar at Bunjies - it was one of those places you adopt as your own. Too small to be considered a venue (it would only just qualify as a cafe, having only about 6 tiny tables) I imagine those who were present still cant credit how lucky they were.

2) Dylan at Blackbushe

I had a band of my own at the time and my bass player went, but couldn't get me a ticket. He bought me a copy of 'Desire' to try to make it up to me, but it was too late.

3) Any Joy Division gig at all really, although Leicester 79 especially

Should have accepted that invitation to 'come along' when they played Leicester in 79. Alas, it was not to be. Saw Hanoi Rocks on their first British tour not long after, which im still proud of, but JD will always have to be 'one that got away'

Over to you chaps!


DarceysDad said...
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DarceysDad said...
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DarceysDad said...

Sorry. My formatting is buggering about; third and last try -

Was at:
1. AC/DC (& Def Leppard) - Highway To Hell tour, Nov'79.
Bon Scott at his most magnificent; Def Leppard at the height of the buzz pre-1st album release.

2. Dave Lee Roth, St. Georges Hall Bradford.
What a showman, WHAT a showman! An honourable mention goes to the Van Halen 1980 show at Mcr Apollo too, when VH still had the power. DLR's solo show wins out because St.G's was standing & I was up against the stage boards.

3. Thin Lizzy - Reading 1983.
One of my friends at school was a HUGE Lizzy fan, and had been trying to get me to go with him on every tour since Bad Reputation. The tinny production on their LPs had always left me uninspired, so I'd always refused. Thank Christ they decided to use that Reading as a farewell to England.

4. Spear Of Destiny, 1984-5.
The One Eyed Jacks / World Service line-up. Three times in two years, and I'll admit they've all blurred into one in the memory, but what a band!

5. Tangerine Dream - Royal Court, Liverpool 1980.Edgar Froese in axe-hero mood. Perfect acoustics at my all-time favourite venue. Stunning visuals. WOW! Mind-blowing, even for a stone-cold sober me!

Wasn't at:
1. Zep at Knebworth.
I've told this tale before; I had the ticket, had my lift arranged ... had a mam who pulled the plug on her 14y.o. doing anything that daft, her refusal including the infamous phrase "They're bound to be back next year ..."

2. Pearl Jam, Queen's Hall Bradford.
Alive had just been released. I'd heard it, bought it, loved it, but knew nothing about them. Queens Hall was a lovely old 600-capacity, pay-on-door dance hall. Why didn't I go? Bad day at work, and I "couldn't be bothered"! D'OH!

3. Reggae Sunsplash - San Francisco 1999?2000?.
The friends we were staying with said they'd probably have gone if we hadn't been visiting; they didn't think we'd be interested ... :o(

AliMunday said...

Can't remember the dates exactly and not sure where to start (so many good ones)-

Steve Hillage at Ashton Court festival, 1977ish - beautiful evening, natural amphitheatre surrounded by trees, trippy music -great.

Rory Gallagher, Bristol Colston Hall - early 80s? Fantastic musician, fantastic atmosphere.

Nils Lofgren, Bristol as above - great life affirming music.

Pink Floyd - The Wall, Earls Court, 1980s - never liked The Wall until I went to this.

Yes - Wembley - late '70s early '80s - John Anderson's voice just soared.

Would have liked to go to:

Any Roy Harper gig - he always cancelled

Led Zeppelin with my mate in the mid '70s - it was in Londin and my mum wouldn't let me go

Lynyrd Skynrd not long before the plane crash - my boyfriend went and didn't get me a ticket, they'd sold out bu the time I tried to get one.

DarceysDad said...

The Wall at Earls Court was one that got away - it was the day before my Chemistry O-Level, and 200 miles away: I wasn't daft enough to even ask my parents!

Re Skynyrd - Ali, do you know Drive-By Truckers' song Let There Be Rock? Check your email later ...

magicman said...

been thinking about this thread myself, maybe on a quiet weekend we'll hijack the blog...
me top 5 gigs :
1. Roxy Music : The Dome Brighton 1973 "For Your Pleasure" tour with Brian Eno playing what ?
2. Sex Pistols : Brunel University 1977 their final UK gig with Sid on bass and the Ramones watching from upstairs. They opened with God Save The Queen and we all went mental.
3. The Beach Boys : Montreal 1976 awesome !
4. k.d.lang - The Half-Moon Putney. mid 80s She was supporting Lyle Lovett, my buddy insisted I went with him to watch her, she was astounding. Astounding !! Saw her three times since then, she's never been captured completely on record to my ears.
5. Al Green - The Venue, Victoria 1976 : before he (re) discovered God, he gave out roses to the ladies and made us all swoon at what was the finest voice on the planet - before k.d. came along...

Gigs I missed :

Elvis Costello and Burt Bachaarach - having seen Elvis 12 times I was still gutted to miss this one, had a ticket, had to work...

Van Morrison did Astral Weeks at RAH last week !

Bob Marley - the Lyceum obviously...

The Stax Volt tour - I was only ten....

Missed Steely Dan every time they've played

Chris said...

1. As you may expect, the best concert I ever saw was the Grateful Dead at the Bickershaw Festival on 7/5/72. I spent the entire day standing in a field watching Country Joe, New Riders Of The Purple Sage and then five hours of the most amazing music I have ever heard from the Dead. I saw them on three other occasions and they were nowhere near as impressive.
2. Pink Floyd at Manchester Uni Students Union, in 1970. I wasn't a student there, so had to get someone to sign me in. The Floyd were on fire: no fancy effects, just energetic, inventive playing.
3. Pavement somewhere in Manchester in the early nineties. When they clicked, they really clicked.
4. Jimi/Floyd/Nice/Move at the Palace Theatre, Manchester in 1968. My first concert and an historic tour.
5. Any one of several gigs at The Magic Village, Manchester, around 1970. I saw Roy Harper, Caravan, the Third Ear Band and many others there, in a tiny, intimate space. They built the Arndale Centre on top of it....

6. I know there should only be five but I'm sure everyone has a 'local band' who they thought were fantastic but who never got anywhere. Mine was 'Kid Khaki and the Karamojos', who were witty and exciting but didn't last long, in early nineties' Manchester.

For various reasons, I went to see a lot less live music after the early seventies, so I missed a lot of bands. Never saw Talking Heads or Dylan, even. I wish I'd seen more Dead in their prime but getting the right concert was always a matter of luck. And being on the right continent, of course.

sourpus said...

Great responses, thanks guys.

DD, As you know, I did get to see Lizzy a couple of times (79 and 80) but missed out on Zep at Knebworth, probably out of sheer idleness to get it organised. The list of reasons why 'one got away' is littered with bad days at work, and cant-be-arseds, but worst of all is surely (as Ali mentioned) the 'sold out' reason.

Ali, I share your good luck at having seen Nils Lofgren play. Luckily, in my case, an early 90's gig at Phoenix Arts, a tiny little shack with just one guitar. Are there any words adequate for describing his voice? As for Pink Floyd, ironically, I was never really that big a fan, but I did get to one of the very first 'Wall' shows in 1980, thanks to my then girlfriend who was trying to turn me on to them. I was disappointed at the time,as the whole thing came across more like a night at the theatre than the 'live' experience I craved, although we were treated to the sight of Wendy O'Williams dropping Plasmatics promo leaflets from a helicopter circling over the streets around Earls Court.
I also have to admit to having seen 'Yes' a number of times, but im afraid I rather lost my taste for Jon's warble.

Magic Man:

The 'For Your Pleasure' tour must have been something else! Their best album according to many. I loved the first album so much, its a tough call for me. Pistols also? Snobbish as it may seem, how much more I loved them before they decided to 'reform'. This whole thread is now turning into several ideas for others in a similar vein. (worst reason for missing a gig, close call ticket stories, and best unexpected 'support' experience among them)

Chris, Bickershaw, eh? I read so much about it, thanks to Uncut, etc. I was only 8, but I would still have liked to sample the atmos. Likewise the Floyd/Hendrix/Move/Nice tour - imagine what they could ask for it now? I also support your point about local bands - the night I saw REM went through the roof also because it finished at 10.30 (they had no support) and so I was able to go next door to Leicester Uni immediately afterwards and see local heroes Diesel Park West supported by alternative local heroes Huge Big Massive, who delayed their gigs so they could attend REM. What a night!

sourpus said...

By the way Ali, you say that Roy Harper always cancelled? That's weird because it for precisely the opposite reason that I saw Roy so very many times - like Billy Bragg, in my gig going history, Roy was one of those who was always gonna show, no matter what. Perhaps its because the joints the first row always rolled for him (in Leicester anyway) were particularly to his liking(?)

goneforeign said...

Well if I start at the beginning it would be the Johnny Dankworth Seven at a hall in Chesterfield in about 1952, that was special 'cos I met the most georgeous and elegant and beautiful girl there and we became a twosome for about 3 years. First love and first live jazz event. This was shortly followed by Louis at the Olympic auditorium in London, I went to both shows, then by Lionel Hampton in Norwich, by Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White in Ipswich, Basie several times, Sidney Bechet in London: all these were in the '50's.
In the US there's been many, several Bob Marley's, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs, Diamonds, etc plus lots more jazz, Ray, Archie Shepp, BB. MJQ, Miles, Gil Scott, Stevie, Nina, Sarah, Miriam Makeba, etc: I can't pick 5 out of that lot, they were all wonderful.

May1366 said...

Some semblance of order in my Top 5 but little to choose between 'em, really:

1] Sun Ra at the Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool, 1990.
Legendary appearance by the Arkestra in front of about 250 people (though twice as many remember being there) - when I contributed to a book of short stories about significant moments in Liverpool's post-war history, this was the moment I chose.

2] Femi Kuti at the Shrine, Lagos, 2006.
Still processing this one three years later.

3] Curtis Mayfield at The Mountford Hall (now Carling Academy), Liverpool, 1986.
My introduction to his music. Life-changing.

4] Nancy Wilson / Ramsey Lewis at Bally's, Las Vegas, 1998.
For the setting, the daiquiris in cup holders, two amazing sets but not for the woman two rows back who insisted on trying to match Nancy note for note when she sang Stevie Wonder's Golden Lady.

5] Cecil Taylor at Ronnie's Scott's, London, c.1989.
Table at the front, looking straight along the keyboard. Notable not just for awesome performance by Taylor's trio (William Parker bass, Tony Oxley drums) but for the support slot by reliable British boppers the Dick Morrisey group, featuring a passing member of the audience for a couple of blues numbers - Ms Chaka Khan.

bubbling under: David Murray Big Band at the Bluecoat, 1996; Public Enemy bottom of the bill but managing to render Eric B & Rakim and LL Cool J irrelevant, The Academy, Manchester 1987; Misty In Roots at the Liverpool Irish Centre, if you can remember the year you weren't there, so you weren't.

Three I didn't get to:

1] The Clash at Eric's, Liverpool, late 70s.
Another gig that twice as many remember than attended, before my time in the city but one that shaped the experience I had when I arrived in the mid-80s

2] Gil Scott-Heron at The Central Hall, Liverpool, 1992.
Started a monthly club night that evening so couldn't make the gig but inherited the crowd, setting off a brief halcyon period for rare groove in Liverpool clubland. When I did get to see GSH, he had a migraine, mainly laid out to let the band play and cut the set short.

3] The Last Poets at Brixton Ritzy, London, 1984.
I had plenty of exposure to the Poets in later years but I regret not following through an early fascination with the group after seeing them on the magazine show LWT used to start their Friday evening broadcasts with. Couldn't rouse my 6th form mates to go to the gig they were promoting. We did get to Billy Bragg the following week, which was great but in those days of the GLC, open-air protest festivals and benefit gigs, was about as rare an event as seeing Myleene Klass on television these days.

DarceysDad said...

@ May - Misty In Roots at Bradford Uni (late '83 or early '84) is another one of my bubbling unders: never before or since has a chubby, white, rhythmless, heavy metal fan danced on a tabletop with such carefree abandon as I did that night. Marvellous.
And re The Clash @ Eric's - my entire sixth-form peergroup were amongst those claiming to have been there: I took most of those stories with the same pinch of salt as I did with the 'older brothers' claiming to have all seen The Sex Pistols in Chester.

@ Ali & sourpus - I saw Nils Lofgren play the above-mentioned Bradford Queen's Hall. Um, I enjoyed it, but Southside Johnny at the same venue (the same year?) was MUCH better.

May1366 said...

DsD - yes, the Misty gig was special: The Irish Centre (later left to rot by the brewery who owned it - one of the many disgraceful wastes of Liverpool's cultural heritage in the build-up to becoming Capital of Culture) was a pretty inclusive venue for a centre catering to one community but it never saw (or smelled!) anything like that night.

Another gig (not musical)I wished I'd seen was Quentin Crisp at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool, 1999 for which I had tickets but they had to be refunded after Crisp died the day before, following his appearance in Manchester. Mind you, the especially frail condition he must have been in might have made any 'performance' rather macabre. Thinking about that and the migraine-affected GSH gig at the Liverpool Royal Court (a theme that will continue below) I mentioned conjures up a sub-topic of gigs that on balance we'd rather have missed. Not just the rank bad ones but the ones that punctured the image we had of the artists involved. My others might be:
- a post-stroke Sun Ra at the Manchester Royal Northern College of Music, 1991/2.
- Arrested Development at the Royal Court, Liverpool, 1992 - cute, elaborate, 'downhome' set but they mimed the whole set.
- Jesus and Mary Chain, Royal Court, Liverpool, 1985. First ever visit to my personal Mecca of disappointing gigs (honorable exceptions Elvis Costello and Paul Weller), swigging Benylin straight from the bottle for the appropriate high beforehand - and they did a polite 40 minute set with no riot.

May1366 said...

re. just re-read my confusing comments on Arrested Development - the 'set' that was elaborate was the staging; the 'set' they mimed was obviously the songs.

DarceysDad said...

I had a marvellous time at a Liverpool gig that most everyone else wished they'd missed: the infamous Rolling Stones incognito warm-up show at the Empire Theatre.

Freddie McGregor apparently 'had form' for pulling this stunt [maybe goneforeign can shed some light on that?]; namely boosting flagging ticket sales by starting a rumour that he was actually The Stones doing a secret rehearsal show. The Empire sold out in a breath - £4 tickets changing hands at up to FIFTY QUID EACH.

By the time gig night came around, the bubble had burst, and I bought my ticket outside for (I think) a quid.

Brilliant set, but wow, what a hostile atmosphere!

AliMunday said...

@ Chris - Caravan! How could I forget. Brilliant band.

@ Sourpus - I think Mr Harper had a personal grudge against me ... I saw his son (Nick?) play at Holmfirth Picturedome (I go to all the exotic places) - he was interesting but alas his dad didn't pop in.

@DsD - intrigued - will check later!

AliMunday said...

Oh, and local band that disappeared - The Nervous Brothers. Used to play in the Golden Lion on a Sunday afternoon. For hours. Sort of manic psychobilly and very good fun.

ToffeeBoy said...

I know I'm in the minority around here (a minority of one?) when I say that live music has never really been at the heart of my love of music so gigs don't figure that highly in my musical memories but I'll put the following up for consideration:

Lynyrd Skynyrd at Hammersmith Odeon (1975?) - I wouldn't be disappointed if I never heard Lynyrd Skynyrd again in my life but seeing them doing a twenty five minute version of Freebird when I was just 14 - well, that's what rock'n'rawl is all about. Isn't it?

The Go-Betweens somewhere in London 1986-ish? God, I'm bad at this. How do all you lot know the dates and places of things that happened more than two weeks ago. I can't even remember, ermm ... err ... hmmmm

Anyway, I do remember standing right at the front of the audience, gazing up at Robert Forster while he sang Twin Layers Of Lightning and thinking that the world was a pretty good place.

Orange Juice at Wall Hall College (1986?). You know the more I think about it, the more I think I may be hallucinating this one. Did my favourite band ever (at the time) really play just 10 minutes walk down the road from where I live? Within walking distance? At a small college? I think they did and I think they were magnificent.

Squeeze somewhere in Aylesbury - 1983? The classic line up with Jools Holland - nice!

The Kaiser Chiefs at Earls Court, last year. I went with the younger MissToffee and it was fantastic - I don't care what the rest of you think. I loved every minute of it.

treefrogdemon said...

Dylan at the Albert Hall in 1966. It was a very weird day. I came up to London with my boyfriend Mick and a man (Keith) who formerly fancied me a lot, and his new girlfriend. It was all very tense. Keith drove into Kensington Palace - the gates were wide open. We stopped in front of the house and a security man came up - Keith said we were just looking for somewhere to park.
The gig was amazing. I was very surprised by people's reactions - a lot walked out in the second half. Someone shouted: "Why don't you join the Rolling Stones?" I thought well, if I know there's a band coming on in the second half (I didn't know it was THE Band), why don't these people?

Half of the Everly Brothers. This must have been in '63 or '64 and somehow I'd persuaded my father to drive me over to Walthamstow for this gig - it would have been nearly impossible to get there and quite impossible to get back by bus. My mum came too to keep him company - I don't know what they did while I was at the gig.
It was the first night of the tour and unbeknownst to me Don Everly had flown home again that day - the euphemism at the time was 'a breakdown' but I believe it was a drug overdose. Phil did the show alone and because he always sang harmony he didn't know any of the tunes. He kept glancing to his right where Don should have been.

Twice I've been at gigs when I've been sure that I was the only person there who had the record...the first was the Incredible String Band at my local folkclub in Potters Bar, in the mid-60s some time, and the second was Diana Jones opening for Richard Thompson at the Roundhouse in 2007.

Of all the RT gigs I've been to I couldn't possibly pick my wasn't the Roundhouse one though because there was an annoying man right in front of me who kept calling out to RT - who got a bit fed up with him. Not as fed up as me though. (I do have a bootleg of the show however, which is nice.)

The band I wish I'd seen is Fairport Convention in their RT years, but unfortunately those were my running-away-from-home-and-having-babies years, when I didn't go to any gigs at all!

Shoey said...

The best in terms of so many favorites in one day was the Factory Festival of the Tenth Summer in 86, although The Worst still lived up to their name. Several Glasto's & Futuramas came close, but they were spread over a weekend.

snadfrod said...

I was lucky to be at the first Strokes gig in the UK in Manchester, 2001. I say lucky because I was working, but had also deliberately chosen to work, so 50/50. A triumph of hype and substance hand in hand.

Mogwai at Planet K in Manchester, 2000, was an insanely loud, unbelievable sensory experience. Sound that you could eat.

Elbow at the Apollo last year was the most life-affirming homecoming imaginable (and made up for missing the Leaders of the Free World tour in Dublin) but may just be bettered by the upcoming 'Hall-bow' gig in July. Watch this space.

When I was 16 I went to a gig in Sheffield that was on the first Fun Lovin' Criminals tour. Big night, away from home, cheeky beers, hot stuff. The support, which was supposed to be Republica, was actually Finlay Quaye before he got (briefly) big. Dodged a bullet there, I think.

Radiohead in Warrington was suitable impressive, even to a non-fanatic like me.

Jimmy Cliff, Royksopp, The Music and The Flaming Lips inside a week in Manchester circa 2001 nearly did me in.

Oh and I saw Huey Lewis and the News do 'The Power of Love' when I was working at the Academy in Manchester. Good times.

Ones I missed...

Not much, but I did have a ticket for Oasis at Maine Road. Couldn't go, probably because of homework or something.

And I missed The Hold Steady in Limerick for reasons too shaming to mention.

I haven't been to a gig in a while, now. I think that may need rectifying.

magicman said...

am I allowed to have another five now ? Thanks !

May1366 - I saw Curtis Mayfield on that tour at the Town and Country Club in Kentish Town - his version of People Get Ready was sublime.

My next five would be :

Nina Simone at Ronnie Scotts OR The Barbican. Going off for drinks or something else, snarling at the audience, then making us melt with a rendition.

The Clash/Steel Pulse in Victoria Park RAR 1978, what a beautiful afternoon and evening, others also played but black and white unite and fight was the order of the day...

Viv Stanshall at LSE not long after I'd interviewed him for the college rag. A genius.

Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens at Hackney Empire in the eighties - the most powerful music on the planet, south african township jive.

Michael Jackson - Wembley Stadium 87 - like watching an alien landing. Spectacular !!

Andhere's a lazy list of the best of the rest : Todd at the Venue 5 nights in a row, Bowie at Earl's Court "Stage" 2 nights running and The Academy five years ago with Mike Gardon on piano; Burning Spear at the Rainbow, The Jam at the Rainbow, Public Enemy in Brixton, Hammersmith and Brighton, Prince at Wembley, Luther Vandross ditto, ELO, The Faces, Focus and Genesis at Reading 74, Roxy Music Manifesto Hammersmith front row, The Specials at the Palais, Madness, Undertones, Talking Heads, ditto, The Who at the Rainbow, The Ramones ditto New Year's Eve 78 we smashed the first fifteen rows of seats and stood on them, Stevie Wonder twice, Osibisa at Sussex Uni, Smokey Robinson last year in Bournemouth - superb ! The Monkees in Disneyland 76, Randy Newman House Of Blues, Temptations Brighton, Al Green loads of times, Wings Wembley Arena, John Martyn in 76 Bloomsbury, Spirit many times, Ben Folds many times, Mavis Staples in LA recently, Radiohead in a field in Oxford with Beck and Supergrass, Sigur Ros in Brighton, Laurie Anderson at the Dominion etc etc etc

Wish I'd seen :

Little Feat
Little Richard
James Brown
Marvin Gaye
John Lennon
John Coltrane
Howlin Wolf
Gladys Knight
George Jones
Elvis Presley
Jeff Buckley
Bob Marley
etc etc etc

CaroleBristol said...

I am going to play this game later. I need to think about them first.

sourpus said...

DD. interesting tale. Maybe im a marblehead but I didnt quite get whether the Stones actually played or not? I saw the Stones a number of times and all the early ones (1981?) were the best.

Toffeeboy, never got to see the Go Betweens, and very sorry about it. I only got into them with the release of Tallulah (1987) although I suspect they played a couple of those songs live if you saw them the year before. I also saw Squeeze in 1983 in Norwich and they were (as you say) amazing. Interesting that you enjoyed live Kaiser Chiefs so much - I think modern bands like this often lack 'something' live - reflecting a change in cutural values maybe? - which deserves a whole blog of its own as well.

goneforeign, my interest in Jazz in any significant way only lasted about one year when I was about 19. I was particularly drawn to Ellingtons band and to Coleman Hawkins, although I listened to a lot of different things and for a while I was a regular at the Orange Tree in Rotherhithe, where the Jazz was freeflowing every night of the week. One of these days, I must tell my tale about going to see The Charlie Watts Big Band at Deptford Albany (mainly coz I heard Pete King was gonna be playing with him) and being totally 'stiffed' by Charlie Watts for a pair or drum sticks.

May1336, im sure I would have enjoyed Sun Ra (I am a relatively recent convert - about 3 years now). Femi Kuti sounds great - I did used to love African music and saw many of the greats - Zani Diabate and the Super Djata Band were far and away the best, followed by Ali Farka Toure, , Baaba Maal, Mallathini and the Mahotella Queens, the Bhundus of course and Youssou U'Dour, Living in London in the late 80's I had access to them all, which I consider to be very lucky.

I did see Gil Scott Heron - at a benefit on Hyde Park in 1986, with Paul Weller and Billy Bragg (naturally) on the bill. It was quite a revelation to me, because, not long before that, I had never heard of him!

sourpus said...

Treefrogdemon, Dylan in 66 is probably the one, isn't it? For Dylan fans anyway, its the Golden tour. Well done for getting yourself along. They did come to Leicester on that tour, although I was only two, so excluded rather unfairly when I think about it.

snadfrod. The Stokes first gig? Nice one. I used to love the Strokes. When I was living in Russia a few years back, I formed a band with some Russians and we became a Television/Strokes tribute band.

magicman, you were in Victoria Park? Another classic all time gig it turned out to be. I never did see The Clash, although Steel Pulse used to play Glastonbury back in the day - what a bass sound they had!

magicman, that's overload really, isnt it? But since you've gone there, I do understand...there are so many that deserve to be remembered. For myself, I could have added The Waterboys (Fishermans's Blues Tour), Lone Justice (countless times on the Shelter tour), Prefab Sprout (one of only a very very few dates in back of Steve McQueen) and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions (Rattlesnakes tour) - i'm sure we could all go on into the night on this one...

Thanks VERY much all of you for your recollections - most interesting!!

Mnemonic said...

I've been going to too many gigs for too long to stick to five, but these stand out

Bob Dylan, 1964 Royal Festival Hall and 1978 Scandinavium, Gothenberg

Jimi Hendrix supporting The Who at the Saville Theatre in 1967

The Doors/Jefferson Airplane all-nighter at the Roundhouse in 1968

Little Feat Hammersmith 1976. I's seen the Stones a couple of weeks earlier. Little Feat would have blown them offstage.

Prince, Radio City Music Hall 1983 touring 1999 (and every other Prince gig I've been to; he's a killer live act).

Van Morrison Dominion Theatre 1984. He's such a surly bugger that I've given up on him but he was on roaring form that night.

Low, Union Chapel 2001/2002 (can't remember exact date)

Les Savy Fav, All Tomorrow's Parties, 2003

LCD Soundsystem, All Tomorrow's Parties 2004

Portishead, The Nightmare Before Christmas 2007

Leonard Cohen, Albert Hall 2008.

Wish I'd seen

Charles Mingus
Muddy Waters
Miles Davis

DaddyPig said...

Picking 5 when I was there:

1)Stevie Wonder at Wembley, 1980. Half an hour of getting the new stuff out of the way, then two hours of dancing to a genius at work.

2) Curtis Mayfield at Ronnie Scotts, c. 1988.

3) A singer called Erika Stucky and her band, doing a set of Jimi Hendrix at The Wardrobe in Leeds, 2007 (I think). Wild and crazy jazz improvisation yet proper respect for the songs and the riffs, complete with very many Marshall amps. Thank you Leeds Jazz people !

4) Wilko Johnson's Solid Senders, several times at Dingwall's Camden c. 1979-80. I was just too young for the original Feelgoods, but Wilko put together a very very good band of his own after he left. Happy memories of leaping up & down packed in a sweaty crowd and getting the night bus home with my best friend.

5) Carla Bley Big Band, Leeds Irish Centre, c. 1996. An all-star line up including Steve Swallow, Guy Barker, Gregory Valente (the loudest trombone ever), Andy Sheppard. Incredible sounds & harmonies. Thanks again Leeds Jazz.

Three I should've gone to:

1) My brother saw Ian Dury & The Blockheads twice in 1978-9 at Gants Hill Odeon, a few miles from home; he was younger than me but I was a bit scared of crowds at the time.

2) Ditto with Bruce Springsteen in London, c.1978.

3) Chic at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1979 - no-one else of my friends liked disco but it would've been very special.

sourpus said...

Interesting sub-catagories keep occuring to me...the obvious 'most embarrassing gig', but also 'gig that should have been more embarrassing but was actually rather good'. Simply Red in Paris on the 'Stars' tour comes to mind for me...again, I was trying to please a girlfriend with completely different taste from me and who had previously accompanied me the first time I saw American Music Club (she rather enjoyed it too) and found myself on my first trip to Paris with Simply Red tickets in my pocket...but it weren't that bad!

sourpus said...

Finding all the Dylan examples interesting too. I finally got my chance to see Dylan for the first time in 1981 - The Shot of Love tour. He and his band were amazing - although I really was in love with the whole idea of Dylan by this point. I can still remember how I drooled over 'Lenny Bruce' and howled with delight at 'Changing of the Guard'. Funnily enough though, it was only when I saw him again in 1987 and his performance was so embarrassing I hardly knew where to put myself, that I really began to understand that to be a Dylan fan was to be unable to second guess him for long. Hence the lifelong love I suppose

Mnemonic said...

It was on the Shot of Love tour that my then husband and I spent about three hours in an executive lounge at Schiphol airport (baggage handlers strike) with Bob Dylan, Tim Drummond, the rest of the band, the backing singers and two ex-SAS minders. We were all on our way to Stockholm where we saw the performance two days later. He was on fire that tour; I particularly remember a storming version of "In The Garden".

steenbeck said...

Well, I'm in awe of some of shows you folks have seen. And very envious.

I've been thinking about it, and I realized the shows that are most memorable to me weren't necessarily my favorite artists, who were sometimes dissapointing.

Let's see...

The Abyssinians, NYC 1997ish. They were elderly fellows, but they just radiated this quality I can't describe. Spiritual, maybe if you'll forgive the word.

Lee Perry, Boston 2001. He wasn't in top form, his band was basically carrying him along, but I had the best night. I'm actually very thankful to have seen many of my reggae favs--Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers, Toots...

Squirrel Nut Zippers, NYC, um, 1995ish. They were just so much fun to dance to, and they were playing at Roseland Ballroom, where Louis Armstrong had played, and they played a couple of his tunes...

SIster Carol, Central Park, NYC. My brother and I were wandering around the city, and we just happened upon this free, outdoor concert. It was just a wonderful part of a wonderful day.

For my fifth choice i'm going to say--I think I've had the most fun at shows by smaller local, probably unsigned bands than anywhere else. I went to college in a small city with a thriving music scene, and there was a particular bar that just had the best bands in the basement every weekend (including the smithereens and ween, before anybody knew who they were). ANd then in Boston, had a lot of friends in bands, and it was always fun to go see them play, all your friends were there, the dancing was good...One in particular I remember was Reverend Glasseye and his Wooden Legs. I wonder what they're up to now?

I wish I'd seen Nina Simone. She rarely came back to the USA by the time I knew about her, but she gave a concert in Boston while we were living there, and I didn't know about it too late. She died a year or two later. Oh, and also in Boston I had to see the White Stripes at this smallish venue before anybody had heard of them, and I found out about that one too late too. Story of my life.

goneforeign said...

Such an interesting list and I'm envious of many of you, Mnemonic for the first half of your list! DsD, I've seen Freddy several times, he's a wonderful bloke, never heard any stories like that about him. Magic; Mahotella Queens, saw them several times and once had the privilige of giving them my sightseeing tour of LA one Sunday afternoon.
Sour: Ellington and Hawkins - sad to say I never saw either though I had a marvelous experience about a year after I landed here. I went to a Sunday afternoon jazz event at the Hollywood Palladium, no idea what it was but I got to chatting with a black guy at the bar and he said, 'We're having a little get-together after the show, and if you'd like to come, you'd be welcome', he gave me the address so I drove there, it was a basic working class house in south-central LA. There was a party going on out in the garden out back and it turned out to be mostly the Ellington band, I was taken under the wing of Rex Stewart for most of the afternoon!
I worked at a university and we had regular music events for the students, Gil Scott was one and I enjoyed him in a small intimate setting, ditto Lenny Bruce who I saw at the Crescendo in Hollywood twice.
Steen: I'm envious of Perry, never saw him perform though I have lots on record.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ sourpus - the reason I enjoyed the Kaiser Chiefs so much was almost entirely because I was sharing the experience with my daughter. It was that sort of gig - in fact they were selling 'I Went To See The Kaiser Chiefs With My Dad' T-shirts at the gig!

AliMunday said...

TFD - I saw Fairport Convention after having been to the cinema to watch 'Gone with the Wind' - my friend wanted me to accompany her to GWTW and I wanted her to accompany me to see Fairport - it was a very bad idea to do both in succession!

treefrogdemon said...

So, did you like GWTW, and did she like the Fairports?

AliMunday said...

TFD - No, and no, I think! GWTW was too long by half!

DarceysDad said...

Sorry sourpus, I obviously cut too many details from the Freddie McGregor tale.

It was reported on the local news that (prior to the rumour about the gig being an incognito Stones) the Empire had only sold about two rows-worth of tickets. It is alleged that a rumour was started that The Rolling Stones were actually going to use Freddie's tour to sneak in a UK theatre-sized show to live rehearse some new material. The reporter claimed to have discovered that Mr McGregor had previously seen the same tactic create a miraculous increase in ticket sales for a US show. So on the lazy assumption that co-incidence doesn't come in to it, Freddie was accused of starting the rumour himself. DJ Phil Easton certainly fell for it, and hinted as such on his Radio City Rock show. Cue ticket feeding-frenzy. By the time the gig came around, Rolling Stones management had formally denied any knowledge of such an arrangement, and legitimately pointed out that the band had commitments before and after the show on an entirely different continent!

On the night in question, I wasn't doing anything else, had no homework etc., etc, so got the bus into town from Childwall, paid a quid or so for a ticket from a very hacked-off looking tout, and had a thoroughly excellent time at my first ever reggae concert. I left just as the police arrived to back up the Empire bouncers, who were losing the battle to empty the theatre: "I'm not fuckin' movin' til I've seen Mick Jagger!" was typical of the attitude of those who hasd just paid fifty quid for a £4.50 ticket.

sourpus said...

Holy moly. That must have ruffled a few feathers for sure. I've read about a number of such gigs with the Stones actually present and always (cynically) asssumed that the MAJORITY of people in attendance must have been the following:

1) Stones acolytes with some strong connection to the band, i.e. relatives, close friends, and arse kissers
2) Jammy journalists (with requisite percentage of arses kissed) and actual reviewers
3) Sundry VIP's and their friends, relatives, cleaners, riding instructors, valets, TM trainers, personal trainers, feng shui advisors, guitar techs (not already employed) etc.
4) Relatives, friends, neighbours and those otherwise owed favours by any of the above.
5) Corporate interest/tax incentive users

I have always assumed that a sizable number (the majority?) of ordinary punters on these occasions paid through the nose (to touts and the like); free to those who can afford it, and all that.

Cynical, I know.

sourpus said...

Toffee, of course you would enjoy something like that - i'm sure I would aswell! My brother - a 50 year old long-serving punk/rocker saw them and warned me off saying 'Yeah, the records are alright but they are so light weight live as to put you off' He is fairly stringent about these things mind you.

The point about change in cultural climate brings to mind a story about going to see Lenny Kravitz on his first tour of the UK, back in the late 80's/early 90's.

We all went because of 'Mr Cab Driver' (about the only record so far released of his) which had all the hallmarks of a work performed by someone in-the-know vis-a-vis what it takes to play 'real' music, but I remember he was more or less booed off the stage because the sound on stage was so faked and all front/style, without the requisite substance. I think Mr K learned a lot from that first tour of the UK - what may have been okay for American audiences at the time, had yet to be trusted by the Brits.

We knew we were being cheated and it didnt feel good, but I also had a feeling that this may well be 'the future' and sure enough, in many ways, it was.

sourpus said...

p.s. DD, I meant to say that I did get to see Van Halen (1980) - although, at the time, falling for post punk and new wave as I was - I found their 'showy' method too..too much! DLR strutting across the backline in spangly strides, Eddie soloing so fast seemed like watching sport after Schenker had already proved that you could do such things much more melodically if you wanted.

In latter years, I came to respect
DLR more though; he proved he did have a great sense of humour (im not sure the band would agree with me) and quite broad taste (he's a blue grass fan for sure, and proved it by doing some VH songs on Letterman in BG style.

Respect is actually due.

saneshane said...

1.Throwing Muses/Pixies Apr 88 Mean Fiddler – Pixies blow me away, a 17 year old saneshane would never be the same again.
I could then add May 88 Town and Country Club, Aug 88 T and C, sep 88 T and C, Oct 88 Mean Fiddler, in fact any London gig for three years. Obsessed me? – no way.

2. Pixies/ Wolfgang Press 11 May 89 – I had more fun at this gig and the rest of the night than is strictly legal. The bootleg my friend did had my mates singing ‘I’m Shaned’ during ‘Hey’ THAT’S how much fun I was having.

3. Pixies jul 89 Kilburn National – the hottest day ever and no air conditioning. Rammed in at the front Kim Deal gave me her Budweiser to re hydrate. Luckily America bud is just flavoured water.. Ta Kim, I know you loved me, but you were too messy even by my standards!

4. Sugarcubes – talking of messy women- one of their first gigs in England was special to me as my older brother or Uncle didn’t take me so it was my choice and I completely fell in love with Ms. Guðmundsdóttir
(AC/DC, Motorhead, Status Quo as a 12 year weren’t bad as gigs go.. even the Quo!)
But I saw one Sugarcubes gigs when it was all going pear shaped. Memorable for Björk slamming the microphone into Enars head.. it could have been Brixton 89.

5. The Wedding Present doing the Ukrainian sessions – there was a tube strike in London so I ended up here by accident – we had a wodka knees up with lots of beautiful eastern Europeans – smuggled booze smashed glass and a whole host of smashed people who couldn’t get home.. so we partied all night.
I’ve still got the carrier bag, but not the 10” record.

6 Art Brut Mr. Kypps 2 weeks ago - Mr Argos made his homecoming to Parkstone, where he penned most of the lyrics to the Art Brut debut. All songs dedicated to the Parkstone massiv. Emily Kane lives 13.5 minutes away from the venue.. and I’m guessing he’s breaching the terms of the restraining order. His little brother was there to still hate ‘… discovered rock n roll’ and he assures his folks there’s no crystal meths in Parkstone.
after living there for 18 years I too escaped .. but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.. I even had a beer in the Hogshead where 10 years previously Mr. Argos served my pints.

7 Jeff Lewis doing 12 Crass songs in a pub 10 minutes from the house I just moved into.

8 Pulp Glastonbury yep that one.. and it was that good.

9 Cowboy Junkies in a little tent at Pheonix so beautiful.. but it was THE worst festival that I ever went to.

The ones I missed and could have been at:
Lenny Cohen Bournemouth but for the cash..

Happy Mondays and Pixies together in the U.S in 89 (spent my money hitching to Berlin and being one of the first people to get on the wall, it was ages before it came down.. coulda been at a gig)

Brakes, Norwich art center I was sat in the pub thirty foot away, with 2 friends that love them as well. They haven't been back since.

This could be a never ending remembrance.. I'll stop there.

sourpus said...

steen, oh man, I was a HUGE fan of the Smithereens, I surely envy you that one.

goneforeign, excellent Ellington story. I remember when I first joined a serious band, full of musicians I respected enormously, and a guitarist who knew more about rock riffery (of the Bowie/Velvets/Roxy order) than I felt I would ever know. I remember him telling me (very seriously) that he thought Ellington's touring band were probably the greatest ever assembly of musicians of all time! It just made me pay even closer attention.

Mnemonic. Does this mean you, er, spoke to the man!!!! Dear Lord, if I had so much as sniffed a piece of carbolic soap he once saw fit to make use of I would probably have spontaneously combusted. Even to this day, I keep it for one of my special fantasies - 'being completely stiffed by Dylan for daring to say 'hello''. Wow, what a dream come true that would be!

sourpus said...

saneshane, I hardly know where to begin! We must have been to a few Pixies gigs together thats for sure (April 88 for certain).

I cant swear to this, but I certainly attended one of the first Sugarcubes gigs, if not THE first in the UK. Somewhere in south London, 1988. The best though was surely July 19, St Petersburg, Russia, where not only did I end up in Bjork's dressing room (her tour manager was an college mate) along with about 6 other people,but I also danced with her to "Overkill" by Motorhead (she brought her own DJ for the dressing room!)

Not wishing to get too boasty but I did also play support to The Ukrainians at The (now defunct) Princess Charlotte pub in Leicester. Not my sort of thing at the time, so I didnt really watch their set. Sorry now though.

I also share Happy Mondays with you (I assume you did see them at some point, even if not with the Pixies) who I saw on their first tour - great night out that was.

Finally, Leonard Cohen. I was totally gutted for missing out last year on the tour everyone said was the best gig of the year, so imagine my relief when they announced a date THIS summer in Budapest. I was quick off the mark and got third row, front and centre. Price was no object in this case.

Mnemonic said...

Sourpus, no I didn't speak to the man. He was stretched across five seats asleep, with his head in a backing singer's lap (the one he later married, maybe?). Tim Drummond and the minders were great, though. I did sit behind him on the plane later: he drank brandy.

saneshane said...

I think Bjork is the one proper crush that I've ever had.. so I'm mightily jealous!
Those gigs have long long stories attached and mostly not to be broadcast loudly.

My friends got Lenny tickets by accident two hours before he was due to go on.. 5 rows in, straight in front of the stage. I could have payed the £80 even if my son couldn't have shoes for a few years.. it was the Helicopter to get me there in time that cost too much!
the Ukrainians was one of those 'not expecting too much' nights that turned out to be a blast.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ sourpus - who are you calling a swell?

@ saneshane - Wedding Present? Ukranian sessions? Now, that's something I wish I'd experienced at close hand. And can anyone explain to me why I sold my 10" Ukranian mini-album? What was I thinking of??????

sourpus said...

Mnemonic, that's as near as dammit for me. I have spoken to a number of people who met with Bob (and some musicians who worked with him) and nothing they can tell me would put me off getting in his face sometime/whenever.

Lets hope that he did marry that backing singer because children need a proper father, dont they?

sourpus said...

Toffee, I know, I know, I have a habit of writing it like that.

As to how you came to sell you Ukrainians mini album, at least you got something for it. Hands up how many people on the Spill were in the habit of lending out their records at some point in the past and not getting them back or (perhaps worse)ending up keeping the half-as-interesting ones you temporarily swapped yours for?

goneforeign said...

You don't sell albums, you buy albums!
And you don't lend albums, if by some remote chance they would be returned they would be scratched or have jam on 'em.

Shoey said...

Toffee - Can dropbox the Ukrainians for you if you want - they were reissued on the Weddoes/Peel box set?

ToffeeBoy said...

@ shoey - mmmmmmm!!!!!! (yes please)

May1366 said...

sourpus - I've been both sides of the album lending debacle. There's been albums loved and lost and probably sitting in the front rooms of people I'm still close to but to address the matter after so many years would seem positively former Yugoslavian in the grudge-holding department.

I've also sometimes come into the ownership of records a mate of mine used to own but had to barter them away because of mounting debts (to me) - the idea being that when he was back in a reasonable financial shape, it would be better I had them so he could get them back than the Record & Tape Exchange having them. However, I still possess a the 7" of Paul Quinn's Ain't That Always The Way and I'm not sure how.

And then there was the shameful saga (or everyday story of Toxteth pirate radio, jazz, robbery and social embarrassment) of some rare Don Cherry albums, given to the Swedish-based brother of a radio colleague by Don himself and then given as a gift to my friend. He lent them to me for a Don Cherry special on the radio shortly before my upstairs neighbour broke into my flat for about the third time. I evacuated my vinyl to another friend's flat, whereupon the Don Cherry LPs were seized upon by a small community of Don Cherry obsessives, and they spent the next few years dispersed between about four homes. I didn't want to return them until they were reunited but it never happened, people moved away's all too horrible. But when I did return a batch, their owner was so delighted he promptly gave one of them straight back to me to keep. Jazz heals all wounds, people, it really does.