My All-Time Greatest Gigs

March 30, 2015

Led1During a recent trip to New York, I joined a few of my colleagues for a fantastic night of music at the world-famous Blue Note jazz club. We went on a whim and ended up sitting front and center as Maceo Parker and his band put on a wildly entertaining show. As we sipped Blue Note martinis and waited for the funky fiesta to begin, an interesting question was posed: If you could choose to attend one concert of all time, what would it be?

We never really landed on a definitive answer before the music began, but I’ve given it some thought ever since. And the Idea Peepshow seems like a good place to reveal my selection.

I decided not to allow myself to choose festival-type events. That would be too easy. Sure, Woodstock or Altamont would’ve made for amazing stories, but I’m not that into being crowded, stoned or stabbed anyway.

And I after putting this much thought into it, I also decided I couldn’t stop at just one. So, here is my top five list of shows I’ll attend if time travel ever becomes possible.

Honorable Mention: Foo Fighters – Preservation Hall, New Orleans, May 17, 2014
This was too recent to make the cut, but it would’ve been awesome. A surprise gig during filming of their HBO Series “Sonic Highways,” the band opened the doors and windows of the historic venue and ripped through a 90-minute performance for people in the street. The encore included a killer version of “This is a Call” with New Orleans native Trombone Shorty joining in. See the Setlist

#5: Pearl Jam — Soldier Field, Chicago, July 11, 1995
An epic, 29-song show with a raucous crowd, in a legendary stadium, at the peak of the band’s popularity. Eddie Vedder killed it, playing for nearly 50,000 people in his hometown. See the Setlist

#4: The Beatles — Shea Stadium, New York, Aug. 15, 1965
They only played 30 minutes — which bumps this down on the list — but it would be hard to top the atmosphere of 55,000 screaming fans for the Fab Four’s first big performance in the U.S. See the Setlist

#3: Guns N’ Roses – The Ritz, New York — Feb. 2, 1988
My favorite band in a 1,500-capacity venue, just as they were on the verge of becoming the biggest rock stars in the world. It was filmed for an MTV special, and the band was on fire, but video can’t do justice to the energy of seeing a show like this live. See the Setlist

#2: The Rolling Stones — Madison Square Garden, New York, July 26, 1972
Another iconic venue, with the Stones on top of their game and a set packed with hits following the release of “Exile on Main Street.” This three-hour show ended the tour, on Mick’s 29th birthday, and the band nearly brought the house down. I’ve never seen the Stones, but this show misses the top spot on my list because of the fact that they are still touring — and likely coming to Minneapolis very soon. See the Setlist

#1: Led Zeppelin — The Forum, Los Angeles, June 25, 1972
What a summer for concerts in 1972. I’m fairly certain I’ll never see this band live, so it makes for a pretty obvious choice. The set included a 25-minute version of “Whole Lotta Love,” with several other songs mixed in, and at least 3 encores. Some rare covers like “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Louie Louie” topped off the night. Sign me up. See the Setlist

That’s my list. What’s your No. 1?