5 best gigs ever seen?

The NME is asking readers to list the five best gigs they ever attended. Hmmm. There’s a good bet they never heard/don’t remember/are all too young and spotty to have seen what comes to my mind. And then again, “good” is relative. These are gigs I still remember 20+ years on, plus one I reckon I won’t forget so easily.

In no particular order:

  • My Chemical Romance in Toulouse last Thursday. No really, I’ve seen a lot of gigs, these lads have definitely Got It
  • Queen in Fréjus during the Magic Tour (1986). Oh Freddie, how we still miss you
  • Jean Guidoni in a Parisian cabaret (Tigre de Porcelaine period, again the late 80s)
  • Stan Ridgway all on his tod in Paris, I think I was the only person who was really listening to him in that toilet venue, yet he’s the greatest storyteller I’ve ever seen
  • Peter Gabriel on tour for his 4th album

There have been lots of other great acts, but none managed the impressive combination of a powerful stage presence (and show), crystal clear sound, and a well-assembled set that never left you bored even if you barely knew the song.

I remember crying with laughter all through a Tom Waits gig, though: that guy was amazing too. Frank Zappa, there was another incredibly funny and gifted musician, from whose reggae take on Stairway To Heaven I may never fully recover. Maybe I’d have a nicer word for David Bowie if I hadn’t seen him at the point where he was beginning to plummet artistically, as he worked really hard at the stage show. Michael Jackson might have been worth it if the sound system hadn’t been a total disaster.

Other gigs have been fun, but not outstanding. I still have some major bands to see of course: Muse, Foo Fighters, anyone who understands that entertainment is not a dirty word.

Worst concert ever? A classical one: Frans Bruggen. Deadly, deadly boring. Also one of the only two gigs I actually ever walked out of, the other being Bruce Springsteen at the Amnesty International tour (in my defence, Bruce may be a lovely guy but his music just isn’t my thing, and after several hours of enforced fasting the hotdog stand was Calling Me).

My younger daughter wants to add Oasis to the  bad gig list. Apparently the places were expensive, the show static, and Liam Gallagher spent a lot of time sneering at the fans and generally being a complete tosser.

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