Live Music
by courtney

Live music. I've seen my share. The list is exhausting to compile. Strap in…

Huey Lewis and the News (2)--my very first concert actually, although I like to cite this next one as my first:
Psychedelic Furs/Mission UK (with my mother, she bought the tickets)
REM (5)
Indigo Girls
10,000 Maniacs (2)
Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians (2)
Pink Floyd
Roger Waters
Elvis Costello and the Attractions
The Replacements
The Ramones
The Pogues
Violent Femmes
Sting (2)
Robert Palmer
Depeche Mode
Nitzer Ebb
Pop Will Eat Itself
David Bowie (3)
Paul Simon
Bob Mould (15)
Sugar (2)
Ani DiFranco (3)
Matthew Sweet (2)
Bim Skala Bim (2)
O Positive (6)
The Bad Plus
Guided By Voices (2)
Dave Matthews Band
James Taylor
Jimmy Buffett (6)
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (4)
They Might Be Giants
Lollapalooza 2 (Lush, Jesus and Mary Chain, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Ice Cube, Ministry, Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
Pearl Jam
Barenaked Ladies
Lollapalooza 4 (Beastie Boys, George Clinton, the Breeders, A Tribe Called Quest, Smashing Pumpkins, others I can’t remember)
Warren Zevon
Paul Westerberg
Mission of Burma (2)
Ben Folds Five
Catherine Wheel
Green Day (when I almost died)
KISS (funniest show ever)
The Monkees
Travis/Dido (yawn...)
Chris Cornell
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Yanni (a date gone horribly wrong)
The Heretix
The Neighborhoods (at the now defunct Channel in Boston, great club)
Birdsongs of the Mesozoic
Todd Rundgren
Citizen Cope
The Raconteurs
The Hold Steady (fuck yeah…)

Looking at this list, I now know why my mother threatened to ground me that summer before I turned 17. Holy crap. Some of these shows were pretty memorable, too. Todd Rundgren, for example, refused to stop playing that summer night until the onstage temperature measured 105 degrees. He stuck a garden thermometer above the drum kit, and god help us, it hit 105 in that fucking club. I was almost trampled and tossed off of the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge to the Esplanade in Boston, MA at a free Green Day show, the summer “Longview” broke big. I told you about KISS last week. Pop Will Eat Itself rendered me totally deaf for two days. Some of these shows have sucked, beyond description.

ani2.jpgAfter hearing all that great music live, I can safely say, I hate live albums. Inevitably, they never live up to the actual experience of sweat, and pushing bodies, and bass amps in clip. However, certain live versions of songs have been able to transcend the studio version and become something magical.

On Ani DiFranco’s second album “Imperfectly”, there is a song entitled, “Every State Line”, an a capella number sung in a slightly too-high range for her, and very quickly. A song, on first listen, you’d totally dismiss. In fact, I forgot it was even on the album, until I heard it live. For the live performance, she slowed down the tempo to a foreboding dirge speed, and put a somber, looping guitar riff and a harmonica intro that sounds like old west tumbleweeds and an ill wind. And suddenly, the lyrics become clear, and the sinister undertone worms its way to the front of the song, and it chills you to the bone. She draws out the pauses between the verses to enhance the effect, and the rhythm section pounds in after her percussive, “FUCK you very much.” It changed EVERYTHING about the song, from a throwaway little ditty to a challenge to authority and a warning to the crowd.

It’s moments like that that keep me going back to live shows. And it’s moments like that which are almost never captured when a sound engineer tries to record them. Once in a while, you get lucky. But they’re never a substitute for the real thing.

Mix Tape Archives


As always, music here.


I may have to put my list up. You're right though, there is NOTHING to compare a live recording to as opposed to actually being there.


Wow, that's a lot of shows! Quite a few I would like to have seen, but not one that I have. :-(


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