Stories Told

Rock shows

Bonus post today: an update on a long-ago post chronicling all the concerts I’ve seen.

Who have you seen in concert? Something the disk jockey said on the radio this morning started me thinking about the concerts I’ve been to. I was surprised that I couldn’t remember them all! It’s not like I’ve seen that many shows, and I certainly wasn’t smoking any dope at them to fog my memory. I wrote down what I could remember and Googled to fill in some blanks. You would not believe the detailed tour information people have cataloged on the Internet! I was shocked to learn that I’ve seen hair-metal band Dokken. Good Lord, shoot me now.

Heart

Ann Wilson singing with her band Heart in 2014

My first show was Al Stewart at the Westport Playhouse in St. Louis. You know, “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages.” My second show was Iron Maiden at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. You know, “The Number of the Beast.” Talk about a change of pace! The Iron Maiden show was so loud that my ears rang for three days. I’ll never forget the newspaper review the next morning: “About as subtle as a baseball bat to the forehead. But to these kids, all zonked to the rafters on Clearasil and beer, it was probably poetry.” It was.

The best performance I’ve seen was Eric Clapton on his 1994 blues tour. His guitar work was as skilled as you’d expect, but it was also unexpectedly emotional. The best show I’ve seen is, believe it or not, Ozzy Osbourne on 1990 tour that was supposed to be his last, but wasn’t. He may have only three functioning brain cells, but he sure knows how to work his audience. It’s hard to call the worst show I’ve seen, but Ringo Starr and Van Halen totally phoned in their performances, and Metallica was badly off their game when I saw them play in the rain in 1994.

I’ve seen Heart six times, Iron Maiden five, and Metallica four. Rush, Eric Clapton, and Pokey LaFarge had me in their audience twice. I’ve seen Paul McCartney, my all-time favorite, just once and wish I could have seen him again and again. But last time he toured, tickets were outrageously expensive and I just wouldn’t pay it.

Here’s the list I’ve pieced together, in chronological order. Headliners are listed first. You’ll see that I gravitated toward heavy-metal shows, and then gave up on concerts altogether for nine years while I was busy with my young family. And then when my kids were older and my time was more my own, I split my time among Heart, classic metal bands, and a couple indie bands I found on YouTube!

1986: Al Stewart

1987: Iron Maiden, Waysted | Eric Clapton, The Robert Cray Band | Heart, Mr. Mister

1988: Iron Maiden, Anthrax | Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken, Metallica, Kingdom Come | Metallica, The Cult | Grim Reaper, Armored Saint

1989: Anthrax, Exodus, Helloween

1990: Motley Crue, Whitesnake | Paul McCartney | Rush, Mr. Big

1992: Ozzy Osbourne, Slaughter

1993: Heart | Aerosmith, Jackyl

1994: Rush, Primus | Metallica | Ringo Starr | Eric Clapton

1995: Megadeth, Korn, Flotsam and Jetsam, Fear Factory

1997: Metallica

2006: Heart

2007: Heart, Head East

2012: Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper

2013: Pokey LaFarge | Heart, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

2014: Heart

2015: Pokey LaFarge

2016: Iron Maiden, The Raven Age | Lake Street Dive, The Brother Brothers

2017: Iron Maiden

2018: Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, Havok

I’m sure I’m still overlooking a band or two. But now tell me who you’ve seen! Leave a comment, or blog about it and link back here.

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36 thoughts on “Rock shows

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    Gotta say, we have entirely different musical tastes! I’ve seen a lot of jazz: Stanley Turentine, Freddie Cole, Pat Metheny, Kurt Elling, Ricki Lee Jones; and when it comes to rock, I have seen a lot of Joe Jackson, Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell, Lyle Lovett and Bowie…BUT, I’m on the Pokey LaFarge train pretty heavy, so “plus one”! Never saw him tho…the above list not complete…

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  2. Kurt Ingham says:

    One advantage of being OLD – I’ve managed to see some of the most important and exciting bands in the history of music – many of them multiple times. I was active as a rock photographer in the late 60’s to the early 70’s – a very fertile period. I really couldn’t list everyone, but here are some highlights in no particular order: Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Devo, Cream, Rolling Stones, Motorhead, Iggy (Pop and Stooge) Blue Cheer, James Taylor, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service,The Kinks, The Doors, Dr. John, Bonzo Dog Band, Led Zeppelin, …but never The Grateful Dead. Nikon, Nikkormat, Tri X in Acufine and 2475 Recording Film were my basic arsenal

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    • You saw the Bonzo Dog Band?!!? Massive props to you!

      Yes, you did see everybody that mattered then. When I hit college in 1985 and joined the campus radio station these were the bands I explored and played on the air. What a great time of musical discovery for me!

      And 2475 film — now that’s hardcore.

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  3. Kurt Ingham says:

    Foghat, Doug Kershaw, John Sebastian, Tim Hardin, Dave Davies (solo) Ray Davies (solo) Incredible String Band, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Bruce Springsteen. Ten Years After, Albert King, BB King, Johnny Otis Revue, Mountain, Iron Butterfly, Ike and Tina Turner, Donovan, Exploding Plastic Inevitable (Velvet Underground) Byrds,

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  4. Christopher Smith. says:

    Not seen too many bands some of these are probably obscure but here goes,
    Super Tramp, Hawkwind, Uriah Heep, Paper Lace, Black Abbots, Lonnie Donegan.

    a bit of track but as a side note because of the recent news of is death I have been to a Billy Graham Rally

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  5. I mainly went to concerts between 1970-75. Those were the Moody Blues, Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane, Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Loggins and Messina, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Peter Frampton, Santana, Edgar Winter Group, Average White Band, James Gang, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, CCR, Chicago, BTO, Three Dog Night, Guess Who, ELO, America, It’s a Beautiful Day, and Van Halen. Last concert was Stevie Wonder where a girl invited me to, at the Cow Palace, in 1983. That was interesting. Concerts spread between San Diego and San Francisco. Some obscure bands in San Francisco and Berkeley I no longer remember them.

    Two that stand out was Boz Scaggs, early on, who was doing a small concert in a bowling alley in Pacific Beach, San Diego. My high school friend, big into music, told me about it and after eating out with my parents I rushed down. Believe it was 1972. The other was Jeff Beck who is not my taste yet some friends wanted me to go. I vaguely remember this as I got high, very rare and very easy for me, so all I remember is the small venue.

    Oh, there was Iron Butterfly at my high school 1968 in the San Fernando Valley. That has been it since I will no longer deal with buying tickets from resellers which weren’t around back then as one just stopped at the box office.

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    • Oh my gosh, you saw It’s a Beautiful Day! That’s quite a roster you’ve seen overall!

      I’m not a big fan of the resellers either but it’s pretty much the only way now. And given that the larger bands increasingly do arena tours of large cities, to see them I’m driving to Chicago and I need to buy from a reseller then.

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  6. DougD says:

    Wow Jim, there’s one area where our tastes differ, but I guess that means there’s more metal left for you :)

    Since I’m already deaf in one ear from the age 5, I was heavily discouraged from going to rock concerts as a teen. I did see a few shows though:

    The Who – 1989 CNE Stadium Toronto
    Pat Metheney – Ontario Place (Home of the Rotating Stage!) Toronto
    The Tragically Hip – Ontario Place
    PDQ Bach – Fox Theatre Detroit

    For a few years some friends and I were big fans of Kim Mitchell and his previous band Max Webster. I’m not sure how many shows I saw, at least ten. His new years eve concerts were awesome, he’d play two sets and go right to midnight. The third year of this my brother and I went, and he said bye after the first set at 10pm. So my brother and I celebrated the turn of the year in the car on the way home, and we never went to another Kim Mitchell show.

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      • DougD says:

        Best concert ever! They started with the Howdy symphony, which is written for the occasion of the orchestra returning from vacation. So the conductor starts the piece with empty chairs, and the players trickle in until everyone is there by the end.
        Good fun :)

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  7. Joshua Fast says:

    I was in high school during the mid 90s so i went through an era of great music. I went to dang near every lollapalooza. I was fortunate enough to see soundgarden, stone temple pilots and alice in chains before their front men passed away. I was a huge nirvana fan but his suicide was in April of 94. They were due to headline Lollapalooza ’94 in July at Deer Creek. Instead i was forced to suffer through bands such as Green Day, Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, The Black Crowes, The Breeders and Cyprus Hill. I’ve been trying to see Pearl Jam since high school, i remember standing in line at ticket master at least three times (remember that?) when they announced that it was sold out. I’m going to try again this summer when they play at Wrigley, I’ll just have to stomach their ticket prices.

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    • I was a young adult then, working in my first career job and working as a radio DJ part time. The music was really exciting then, to be sure. I wouldn’t have minded seeing The Breeders to be sure. I played the crap out of Cannonball on the radio.

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  8. Kurt Ingham says:

    The Mothers of of Invention, Boz Scaggs, Elton John’s first US show, Peter Frampton, Fairport Convention, Slade, Pink Floyd, 3 Dog Night, Uriah Heep, Argent, The Pogues, The Sensational Alex Harvey, ELO Weather Report, Joe Cocker

    I took pictures at about half the shows I went to

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      • Kurt Ingham says:

        Sorry for the rambling- you post just triggered a sort of blissful free association and recall. I’ll be scanning more of my shots from that era, soon .It was also very amusing (to me, at least)trying to remember the groups that I saw but didn’t photograph. Thanks for indulging me!

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  9. Kurt Ingham says:

    The bands that caught me by surprise – Dr. John,
    Devo and Apocalyptica – I hadn’t heard of them and they were sensational. Another brain fade – Big Brother and the Holding company – a mesmerizing show where I did’t take pix!

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  10. SilverFox says:

    Wow Jim that is some serious metal in there! I have some overlap with your tastes saw Guns and Roses and Bon Jovi a couple of times. Best concert was Desert Trip here in California; The Who, Rolling Stones, Paul MacCartney, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Roger Waters all on one bill all doing full sets… amazing,

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  11. My favorite was beastie boys, Orlando 92 or 93. Was an amazing show, Rollins band and cypress hill also played. Bad brains, skinny puppy, fugazi, took my son to dropkick murphys when he was 9, never saw dead milkmen but I did see joe Jack perform at a coffee shop years ago, he did quite a few dead milkmen songs, also emailed me the chords to one of his so I could learn it which was a super cool thing of him to do!

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  12. OK sounds kinda lame after Mr Ingham et al but I too was a respected rock photographer in and around Portrush, Northern Ireland when I was teenager. OM-1 with Ilford HP5. I jest but I did get to see most the bands that came to this little part of the world (for free too – when you’re young you don’t care how much you exaggerate your importance to the guys at the door in order to gain entry!). So…my list: local band The Undertones more times that I can remember and another local one, Xdreamysts. Moving on, The Stranglers (several times), Thin Lizzy, Status Quo (+Judas Priest, Rockpile, Christie Moore in Dublin 1979), The Darts (brilliant in concert), Ian Dury (old-time music hall showman-style awesome lyrics wrapped in a punk veneer, one of a kind), most of the Stiff Tour 1978, Radio Stars, Cimarons, XTC, Frankie Miller, Dr Feelgood (oh yes), Paul Young, Van Morrison&Bob Dylan (Belfast, open-air concert which didn’t really work for either them or us), The Police, Nils Lofgren and a host of others at Reading Festivals late 70s/early 80s (I think Motorhead played too but can’t remember…?), Slade (one of the best live groups I ever saw), Genesis (Birmingham, 1984), Hawkwind (oooh, Silver Machine!) and…drum roll…Rory Gallagher in Belfast (and no, it really doesn’t get any better than that).

    Phew! That took me back a year or two. Anyway, great setlist from yourself, Jim – I was a huge fan of Rush and would have loved to have seen them in the flesh.

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    • You got to see Ian Dury! I’m jealous! His shows (that I’ve only seen on YouTube) looked like such fun. And I’m surprised to learn Slade was one of the best you saw! I listened to their radio-friendly stuff in the 70s and it was all well and good but I would not have guessed them to be so good live. Kind of like I wouldn’t have guessed it about Ozzy.

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  13. Scott Bennett says:

    Dr Hook, Bertie Higgins
    George Thorogood, Johnny Winter (plus Winter again another time)
    .38 Special (3 times)
    Dick Dale (5 times)
    Z Z Top, Extreme
    Z Z Top, Black Crows
    Bad Company (2 times)
    Damn Yankees
    Peter Wolf
    Great White
    Pat Benatar, The Alarm
    Huey Lewis
    Loverboy
    Ratt, Poison
    Kiss, Trixter, Faster Pussycat
    Cinderella, Winger, Bulletboys
    Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen
    Outlaws
    Charlie Daniels
    B B King
    Bo Diddley
    Junior Wells
    John Mayall (3 times)
    Motorhead (3 times)
    Anthrax
    Corrosion of Conformity
    Jackyl
    Guns and Roses, Brian May
    Rod Stewart
    Joan Jett
    Ace Frehley
    The Smithereens
    David Lee Roth, Tesla
    Collective Soul, Oleander
    Filter, Drain S T H
    Styx, REO Speedwagon, Survivor
    Heart, Cheap Trick
    Susan Tadeschi
    Queensryche (Operation Livecrime tour), Warrior Soul
    Bettye LaVette (twice)
    Taj Mahal
    Paul Rodgers
    Saxon, Armored Saint, Mindmaze
    Joan Jett (1987) and Smithereens (1991?) are the high points of my concert “career”. Saxon/ Armored Saint was just a couple of years ago. I always wanted to see the Saint, and they were fantastic. All the original members except for Dave Prichard’s replacement. It was cool to see John Bush with them, and previously, fronting Anthrax.

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