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.
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 the 1992 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 and Metallica five, and Anthrax three. Rush, Megadeth, Lamb of God, 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 few times 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 saw Heart a bunch of times, and a couple indie bands I found on YouTube — but mostly I went to heavy metal shows. It’s funny, because I was far more a metalhead in the 80s than I am today. But so many of the metal bands I loved back when are still touring, and when they come around I want to see them!
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
2007: Heart, Head East
2012: Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper
2013: Pokey LaFarge | Heart, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
2015: Pokey LaFarge
2016: Iron Maiden, The Raven Age | Lake Street Dive, The Brother Brothers
2017: Iron Maiden
2018: Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, Havok
2019: Metallica | Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, Testament
2021: Megadeth, Lamb of God, Trivium, Hatebreed | Pokey LaFarge
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.