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Best gig of your life?

grimep

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Was giving this some thought the other day and for me there's one that stands out head and shoulders above the rest in terms of the music and vibe and just feeling so lucky to be there. After the Buena Vista Social Club album and Wim Wenders film made such a big impression, the band toured under the name Afro-Cuban All Stars. I'd just bought the A Toda Cuba Le Gusta album, loved it, and then saw they were doing a London gig at the Jazz Cafe in Camden. Not sure of the date but probably early 1998.

Perhaps because more people were familiar with BVSC name, and their worldwide popularity was yet to materialise I think a lot of their new fans didn't realise it was them. The Jazz Cafe is one of my favourite venues, it has its problems like anywhere but being small keeps it intimate, not claustrophobic. At what other major venue can you get a drink at the bar, walk 4 paces and be standing right in front of the stage? While more intimate in terms of closeness to the performers it feels more spacious than somewhere like Ronnie Scots.

Anyway.. so I didn't know what to expect- a lot of the crowd were young and latin-american looking, possibly Cuban ex-pats, and there was a real buzz in the air, a feeling of expectation. Then the band took the stage, all 13 of them, looking dapper and cool, and then... well from the first note the place went mental and they tore it up for well over two hours, I think they played both albums. The average age on stage must've been over 70 but they hardly broke into a sweat, the sound was excellent, the musicianship amazing, by the end of the night the crowd was an exhausted mess but the All Stars looked like they could go on all night.

In terms of the power of music to make a crowd feel happy, it couldn't have been more apparent. I've been to a lot of live music and had some wonderful musical experiences over the years, but I don't think I'll ever top that one.

How about you?

 

jkbmusic

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HiFi Trade?
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Too many to remember. Free, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Crosby & Nash, Yes, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Seal, Afropeans @ Ronnie Scotts, Gary Moore, Steeleye Span, Mott the Hoople, John Martyn, Clapton, Baker, Bruce, etc. Worst venue - Fleetwood Mac at Metro Arena.

 

Ian

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HiFi Trade?
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Too many, but ones I recall as touching the sky include...

Zappa at Hammersmith, matinee and evening performances, 1980

Zappa @ Birmingham - 'Best Band' (and final) tour, '88

Linton Kwesi Johnson @ Shepherds Bush sometime, 25th anniversary I think.

Simone Felice (Duke and the King) last month

Cara Dillon

Every time I saw Hawkwind years ago and was completely stoned !

 
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Ian

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Double post, but also Bob Dylan was mesmerising for about 30 minutes once out of the 5 or 6 times I've seen him !

 
G

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Sorry I can't read that block of text, stick some spaces in there Graham!
Great thread idea, but all that text makes me eyes go funny.

But, off the top of my head:

6 feet away from Midlake @ a pub in Leicester, words can't describe how good.

Cocteau Twins, mid 80's - her voice is that of god.

Captain Beefheart, scarily awesome.

Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Mr Charisma & a band to die for.

PIL, John Lydon acted, lived every song, cried & verbally abussed the audience. We loved every moment.

Porcupine Tree, precission, skill, beauty, just everything.

Crystal Castles, sheer utter total noise, I LOVE THIS BAND.

Various Artists, tribute to Nick Drake with Joe Boyd & Robert Kirby. Beautiful & emotionally exhausting.

Traffic with Spooky Tooth as support.

Stones with surprise guest Mr Clapton.

Fairport Convention & Steeleye Span, free for Granada TV.

Incredible String Band, apparently 4 times.

Yes, Byrds, King Crimson within weeks of each other.

Smoke Fairies, small club, this January. Died & gone to heaven.

Etc

 

unclepuncle

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Apr 11, 2007
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Hard to narrow it down to one.

Morrissey at Wolverhampton Civic Hall in December 1988 was special. It was his first gig since The Smiths had split and it was free admission on a first come first served basis. We got there at about 6.00am and the queue was already massive - fortunately the police came at about 8.00am to try to get it under control and in the mellee we managed to sneak a fair way up the queue so got in no problem. The gig was actually pretty crap as Morrissey was constantly smothered in fans getting on stage. But the high I was on afterwards to be able to say 'I was there' was pretty immense.

http://www.passionsjustlikemine.com/live/moz-g88.htm

Others I remembly fondly include My Bloody Valentine at Bradford Uni 1991 (just a wall of noise), The Stone Roses at the Roadmenders in Northampton in 1988, and my first ever gig, The Mission at The Astoria in 1988 (the last night of a 7 night residency and All About Eve supported) :)

 

Leonard Smalls

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Favourites include:

Kraftwerk @ Liverpool Empire 1980ish

Dead Kennedys @ Leeds Poly 1983ish

Bauhaus @ Leeds uni 1983ish

Mad Professor @ Cosmo Club Leeds 1983

Red Hot Chili Peppers @ the Clarendon 1986

Jonas Hellborg @ the Blue Note 1990ish

Stanley Clarke/Omar Hakim?wayne Shorter/Herbie Hancock @ Albert Hall 1990ish

Trouble Funk @ Town and Country Club 1989

Ian Dury and the Blockheads @ Deeside Leisure centre 1980ish

Bootsy's Rubber Band @ the Barbican 1999

Wilko Johnson everytime I've seen him and Norman

Dredd and the Badass Weeds shropshire 2010

War @ the Jazz Cafe 1995ish

and many many more!

 

Tel

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Aug 13, 2006
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Get to the opticians! Oh alright then....
Thanks :)

Like Jeff I have been to see so many wonderful gigs but in the spirit of the thread I suppose the ones that exceeded expectations are rather special.

I have two of those.

Some time in the 80s I got a call from my younger brother saying he had a spare ticket for a gig that night at Hammersmith Odeon. When he told me it was to see Meatloaf I started laughing and said I wouldn't waste mey time. Anyway my brother persuaded me to come and keep him company and I went along expecting to take the piss.

The show was astonishing, I don't think I have ever seen anyone put so much energy into a performance, given that there are plenty of prima donnas around who don't seem to have any regard for the paying punter I came away with a total respect for Meatloaf, he is a great entertainer and gave superb value for money.

The other was in 1991.

I was working in Spain for the summer about an hour from Barcelona.

A load of people wanted to go and see Paul Simon, I wasn't bothered but went along with the crowd.

The gig was in a great big barn of a place, the Olympics were due to be held in Barcelona the next summer and we were in what was to become the Gymnastics Hall.

What a gig and what an astonishing musician Paul Simon is, I had no idea he was such an accomplished guitarist. A truly wonderful evening which is easily in my top ten gigs of all time. When that gig list includes Pink Floyd, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Wishbone Ash, Hawkwind, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Springsteen, U2, that is high praise indeed.

 

rsc

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For me, it was the first date of Focus' 2010 UK Autumn tour, at a very small venue: 'Trading Boundaries', near Sheffield Park (East Sussex).

Maybe 100 in the audience, wife & I sat about 8 ft from the stage.

Focus played for approx 2 hours (full set, but split by an intermission).

Have listened to their records plenty of times over the years and seen them before, but to see such fabulous musicians at such close proximity was very special.

To have the opportunity to hang out with them in the intermission and after the show obviously helped make this a very special night.

Have just booked tickets to see Thijs, Pierre & co play at Weyfest in September... can't wait!

 
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pmac

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Aug 19, 2005
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Chuck Berry, at Middlesbrough Town Hall, grabbed the audience from the first bar and didn't let go for nearly two hours. An amazing show by a hugely talented performer, despite being towards the twilight of his career. I'm not his biggest fan and, like Tel, went to the gig with fairly low expectations. I couldn't have been more wrong, truly superb. :^

Genesis (performing LLDOB) and Jethro Tull, both at Newcastle City Hall, were worthy runners up.

Nine Below Zero at Redcar were a bit special too. :)

 

myrman

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HiFi Trade?
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So many but those that come to mind:

Prince at Wembley Lovesexy Tour 88 and last night of the 2009 O2 gigs.

Van Halen back in the 80s at Knebworth. DLR what a frontman.

Everytime I saw Thin Lizzy.

Peter Gabriel at the Albert Hall a few years back.

Nils Lofgren Acoustic set last year at The Stables Milton Keynes.

 
G

Guest

Guest
"Going to a gig with low expectations", several years ago we went to see Love.

Mainly went out curiosity & a mate liked them.

The De Montfort Hall was set out with round tables & chairs.

What the F**K ? we thought & expectations hit the deck.

Arthur Lee & band came out and opened with Alone Again Or.

The Forever Changes tour.

Getting goosebumps & the chills just thinking back.

It was like going back decades to when the album 1st came out.

Crack band & Arthur had the audience by the balls.

In an odd way I couldn't wait for final track, You set The Scene, to end so we could just go totally mental & celebrate.

Totally unexpected & thats when the stars collide & the gig lasts forever in your head.

 

jkbmusic

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HiFi Trade?
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:oops: I forgot I saw Elbow last month. plus other memorable :roll: concerts,

Athlete.

Amazing Blondel.

Blues Power.

Smiddyburn.

Clannad.

Colluseum.

Dr Strangley Strange.

Dire Straits.

Fish.

Groundhogs.

Robin Williamson.

Keef Hartley.

Van Morrison.

Wishbone Ash.

Peter Gabriel Up tour @ Wembley, front row seats . :^

Tyrannosaurus Rex when Mark Bolan played with Steve Took.

Others may come to mind. :nup:

 
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