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I’m constantly listening to music, and yet I’ve never really enjoyed going to concerts. I love it when a bar has a live band, but I don’t buy tickets and go to concerts. It’s just never been my thing, except when it’s critical that I see a band live. I never saw my two favorite bands, Rush and Fleetwood Mac, in concert, and with Peart dead and Buckingham probably out for good, I never will. That’s a shame, but here are the concerts that I’ve seen. All of them were must-sees for me.
October 10, 1986: Billy Joel, Capital Centre, Landover, MD. The Bridge tour. My first concert was for what was at the time my favorite artist. I saw this with my sister (foreshadowing!).
August 9, 1987: Night Ranger/Great White, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD. I was there the night before for Howie Mandel, then I came back the next day for this concert, which was also my first date. I chose Night Ranger over Chicago because I really wanted to see the Outfield (though I did, and still, looooove Night Ranger). Unfortunately, the Outfield cancelled and were replaced by Frehley’s Comet, who also cancelled, leaving me with Great White. I didn’t appreciate Great White then as much as I do now. Still a great show.
December 13, 1987: Yes, Capital Centre, Landover, MD. This was the Big Generator tour. Earlier in the week, I was on the University of Maryland’s radio station (my cousin knew the DJ well) hyping the show.
June 1, 1988: Pink Floyd, R.F.K. Stadium, Washington, DC. A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour. A holographic dogfight? Yeah, I had to see that, and I had to see it outdoors. Surprisingly, this was only the second best visual concert I ever saw. The best was . . .
August 8, 1988: Iron Maiden, Capital Centre, Landover, MD. This was the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour. It was the most impressive visual show I’ve ever seen, and the music was fantastic, and I was on the floor (10th row, IIRC), but my strongest memory relates to the concert t-shirt I bought there. As I was leaving the show, someone told me that I was wearing it backwards. I wore that damn thing backwards the entire night. I’m such a dipshit.
August 7, 1989: Mike and the Mechanics/The Outfield, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD. Vindication! I finally saw the Outfield! Oh, and MatM was pretty good too. I especially remember how much better All I Need is a Miracle is live. Unfortunately, there’s a weird and tragic memory attached to this concert relating to the first time I had ever really experienced death. This gets a bit convoluted, but bear with me. I never liked the Outfield song, 61 Seconds. So, every time the cassette tape reached that song, I flipped it, and it placed the tape exactly at the start of All the Love, which was a huge hit for them. As a result, I never heard Mystery Man until the concert. I loved the song, but for whatever reason took notice of the repeated, stressed use of the word, “goodbye,” in the song. It turns out, a friend (18 years old) was killed in a car accident that morning. That messed me up for about a week.
August 26, 1992: Bruce Springsteen, Capital Centre, Landover, MD. Springsteen is really good, but for whatever reason, this concert was just meh to me. In fact, I’ve said elsewhere that, prior to Genesis the other day, I had seen only 11 concerts. This is one of the ones I forgot because it had little impact on me. The other was . . .
August 11, 1995: Jimmy Buffet, Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, Virginia. This should have been my answer to the “worst concert” question from the tweet, but I didn’t recall the memory quickly enough. Buffett thought he was in the deep south, and almost all his songs were country music. I wasn’t a fan of it. He also played his biggest hits — Fins, Margaritaville, etc. — in the middle of the set rather than as encores. It was a rather strange choice. I still enjoyed the show because, well, it’s Jimmy Fucking Buffett.
June 12, 1999: Guinness Fleadh (Chicago: Van Morrison, Hootie and the Blowfish, Steve Earle, Black 47, Elvis Costello et al.), Chicago Motor Speedway, Chicago, IL. This was amazing. There was a ton of variety in the music played. I went because my late cousin, Ann Marie, came down from Madison, WI for the show and asked me to go with her. Elvis Costello was a huge disappointment. He played every song by himself on an acoustic guitar and spent more time complaining about modern music than he did playing. He was a buzkill. Van Morrison and Black 47 (who I had seen in a bar about 5 years earlier) killed it.
June 30, 2000: Dave Matthews Band, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL. This was an incredible show. You have to like his music, of course, but they’re remarkable musicians. Also, Al Green showed up and sang with the band! For this one, I had a regular seat, but Alissa snuck me onto the field.
August 8, 2002: Sammy Hagar/David Lee Roth, Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, Virginia. The place was surprisingly empty, but that allowed me to enjoy the show more than otherwise. (I really don’t like going to concerts.) David Lee Roth spent most of his set hitting on a particular woman in the front row. Ummm . . . the years had not been kind to her, but she was giving him the pop he wanted, so he maintained focus on her the entire show. We were all hoping that Michael Anthony would join Sammy for his set. He had done that at a few shows, but we weren’t among the lucky ones.
August 14, 2006: Billy Joel, Verizon Center, Washington, DC. My only repeat concert, I saw this with my sister and her adult son. We were behind the stage, so we saw the TV screen that provided Joel the lyrics so he didn’t have to remember them. Look, the guy had a lot of material going back over three decades. I don’t blame him. He played everything everyone wanted to hear. I missed Allentown due to a bathroom break, but my sister had it worse. She missed her favorite Joel song, Pressure, during hers.
July 30, 2017: .38 Special, Wolftrap, Vienna, VA. .38 Special was actually the opening act, and I left after their set. I was more interested in seeing the new Game of Thrones episode than I was sticking around. I saw what I wanted to see. The parking at Wolftrap sucks. Otherwise, it’s a good venue.
November 18, 2021: Genesis, Capital One Arena, Washington, DC. I’ve said enough about this already.
But I really don’t like attending concerts. 🙂
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