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Top 12 Concerts

I have been fortunate enough to attend so many great concerts over the years…I’ve been going to concerts almost my entire life and there are too many great shows to list them all here. For years I’ve been meaning to write down and reflect on the 10 best concerts I’ve seen. I’m including 12 here because these all deserve to be in my top 10. Compiling a list of the best live shows I've seen was actually pretty easy. I knew which shows stood out and deserved to go on the list. On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to rank these shows within this list. I’ve put them in an order here, but it’s really hard to pick a favorite at this point.

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Dr. Shore’s Top 12 Concerts

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1. Zappa Plays Zappa (Featuring Dweezil, Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio and Napolean Murphy Brock) Orpheum Theater, Minneapolis, MN - October 11, 2006

Musically this is probably the best show I’ve ever seen. Short of seeing Frank himself, this is about as good as it gets. I have never, ever seen better guitar playing on stage than this. Vai and Dweezil are as good as it gets.

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2. Daniel Amos / Swirling EddiesCornerstone Festival – Grayslake, IL – June 29, 1990

Randy Stonehill was the opener for D.A. and the Eddies at this amazing show. It was pretty much the same band for all three acts. I worked with DA and the Eddies doing promotions at the time, so it was a lot of fun hanging out with them there. It was in a steel pole barn at the Grayslake Fairgrounds, and it was so HOT inside that building, but the show was so great, no one seemed to mind. I’ll never forget standing backstage with Terry when Randy finished his set…Randy walked back stage after his last song and the crowd was still cheering, he came up to Terry and I, beaming from his great seat and apparently happy with the crowd response and Terry put his hand on Randy’s shoulder and said, “Those aren’t just women out there yelling for you ya’ know.”

You can see a pic from the show and check out the set lists here: http://www.danielamos.com/timeline90.html

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3. Yes90125 Tour, St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, MN – April 10, 1984

My favorite band on the tour for my favorite album, ‘nuff said. Actually, I should mention, that in lieu of an opening act they showed a couple of Bugs Bunny cartoons before the show started. This was an amazing show with amazing sound.

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4. Lindsey BuckinghamOut of the Cradle Show - Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles, CA - February 22, 1993

Musicologist and long time friend Jim Worthen and I attended this show together. It was nothing short of amazing. The audience was full of celebrities and Stevie Nicks sat 4 rows behind us. We had great seats. The only thing better than the Out of the Cradle album was seeing it performed live.

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5. King CrimsonThrak Tour (The double-trio tour), Starwood Amphitheater, Nashville, TN – August 10th, 1996

Mind blowing musicianship from Fripp, Belew and the gang. Two drummers, two guitarists and two bassists/stick players. On paper that sounds like a bad idea and a train wreck waiting to happen, however, these are 6 of the most talented players that have ever lived and they made it work. In fact, Crimson has never been better. I’m not kidding. My musically inclined “Cousin Mike” Smith can confirm this. The only negative was that it was part of the H.O.A.R.D. Tour, which wasn’t a good fit for KC. The other bands on this tour…well…they paled in comparison.

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6. Roger Waters Radio KAOS TourMET Center – Minneapolis, MN - September 10, 1987

I loved his band on this tour. The Bleeding Heart Band…with Paul Carrack…amazing. The Pink Floyd material was great and Roger’s solo stuff was great. The sound and mix at this concert was the best I’ve heard at a live show.

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7. Human RadioAlbum Release Show - The Roxy – Los Angeles, CA - 1990

I like to refer to Human Radio as The One-Album Wonders. The best kept secret in music. If you don’t own this disc, I’m sorry, you’re probably not going to be able to find it and you’re missing out on one brilliant album. They put out this fantastic debut on Columbia Records and never released another one. Jim Worthen and I got tickets to this great live show, which was really an album release event for the Columbia promotional staff and the press.

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8. JellyfishBellybutton Tour - Bogarts – Long Beach, CA – February 21, 1991

Bogarts (R.I.P.) was probably my favorite club for live shows. It was in Long Beach, so the drive from Huntington Beach in Orange County was a quick one. This is one of the best club shows I’ve ever seen. The show was recorded for Westwood One, and there are tracks from it on the live promo EP that ended up as bonus tracks on a Japanese release. Jim Worthen and I were there and I swear you can hear us in the crowd yelling on the live recording. Jellyfish was an amazing band, I saw them live numerous times and this show is still my favorite.

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9. The CallThe Red Moon Tour - The Coach House – San Juan Capistrano, CA – 1990?

This band had passion. Yet another show that Jim Worthen and I saw. I don’t remember the exact date and I’m pretty sure we saw them play a show at Bogarts in Long Beach around that same time. We saw them numerous times and they were always so much fun live. Michael Been’s bass playing and vocals really moved me. Very emotional.

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10. Surf PunksBogarts – Long Beach, CA – 1989

I know I may be alone in this, but I loved the Surf Punks. If you never saw them live when they still had the full band (about 6 or 7 people on stage at least) you missed out on one of the most enjoyable and crazy shows you could possibly see. I have honestly never had this much FUN at a concert. The closest I’ve come to this much fun and energy at a show would be the aforementioned DA/Eddies concert. Ironically, they also gave one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen…a few years later, with just a 3 or 4 piece at this same venue, but in the smaller room. The best quote from that night that I’ll never forget…Dennis or Drew, one of the main two guys said, “At this point I think we’re pretty much over with as a band.” Classic. They fell fairly far, fairly fast.

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11. U2War TourNorthrup Auditorium – Minneapolis, MN - May 22, 1983

One of the greatest live bands, and I saw them in a theater setting. An unbelievable experience! Anyone that saw the War tour knows what I’m talking about. I’m talking about. U2 has always put on a great show. I’ve seen U2 live 5 times now and this is still my favorite. It stands out because of the small theater setting and because it’s before they got so big.

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12. RushHold Your Fire TourMET Center – Minneapolis, MN – April 4, 1988

Unless you count Terry Taylor and his many incarnations and bands (DA, The Eddies, Lost Dogs, solo, etc.) I’ve seen Rush more than any one band. They’re just so good live and I love to watch musicians that are this tight and this proficient on their instruments. Very few bands (King Crimson and Zappa being 2 of the few exceptions) can play live this well. I would also put the 90125-era Yes line-up and tour on this kind of technical performance level. But the bottom line is, Rush has good songs. The lyrics are borderline genius and the melodies, hooks and bridges are as good as it gets. This tour was fun because they played the Amy Mann vocal parts from the Hold Your Fire album on tape and had the wildest video loops I’ve ever seen at a live show.

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Comments

dr. tony shore

So there IS someone else out there that loved the Surf Punks! Good to know...at their peak they put on one heck of a live show! And look at that, music critic and writer Dan MacIntosh says *I* have horrible tastes in music...look at his top concert list...Corey Hart!...really?

Dave Danglis

A recommendation -- if Brave Combo plays a gig near you, go! Even if you don't know their music, and odds are most people won't. These guys are so tight, so entertaining and fun, you won't regret it. Polkas? Yes. Accordions? Yep. Go anyways.

Mike Ack

thanks, mike - at least SOMEBODY remembered to included the sevens.

though I must say, one of the best shows I ever saw was the choir circa on the circle slide tour with rick elias as the warmup. heaven.

J

Hey to Dr.Shore, you Sure you saw the Surf Punks in.'89, was that their last year?

Tony Shore

It was either late 1988 or early 1989. I definitely saw them with the full band, Dennis and Drew at Bogart's in Long Beach California. It was packed and such a great show!

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