OPEN THREAD: Best Concerts Ever. Go.

A few people on formspring have asked me to list my all time favorite concerts, but I’ve decided I’m only gonna show you mine if you show me yours. I’m calling an OPEN THREAD.

I have a live music addiction. I’ve seen hundreds of concerts by all kinds of bands and artists, from Lady Gaga to Guns ‘N Roses, Tool to Tegan & Sara, Muse to Missy Higgins, Britney Spears to Sufjan Stevens, Rammstein to Robbie Williams, and the Deftones to Hilary Duff. I’ve seen artists like Kaki King, P!nk, Holly Miranda, Uh Huh Her and Green Day more times than I’ve seen my own mother, which is why I owe my first son to Visa and also don’t have any friends.

Most of my ‘top 5’ are from the last two years, which is more likely a reflection of my barely existent long-term memory and not the quality of performances witnessed prior to 2007.


5. The Dead Weather


Photo: Wallendorff

This was the evening I fell head over heels for Alison Mosshart. Spending most of the night behind his drum kit, Jack White allowed Mosshart the spotlight all to herself. She prowled around the stage like a tiger, jumping up on the monitors and working the crowd with rockstar confidence and deadly charisma that I had no idea she possessed. The entire performance was gritty and unpredicable and damn thrilling.

Highlight: Tied: “60 Feet Tall” and “I Cut Like A Buffalo”.


4. Cold War Kids


Photo: Stef Mitchell

The Cold War Kids didn’t bring any production to the Enmore Theatre, just their instruments and just enough lighting to aluminate the small space they occupied on the huge stage. They didn’t need to. As they delivered beautiful, slightly macabre narratives about characters so real they haunt, it was everything Autostraddle contributor Stef Mitchell had promised – understated, captivating and electric. Every second of their set shook me to the bone.

Highlight: The encore included “Saint John”, a jaunting piece about a man on death row, possibly the most intense performance of a song I’ve witnessed. Frontman Nathan Willett looked possessed.


3. P!nk, I’m Not Dead Tour


In my mind, P!nk‘s I’m Not Dead tour raised the bar for stadium pop. Comparatively it made performances by seasoned stars like Britney Spears and Lady Gaga look like high school productions, and because of that I haven’t enjoyed a pop concert by any other artist since. While the more recent Funhouse tour superseded I’m Not Dead in terms of pure spectacle, this one was the game changer.

Highlight: The smokin’ hot performance of “Fingers”, complete with net acrobatics. As P!nk hung unharnessed, metres in the air, the saucer-eyed pop star beside me turned and said, “should I just quit now?”


2. Holly Miranda


Photo: Prudence Upton

I scrambled to buy the last single ticket for Holly Miranda‘s final, sold out show at the Sydney Festival, even though it was my birthday and I’d already seen her perform just two nights prior. I was befriended by some sweet, slightly more mature ladies in the front row who asked me awk questions about this show called The L Word and made me choke on my vodka.

I’ve already written about my appreciation for Holly Miranda’s music, some may say ad nauseum. So I will just tell you that Holly and her band – Timmy, Will and David – absolutely slayed the Famous Spiegeltent, and it was the second greatest musical performance I’ve seen.

Highlight: It’s a tie between a heart wrenching cover of Yoko Ono’s “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do”, and Holly telling a blow job joke to the slightly reserved Sydney Festival crowd.


1. The Cure, Reflections


Photo: Clare Hawley (The Vine)

As part of this year’s Vivid Festival, The Cure did a concert at the Sydney Opera House where they played their first 3 albums: Three Imaginary Boys [1979], Seventeen Seconds [1980] and Faith [1981], plus a few B-sides and hits. I traded my kidney for a seat in the cheapest section but it was worth it – the show was mind-blowing, all 4 hours. Robert Smith still has it.

Highlight: They finished up the show with the “The Lovecats”. omg.

Your top 5 concerts, go!


Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.


  1. Fever Ray was the best concert I’ve ever been to by far.
    Crystal Castles, probably the craziest.

    I would love to see the Knife, but Olaf and Karin aren’t touring like that anymore.

  2. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. So fucking good. Grace sings, plays the B3, guitar, like a boss. And looks DAMN FINE while doing it. Her lead guitarist is also excellent. By “excellent” I mean face-meltingly good, for the entire concert.

    • Ahh yes yes yes! Seen them five times, every single one better than the last. Grace Potter is literally sex on stage.

    • I touched grace’s sweaty wrist AND caught a drumstick at the same show.

  3. Koo Koo Kanga Roo – a massive hip dance party complete with the hokey-pokey and a parachute dance. mustaches on a stick.

    Streetlight Manifesto – Ska fueled skank (the verb not the noun) fest. I’ve seen them a number of times, and the best is when the crowd is good as well.

    Best Concert Ever: Streetsmart Cyclist reunion show: 12/26/10. There was dancing, amazing other bands, kiffles etc.

    I feel like a hipster douche with all these “you’ve probably never heard of them” bands.


    • My friend’s older brother is in Koo Koo Kanga Roo! I’m glad you like them, they put on a great show indeed :D

  4. Daft Punk at Lollapalooza in 2007. Absolutely electric.

    LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire @ the Starlight Theatre in KC. A mob of indie kids belting out ‘Wake Up’ under the stars. No words.

    Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros in Atlanta.

  5. Beautiful moments created and narrated by the music-
    1/ Paramore at o2 islington (London), it was 2009, there were just a handful of tickets, a tiny venue – hardly 50m long this place, intimate gig, and the band, the music, the atmosphere was beautiful. They did an encore with the outro to miracle, that, basically,
    2/ The Noisettes, Camden Roundhouse, hottest backing singer ever, my bestie, jammy tunes, need I say any more?
    3/ Dizzee Rascal, summer 2011 @ Leeds festival, i’m stood there, cup of tea in one hand, ciggie in the other, happy tunes are playing. Sweet moments.
    I fucking love music.

  6. I want to my first gig in 2008 and haven’t looked back. In no real order –

    My Chemical Romance, CIA Cardiff, 2011

    I’ve been an MCR fan since I first discovered them about five years ago, thinking it made me EDGY and MISUNDERSTOOD and DIFFERENT. It was the third time I saw them live in six months, but the pre- and post- gig experiences were both great, and the gig itself was mindblowing.

    Weezer, Reading Festival, 2010

    Rivers had a trampoline, a Lady Gaga wig, and a thick covering of mud. It was hilarious and full of massive hit songs and there was a security guard who was baffled by having Teenage Dirtbag sung at her.

    Lostprophets, Union Chapel London, 2009

    It was acoustic, in a church, for charity, and I loved two of the support bands too. It was amazing to watch one of my favourite bands stripped back and playing old songs next to songs from their new album (that was released about 2 months later). Everyone was sat on pews, and I spent Lostprophets’ set sat on my friend Vikki’s lap.

    Flight of the Concords, Wembley Arena London, 2010

    During final song Bowie, off their clothes to reveal silver lycra catsuits. They we they late for their encore and arrived trying to put their clothes back on.

    Young Guns, Hub Festival Nottingham, 2011

    Young Guns are that band who I first saw in a pub and now they’re selling out 2000 capacity venues and playing festivals and getting all famous and writing their second album. Hub Festival was an indoors festival showcasing them at their best, with the lead singer spending more time in the crowd than on-stage. It was a tiny room, about 400 people, and sweaty as hell as well as being stupidly fun.

      • I can’t say I’ve ever been a massive Weezer fan, but they were just SO GOOD. I near the front so I got covered in mud from River running along the barrier high-fiving everything in reach.

  7. Matt & Kim always put on a great show! I don’t listen to their music on the regular, but I will continue to see them live every time they come to my city.

  8. In terms of spectacle: The Flaming Lips (first time I saw them was on top of a mountain in west virginia and there were cartoon character costumes, a wrestling ring, and confetti to say the least)
    Also GirlTalk ain’t bad either on stage bc there’s always naked folks (mostly ladies) and it doesn’t seem subjective either. Guaranteed to dance like a crazy person too.
    If you’re into jam bands, psychedelics, and awesome light shows I highly suggest going to see the Disco Biscuits. You will dance your face off!
    Check out Shpongle bc of his shpongletron – Youtube it!
    Brazilian Girls will make you feel sexy inside and out.

  9. the first concert i ever went to was peter paul and mary, and i have to say it was pretty awesome. i was 8.

  10. Lark at RAMfest, Joburg. Last year.
    And Desmond and the Tutus every time I get to see them live. Absolutely spectacular. And Voodoo Child.

    South African bands have amazing stage presence.

  11. i havent been to that many concerts (ok maybe more than 15. that’s not that many, imho.

    one republic at the troubadour (2009)
    ingrid michaelson at the troubadour (2009)
    the ting tings at the wiltern (2008)
    uh huh her at the el rey (2011)

    possibly added to the list: florence and the machine at the greek in a few days (if i can get tix and leave early from my 70hrs/week job. sigh)

  12. I live in Miami, so I go to many concerts every year… Over the past three years, I think my favorites are:

    Of Montreal- probably my favorite band to see. Really theatrical and all over the place, and they sound great live.

    Dr. Dog- Incredible show… I was more of a fan after that concert. And their encore cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s “Heart It Races” sealed the deal.

    Imogen Heap- her shows feel very personal because she talks to the audience regularly and gets them involved. Coolest moment was asking the audience to pick a key and a tempo and improvising a whole new song on the spot.

    • Yes!! Imogen Heap is in my top 5. Of course Hide and Seek brought down the house as well as Let Go, but the whole concert was amazing. Definitely felt good at the end of the night!

  13. 1.) Tegan and Sara/An Horse (2008) and T&S/Holly Miranda (2010)
    2.) Arcade Fire/The National (2011)
    3.) Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2009)
    4.) Loufest 2010 (She&Him, Jeff Tweedy, Broken Social Scene, Titus Andronicus, etc.)
    5.) Bruce Springsteen (2004)- My first concert ever!

  14. 1.I’m Canadian so Great Big Sea is ALWAYS a good show!(I have seen them 4 times is 4 very different locations)
    2.Metric, (again Canadian) Emily is just such a great stage performer and so hot (I’ve seen them twice)
    3. Arcade Fire, there is a reason they won the Grammy
    4. Girl Talk, the crowd energy was UNREAL
    5. John Mayer, I was in love when I saw him fall of 2003 and he is such an amazing musician

    • Emily Haines very nearly made it into my top 5. I’ve seen her with Metric and it was great, but I also saw her play with a string quartet at the sydney opera house last year and it was phenomenal.

    • Green Day are actually a lot of fun in concert, and there are people who say I should be ashamed of admitting this, but I am not.

      When I saw them at Roskilde, they were late, and they made someone dressed in a bright pink bunny costume come on stage and dance YMCA. though I think that part was on the Roskilde team…

  15. Flogging Molly. Oh my god

    Rammstein – foam, sex and rock’n’roll. I left exhausted and completely soaked and happy.

    Tegan and Sara – all the lovely banter.

    Patrick Wolf – amazing, astounding voice. Live in London Palladium, he managed to transfix me for a good two hours.

    • I’m really excited to see Patrick Wolf at Reading fest this year. My (hardcore punk loving) friend Kath saw him in March and hasn’t shut up about it since.

    • I’ve seen clips of Rammstein concerts on youtube. That seems to be an experience. Always wanted to go to one.


    • Patrick Wolf! I saw him play a solo gig in Sydney, and it was amazing. So much charisma and raw natural talent <3

  16. I think my best concerts list reveals a level of loserdom I may not be ready to face quite yet in my life.
    INDIGO GIRLS – Greek Theate,r Berkeley, CA (2000)
    ANI DIFRANCO – Filmore, San Francisco, CA (2011)
    DAR WILLIAMS – Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI (2000)
    SPICE GIRLS REUNION TOUR – New Jersey (2008)
    also probs all the UH HUH HER concerts I’ve been to, but especially the one in Philly where Camilla and Leisha were so v.excited to see us b/c we’d made this video and they hugged us and did a fake “we’re not worthy” thing and signed Tinkerbell. Really the signing Tinkerbell was the only thing that really mattered.

    I’ve also had quite a few Concert Disappointments — In ’96 when Oasis was drunk and terrible, in ’99 when Ani DiFranco’s horn section made her voice impossible to hear, Jewel in ’99 who I think was singing everything totally weirdly to make sure nobody could sing along, the Vans Warped Tour, and actually Bob Dylan because my expectations were so high.

    • tinkerbell signed? djkl;fjskkl;vh;uaofomgomgsocool. can we see a pic of signed tinkerbell pleaseeee

    • I wanted to go to that Spice Girls Reunion Tour so bad. I asked for tickets and a round trip flight to Los Angeles for my 18th birthday. Seriously, that’s all I asked for. When it didn’t happen, I felt cheated and confused. I’d basically been living in a LaLa Land where people get everything they really want for their 18th birthday. You know, like My Super Sweet Sixteen, except My Super Awesome Eighteen. *sigh* Disillusionment sucks.

    • I saw Jewel at Interlochen in Michigan and despite loss of power, rabid teenage girls, and being in obvious pain (I think she fell off a horse?) I do remember an awsome jazzy version of Who Will Save My Soul. Mostly I remember keeping rabid preteens from getting stampeded to death.

      This brought back memories, including sneaking in to see Aretha Franklin which unfortunately was not a good night for her. Oh, I saw Dolly Parton there too–she sang Jolene (which made my year); she then took Whitney Houston to school verbally and vocally. Good times.

      • i got to see jewel that year in pittsburgh, PA (she was wearing a sling). she was hilarious in-between songs and put on a great show.

      • ha, jewel was really popular when i was a student there and jewel went to school there so that was how i’d describe interlochen when people were like WHAT i’d be like Jewel Went There and they’d be like Oh Wow and that was enuf

    • I saw the Spice Girls reunion with my girlfriend, it was one of the 1st concerts we went to together. Making out to “2 become 1” was awesome.

    • I’ve heard Bob Dylan is crap live now, actually. After seeing him do ‘Maggie’s Farm’ on the Grammys, it seems like his voice is just shot to all hell. Which is heartbreaking.

      • Oh don’t say that! I saw him last year in one of the most amazing concerts of my life. He played an open-air gig in a village courtyard and everything was just incredible. His voice isn’t what it was back in the day but his lyrics will always be beautifully moving and he still rocks on the harmonica like no-body’s business…

    • I love that you have the Spice Girls on your list. It makes me feel better about my lame concert choices (which I am about to post). Not that the Spice Girls are lame, or you, but… you know what I mean. Everyone else’s choices are so cool/obscure/hipster. I am not that cool. And I actually really liked the Spice Girls, I had their CDs (shhhh).

  17. my mind was completely blown two weeks ago when I saw Robyn in concert. she was so fantastic I can’t even put it into words!

    I also work at a concert hall and got to see Stars & Heart – both amazing!

  18. 1. Death Cab For Cutie in Oxford. I went on my own, and had an awesome time.

    2. Belle and Sebastian on my 19th birthday. I’m a fan, but not a huge fan, but there was such amazing energy in the audience.

    3. The Bad Shepherds – folk-punk in a tiny venue in my home city. The audience was a really fun mix of older folk fans and younger punk fans, all dancing and singing along.

    • I want to see Death Cab so bad. I’m missing them this summer because my friend has an exchange over, and she’d kill me if I saw them without her ;_;

      • They are really great live. I could have done without the tween hipsters (the show was a couple of months after they were on The OC when it was shown in the UK) but nothing could be done about that!

      • They are so amazing. Technically we went because it was a present for my stepfather’s birthday, but I think I had more fun than he did.

  19. cat power and the delta blues band, 2007 – she was so great all i remember is her raspy sultry voice and a chanel glove.

    MSTRKRFT, 2008- with LA riots it turned out to be a 3 hr dance party i didn’t want to leave.

    girl talk, 2007 – again, i love dance parties.

    yeah yeah yeahs, 2009 – it was a scorching hot day and karen o still puts on a leather jacket, nothing will stop her!

    sufjan stevens, 2010 – what a beautiful man.

    i think that makes five. i’m not sure if i’ve had my “the best concert i’ve ever been to” moment yet, but these are good memories and hopefully more good times to come.

      • yes it was. I was so happy he indulged the audience with old stuff too, off of “illinoise” perfect ending!

  20. most memorable:

    – Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor is just SO good.
    – Blood Red Shoes. I just love their music infinitely.
    – Florence + the Machine. Goosebumps.
    – Yeah Yeah Yeahs. First concert in Switzerland and fuck it it was AWESOME

    also, seeing lykke li, incubus, arcade fire and foo fighters next weekend. So that’ll add to it, I guess.

      • 2009 – two times :D
        southside and open air st. gallen! saw that you went to hurricane so yeah :)

    • when did YYY’s switzerland and why the hell did i miss this? otherwise fucking nice list, i also love BRS; saw them a couple times and thought they were awesome!

      ps: see you next WE then (southside :D)!

      • 2009 at open air st. gallen! :D it was EPIC.

        uhhhhh southside. can’t fucking wait! :D
        (also, if you see a random asian with glasses walking around – say hi; it might be me :P)

        • asians with glasses — noted. but you wouldn’t happen to live in zurich, would you? cause handglänk mal pi we have pretty similiar taste in music but i don’t think i’ve seen any asians with glasses lately.

  21. 1. Garbage, Cologne, 2002 (I think) – my pretty amazing dad took me to see them in concert. and I loved it. he and my godfather bought me beer and we danced and Shirley Manson, omg. I was a happy little gaymo.

    and then there were…

    2. Bright Eyes, Roskilde, 2005. I thought Conor Oberst couldn’t sing. He could. He wore a black hoodie and drank wine on stage and I just wanted to hug him.

    3. JUAN LUIS GUERRA, same festival, same year. I had never heard of him, but it was the last concert on the main stage and I have never witnessed a happier more spontaneous totally exhausting dance fest like this.

    4. Digitalism, Hurricane Festival, 2008, another dance fest. so, so great.

    5. A tie between Sigur Rós and Radiohead, Hurricane Festival, 2008 – though.. Radiohead should win. Both concerts were dreamy. But Thom Yorke danced. Those big, big clouds vanished from the sky. Which then proceeded to turn green. True story.
    (and yes, I saw Tegan & Sara, too, but those other three concerts were better, sorry =( )

    Plus I would like to tell you about 6. Funny van Dannen (german singer-songwriter) in 2009 who managed to mend my broken heart for ca. 2 hours and 7. Effing GOGOL BORDELLO in 2006 who came rather close to Juan Luis Guerra, but… 5, right? ;)

      • yes, yes. though I have to admit, I didn’t even see that much of him, I was a bit in the back in a giant, happy dance pit, covered in dust. ;)

        oh, and I met my swedish host-cousin there. ;)

    • You have been to Roskilde? I am so jealous! I *just* missed it last year, it was finishing the week I arrived in Copenhagen, and so many bands I love were playing…

      Also, Sigur Ros! I saw them a couple of years ago in Sydney, and it was one of the best concerts I have seen. I would really like to see the lead singer, Jonsi, in concert. His music is great too!

      • You are in Denmark quite often, aren’t you? Are you already there now?

        The Roskilde Festival was a gift from, again, my father, my stepmom and my godfather for my 18th birthday, otherwise I couldn’t have afforded it. That is also why I missed Patti Smith and I won’t recover from the fact that I didn’t get to see her…

        • Not really :) I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to study in Copenhagen last (European) summer and had such a great time I decided I wanted to come back to Europe on exchange for fall semester of this year. My university places us, we do not have any say in the matter, and they placed me in Denmark again (Aarhus)! I was actually a little disappointed, I was hoping to go somewhere new, but I have heard good things about Aarhus so I hope I have a nice time.

          At the moment I am in Australia, I will be in Denmark from mid-August, though I am going to be in Europe for a couple of weeks before that.

          Also that is a lovely present from your family btw :) Patti Smith, if only… I would kill to see her!

          • Uh, I was at roskilde last year, Patti Smith was awesome.. Am going again this year, can’t wait :D
            Arhus is very nice, smaller than Copenhagen of course, but there are a lot of students, and great nightlife. and if you’re interested in music, I can recommend the skanderborg festival, it’s from august 10-14th, and it’s near aarhus. :)

   (you can select your language at the bottom of the page)

    • Garbage is my number 1 also. It was the last concert they ever performed together (2006? I think), and they absolutely rocked the house.

      And Shirley Manson wore denim hotpants…so there’s that….

  22. Kevin Devine last June in San Francisco. I cried so much, it was an emotional journey.

    Thrice and Kevin Devine last July in Pomona, was the most fun I’ve experienced at a show. I loved the crowd!

  23. In no particular order, terrible with ranking since they are all quite different.

    Imogen Heap, as mentioned. So great.
    Billy Joel/Elton John duo forever ago.
    Triton Festival was kind of intense – best performers were Ayria, Apoptygma Berzerk, and System Syn.
    Peter Murphy (formerly of Bauhaus), Jessie Mayer & Livan opened. Latter has a wicked drummer.

    And of course James Marsters/Spike from Buffy. xo

  24. I’ve only been to one concert, and that was Rammstein 2 months ago. SO AMAZING. I wasn’t in the pit, but I could still feel the heat from all the pyrotechnics.

  25. 1. The Decemberists on their Crane Wife tour in 2008. They staged a trepak (Russian folk) dancing contest, which I actually know a little about. I won, and they demanded that the crowd hoist me up on their shoulders for the last three minutes of the song.

    They also got the entire crowd to sit down and hold hands for Sons & Daughters, which was pretty neat.

    2. The Goo Goo Dolls, July 4th, 2010 in Philadelphia. Most people were puzzled by the choice of a band that’s been “over” for a while now, but they absolutely tore it up, and finished the night with a cover of American Girl by Tom Petty. I don’t know why, but I kind of collect covers of that song, and this was the best I’ve heard by far.

    3. Jimmy Eat World on their Bleed American tour in 2002 (?). It was my first real concert, and goddamn but I still love that album.

    I can’t think of another two that I really truly enjoyed. Clearly I need to go to more concerts. Almost saw La Roux a while back, but then felt conflicted about spending money on La Roux.

  26. The Distillers, Garbage and No Doubt 2002, Long Beach fronnnttt roowww. I’ll never forget that gig, Distillers were amazing. Shitty vid but you get the idea:

    I’ve seen P!nk a couple times too, great live even without the circus show. Flogging Molly are always a good time. The Distillers will always just blow my mind.

  27. Broken Social Scene – 9:30 Club (2006)
    Broken Social Scene – Central Park (2010)
    The String Cheese Incident – Beacon Theater (2007)
    Sleater-Kinney – Webster Hall (2006)
    My Morning Jacket – any and every show

    • I would kill to see MMJ. And unlike most bands, I’ve had so many opportunities to see them because we’re from the same damn town. I AM JUST SO POOR. But I’ve heard they’re one of the best live bands out there right now, and I don’t doubt it.

  28. Crystal Castles in January at the enmore. Most insane concert ever, it was my 13 year old brothers first concert but i’m a little scared now he has nothing left to live for- we were on the rail 1m from Alice.

    She still looked banging with a broken leg too, swoon.

    • That is soo awesome! I wish i had an older sister who would take me to amazing concerts at that age. I saw them in March at the Commodore in Vancouver. I was right in front too, shit WAS nuts. I was legitimately covered in bruises after it. Alice grabbed my hand though, and i helped hold her up which was pretty cool

  29. Peaches and the Herms (Luxembourg, 2006)
    When she dangled from the balcony for the first song I knew it was going to be good. Plus JD Samson was in the band.

    Test Icicles (Munich, 2006)
    One of the strangest concerts I’ve been to. The opening act was a local hardcore band, with the singer screaming his heart out while the audience just stood there.
    The Test Icicles had already anounced they would split up a month later and the guys only played the guitar and bass parts, while the drums came from an ipod. At some point a girl knocked the amps over which led to the band being pissed for the remaining time and culminated in 30 minutes of acoustic feedback. Sounds terrible, but was kind of fun.

    Southside Festival 2004/2006
    Almost all my favorite bands at the time where there, so it is really hard to choose.

  30. I saw the band Devil Music Ensemble provide musical accompaniment for the German silent movie “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” It was hands down the most amazing musical performance I have ever seen. I saw the Gossip one time, also very good.

  31. Sadly, I haven’t been to too many concerts, but I would say:

    Smashing Pumpkins with Garbage opening (was my first concert ever!)
    The White Stripes (when they were OPENING for Sleater Kinney)
    The Faint (twice! once with Ladytron!)
    Tegan and Sara (obvs)
    Sleigh Bells

    In middle school/high school I was a HUGE U2 fan and I’m not ashamed to say it. I saw them twice and both times were AMAZING. Too bad all the music they’ve made post ’90s sounds like a watered down U2 tribute band.

    • oh my fucking god, I totally forgot about seeing Radiohead front row at the Hollywood Bowl. A friend scored those tickets off some guy. There would have been no way we could have afforded it otherwise. Yeah that concert was phenomenal.

      • woah.. this is sooo cool cause:
        1. radiohead is radiohead
        2. hollywood bowl is sooo awesome
        3. front row at the hollywood bowl omgjlksdhfdsaf

        • Yeah it quite possibly might be one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Although, once I played with a baby tiger in someone’s back yard. We’ll call it a close second.

    • I also have seen U2 twice, and they are epic. I feel like Achtung Baby was the end of their finest hour musically speaking, but live they still kill it.

      Both times I was with or near a person who was totally all “eugh I hate U2 they suck why am I here”, and srsly, those people actually walked out crying and dancing and thanking me for sharing the experience with them.

      • Yeah, Achtung Baby is fantastic and definitely my favorite. They are just flat out phenomenal live. Bono just radiates with charisma on stage.

        • Haha, the age old debate… Achtung Baby or the Joshua Tree? I still can’t decide!

          The first time I saw them (for the Vertigo tour) Bono came out for the encore dressed in Zoo TV gear and they played ‘Zoo Station’. It was so surprising and so great.

          I know my non-ironic love of U2 ruins whatever hipster cred I have accrued through my general preference for indie music, but I don’t care ;)

  32. I’ve only been to like 5 concerts in my whole life lol. So I’m gonna put my three favorites down here.

    – Backstreet Boys (2001). I was twelve. I didn’t know I was going until the day of. I went with my mom. It was the pinnacle of my life experience at 12.

    – Adele (2009). It was before EVERYONE knew about her so it was a small venue. Her and her guitars with a small band in the back. Very intimate. Plus, she was new and had just won her Grammys and was telling us about meeting P.Diddy. Had a sort of party story time feel.

    – Kings of Leon (2009). So, they’re probably my favorite rock band. It’s that sort of Southern-style thing that got me hooked (I’m from Texas). Their Only By The Night Tour was amazing. I hate “Use Somebody”…it’s overplayed and SO NOT their best stuff…so the mix of songs on the tour was really refreshing. Also, seeing the intro to “Closer” is amazzzzzzzing. Matthew like uses his mouth to get that ethereal sound…like you’d just have to see it to really get it. Being a huge music nerd, the whole night was worth it just to see that moment…plus they closed with my favorite song (“Black Thumbnail”) and I saw it in Oklahoma City where they all grew up.

  33. my top concerts include:
    – Antony and the johnsons, sydney state theatre 2006
    cocorosie stole the show but the whole thing was spine-tingling
    – Joanna newsom, Sydney opera house 2010
    I don’t think she missed a note the entire night, and she was funny and unbelievably amazing
    – nick cave and the bad seeds, festival hall, Melbourne 2005
    they played all the creepy crazy genius songs and everyone died
    – Regina spektor, opera house 2010
    again, spine-tinglingly good. of course the venue acoustics don’t get any better than that.

    • OMGGG you saw Nick Cave!?!?!! I know I was jealous of other things but I so wish I had that opportunity!

        • Nick Cave once looked directly at me and sang that line in Stagger Lee about crawling over fifty good pussies just to get to one fat boy’s arsehole, and I pretty much orgasmed on the spot…

  34. GIVERS are fantastic every time (and I’ve seen them live 4 times). They have the best energy and on-stage chemistry of any band I’ve seen, honestly. And they’re so sweet if you have an opportunity to talk to them. I think the best show of theirs that I’ve gone to was last October at Emo’s in Austin. Their set wasn’t until like midnight and they were still super high energy.

    I saw Wilco in Houston last month and they were great. Their set was like 2 hours long, and they played two encores. And Jeff Tweedy was being really talkative and telling jokes and stuff, which was fun.

    The Railroad Revival Tour with Mumford and Sons, OCMS, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros was definitely one of the funnest shows I’ve been to.
    Seeing Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros live is like a religious experience. My roommate and I went together and concluded that if any one person ever deserved to be worshipped, Alex Ebert is that person. He’s one of the most sincere performers I’ve ever seen. He got down off the stage and sang and danced in the crowd on more than one occasion. Mumford and Sons and OCMS were awesome too.

    I guess that would be 5 bands, but I would also give honorable mention to Vampire Weekend and Local Natives.

    • I forgot to mention Britney Spears in July 2000. I was 8 years old and it was my first concert. I promptly declared it the “best day of my life” after the show.

    • YEAH. Wilco, Wilco, Wilco. I’ve seen them three times and will see them again whenever possible.

      I don’t even listen to them a lot otherwise! They are just so damn good LIVE. Which is the way every musician should be appraised.

      Also Snoop Dogg was pretty fucking amazing.

  35. Due to my poverty and failure to live in a reasonably sized city for any length of time, I haven’t been to a lot of concerts. Luckily, the few I’ve been to were really good. Placebo was fucking awesome and I wish they’d come to America more often. I drove all the way to Seattle (8 hours each way) to see The Mr. T Experience when I was 16 and they were fantastic.

    When I was living in Columbus, OH, Tegan and Sara were actually going to be playing at the venue across the street from the OSU campus and I was sooooooo excited! But then I became disabled and had to move back to Idaho to my parents’ place. They played the day after I left. I had to drive by that place every day for the week leading up to that and I wanted to cry seeing their names on the marquee, knowing I was going to miss the show.

    • Placebo do put on a good show don’t they? I’ve only been to one of them (Glasgow, 2009) but it was fantastic. That being said I probably would’ve loved it regardless, such was my mild obsession with the band at that point (I still love them- I’ve just calmed down about it a little :P)

  36. My number one concert forever is the Of Montreal show when they were touring for “Hissing Fauna”, with crazy light shows and partial nudity. They had MGMT opening for them before they were big, when nobody knew whether they were called M-G-M-T or The Management.

  37. 1. Patti Smith in Central Park 2005(?) – Patti Smith singing “Gloria” was a sight to behold. Half of the singers out there these days wish they had that much passion.

    2. Black Keys/Sleater-Kinney 2002 – The first opening act for Sleater-Kinney was a band that was unbelievably bad, like I-would-have-rather-listened-to washing-machines-have- sex-for-45 minutes bad. Needless to say, by the time these two scruffy dudes got up on stage with their guitar and drum kit, people were pretty skeptical. Not many people had heard of the Black Keys at the time, including me, so when they started playing, the entire audience stopped, cocked their collective heads, and there was an audible rumble of “holy shit” across the room. Even the drunken dick nuggets that had previously been trying to molest my friend momentarily halted their douchery. We could all immediately tell that these guys were going to be fucking HUGE. Also, SK was wonderful as usual, RIP Sleater-Kinney.

    3. Arcade Fire(2011) – Nough said.

    4. Beck/Ben Folds/Primus/Neil Young (1995) – Remember the H.O.R.D.E. tour? Some dude decided to crowd surf during Ben Folds Five and we dropped him on his ass. It rained so hard that it turned into a mini, muddy Woodstock.

    5. Hmmmm…probably Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton.

  38. I just need to mention seeing Tegan and Sara in Raleigh, NC on the Honda Civic Tour. Sure, Paramore was the headlining band, (they were good too) but I was definitely there just to see TnS. I was sitting in the back on the lawn, so I could barely hear them and had a harder time seeing, but it was amazing. I remember the talking about spiders. It was my first time ever seeing them, so maybe I was seeing it through rose colored glasses, but I just remember thinking “awesomeawesomawesome” throughout the entire thing.

  39. I saw Bright Eyes last week in Columbus and it was honestly the best concert I’ve ever been to. Not to mention how awesomely awesome their new album is, but the energy in the room was mesmerizing. To sum it up, I cried (and I never cry).

    • I was at that concert. You are a complete stranger and, yet, we shared one of the most beautiful experiences of our lives together. Isn’t that just… unfathomable!?

      That was a great fucking show!

  40. -Neon Indian at Sonar in Baltimore last June.
    -I see a band called Polvo whenever they’re in town. Absolutely incredible live.
    -I second Patti Smith. Saw her in DC when I was 17.
    -Jenny Lewis is always good- I’ve seen her several times.
    -Deertick (saw them opening for Jenny Lewis) is also amazing live. They do a sick cover of la bamba.
    -Reel Big Fish and the Aquabats in Baltimore last fall. Both incredible bands, definitely the most entertaining show I’ve been to.
    -I’ve seen the Weakerthans live several times, always a great show.

  41. Oh! and I saw Ryan Adams in New Zealand one time- he was great. I’m going to go see RX Bandits in DC in July on their last tour ever :(

  42. Here’s the part where I look like a giant nerd… because the best concert I’ve ever been to was Freezepop in, what, 2004? or something? in Seattle. It was one of those rare 18+ shows (anyone familiar with Seattle liquor laws knows of what I speak), so the audience ranged from high school students to 30-something goths to video game nerds like myself to ravers to said high school students’ parents. Someone was making balloon animals and throwing them into the audience. The band seemed absolutely gobsmacked that so many people had come out to see this tiny synthpop band from Boston (this was pre-Guitar Hero, so at that point they had only been in obscure Harmonix games like Amplitude). Holy crap, it was amazing.

  43. Hands down Xavier Rudd in 2009. A tie for second with the Kills in 2011 and The Tragically Hip 2007.

  44. Peaches is definitely the best live performer I’ve seen. She’s hilarious, completely over the top, and super dirty-campy. I saw her for the first time when I was 15- she performed with JD Samson and Jeffree Star and spent the whole show dancing around with a giant dildo. Definitely the gayest two hours of my life.

  45. Metric- Best show ever. Emily Haines is an amazing performer and this was a pretty small venue and it was just awesome.

    Honorable Mention: Rilo Kiley, Arcade Fire, or Broken Social Scene. I go to a lot of shows but those are definitely the ones that stand out the most for me from the past five or so years.

  46. Okay, I’ll admit, I went to Lady Gaga’s Monster’s Ball and really enjoyed myself. All the costumed fans and everyone’s a little bit gay and it was kind of like a pride parade.

    But as far as a great musical experience goes, my favorite would have to be The Decemberist’s Hazards of Love tour. They did the whole concept album in the first act (and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond were both there, and AMAZING). It was all very theatrical and I loved it. Then they did a set after that, with their old hits and Becky and Shara sang “Crazy on You” and I almost wet myself. And they acted out some kind of horse race around the theatre. Blind Pilot opened for them, and were also incredible.

  47. 1. Missy Higgins – nothing, NOTHING, can beat Missy.
    2. Megan Washington – incredibly talented and flawless live.
    3. Fleet Foxes – exquisite.
    4. Lady Gaga – a LOT of fun, LGBTs everywhere, and the girl can sing!
    5. Kylie Minogue – all us Aussies grew up listening to her, so even though I’m not really a fan, I went. And boy was it worth it! A $52 million dollar set! It was spectacular. There was even a human fountain!!! Full of LGBTs, too.

    • I saw Missy in concert in 2008? and she was awesome. I remember her playing one of those little keyboard things with the mouthpiece on it and it just blew my mind how great she made it sound.

  48. 5. Lady Gaga
    4. Kaki King
    3. Jose Gonzalez
    2. Tegan and Sara
    1. Patrick Wolf. Hands down. There were so many costumes and he plays the viola which I also played from grades 5-10 so that’s cute.

    • I’ve seen your 5, 4, and 2 but I would pay a bazillion dollars to see Jose Gonzalez live. Granted I don’t have bazillion dollars but if I did, I would totally be down for spending it all to go to his show.

  49. 5. Death Cab for Cutie- surprisingly easy to dance and sing along with. Plus the surprise opener was Amanda Palmer. WHAT.
    4. Vampire Weekend- twice. Dancing and bouncing and screaming. Incredible.
    3. Janelle Monae at Smith College- FUN. DANCE. HAPPY. BEAUTIFUL. STUNNING. Etc.
    2. Bob Dylan- only number two because the audio was absolutely terrible and I was next to a crazy lady who felt compelled to throw her mothers bible on stage. Literally. “BOB TAKE THIS IT WAS MY MOTHER’S”.
    1. Tegan and Sara. ….words? Unnecessary.

  50. Enter the Haggis puts on a great live show. Fast paced celtic dancing. Lots of singing along. banter. more dancing. general crowd camaraderie.

  51. 1. Bright Eyes. A few days ago… Just an ineffable experience. If you think Bright Eyes is raw when listening to recorded… Shit. Seeing them live…

    2. Gogol Bordello. Phenomenal performers. Gypsy music is simply meant to be heard live, it’s kind of the point. Crazycrazycrazy. Pit was insane and beautiful. People who came for the main act (Primus) acknowledged that it was invigorating.

    3.Junip and Acrylics. Two great bands together, great atmosphere, great strangers. Jose Gonzales is a God, etc.

    4.Here We Go Magic. Not even a huge fan of this band, and, despite the shitty too-cool-to-dance crowd, it was just a good, solid performance. Plus, I liked the people I was with and it was just a great night, so I could be biased.

    5.Anti-Flag. First real concert I’d ever been to, so of course I had to throw it in. I stage dived! So much crowd solidarity, probably because that’s how punks do. My post-concert euphoria lasted for days.

      • If you have to drive long/pay too much to go see them, do it anyway. So. Worth. It.
        For a similar experience, see if Kultur Shock is playing in your town this summer. Same sort of energy.

        • Agreed, wholeheartedly. I saw Gogol Bordello in Columbus and Cleveland in 2008, and wanted to follow them for an entire tour. I’ve been to some awesome concerts, but none have topped those experiences. Eugene Hutz (the lead singer) also shared his bottle of wine with my friends and me after the Cleveland show.

          I saw Primus last summer, but was overly responsible and didn’t skip my lab that evening, so I missed Gogol Bordello. In hindsight, that was definitely a mistake.

          • The one you skipped… was the one I was at. It was GREAT. I really loved that it was outdoors, despite the heat. At least you’ve seen them before, though.

    • You didn’t see Bright Eyes in Philly did you? I just saw him on friday and it was AMAZING. Seriously great. I was so impressed. He even played Take It Easy (Love Nothing) and shit got intense.

  52. In chronological order,

    Indigo Girls, Central Park Summerstage, NYC, 2003 the night of the blackout – i didn’t know there was a blackout until they said it from the stage but the Indigo Girls still sang for a bit. then they made everyone exit the park on the east side because it was safer and i had to walk around the perimeter of the park back to my apt on the west side (all the buses were full and the traffic was insane). my friend never made it because he got stuck on the subway, but the Girls came back for a make-up show later in the summer and we got free tickets to that, so i got to see them twice. it was my first summer in NYC and i thought the whole thing was awesome.

    Damien Rice, Beacon Theater, NYC, 2004 – this was the first of three times i saw Damien Rice live and definitely the best. i mostly remember the lights being brought down and the theater being in darkness while he sang “cold water” and feeling so completely in the moment. that, and i could listen to lisa hannigan sing anything forever.

    Brandi Carlile, The Beaumont Club, Kansas City, MO, 2009 – this was the second of 3 (soon to be 4) times i’ve seen Brandi Carlile live. i love her music and listen to it every day. i went to Kansas City pretty much just to take my best friend to this concert. i had introduced her to Brandi’s music two years before. the best part was when Brandi was singing the hidden track in The Story and looked in my general direction for a while. my friend looked from me to Brandi and back to me and said “are you two having a moment?” to which i replied “yes, shut up.” but really, the best part was being there with someone who’s as big a fan and is as silly and excited to see Brandi as i am.

    Melissa Ferrick, City Winery, NYC, 2011 – Melissa Ferrick’s Freedom is the soundtrack to my coming out years. i’d seen her live once before when she came to my university 11 years ago. this year my best friend took me to this concert for my birthday. this was the funniest concert i’ve ever been to. Melissa is hilarious on stage (and sexy and open and fun and so so gay). she has definitely gotten better with age.

    • oh damien rice! so amazing, although I wish he’d still be collaborating with lisa hannigan. those two in concert would be a dream come true!

  53. Once upon a time (2004) in a land that is both magical and rusty (Ohio), a fierce ideological battle (the election) had an unfavorable end (GWB reelected, DOMA passed). The night after their hearts were broken and their hopes were dashed, the people of Cleveland (and surrounding areas) gathered together to process their emotions and ponder the future.

    First to lead them in a cathartic dance was a band of travelling misfits destined for fame (the Gossip) who gave voice to the anger that permeated the land. The main event, however, was a well-choreographed trio that sought to transcend with rallying cries and references to those who inspire (Le Tigre). In a time of palpable defeat, they created an atmosphere of possibility and safety in a place that truly needed it. For those brief moments, it was impossible to feel alone. It was incredible.

    And it was the best show ever. The end.

  54. joan jett and the blackhearts at the oc fair.
    there were so many queer-looking girls everywhere. or at least, more than i’m used to. it was fantastic, because i hadn’t (still haven’t, too young to really go to a pride event) ever seen so many in one place.
    i was with my straight friend who smiled and waved at the creepy guys who stand by the beer stalls and yell obscenely at you, but it was okay because i got to watch cute girls make out. ASIDE FROM THAT, the band was also really fantastic. i’m somewhat ashamed to say that i didn’t really know them that well, and the girls next to us were die-hard fans who were really nice and showed us their tattoos, but i sang along with the choruses once i picked them up. haah.
    and then emilie autumn. she was fantastic live and, as you’ll know if you’re a follower of hers, it was all very theatrical with corsets and baked goods and girls kissing. and lots of glitter. i was there with a big group, so i got to be in the second row (it was all standing, so whoever got there first got to be the closest) and i got to touch her hand.
    i also saw gary numan live. i stood behind a seven-foot-tall goth overlord (so many people seemed excited to see him…) with long white hair. it was pretty cool except for the fact that everyone was so fucking tall and i was/am short and for once in my life wearing shoes without a platform.
    only been to three concerts… i’m hopefully going to see amanda palmer in september, though. that should be exciting.

  55. Wow, your concerts are all so interesting and huge. I’m not a very well-seasoned concert-goer. I like small, intimate shows as opposed to big arena shows.

    Some of my most memorable shows are:
    -The Ting Tings (The Mod Club, 2008 I think?)
    -Olympic Island (Toronto) with Sloan, Sam Roberts, Arcade Fire, Death from Above 1979, Buck 65, Pilate, The Constantines (2004)
    -Bon Jovi (Air Canada Centre, 2006)

    Sloan is actually my favourite band of ALL time, and I saw them 5 times between the summers of 2004 and the fall of 2005, towards the end of highschool. All of those concerts were pretty memorable. My then best friend and I managed to find/stalk/meet one of them (my favourite member!) in February 2004 while we in downtown Toronto for the day.

  56. This is kind of like having to rate your children, but here goes:

    – Sufjan Stephens, Sydney Opera House, 2011
    Just magic. Have officially converted to the Church if Sufjan since seeing this show. All devotees welcome.

    – Joanna Newsom and the Sydney Symphony, Opera House 2008
    My favourite performance of the divine Ms Newsom to date.

    – The National, Enmore Theatre, 2011
    They blew me away, especially with the acoustic rendition of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks right at the end.

    – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Enmore Theatre, 2006 (I think)
    Nick is absolutely magnetic, and also he provided me with one of the most erotic experiences of my life when he looked directly at me and sang a really filthy lyric.

    – Michael Franti and Spearhead, Horden Pavillion, 2003
    I had loved Spearhead for so long, and they blew me away. Especially when Michael hugged me.

    I saw them in Tampa last June and it was one of the greatest nights of my life. It was sweaty and packed and everyone in the club was dancing and everyone knew the words to all the songs and sang along. Michael Angelakos seemed genuinely thrilled by the crowd’s excitement and thanked everybody profusely. I went with a friend but ended up getting separated in the crowd, so I was alone but surrounded by people, and I felt like we were all acting as one.
    I may or may not have cried (both in the show and in the car on the way home).
    I don’t know, they’re my favorite band and it was the first time I’d ever seen them live and it was just beautiful.

    Following that I’d say (in order):
    2. Phoenix – April 2010
    3. Arcade Fire & Spoon – August 2010
    4. Starfucker – March 2011
    5. Radiohead – May 2008

  58. Allman Brothers band/Susan Tedeschi

    John Butler Trio/Tristan Prettyman

    Melissa Ferrick

    Ani Difranco

    Erin Mckeown

  59. i actually just saw fatboy slim DJ on the great wall of china. it was kind of amazing.

  60. ahhh would love to see the cure and the dead weather, but I do know Tegan and Sara is comin to my town in July! <3

  61. This is possibly the most relevant to my interests open thread ever. I love concerts. Love them. Even shitty concerts are ok because they give you horror stories to tell to the people you meet at new concerts. In fact, I just saw Bright Eyes two days ago with a sweet AutoStraddler whom i purchased a ticket from That was an awesome show, guys. For real.

    Anyway, if i have to condense my best experiences from the past 5 years or so, here it is:

    1) Los Campesinos at the Bowery Ballroom, 2009, in which we jumped so much the wooden floors flexed beneath us.

    2) Tegan and Sara at the Electric Factory, 2008, in which i realized the twins weren’t half bad and WHY COULDN’T I STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM THE NEXT DAY I MEAN I WAS TOTALLY STRAIGHT RIGHT? WHAT ARE THESE FEELINGS? SARA I JUST WANT BACK IN YOUR HEAD!

    2 months later gay gay gay gay. I mean.
    How gay is that?

    3) Of Montreal (with Janelle Monea!) at the Niagra Ballroom, 2010, this was just fantastic, and on my 21st birthday no less. This was easily the most visually stunning and theatric concert i’ve ever attended. Just jaw dropping, and seriously fun.

    4) An Horse (the continuing saga). I’m not sure i can count one specific An Horse experience as the best (but oh do i have stories), so i’m just lumping them together. At this point I’ve seen them 5 times and they’re always great and friendly! Kate gave me advice on what guitar pedals to get. Damon told me about Australian tv shows. I love these guys like crazy.

    5) Ted Leo (Best and worst list) Mohawk Place 2008.
    This was a total rite of passage for me. To set the stage for you, i had nothing short of idolized him for the past 4 years, so when I found out he was going to be playing a SOLO set an hour from me, I was ecstatic.

    However, it couldn’t be that easy could it? I hate to say it, but the opening act was one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. Ever. Period. He wasn’t miced properly or SOMETHING and his amp started picking up Wal*Mart commercials halfway through the set. It was painful in a very literal sense.To make matters worse, i was less than 3 feet away from this guy and I started laughing when the delirium set in, so I’m PRETTY SURE he saw me.

    I basically cried when Ted Leo came out after that shit. I seriously don’t even.

    • I’ve only been a fan of Los Campesinos! for about a year, but in that time they’ve played near me six times… and I’ve missed them six times. It’s infuriating. So, I am generally jealous.

      • Remember that crazy icelandic volcano last year that messed up flights international flights for weeks? That happened the day before Los Campesinos were scheduled to fly to Canada and kick off another North American tour. I had tickets for their 2nd show on that tour. I was so bummed. But eventually I DID manage to see them again.

        Annnnyway, you won’t be disappointed at all, they have such a great energy live. I am excited for you already, Sawyer! hope you see them soon :D.

  62. Eurythmics at the Greek theatre with Annie Lenox emerging from a leather curtain as it unzipped, wearing a bra, leather trench type coat with leather pants, is in my top ten. Oh, the concert was great, too.

  63. Top 5:

    1)YACHT @ Record Release Party
    2)Holly Miranda @ the Ace Hotel.
    3)Thao with the get down stay down @ Doug Fir
    4)Y La Bamba @ Doug Fir
    5)Mirah @ Mississippi Studios

  64. 1. The Grateful Dead (no opening act was needed for their greatness), Los Angeles, 2009
    2. Lady Gaga with Semi Precious Weapons, Nashville, 2011
    3. Pearl Jam with Ben Harper, San Diego, 2009
    4. Santana with Steve Winwood, Tampa, 2010
    5. Tegan and Sara with Holly Miranda, Nashville, 2010

  65. So I haven’t been to too many concerts, but the best so far, by far was a Kaki King concert I went to last year. It was a tuesday or something, so there weren’t that many people there, and for the last song, she set up a loop on her lap steel and jumped off the stage for an impromptu dance party, it was outrageously Awesome.

  66. One time I saw The National in concert and the lead singer punched me in the face and it was AWESOME.

    ok, not really, but he did totally elbow me in the face on accident when he left the stage to go sing in the crowd. I’m short and pretty sure my height lined up perfectly with his elbow. That concert was pretty fun.

  67. In my city, we don’t get any big name acts. Like really. None. But the best concerts I’ve been to were the ones in the old warehouse in the centre of town that they’re trying to close down because it’s a fire risk but there’s huge stage and the ambience is awesome and it’s where the cool alternative kids go to listen to local bands that are just so good and crazy.
    Unfort. I’m not one of those aforementioned cool alt kids but y’know, fake it til you make it.

    At least I can say I’ve been in some wicked mosh pits!

  68. Any one of the three Tegan and Sara concerts I saw last year but, as evidenced by my Gravatar, the Atlanta in-store performance at Criminal Records was by far the most special.

  69. only “real” concert i’ve been to is deftones. which was pretty cool, i saw a ton of lesbians. but i was there with my brother so they assumed i was with him :(

    and uh my friend is in a band, so i have to say that their concerts are awesome or else i’m a shitty friend. not that they arent, cuz they are. i just feel like i should mention it.

  70. Okay, kiddies, I will now show my age.

    1. The Beatles, San Diego, 1965
    2.Simon & Garfunkel c.1967
    3.Joan Baez, Hollywood Bowl, 1972
    4.The Doors (rip Jim Morrison)1967
    5. The afore-mentioned incredible Annie Lennox and The Eurythmics at the Greek Theater, 1984, maybe?

  71. First concert I ever saw (the Hillsong gospel show my parents dragged me to doesn’t count….) was Killing Heidi. I was like 14, and had absolutely no idea who they were (see previous parenthesis for the sheltered-ness of my childhood). I only went because all my friends were going, it was held on a tennis court, there was the stage up one end, the licensed area up the other and in between was just basically a mosh pit.

    Ella Hooper blew me away, she was not only a great singer, but hilarious banter, (really kinda hot), she rapped some Nelly at one point, and I was like “I LOVE KILLING HEIDI 4EVA!!!”

    And the hilariousness of watching people climb over the tennis court fence, get chased down and escorted out, only to try and climb over again was totally worth the $15 by itself.

  72. I’ve never had any super awesome big concert experiences. I think the last big show I went to was Cypress Hill on 4/20 & we got to meet them but it was awkward, late, and rushed. We got to meet Kate Nash once who was really cool but the experience was soured by a towed car. I usually have the most fun seeing smaller bands in tiny intimate venues & dive bars. MEN was an amazing dirty, sweaty, dance party. Killola is always full of energy and a good time. I also love getting out to Hunter Valentine, The Cliks, Sick of Sarah, & Vanity Theft shows. All those bands are super approachable and full of good people. Also we seem to have wacky adventures every time we see one of their shows.

  73. I’ve never had any super awesome big concert experiences. I think the last big show I went to was Cypress Hill on 4/20 & we got to meet them but it was awkward, late, and rushed. We got to meet Kate Nash once who was really cool but the experience was soured by a towed car. I usually have the most fun seeing smaller bands in tiny intimate venues & dive bars. MEN was an amazing dirty, sweaty, dance party. Killola is always full of energy and a good time. I also love getting out to see Hunter Valentine, The Cliks, Sick of Sarah, & Vanity Theft shows. All those bands are super approachable and full of good people. Also we seem to have wacky adventures every time we see one of their shows.

  74. My Chemical Romance at the Roseland Ballroom, 2011
    Fun./Steel Train at El Corazon, 2010
    Concrete Blonde at Showbox Market, 2010
    Siouxsie and the Banshees at La Luna, 1995
    The Sugarcubes at The Moore Theater, 1990

  75. Pixies at Brixton Academy, 2009
    Radiohead at Reading Festival, 2009
    The Prodigy at Reading Festival, 2009
    Example at Great Escape 2011
    Warpaint at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 2011

    I can’t really remember anything prior to 2009.

  76. Frightened Rabbit – Soul Tree, Cambridge / O2 Shepherds Bush
    Cursive – KCL Students Union
    The Good Life – some tiny bar in Belfast.
    And T&S and Ani, blates.

  77. 5. Homebake ’98 – specifically Something For Kate. Steph and Clint did a drum and bass jam during their set which was totally amazing.

    4. Tiddas – Aboriginal girl group. At the Clarendon in Katoomba in ’99. They were frickin’ hilarious and their harmonies were on another level.

    3. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – ’07 I think. My girlfriend finally saw the light from how good they were live. I See Monsters was the highlight.

    2. Counting Crows way back on their Hard Candy tour in ’03 -they are my favourite band and still haven’t been back to Australia since. They played a ten-minute version of my favourite song ‘Goodnight Elisabeth’. Dream. Come. True.

    1. It’s a tie between Radiohead and Crowded House.
    I wasn’t expecting Radiohead to be so amazing live, but Jonny had a shitload of pedals and did things I’d never heard before. Thom was ridiculously magnetic and energised on stage.
    CH – I missed the Farewell concert at the Opera House because I had just started at a new school and couldn’t find anyone to go with me. I am a huuuuuuge fan of them and finally saw their comeback tour a few years ago and every song was so worth the wait. Augie March supported which was a fantastic surprise.

  78. The Duke and The King 2010, Empire Music Hall
    Jessie J 2011, Mandella Hall
    Open House Festival 2010, Belfast Highlights included Lissie, Peggy Sue, The Felice Brothers and Joe Pug all as support acts and Mumford&Sons and Seasick Steve.
    City and Colour 2011, Royal Albert Hall
    Pink 2009, The Odyssey

  79. Nine Inch Nails in Seoul – their last international show! It was the stuff of legends.

  80. Elastica, Manchester, 2000.

    I have little recollection of the music but the bass was so low and heavy it hit the resonant frequency of my clitoris.

  81. Ahh there are too many to list!:

    Cut Copy @ Music Box, LA (2009)
    Bon Iver @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery LA, Sunrise Show (2009)
    Tame Impala + White Arrows @ Silverlake Lounge, LA (2010)
    The National @ The Wiltern, LA (2010)
    LCD Soundsystem @ Hollywood Palladium, LA (2010)
    Arcade Fire @ Greek Theater, Berkeley (2010)
    Girls @ The Fillmore, SF (2010)

    + countless raves :)

  82. I feel like my choices are not nearly as cool as everyone else’s, but Riese put down Spice Girls so I feel a little bit better now, haha. In no particular order:

    1. Ani DiFranco with Melissa Ferrick & Anais Mitchell at Celebrate Brooklyn, 2007 – This was my first time seeing Ani live, even though I’d been a fan since college. The place was full of gay ladies, Ani even joked about it, saying, “Welcome to Brooklyn Pride, I mean Celebrate Brooklyn” when she came out on stage. It was seriously like a religious experience & led to a good few years of me being obsessed with going to Ani shows.

    2. No Doubt at Roseland Ballroom, 2002 – Confession: I love general admission standing shows, especially when the crowd is a little rough. (There’s probably an interesting pysch analysis in there somewhere.) I’ve never been into the type of music that usually creates mosh pits, so this is as close as I get. This show was awesome. I wasn’t right at the barrier but only a row or so back from it, and there was just such energy in the room. I saw no Doubt again later that year (with Garbage) & the crowd was so calm, not gonna lie I was kinda disappointed. Gwen did touch my hand at the latter show though, so there’s that.

    3. Madonna, Drowned World Tour 2001 – I’ve been a Madonna fan since I was 5 years old & this was my first time seeing her live. I was just blown away by the spectacle & the story telling, and by actually seeing her in person.

    4. Idina Menzel at the Bowery Ballroom, 1998 – This was the last stop on Idina’s tour in support of her first album “Still I Can’t Be Still” (which completely bombed for a lot of reasons that had nothing at all to do with the music). The room was full of her biggest fans, friends, & family and it was just such a great night. I’d met her at a previous stop on the tour, and she remembered me and was just so sweet & genuine even though I was an 18-year-old squealing fangirl. I’ve continued to see her perform every chance I get, and she always remembers me and is so very kind. I feel like I’ve grown up with her and will always support her work not only because of her talent but because of who she is as a person.

    Sorry this got so long. And there are probably more memorable experiences that I’m forgetting right now. I’m seeing Glee Live! on Thursday and it’s embarrassing how excited I am about it. Naya Rivera Heather Morris Dianna Agron WHAT?

  83. i thought i have some pretty amazing concert experiences, i’m actually only sweet 18 but usually (as far as the money goes and cool gigs happens) hit about 3 concerts a month.

    but top 5 experiences:

    1. tegan and sara in munich; my whole family drove from zurich to munich just because i really wanted to see those two lesbians. and in 2007 the audience and location as also pretty intimate (they played the ampere!), and i even got a photo with tegan! I WAS SO HAPPY I COULD’VE DIED. and after that, i made myself a promise to see tns every year. which i did :)

    2. sophie hunger in berlin; my supercool godmother had this supercool birthday present for me which involved a one-night trip from zurich to berlin by night train, seeing sophie hunger live in berlin the next day and flying home the day afterwards. i actually wished i could’ve taken this awesome opportunity to see someone better (sophie hunger is swiss and i’m pretty sure she’ll play a couple of gigs here anytime soon) and who i haven’t seen already, but whatevs. it was an awesome little weekend.

    3. bonaparte in zurich; bonaparte is SUCH a cool live band, i only wish more people would be aware of that. seriously, they have burlesque dances, strippers, people dressed up as all sorts of animals and whatever possible. if you have the chance to see them, take it! (this vid shows some of them crazy performers plus it’s also a very catchy tune: and this one shows ’em live:

    4. the xx — EVERYWHERE; i saw them the first time in a pretty intimate and uber-sold out concert in zurich JUST before all the hype and was superbaffled. then came the southside festival 2010 and they just blew me away. i saw them a third time at the zurich festival and we literally waited like 3 houres in the front row with a gazillion litres beers just to be the closest to them. turned out the time they started we already were pretty drunk. but that just made it more awesome!

    5. massive attack at the southside festival 2010; i was insanely drunk and whatnot, haven’t heard them before and was SO hooked up, i felt like i could only express my love for them through excessive dancing. i’m pretty sure i made the iron fence whip.

    (6) tie between blood red shoes and CREEP. when i first saw both groups, they were supporting others (brs: the subways; creep: esben and the witch), but were WAY better than the “important acts”. they’ve stuck to me, and i’ve seen brs three times since then and they’re still as awesome (though i liked the old album way better) and laura-mary is still smoking hot and i even high-fived steven. in case of CREEP, they were in switzerland to support E&TW for two dates, and i was so impressed by the first one that i decided to attend the second gig which was a 2hr train drive each way, and i actually only got to see CREEP playing live (i also wanted to take the chance to see E&TW again, but i would’ve missed my last train :( ).

    (7) special mention for nomi ruiz and her awesome band jessica six. saw them kind of unexpected and was also blown away. very cool and smooth sound and nomi ruiz is just one hot fox!

    AND NOW THIS SUMMER: fiiiiiiiiiiiiinally arcade fire and portishead live. a dream comes true. PLUS the kills, lykke li, blood red shoes, trentemöller, bright eyes and WARPAINT! and in about a month MELT 2011!

  84. Sex Pistols(2008)
    Muse (2009 & 2010)
    Green Day (2010)
    Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (2010)
    Madonna (2009)
    Dir en grey (2007)

    (Those were all awesome but.. I haven’t seen T&S yet so yeah.. whenever I get to see them I think that will be the best concert ever. :D)

    But yeaah.. there’s still SO many bands I wanna see!
    And today Crystal Castles are in Finland but I can’t go and see! But anyway, I’ll still get to see Empire of the Sun and Robyn this summer so I shouldn’t be complaining! :))

  85. Michael Jackson (1996), hands down the best concert ever. Lady Gaga and Empire of the Sun were awesome and absolutely bat-shit crazy.

  86. Jeff Buckley: I saw Jeff open up for Juliana Hatfield. I was in the front row, literally 3 feet from him. I was ready to hate him… I hadn’t heard him before, and I had no idea he was Tim Buckley’s son. All I knew was that his record company was trying to market him as a “pretty boy”. By the time his show was over, I was screaming for more.

    The Grateful Dead/Tom Petty/Bob Dylan – ’nuff said.

    Nightwish: I saw them on Tarja’s last tour. Awesome is too mild a word.

    Iron Maiden: Somewhere on Tour – There is nothing like a Maiden show, as Lady gaga recently learned.

    Tori Amos: It was her first leg of the “Little Earthquakes” tour. I was in the fron row of a tiny club. I was, again, three feet from her. I’m still tingling from the experience.

  87. 1)Reel Big Fish:
    Ska is always fun.
    2)Slow Club:
    There was a stage invasion that I ended up involved in. After that it got really hot in there and they walked out, everyone followed though and they played on the picnic table in the car park. (For strange ways to see a band it still not quite as strange as watching Jonny Foreigner through a window whilst stood on a traffic cone)
    3) Los Campesinos:
    They managed to be pretty epic even with swine flu, although its one of the only times I’ve made efforts to be at the back rather than the front.
    4) Blink 182:
    Nothing not to love about Blink 182 I saw them first when I was 11 and second at 18. The second time I saw them I think they were best, Travis’ upside down drum solo was especially entertaining. A girl I didn’t know held my hand though for most of the concert to stop me getting lost in the crowd and it was a bit awkward (this was when I was 18 :/).
    5) Laura Marling:
    I saw her at Latitude, my favourite festival ( it has stages in the woods and purple sheep).
    That was hard, too many choices, I think they were just the ones that came to mind.

  88. Regina Spektor is my girl. The first time I saw her was in June 2008, when she played a free show on the National Mall for an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel run-on sentence. When performing Ghost of Corporate Future, she changed the lyrics a bit, singing, “Maybe you should just drink a lot less coffee, and never ever watch the ten o’clock news– especially Fox”. So much <3 for her.

  89. Muse’s Resistance tour
    I went to the concert in Fort Worth on Saint Patrick’s Day last year.
    Their tower/ platforms screens, insane lasers everywhere, larger than weather balloon balloons full of confetti, did I mention insane lasers everywhere?
    And, of course, their music was amazing.

    My dad’s loved them ever since and loved the concert as well.

  90. I’m not even going to bother to rank the others, because Arcade Fire/Explosions in the Sky in The Woodlands, TX (aka Win and Will Butler’s hometown, and the venue where Win used to work as a ticket taker) was the greatest thing I have seen in person ever. Surreal.

  91. Based on the last 2 years:
    3. As Tall As Lions
    2. Shakira
    1. Tegan and Sara- They really give you the perfect and rare concert experience. Actually playing instruments, live singing, good light show, crowd interaction, comedy, and non scripted. No T&S concert is the same.

    But my most favorite favorite live show/entertainment experience without a shadow of a doubt was when I was 12 at the WWF. NOTHING CAN BEAT THAT! I can’t speak for now but that was a damn show!

  92. Orishas! They’re a Cuban hip-hop group that I adore. I saw them in New York awhile back (2007 maybe?). It was in a venue that had no seats so everyone was up on their feet and dancing. There was such a joyful atmosphere, felt more like a dance party than a concert. I don’t go to concerts very often, I never know when they’re happening, but I’m really glad I went to this one.

    I saw Eric Clapton in Orlando ages ago with my family, he was great too.

  93. 1. Sleigh Bells at the Magic Stick in Detroit in 2010: I left that show soaking wet, mostly with other people’s sweat, and felt like I’d been baptized.

    2. Tegan & Sara, every time I’ve ever seen them: you can’t beat that banter, it’s like a bonus comedy show when you only payed for a concert. And their opening acts are always worth arriving early. Also there are gay ladies everywhere.

    3. Lady Gaga at Terminal 5 in NYC in 2009: No one puts on a show like that, and I am so glad I got to see her at a venue that small for only $20. I saw her at the Joe in Detroit in 2011 and being upstairs at a stadium just couldn’t compare to when I was less than 50 feet from her on the stage. I’m pretty sure I cried at some point during that show.

    4. Andrew WK at Purchase College in 2010: he was a last-minute surprise show and the nicest, most excited, most accommodating performer I’ve ever seen. I got a black eye (when everyone tried to help him pick up his keyboard) and it was beyond worth it.

    5. The Ditty Bops at The Ark in Ann Arbor MI in 2006: music, burlesque and comedy all in a single show in a really intimate venue. I saw them again on their following tour and they had somehow lost their magic, which was a shame.

  94. Gossip @ Metro in Chicago ’09 I have never been so sweaty leaving a concert. Just a fucking awesome dance party.

    Yeah Yeah Yeah’s @ Lolla in ’07 Karen O just killed. YYY’s in ’09 was a hell of a show too.

    David Bowie – Moby ’02. Not a huge Moby fan but he put on a good dance party after watching Bowie do his thing.

    Radiohead @ Lolla ’08 It was my birthday and I was 50 yards away from the stage.

    U2 360 Tour. Hell of a spectacle, I was so close to the stage and just had an awesome time.

  95. not necessarily in order of awesome:
    1.) pixies reunion tour, 2004
    2.) iron & wine / califone, 2007 (two of my favourite bands. one bill! HOLY SHIT)
    3.) weakerthans @ casbah, 2008 (in canada, these guys play much larger venues, but in san diego i was able to get up-close and personal)
    4.) rufus wainwright, 2003. (for the encore, the band dressed in witch costumes! it wasn’t even halloween)
    5.) great lake swimmers, 2006 (it was the first time i saw them, at a folk festival, and i fell in love with their moody alt-country)

  96. Sometime between 2003 and now:
    Sam Roberts – still my most favorite rock show I ever sawed
    Metric – Emily Haines head banged with her keyboard
    Mariah Carey – we go back like babies and pacifiers
    Lady Gaga – I was thisclose! :D
    Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – her voice. holy crap.

    Eeeps! I would love love love to see Beth Ditto, Janelle Monae and the xx perform live!

  97. Crystal Castles

    YEah yeah yeahs

    THE XX

    The KIlls


    Ghostland Observatory

    Club 75




  98. I’m not experienced enough a concert-goer for a top five, but my bestest everest ever is Amanda Palmer either 2010/2011 at Bodega, Wellington. Possibly the second one actually because she had Jason Webley accompanying her :D

  99. so jealous that you got to see the cure live! i think my top 5 will be

    5. Arctic Monkeys @ Melkweg, Amsterdam (2007)
    They had just released their second album and played a small gig for only 1500 people.
    4. Kings of Leon @ Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam (2009)
    It was perfect. They were their arrogant selves and they were so good.
    3. The Fray @ Paradiso, Amsterdam (2007)
    Went to see them with one of my best friends. We left with two plectrums, a drumstick and a playlist. Isaac Slade is amazing.
    2. Tegan & Sara @ Paradiso, Amsterdam (2010)
    My first T&S concert after I sold my ticket for their 2008 show in Melkweg. They played a lot better in Paradiso than in Melkweg I’ve been told so it was a good decision.
    1. Wende Snijders (2008)
    Dutch singer of French songs. Went to see her twice, got her autograph. She’s so powerful and in control on stage but when I met her after the show or when she’s on television, she’s very shy and nervous which I think is pretty cute. Anyway you should check her out on YouTube :)

    Adele and Justin Bieber are still on my wish list.

  100. Luna Sea (a very well known Japanese rock band) was my favorite band ever as a teenager (not to mention the reason I took up the guitar), and they’re still one of my favorites today. Unfortunately for me, they disbanded in 2000, before I was able to see them live.

    Then, a decade later in 2010, they announced a reunion world tour – with a stop in Los Angeles, at the Palladium. I’ve never had a concert mean that much to me before, ever, and it was amazing.

    Honorable mention goes to another Japanese band, Dir en grey, whom I’ve seen twice – they put on an absolutely amazing show, particularly the vocalist.

    • I’ve seen Dir en grey a few times and they are amazing live. Def some of my favorite concerts I’ve been too.

      I def need to re-check out Luna Sea again.

  101. Don’t know if it counts as a concert, but Carte Blanche this past weekend at the Parklife weekender were amazing. For 2 DJs, they put on an awesome show. 2 cute roller skating girls with awesome dance moves and complementary outfits. They sounded amazing too.

  102. 1 Dresden Dolls, London Roundhouse
    2 Blur in 1994, my first concert ever
    3 Beth Gibbons
    4 PJ Harvey
    5 Ane Brun

    and countless more …

  103. WoW!..Thank you so much for sharing. I feel a slightly religious type of moment happened after you introduced me to Holly Miranda. Uh…AHHHHHHHHH *choir of angels in MAhead*

  104. hmmmmm
    -Radiohead , open air concert in Vancouver a few years back.
    -Hawksley workman (at hillside festival many years ago)
    -Ani Difranco a couple years back at Calgary Folk fest
    (woman’s music NEEDS to be listened to in open air, not sure why…an anamoly of sorts)
    -Jeff Healey (R.I.P.) same Calgary Folk Fest. he was playing with a huge band and WOW! not usually my style but totally unbelievable.
    -Little Scream a few months ago…blew my marbles at the Horseshoe Tavern. WOW! oh oh oh yes yes yes check her out!

  105. Jeez, I almost forgot!!!!!
    Andrew Bird!!! a few years back in New Zealand..WOW eeek.
    ok…i promise no more hogging.

  106. 5. Duncan Sheik (Manila 2003)
    4. Adam Lambert (Manila 2010)
    3. Backstreet Boys (Manila 2010)
    2. Lady Gaga (Manila 2009)
    1. Kylie Minogue – Aphrodite Tour (Manila 2011)


  107. Definitely consider that that you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the simplest factor to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while folks consider worries that they just don’t understand about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest as well as defined out the entire thing without having side effect , other people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

  108. Tegan & Sara at the Lifetime Pavilion in Columbus, the lezzie capital of the world. We managed to get spots on the left side of the hall, as far front as we could go and not be in the pit. We’re seeing Ani there in September! Can’t wait!

  109. Pingback: Weezer Wsg Cold War Kids – Saturday, July 15, 2017 (outdoors), July 15

Comments are closed.