Over the last week or so I have attempted to write down a list of artists I have seen perform live. My memory is not what it used to be, but I managed to recollect over 140 gigs by more than 80 different artists. No wonder I suffer from tinnitus!
I decided I would list ten of my favourite live gigs and then realised how hard it would be to narrow it down to ten! Regardless, here is my attempt, but I made it easier on myself by listing them in no particular order.
I was fortunate enough to see B.B. King perform live at the Canberra Theatre on 7th February 1989. I was 20 years old. A colleague in his early 60s was there as were many young women and men in their late teens/early 20s. This was an eye-opener for me in that a musician could appeal to such a diverse audience. His performance was sublime and he was generous in his distribution of guitar picks to the crowd.
Hunters & Collectors performed live at the ANU Bar, a venue that no longer exists, on 25th May 1986. I was under-age at the time but the people on the door at this gig weren’t overly vigilant on checking ID so luckily I managed to sneak in. A fantastic live performance from a band I would go on to see live another 6 times. They were ably supported by Cattletruck, a band I really enjoyed as well and I have their one and only album on CD these days, after originally owning it on cassette.
I grew up listening to U2’s music, and I found it enjoyable despite Bono’s over-the-top personality and ego. For me, it was always about the music. Getting to be there on the night they broadcast their Zoo TV gig around the world via satellite, 27th November 1993, was a truly memorable experience.
I have been a Pink Floyd fan for decades and was grateful to have the chance to see him live on 10th February 2018 in Melbourne. It was a gig my brother-in-law quite rightly dubbed “an almost religious experience”, as we were treated to 4 or 5 from his latest solo album dispersed amongst classic Pink Floyd tracks.
I am grateful I got to see the classic lineup of the E Street band perform live on The Rising tour with Bruce Springsteen on 22nd March 2003. Particularly as saxophonist Clarence Clemons and organist Danny Federici have since died. The performance that night was electric, despite the power cutting out four times, and we got to see a show that ran for more than three and a half hours. Brilliant!
Getting to see the original lineup of KISS perform live on 6th February 1997 on the Reunion Tour was a life-long dream come true. I have seen them live a couple of times since, with varying lineups, but nothing compares to the original lineup, despite what Gene and Paul would have you believe.
I have seen Iron Maiden live in concert three times. They were actually the first band I ever saw perform live! Their best performance, of the three, was at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on the Final Frontier Tour on 24th February, 2011. They were absolutely amazing and Eddie was in fine form too!
Another of my favourite artists of all time is Eric Clapton. I remember cueing up early to get tickets on the Saturday morning they went on sale, this was in the days before online booking. The line went back a block and a half and I got there two hours early! I had previously spent many hours sweet talking the sales person at the ticket outlet and had managed to reserve myself a concert poster. It still has pride of place in the hallway of my home. The gig date was 10 November 1990 at the Royal Theatre in Canberra and I didn’t get to see him live again for another 20+ years!
I managed to see another blues legend live in concert at the Canberra Theatre on 7th September 1992. My hopes beforehand were very high in regard to the quality of his performance and needless to say, he exceeded my expectations. Infamous for his walks through the crowd with an exceedingly long guitar lead, Albert Collins did exactly that. I will never forget seeing the “Master of the Telecaster” live in concert. Phenomenal!
I was in Adelaide for the WOMADelaide festival of music and dance in 1993. On the Friday night, 19th February, I was witness to Peter Gabriel’s first ever live Australian performance. A rehearsal performance that went for over an hour, 24 hours ahead of the full performance on the Saturday night. It felt intimate, warm and just musically complete. The following night’s performance was equally as good. It was about 12 months later, 1st March 1994 to be precise, when I saw the same band perform at the Sydney Entertainment Centre with the full show as the multimedia experience it had become. Although still a great show, it was a completely different experience and I think I preferred the more intimate WOMADelaide gigs. The whole WOMADelaide expperience was wonderful and Peter Gabriel was one of many fantastic acts I saw perform during the festival.
Well that’s ten of my favourites, but I’m sure if you asked me another time I’d probably think of a different ten!