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best live musical experience

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zaphod

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while our HT systems are good, often even better than a movie theatre, live performance is something special.

what is your favourite/memorable/best live musical experience? i'll start.

Seeing REM's first Canadian appearence (they opened for the English Beat in 1982) was one heck of a concert. I couldn't walk for days after dancing all night. Good thing too, as I was supposed to be cramming for finals and the best thing for me was to keep my butt in a chair.


But the best one musically would have to be Carmina Burana as put on by the University of Western Ontario's Music department. the whole department. If you were in the department you were performing (i worked on campus and knew some of the people there).

the venue was Alumni Hall, a huge auditorium seating 2300 with a stage that is 117 feet wide, 36 feet deep. between the stage and the seating is the pit. this is only 3 feet below stage level and is actually a basketball sized floor which can be used for a mosh pit, basketball games, or seating which is on tiered bleachers that stack under the immobile seating. for most UWO students is is the first and last building you'll see because in september you pick up your timetables there and 4 (or 5 or 6) years later your graduation ceremonies are held there.

For Carmina Burana a number of adult choirs filled bleachers set up on stage to create a wall of voices 100 feet wide and 7 or 8 rows high. off in the pit between the stage and the seating to the right were bleachers for 2 additional childrens's choirs and the full orchestra. before the orchestra were the soloists.

I arrived early to get a prime seat, center and just a but up, 6 or 7 rows. I looked at the 28 foot wall of bleachers i grumbled that they could have kept some of them in storage instead of messing with the sound.

when the choirs started to file in and fill the bleachers my response went from spotting friends to incredulous to amazement to "now they're just bragging" as they stuffed all the people onto the bleachers.

then the two kiddlet choirs (no suprises there i can guess the size of a children's choir) and the orchestra, which the empty chairs gave away for size.


after much shuffling and so on, the conductor raised his arms and began.

The opening of Carmina Burana is not a ... delicate ... work of music. with the lyrics wrenched from the lewd stories of medieval monks, Carl Orff's music hits you hard with pure power. I have several recordings of the piece and they test the limits of my CLS. The opening "O Fortuna" has become almost cliched in it's use by hollywood when "big majestic power music" is required. The trailer for Glory used this piece for the battle scenes.

In many ways O Fortuna is the "3 chord power rock" music of the classical world, but of course a bit more musical than BTO.

The UWO music department did not dissapoint. As the baton fell, my hair moved back from the wind of hundreds of voices and instruments in perfect unison as the elephantine opening bars shook the hall. Then the male basses took over as the piece settled into it's rhythm.

But Carmina is more than power and might, in the center of the work, delicate children's choirs accompanied by little more than a triangle floated across the hall, a lot more quiet but no less moving than the opening with every note and syllable in perfect harmony.


less than an hour later it was all over, and 12 years later the memory is as vivid as the night i listened to it live.

and that's music.
 

DTB300

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Rush - Early 80's - Backstage Passes

B.B. King - Small 1500 Seat Arena - 5th row

Alice Cooper - same place as BB King - 3rd row

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run - Got tickets 30 min before show started - now you cannot get tickets 30 min after they go on sale

Ted Nugent - Toronto - Open air stadium - sitting at opposite long end of an oval stadium (like the sitting at the other end of a football field), he was so loud, you could not talk to the person right next to you.

Hadden Sayers Band - small bar, saw him twice - man can this guy play guitar - signed copies of CD's
 

TomDac

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Easy!

Joe Jackson live at San Diego State Ampitheater 1989 (?). This was his "Blaze of Glory" tour. He had a 12 piece orchestra with him and it was sonically the best live concert I've ever had the priveledge of experiencing.


Tom.
 
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Kruppy

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Oh, too many to decide which was best.

Luka bloom: Early 90's at the Blind Pig, Ann Arbor Mi. Small show, big memories.

REM/Camper Van Bethoven: 1987 Life's Rich Pagent Tour, Fox Theater, Detorit. Great show. Michael Stipe with musturd dyed hair.

The Chuch/Blue Aeroplanes: Early 90's I think. Royal Oak Music Theater. I still get chills thinking about this one.

The Cowboy Junkies: Early 90's State Theater, Ann Arbor. I'm still in love with Margo Timmons.

Front 242/Ethel Meat Plow (yes, that's their real name): Early 90's St. Andrew's Hall, Detroit. 242 at their finest.

Big Country/Wire Train: 1982 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor. I think this was my first concert (I'm getting forgetfull in my old age). Awesome.
 

SteveInNC

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DTB300 said:
Got tickets 30 min before show started - now you cannot get tickets 30 min after they go on sale
Ooo! A pet peeve of mine. I just heard a show advertised here this week. Tickets go on sale this weekend; the show is in late September...

The venue is a "shed" that holds about 20K. Assuming tickets at around $50+ per person, they'll end up holding $1M+ for six months. I'd be hard pressed to remember I had tickets to a show six months from now.
 

TomDac

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Kruppy said:
Luka bloom: Early 90's at the Blind Pig, Ann Arbor Mi. Small show, big memories.

REM/Camper Van Bethoven: 1987 Life's Rich Pagent Tour, Fox Theater, Detorit. Great show. Michael Stipe with musturd dyed hair.

The Chuch/Blue Aeroplanes: Early 90's I think. Royal Oak Music Theater. I still get chills thinking about this one.

The Cowboy Junkies: Early 90's State Theater, Ann Arbor. I'm still in love with Margo Timmons.

Front 242/Ethel Meat Plow (yes, that's their real name): Early 90's St. Andrew's Hall, Detroit. 242 at their finest.

Big Country/Wire Train: 1982 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor. I think this was my first concert (I'm getting forgetfull in my old age). Awesome.
Camper Van Beethoven... wow.. there's a flashback.. Saw them in the 80s too in San Diego at the local Carpenters union hall (basically a high school gym). Went up to someone who looked like he belonged there and asked if they would be serving beers.. he told me to fuck off. It was the lead singer of the band... What an ass. The show was great. I kept flipping him off from the crowd. ROFL!
 
S

sakhavi

Guest
A life in concerts

Wow, this makes me realize that some of these performances have been highlights of my life. Among the memorables:

Mahler's Tragic Symphony, San Francisco Orchestra with Michael Tilson Thomas, September 12, 2001
The program was in place long before the terrible events of the preceding day, but there was no ignoring the context in which we attended one of the most emotional performances I can recall - many in the audience and onstage were in tears at various points. The concert the previous night had been cancelled and this one had been in question, but in retrospect it was almost necessary to have held it - it was such a positive, collective experience after such a wrenching catastrophe. It was also the only time I can recall singing along wholeheartedly with the Star Spangled Banner, with which MTT preceded the symphony. I wish Delos had included that moment in the recording they issued of the concert, catalog #SFS1. Nonetheless, that disc is one of my most treasured musical keepsakes.

Ani Difranco at UC Berkeley's Greek Theater, 1999
Highlights were the 40-degree-fahrenheit weather (introducing the band, Ani quipped, "I'd like to introduce my friends, whose nipples are also erect..."), the friendliest of all possible crowds for this music (there's a world of difference between the happy sporadic toplessness found there and the seedy kind you might see at a heavy metal show) and the perfectly-stagecrafted setup and punchline delivery of "To the Teeth," the then-yet-to-be-released title track of her forthcoming album.

Midnight Oil, Blockbuster Pavillion, Charlotte, NC, Summer 1994
If you've never been spewed with sweat from 7' tall bald man's head, you haven't lived. Mr. Garrett & co. proceeded to tear down every available politically, economically and militarily oppressive edifice - including the venue's namesake corporation, and mercilessly kicked the crowd's ass for the duration of the show.

Loverboy and Joan Jett, USC Coliseum, Columbia, SC, 198(4?)
I thought I was going for Loverboy, but in retrospect fate put me there at my first concert to see Joan Jett, the Goddess of Grrrl and still my favorite (possibly the only) guitar heroine. I can say I saw her when.

10,000 Maniacs at Brown University Main Green, Spring Weekend 1993
27 songs, a gorgeous day, the first real show they'd played after releasing Our Time in Eden, and a bewitching Natalie Merchant skipping hither and thither around the stage. Openers Zap Mama were great too - when they announced their last song and the crowd cheered, their frontwoman said, "Oh, no; you have to say 'No, please don't go!'" To which the crowd complied, in chorus.

Indigo Girls, Huger Street Concert Hall, Columbia, SC, February 1990
Huger Street Concert Hall was an antiques barn (or something) until shortly before this show and a ballet studio (or something) shortly after it, and was infinitely better suited for those than for performing music. I and my then-highschool-sweetheart-now-wife were the first in line with our $15 tickets, and so we managed to get one of the few seats; the rest of the 300-person crowd stood. Those 2 women sang like nothing I'd ever heard - they left the stage exhausted and pleading with the audience to let them go after 3 encores. They also played the just-written "Southland in the Springtime," to riotous applause.

Tori Amos, July 30, 1994, Blumenthal Performing Arts Cente, Charlotte, NC
A remarkable concert - unquestionably a rock show, but the fancy venue and the instrumentation (just Ms. Amos & her piano) induced the crowd to behave as if they were witnessing chamber music. Amos is a virtuoso and a sharp mind who has done her part for feminism in my generation, but I couldn't help thinking throughout the show that if I die I want to come back as her piano bench, which got an almost indecent workout onstage. Gotta be the happiest piece of furniture anywhere.

Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible, with film by Sergei Eisenstein, SFSO & MTT, Halloween 1998
Just an outstanding performance by an outstanding orchestra under an outstanding conductor doing something creative that they love. Great stuff!
 
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