over at the five cent free press, jr listed his top ten concerts ever, fresh off his attending the same pearl jam concert i went to.
i mean, i put that show in my top three.
okay, let's find out.
10. WILCO. RUBY SKYE IN SAN FRANCISCO. 01.13.03
this was not the best performance by wilco that i've seen (i can't count how many times i've caught them). but this was at the wired awards show, and everyone was there for the free drinks. so they played a short intimate set for the 75 of us who were actually paying attention to a band at their apex.
9. BOB DYLAN. GREEK THEATER IN BERKELEY. 10.12.02.
i could give you a nice little recap of this show, but seriously, what does it matter? it's bob dylan playing at berkeley, and i'm listening to him while standing on the hill with a clear view of alcatraz and the city. that's all i gotta say about that.
8. FOO FIGHTERS. SLIM'S IN SAN FRANCISCO. 10.24.02.
just two weeks later, i saw the foos play in a cramped theater that housed maybe 300 of us. maybe. they played a surprise show days before the release of their latest album. anyways, i was no more than fifty feet from dave grohl. and, more importantly, i had thom yorke standing to my left and lars ulrich behind me.
7. WHITE STRIPES. THE WARFIELD IN SAN FRANCISCO. 04.28.03.
i'll just reiterate what jr wrote. it was the loudest concert i've ever attended. and, at that point, i had never seen a guitar played the way jack white played it that night. it was an extension of the most sonic part of him.
6. BEASTIE BOYS. THE BILL GRAHAM IN SAN FRANCISCO. 09.16.04.
this show was good. real good. i mean, the beasties are fantastic musicians and entertainers, and mix master mike is amazing to watch live. but let's get real: the unforgettable part was that i got a chance to watch the coolest forty-year-olds in the planet.
5. IGGY POP. MUSIC MIDTOWN IN ATLANTA. 05.01.99
in the middle of an incredibly large crowd at this outdoor three day festival in atlanta, i fought through my claustrophobia to get as close as humanly possible to see one of my favorites, and i gotta say, his performance was physically intimidating. i swore that he was gonna take on the entire audience. great stuff.
4. BARENAKED LADIES. ROSELAND IN NEW YORK. 04.20.96.
the first time i ever saw them perform. and this was waaaaaay before they went mainstream. so you had the audience throwing kraft dinner. you had them singing "asshole" at the guy who ripped the cheese packet before he threw it. you had them go vanilla ice. basically, you had them do everything that made them them. before they weren't anymore. when they were the best live band around.
3. GREEN DAY. SBC PARK IN SAN FRANCISCO. 09.24.05.
a sold-out stadium for the berkeley boys. an entire audience singing along to every word of every song on "american idiot". billie joe armstrong leading the crowd like a puppeteer. and then watching him begin to break down when he realizes that they've returned as conquering heroes.
2. PEARL JAM. THE BILL GRAHAM IN SAN FRANCISCO. 07.16.06.
last night. it fits right in the top three.
1. AUDIOSLAVE. THE WARFIELD IN SAN FRANCISCO. 03.20.03
an absolutely ethereal night. let me explain: we're just about to declare war on Iraq. i live in san francisco, the city most responsible for counter-revolution. as i take a cab from my office to the concert, we are stopped - repeatedly - by huge mobs of protestors in the street, with their placards and their chants. and each mob is met by marching national guards with their clubs and mace and shields. market street is a throroughfare for all these convergent forces. there's havoc everywhere. traffic is being diverted and stopped to make a political statement. my cabdriver, who agrees with the protestors, is unable to do his job because the mobs won't let him drive his car around. it is anarchy in the steets. and so i go to see audioslave, complete with members from rage against the machine and chris cornell from soundgarden. could a more pertinent band play on this night? half the crowd was prowar, the other against. everyone voicing their opinions. everything peaceful. was it a great performance? it was alright. they just got together, and they were raw. but, at the end, when cornell came out by himself to sing "peace, love and understanding" to the crowd, this crowd, on this night, well, we just experienced something special.
i can't believe i left springsteen, the stones, radiohead, the black keys, jon spencer blues explosion and the queens of the stone age off this list.
you know what? ask me again tomorrow.