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Author Topic:  Who was the best live band you've ever seen?
Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 1:20 pm    
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Going way back in country music, it was The Justice Brothers at Hunter's Lodge in Fairfax Virginia, with Rudy Gabriletto, Pete Pepper, and Phil and Roy Justice. Then there was Tubb's Troubadors, with Both Buddys and Leon Rhodes, and Ray Price's Cherokee Cowboys. Faron Young's Deputies were also quite good. As far as rock bands (which I didn't see too often), it would have to be The Guess Who and Orleans.

In my early years, I was playing a lot, so I missed a lot of great groups when they played in the Balto/Wash D.C area. I missed The Beatles, but never regretted it too much.
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Tucker Jackson

 

From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 2:59 pm    
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Best Band at a Keg Party:

Austin, 1978 (maybe). It was only $2 bucks for all you could drink, so... yeah. Why not?

Turns out that $2 also got you a band. Before they started, I wandered over to look at the guitars. "Oh... it's going to be a power trio." Rolling Eyes

Dudes got up and started a blues number. Singer starts laying it down with authority and then kicks off a blistering lead. By mid-song, my jaw was slack, eyes bugged out (more than usual).

Me: "Who is this guy?"

Bud: "I think it's Stevie... Stevie Way Bon or something like that."

Me: "He's going places!"

About 7 minutes later, Stevie Ray was all over the radio and he didn't play keg parties anymore. But being Austin during the Golden Era, you could just truck down to the Armadillo and see, say, Asleep at the Wheel or Willie or whoever was playing on any random Thursday night. Only later did I realize it was a special time-and-place.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 3:39 pm     Speaking of Hot Bands...
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I can’t let this thread go by without another honorable mention to Emmylou’s late-70’s Hot Band. I saw them once and was completely floored. Poco was always on fire too, I guess I never went to a concert that left me disappointed. Every pro band I ever saw was great, and some of the club bands on the local scene were just whiskers away from greatness too - California Cowboys (Gary Potterton on steel), Silver Creek, The Cow Town Band (Bobby Black on steel), Hearts On Fire, Texas Chainsaw (Joe Goldmark on steel) to name a few.

Last edited by Fred Treece on 30 Nov 2020 5:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 3:39 pm    
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I hit Austin in 81 and used to see Stevie occasionally Apparently he had my apartment before me.

But a year or so later I was living in pittsburgh. SRV had not yet released his first LP and was unknown outside of Austin. He played a small pittsburgh club and i was one of about 10 people in the place. I stood at the edge of the stage, watching him play a foot away. He shook my hand after words when i told him our austin connection.

Later his album came out, he played the same place and you couldn't get within blocks of the place.
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Tucker Jackson

 

From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 3:51 pm    
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Bill McCloskey wrote:
I stood at the edge of the stage, watching him play a foot away.

Exactly my experience, except it was too small a gig to even have a stage.

However good he may have been in a large hall, it's just a whole other thing to be in small space and get performer-sweat slung on you. Especially powerful since I had zero expectations walking in and ended up witnessing a one in a million performance. Surprise! Awesome moment and I'm glad you had the same one, Bill.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 5:12 pm    
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I've got so many, and my first concert wasn't until 1983. that was Men At Work which wasn't necessarily one of the best but it was the first, and I was able to record it from a radio broadcast, which I still have. they dedicated their last song to the boy in the audience seeing his first concert. pretty neat.

I saw the Grateful Dead many times including most of Europe 1990, also the Jerry Garcia Band who I enjoyed just as much. seeing Jerry acoustic with David Grisman in the early 90s was a real treat.

I've seen several Steely Dan shows, a favorite of mine, and Donald Fagen's 2 solo tours in 2006 and 2017 were great too. SD did a one-off show called Rarities Night at NYC's Beacon Theatre where they performed several obscurities, some for the first and only time.

saw Stevie Wonder a couple times, including the full Songs In the Key of Life concert. what an inspiration.

Ween is one of the best live acts of the past 30 years. their Ryman shows a couple years ago were a highlight, when they reunited their "country" band including Russ Hicks. and I got to hang out backstage and onstage!

I've seen a lot of great shows at the Ryman in fact, including Brian Wilson, Steely Dan, Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe/Ralph Stanley, the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo show, and one of Marty's showcases that featured Charley Pride and Jimmy Webb.

the venue itself can often make the difference in a memorable show. I saw heroes like Dick Dale and Link Wray in tiny clubs. Brian Wilson at the Roxy in LA performing songs from Smile and other rarities for the first time. Les Paul and Denny Dias at NYC's Iridium, another shoebox of a venue.

Burt Bacharach with the Nashville Symphony was sublime.

got seated front row for a great Merle Haggard show at Dollywood when Redd was in the band. that was a night to remember. Dolly put on a great show too when I finally saw her. can't forget Willie either.

certainly can't leave out all the wonderful performances by my steel guitar heroes, too many to mention here, but Buddy Emmons is the one I cherish most. saw him with the Everlys too, so glad I did. Moon, Rugg, Crawford/Hicks, Lloyd and JayDee, Doug, Paul, Papa John, just so many greats.

I'll never forget standing right under Jim Murphy's lap steel when he played with Hank 3 at another local dive. or opening for the likes of Junior Brown or Dale Watson. opened for David Allen Coe once, his show was one of the worst I've seen!

seeing Buck Owens at his Crystal Palace a handful of times was amazing, and seeing Bob Dylan with Merle Haggard was a dream come true.

others include Paul McCartney, Ray Davies, Prince, Van Halen's first reunion show with David Lee Roth in 2007, the Beach Boys 50th anniversary in 2012...

also Chris Potter paying tribute to Thelonious Monk a few years ago.

the list goes on and on, I'm really grateful for all the fantastic shows I've seen.
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Last edited by scott murray on 30 Nov 2020 5:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 5:24 pm    
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1971 at the Hampton Coliseum - Age 14 and the live soundtrack for my first real kiss was Led Zeppelin! (Probably "Heartbreaker" Laughing ) Okay, I know that's more of a best concert experience than best band but hey - it was Led Freakin' Zeppelin!
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 5:58 pm    
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Most memorable:

Austin, tx. EmmaJoes, a wonderful bar and stage for solo acoustic acts. I was supposed to see Pat Mears perform. But Pat Mears didn't show up so Townes Van Zandt, Mickey White, Blaze Foley, and Butch Hancock came down to play instead. There were 10 or 15 people there.

Townes and Mickey started their set. Townes said "We're going to be good tonight and not start drinking and smoking", just as Mickey light up and took a pull on his beer.

I was at a table with Lucinda Williams. After Townes got off, Butch started playing. Townes was with his wife at a table near the stage and you can see this drama unfold. Townes has a quart of vodka sitting in his lap. His wife is telling him: don't do it. He unscrews the top and points the bottom to the ceiling and the top in his mouth. Wife gets up mid song and storms out. Townes gets up in mid song and screams: "Glad you could make it to the gig!!"

Now Townes is unleashed. Blaze Foley gets up there. Townes is heckling him from the audience. Blaze is playing a soft ballad. Townes is telling him what a shitty haircut he has.

Then in mid song, Blaze takes his guitar and smashes it against the back wall of the club. I shatters in a a dozen pieces, now only strung together with pieces of duck tape.

Blaze says: "Townes, if you think you're GOD, you should damn well start acting like it." He storms out. Townes goes after him. Mickey goes after Townes.

No one is on stage.

I turn to Lucinda and say "Should we get up and do something?" but just then, some guy gets up and says "If no one else is going to play..." and proceeds to do 15 minutes of really bad eagles songs.

Mickey slinks back in and picks up the ruin of Blaze Foley's guitar by the neck. It looks like a broken bird.

"No duck tape is going to fix that."
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Tucker Jackson

 

From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 7:05 pm    
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Bill McCloskey wrote:
Pat Mears didn't show up so Townes Van Zandt, Mickey White, Blaze Foley, and Butch Hancock came down to play instead.... I was hanging at a table with Lucinda Williams.


Snort! Great Austin story. Yeah, talent at that level was just hanging out, ready to fill in on a moment's notice.
.
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Ford Cole

 

From:
Texas
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 7:40 pm    
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Ray Price with the Dallas symphony + Blondie and the other top flight players! Yea it was years ago...
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Steve Mueller

 

From:
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 8:13 pm    
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Allman Brothers band live at the Ludlow Garage in Cincinnati, 4/11/70. Sat right in front. 3-400 people there. Check out the live album they recorded. Saw them a second time there later. For some reason I can't clearly remember the whole night, but I know it was great cause I've listened to the album..........
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 10:23 pm    
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Been to a lot of Dead shows. Favorite was Hollywood Bowl in 1972. The New Riders opened, Jerry played pedal steel with the New Riders, and then played a long concert with the Dead. It was Pigpen’s last show.

Best blues: no question about it , Albert Collins in a little bar in Ballard (Seattle), in about 1985. One of my band mates and I had the table right in front of Albert. After the prerequisite opening three songs without him, the band announced “Ladies and gentlemen, the master of the Telecaster, Albert Collins! Albert Collins!” and he came out with that mischievous grin of his, tele strapped on one shoulder, turned his amp to 11 , hit his first note and shook his right hand, finger pointing right at us, and it was like we were electrocuted, hair blown back, we screamed like little girls. He and the band were amazing.

Best tear shed: Merl Haggard and Strangers, with Norm, in Butte, Montana , after he had survived lung cancer. He sounded so good, he was back, and I just choked up, especially when he played Big City....in Butte Mt, the whole crowd sang with him.

Lately, my favorite touring band is Tedeschi-Trucks: seen em in SLC, Austin, and Missoula.
Running incredibly soulfully with the Allman Brothers baton and then some.

That’s what comes to mind tonight. Ask me tomorrow, I’ll probably have another list depending on which brains cells are reminiscing....
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Ken Pippus


From:
Lake Oswego, OR
Post  Posted 30 Nov 2020 11:54 pm    
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Two candidates.

Newgrass Revival, Peabody’s on the flats, Cleveland, 1986. John Cowan playing to his hometown Solon, Ohio crowd. Nonstop energy for hours, Bela killing it. Sam Bush coming back into contact with the stage about once every five minutes. Breathtaking.

K.D. Lang and the Reclines, Memorial Hall, High River, Alberta, 1987. Small town gig clearly booked two weeks before she “hit it big.” I’ve gigged that hall and her hometown, Consort, Alberta, and there’s considerable thematic overlap. She played it like her hometown crowd, wedding dress, cowboy boots and all. Competent band, frenetic energy, and I stand here to tell you, nobody can sing like that woman.

Really.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 1 Dec 2020 4:40 am    
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Pat Metheny Group
D’Angelo and the Soultronics
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post  Posted 1 Dec 2020 10:28 am    
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Lyle Lovett and His Large Band
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Terry Elms

 

From:
Colorado Springs, CO
Post  Posted 1 Dec 2020 1:16 pm     Vince Gill
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Saw Vince Gill at the Cubby Bear across the street from Wrigley Field just before he blew up. It was awesome to see in a small venue! Oh yeah, SRV 2 times.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 1 Dec 2020 2:05 pm    
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There are so many! Here are a few ....

Max Roach with Dizzy Gillespie, free in the park in Philly. Max played an astonishing solo on just a Hi-Hat.

Pinchas Zuckerman and Itzack Perlman playing duets. A blossom of warmth on a cold rainy day.

Stan Getz on the jazz boat in Boston Harbor stopping his solo midway to play impromptu tugboat horn imitations when a nearby tug blew their horn.

Big Sandy and the Flyright Boys with Lee Jeffreiss at The Rat in Kenmore Square, Boston. They swung so hard the roof almost came off. When I got in the car to go to the gig I was embarrassed that the only clean pants I had were dorky too long jeans with the cuffs rolled up. When I got there, every guy had the same pants with rolled up cuffs! who knew?

Tal Farlow playing an astonishing 3 minute solo on Body and Soul all in harmonics. He had a roaring head cold and a fever and should have been home in bed instead of playing his heart out to 15 people at the Holiday Inn.

Hendrix, Cream, Janis Joplin, etc. all played up the street from my high school but I was just a few years too young and rock music largely passed me by as a younger person. I appreciate it some of it more now. Backwards, huh?

Archie Sheep playing free jazz live in Rome. That's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back!
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gary pierce


From:
Rossville TN
Post  Posted 1 Dec 2020 4:21 pm    
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3rd row at the Beatles in Memphis, The Band with Bob Dylan, Newgrass Revival at Going to Market East Memphis with Courtney Johnson, Ricky Skaggs Sweet Temptation tour both sets.
I could go on.
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Tom Keller

 

From:
Greeneville, TN, USA
Post  Posted 3 Dec 2020 2:05 pm    
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The best band I ever saw was Ray Price And The Cherokee Cowboys circa 1970 right after For
The Good Times came out. I remember Blondie Calderon and Julian Tharp in that incredible band plus 3 violinist from the Atlanta Symphony. Another thing I remember Blondie was playing vibraphone quite a bit. That was the first time I ever saw a Vibraphone "in the flesh". I had heard them on records just hadn't seen one.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 3 Dec 2020 3:57 pm    
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Bands that came to Birmingham in the 70s - Chicago, Captain Beefheart, Commander Cody, Weather Report - all memorable in their different ways.
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post  Posted 3 Dec 2020 5:38 pm    
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The two best were Moody Blues playing a college gym, with the audience seated on the floor just a few feet away. And Marty Robbins - I swear HE was having just as much fun performing as we were listening. He bonded so well with the audience, and musically was awesome.

I will throw in a "biggest surprise" mention. Back in the 70's my first wife was a big Elvis fan. When he came to the city about 1976, she stood in line for hours to get tickets and I reluctantly went to the performance. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the show. Yes it was packaged, schlock, whatever term you want, but he was very entertaining and I left with a much different opinion. I never became an Elvis "fan" but the guy sure gave us our money's worth that night. He was a hell of an entertainer.
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Bill McCloskey

 

Post  Posted 3 Dec 2020 5:50 pm    
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Speaking of big fat schlock, the best sporting event I ever saw in my life was Sumo Wrestling in Madison Square Garden. 1980's
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 3 Dec 2020 6:14 pm    
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Don R Brown wrote:
I will throw in a "biggest surprise" mention. Back in the 70's my first wife was a big Elvis fan. When he came to the city about 1976, she stood in line for hours to get tickets and I reluctantly went to the performance. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the show. Yes it was packaged, schlock, whatever term you want, but he was very entertaining and I left with a much different opinion. I never became an Elvis "fan" but the guy sure gave us our money's worth that night. He was a hell of an entertainer.

My dad said the same thing about the time my mom made him take her to an Elvis show in Las Vegas. There is a difference between enjoying a concert from more of an entertainment perspective and one that’s more purely musical. I thought I was getting both at those Springsteen shows, but when I listen to the recordings from that late 70’s-early 80’s era, much of it is pretty rough. The other side of the coin is that some of the more musically spectacular events I have witnessed don’t quite measure up on the overall entertainment-o-meter.
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Slim Heilpern


From:
Aptos California, USA
Post  Posted 4 Dec 2020 6:47 am    
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A few standouts for me:

The Band, New Year's Eve 1971 at The Academy of Music (New York City). This was the concert released as "Rock of Ages". Dylan did the encore.

The Giants of Jazz, circa 1971 in Boston (with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Stitt, Art Blakey, Kai Winding, Al McKibbon) (my first be-bop experience).

Irakare with Chucho Valdéz at Kuumbwa Jazz Center here in Santa Cruz (early 2000's I believe).

So many more....

- Slim
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R Crow

 

From:
Hectorville, OK USA
Post  Posted 4 Dec 2020 8:33 am    
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Sacramento 1963. Buck Owens, Don Rich, Tom Brumley, Doyle Holley & Willie Cantu.
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