What is the most memorable live music performance you have ever seen and heard?

What is the most memorable live music performance you have ever seen and heard?
Here it is
95% (124 votes)
Nothing comes to mind
5% (6 votes)
Total votes: 130

Many of us have had our musical attitudes completely recalibrated after witnessing an important musical event. What has done it for you?

troels's picture

pink floyd live in concert

Graeme Nattress's picture

Tangerine Dream at Newcastle City Hall, ooh, about 10 years ago. I cam out feeling drunk. Perhaps they put something in the dry ice?

Thomas Lauritsen's picture

Tori Amos at London's Royal Festival Hall, October 29th 1999. Her first solo show for years, absolutely amazing.

Grosse Fatigue's picture

Richter's St. Matthew Passion in Rio de Janeiro, 1968. I was bowled over, had a mental breakdown, thought it was not worth living anymore. My parents had to drag me away. I did not want to leave the concert hall.

Barry Krakovsky's picture

I can't list only one: there were several that did it for me. In no particular order: The Clash, 1979, Agora Ballroom, Atlanta, GA. Richard Thompson, The Bottom Line, NYC, 1982. Talking Heads, Broome County Arena, Binghamton ,NY, 1983? Patti Smith, opening act for the Rolling Stones, Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA, 1978. My tastes have changed since then, but for me those concerts represent musical epiphanies.

James's picture

A Saturday-morning performance at the Phoenix Opera. Got there late, got the cheap seats for the student rate, and slow sales resulted in my getting 5th-row center. It was so beautiful I cried. Expensive seats are worth it, and when the audience connects with the performers, it's pure magic.

Steve Kindig's picture

Richard and Linda Thompson at the Roxy in L.A., "Shoot Out the Lights" tour, 1982.

Keith Myers's picture

Last concert of the summer series of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra - A Tchaikovsky Spectacular.

Frank Holderfield's picture

The best live concert I ever witnessed was Robin Trower in Birmingham, AL in the early '70s. But I would like to include several honorable mentions; Tears for Fear, The Who, and Elton John.

Tom Selnau's picture

Stevie Wonder, in performance at the Hartford Civic Center, probably over 20 years ago, but the tightest band I have ever heard, then or now.

Dave P.'s picture

The Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" tour. I was amazed at their sound after such a long break. A much more mature sound.

Ray Garrison's picture

The Moody Blues playing at the (then) Volvo Tennis Center on the Yale University campus with the Yale Philharmonic in, uh, 1994 (?). Small outdoor stadium, held maybe 3000 or so. Sound was the most exceptionally well done I've ever heard at any concert—not too loud, evenly highlighted all musicians in band and orchestra, sounded like it was unamplified but know it had to be. But beyond that, seeing the students playing in the orchestra responding to the crowd and having probably the most wonderful time of their lives in concert, and lifting the entire performance into the Oh-my-God-that-was-wonderful! category. How ofter does someone playing, say, cello in an orchestra have the chance to have people jumping and down, applauding and cheering and screaming their enjoyment after each song? It was a truly unforgettable night. Don't know that it did much in the way of "recalibrating" my musical attitude, but it was one of those nights that make me feel that music has the ability to reach and touch people in a way that nothing else does.

Geoff Garcia's picture

KISS—have you ever seen these animals play? There is no such thing as more bang for your buck! If you're a metal fan or not, the show is still the greatest on earth!

GREGG L.'s picture




Robert G.  Raynor, Jr.'s picture

The most memorable live music performance I have seen and heard is a live performance by the Pat Metheny Group at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, North Carolina some years back. It was the "Secret Story" Tour and it was not well attended. I did not have tickets for the best seat, but since it was not well attended, I was able to sneak into the front row. Metheny and the others played like the place was sold out. I have been to many concerts in my 45 years, but never heard anything like the "Secret Story Tour" from the Pat Metheny Group. The music was clean and there were instruments I'd never heard before in my life. No stereo system can duplicate this sound. I still think about it and wonder if he can get another tour together like the one I witnessed. Now he's back into more traditional stuff that I simply don't care too much to listen to.

Skip Werner's picture

The Who and the Clash at Shea Stadium in Queens, NY, 1980 (?). I saw this show two nights in a row and both nights kicked butt. Total high-energy, quality rock. The sound was not bad, considering the venue.

Tony Esporma's picture

The Vienna Philharmonic playing "The Blue Danube" as the encore to end all encores. It happened two years ago at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. When the first notes hit, I thought they were doing it out of commercial necessity. Instead, they poured their hearts into it. You could by their smiles and their eye contact that they truly loved that waltz. Needless to say, there was a very long standing ovation after that. Never have I heard it played so well. The St. Petersburg playing Lt. Kijé is a close second. After such performances, it became clear that there exist nationalistic undertones in classical music and that European orchestras tend to play their own country's music best—perhaps not in terms of technique, but always in musicality. Paris and Chopin, the Spanish Royal and Falla, Hungary and Liszt. Even Karajan and Beethoven (although I suspect that Germans don't have the "romantic: touch that their Austrian cousins do).

James's picture

James McMurtry at Club Congress in Tucson.

Michael Crespo's picture

Live jazz at Smalls in NYC's Greenwich Village.

G.  Strausser's picture

Mel Tormé in Seattle at the Summer at the Pier series. It was about three weeks before he had his stroke and he sounded as good as he did on recordings made decades earlier.

Ren's picture

No event changed my attitudes unless you count a teacher that made me realise that music whatever the style must have soul to touch you.

Bob's picture

Brian Wilson at Rosemont, 1999. I don't expect to hear anything as good until I meet the angels.

Richard Headley's picture

Brian Setzer Orchestra was the best I have ever seen.

James R.  Garvin's picture

Elvis Presley, 1975. It should be noted that I dragged my mother to the concert, not the other way around. I was only eight years old, so my musical attitutes weren't really formed, and therefore were not changed. As opposed to groups like the Beatles, which were a mediocre live band, Elvis was the only rock live act/performer I have heard that "sounded" better than the recordings. While I have heard many concerts in which the musicians can create more energy live than on record, this concert was the benchmark for me in terms of the sound experience.

Caroline's picture

Radiohead at Glastonbury, 1997. Words can't describe . . .

Gary Smith's picture

Sitting, watching, listening to Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Song and Dance" when I realized I had been to a different show every other evening for a week, and every show was Webber's. This was London, summer of 1982 and he had "Evita", "Song and Dance", "Cats" all running at the same time.

Jim Merrill's picture

Brad Mehldau, live at the Village Vanguard. The sound was colored by the distinctive acoustic of the Vanguard. I later bought the CD of the performance, and I could hear most of the Vanguard sound. This helped me develop a sense of just how much could be preserved vs. lost in the record/playback process.

Bob Wood's picture

Eurhythmics, circa 1981 Boz Scaggs, 1999 Both redefined the word GROOVE.

Jeff Loney's picture

About 6 or 7 years ago, a bright, sunny August day, the grounds of Peter the Great's Summer Palace (just outside St. Petersburg) revealed a memorable musical surprise—the Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra of St. Petersburg in an open-air performance of Shostakovitch's Fifth! The pleasure was tinged with some pain—I could stay for only five or ten minutes, and today I still have only a CD-based system to help me relive the moments!