It’s been a while since I did a Top 10, so let’s make it an all-timer, yeah? I’m going to go on a bit of a hiatus from concerts for a while, so I thought I’d count down my 10 favorites. These are all from the Chicago area (my trips to other states for shows has not been worth it). Be ready to snicker…
The Stooges with Shellac at the Congress Theater (4/15/07)
Going to this venue now, I am surprised that any shows there made my list. They have torn most of the seats out, so now the sound has nowhere to go, often creating an uncomfortable cacophony. But five years ago, it was the bee’s knees. Iggy at 60 with boundless energy. Ron Asheton was still with us. And, for the opening act, Steve Albini went out in public. Loved the songs, loved the spectacle.
Blackest Of The Black Tour at House Of Blues featuring Danzig (10/10/05)
Again, for all the sound issues of this venue, there are two shows on my list there. I had seen Danzig before and I’ve seen him since but there was nothing like hearing him and Doyle play Misfits songs. It’s quite an experience to hear songs from your youth being played the way they were meant to when you were sure that would never happen. The opening acts were turds but I didn’t care nor even remember them.
The Jesus Lizard – at Metro (11/27/09)
I believe this their third-to-last show on their reunion tour. Like The Stooges show, this was a reminder as to how benign rock music has become. The Jesus Lizard was the last band with any element of danger in their music. Amazing musicians accompanied by the clown prince David Yow, who was dropped by the crowd he was surfing on. He eventually made his way back to the stage and finished the song. I saw him being helped out of the venue, holding his ribs. He still performed the next night. I miss these guys a lot.
R.E.M. with Luscious Jackson at Rosemont Horizon (6/3/95)
This was my first concert and it was good. R.E.M. was on tour for the first time in about five years and were excellent. While I was disappointed that Sonic Youth was not on this particular leg of the tour, Luscious Jackson put on a good performance. I tried to listen to their CDs after that and they sucked by comparison. Proof that some bands need to be seen live.
Ministry at the House Of Blues (5/11/08)
This was Ministry’s last ever show…until they decided to reunite and cheapen everything. It was the reason that I wanted to try to get into music “journalism”.
Great show. A drunk guy dropped his poster and forgot about it, so I picked it up. It is now framed along with my ticket stub and a deflated balloon that was dropped from the rafters. Thanks, drunk guy. And thanks to my friend Amanda, for winning tickets and not being able to go. I really reaped the windfall on this one.
Rammstein at Allstate Arena (5/4/12)
Words can barely describe this show but I tried to do it anyway. This was the sleeper show of the list.
Type O Negative with Lacuna Coil at Metro (8/6/03)
To be fair, I have seen a lot of good shows at Metro, The New Pornographers and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult among the honorable mentions. But this was the first and only time that I loved the opening band and headliner equally. Peter Steele drank 2 or 3 bottles of wine during the performance which, in recent light, is more sad than cool. My friends and I also (almost literally) bumped into Lacuna Coil walking down Clark.
Tori Amos at Rosemont Theatre (6/6/96)
I have now seen her twice and both times was fortunate to see her on tours without full bands. I love the intimacy that you get when it’s just her at her Bösendorfer or harpsichord. It can be kind of emotional. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Sonic Youth with The Entrance Band at Vic Theatre (6/27/09)
My friend Lauren has gotten me several Sonic Youth-related birthday gifts. I’m not sure which is better, this or the signed by the whole band copy of Daydream Nation. Either way, this was fortuitous as it was the first of two the two nights of the last time that they ever performed in Chicago. Not to mention the first official date of their The Eternal tour. Also, discovering The Entrance Band was pretty sweet. Guy Blakeslee is an immensely talented guitarist and it was nice seeing what former A Perfect Circle alum Paz Lenchantin was up to.
Tool at Sears Centre (6/27/07)
Two years to the day before Sonic Youth. Weird. This one was tough. Pavement and No Age was pretty close to getting this spot but Tool’s sound was better. They were infinitely better here than they were at the iffy Auditorium Theatre. There was also plenty of shit to look at. And it’s Tool, for Pete’s sake.