Quote of the Day
Nigel Tufnel–“We were told they knew how to rock in Shelbyville!” (crowd boos)
Derek Smalls–“But nobody rocks like…..(pauses to look on guitar for sticky note of what town he’s in)…..Springfield!” (crowd roars)
–from The Simpsons, The Otto Show episode, guest starring Spinal Tap
Reading the excellent music submissions in last week’s pick’em contest, along with the heartwarming stories of concerts past shared by Sweet and Zeek, have inspired me to publish this Concerts list. The factors I’ve taken in to consideration include the crowd reaction, the location, the company, how much or little I can actually recall (whether due to passing years or passing out), but mostly how much ass they kicked. Here’s my top ten, my cheesiest, the ones I’m looking for now, and the ones that got away.
Cheesiest–Cinderella around 1987 and Brooks and Dunn sometime in the 90’s. I know I’m blocking out something worse.
The ones that got away–Jimmy Buffett, AC/DC, Waylon Jennings
On my list right now–White Stripes and Shooter Jennings
And the top ten:
10. Bruce Hornsby and the Range–Yes, its a strange choice and one in which the performer kicked no ass. But I saw this back in 1986 on Pensacola Beach, Florida. I went with my girlfriend Tracy, Smiley, and Tracy’s strange older sister in who’s van we boarded. A very strange, excellent weekend.
9. Cross Canadian Ragweed–at the racetrack in Houston, Texas. This was a surprise concert for me after a couple of days of work in Texas and shortly after I discovered the alt country genre. Won a bunch of money on the ponies with Christy, drunk a bunch of cold beer, and sang along at the top of our voices to “The Boys From Oklahoma.” And found out Houston could be a pretty fun town, at least once the sun goes down.
8. Bon Jovi–1986 in Biloxi. They were at the height of their popularity then. Larry and I went over after baseball practice, snagged some nice seats to the left of the stage and just waited for the girls to find us. That’s the night Ashley Hayes fell into my arms. Livin on a Prayer, indeed.
7. The Allman Brothers, with Blues Traveller–1994 at the amphitheater at Mississippi State. I went with three total strangers from law school on a last second whim. I think I was slamming beers outside at the Gin in Oxford when these dudes down the bar said to come along as they had an extra ticket. The Allman’s, or whoever makes up the modern version of them played a long time and kicked a very large amount of ass. It has been said you can pass out during an Allman’s concert and wake up to find the same tune is still ongoing.
6. BB King–around 1993, at the Mississippi Delta Blues Festival, in a field outside Greenville. What made this one great was the setting. Well, that and you could bring in your own coolers. Also the ribs. And they unveiled the Elvis postage stamp. And Little Feat. And this older woman (younger than I am now, I’m certain) who I danced with all night. And the lightning bugs.
5. Elvis Costello–2004 at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Really, it was the whole night time lineup, including Cake, Pat Green, the Pixies, and some others I can’t think of right now. I’d never been much of a fan of Costello before then, but man his live show rocked and I’ve dug him ever since. All those evening shows were good and the crowd energy was electric. And maybe it seemed so awesome because it was no longer 110 degrees after about 6 o’clock.
4. Robert Earl Keen–some bar in Charleston, S.C. Robert Earl is probably my favorite singer and it was great to see him live and in such an intimate setting. He played all his best tunes, was funny as hell and everybody in the place knew all the words to every song.
3. Motley Crue–July 2, 1987 in Biloxi. This is one where we loaded up Scoop’s Dad’s van with about 20 cases of beer and at least seven bodies. Also the first time I ever saw cocaine. Tommy Lee turned upside-down above the crowd in a cage during his drum solo. I think Sweet got Jack Daniels spit on him by Nikki Sixx, but I’m not sure about that. The Crue freakin rocked dude.
2. U2–2005 in Chicago. I’ve always liked U2, but seeing them live, even though they are old now, made me really understand the hoopla. Bono has the charisma, the showmanship, the kevorka. You cannot look away when he’s singing or talking.
1. Cowboy Mouth–1993 at Lafayette’s (now the Library) in Oxford, around 2000 somewhere in Biloxi, 2005 at Voodoo Fest relocated to Memphis, and probably a dozen other times. These guys really should’ve been bigger stars. Goofy lookin Fred kicks more ass than any lead singer ever, and doing that from the drums just adds to the spectacle. Yeah, he’s been using the same script all these years, but you still buy into it. You take one step forward when he says to. You don’t think about tomorrow. You release your physical, emotional and sexual energy. You sing along to “Jenny Says” for thirty minutes at the end. And you leave with a smile on your face and wanting to do it all again.