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The greatest gig you ever been to


just
Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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I know a few of the regulars like posting on the music threads so thought I'd kick off a new topic. The greatest gig you ever seen. In my youth, and again now that we are child free, me and Mrs Just were well into live music. We enjoy big name gigs and also regularly go to see small, local bands.

I have two "greatest ever" gigs and they are about as diverse as you could possibly get. The first was The Jam on the last night of their farewell tour at Wembley Arena in 1982. It was absolutely electric the energy and atmosphere in the crowd was spine tingling. You wouldn't believe a wall of sound could be produced like that by a three man band. They played one final gig after this in Brighton and they were finished forever. For all he has done since, Weller has never achieved the same musical heights as reached with The Jam IMO.

My second greatest gig was..... Frank Sinatra!! I saw him at the now demolished London Arena in July 1990 the day England played Germany in Italia '90. My mum was a Sinatra nut and I paid a fortune for two tickets for Mum and Dad to go. But when England got to the semi-finals my Dad said he didn't want to go, he wanted to watch the game instead! Being the good boy I am I took my Mum and missed the match live. The biggest compliment I can pay to Sinatra is that I didn't think about the game at all when he came out. His stage presence and mastery of the whole event was awesome. His only props were a plain Black cloth draped central stage surrounded on all sides by the crowd. A bar stool, a glass tumbler and a bottle of Jack Daniels! He was 74 or 75 then I think but his voice was stunning. And the crowd was like a who's who of famous faces. A night and a concert I will never forget.

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@just Great idea for a thread. Have given some thought to my greatest ever gig and it's difficult to pick one so I've gone for five if that's okay. Four of the gigs were at the Hammersmith Odeon, the other other was the Royal Albert Hall. I'll list them in chronological order.

March, 1983. Thin Lizzy at the Hammersmith Odeon. The concert was part of their farewell tour. The one and only time I saw them but worth it. For me, the best band to come out of Ireland. Line-up at the time was Phil Lynott, Brian Downey, Scott Gorham, John Sykes and Darren Wharton. Towards the end of the concert former guitarists Eric Bell, Brian Robertson and Gary Moore came on stage and each did a couple of songs with band. Bell performed Whiskey in the Jar. To finish the concert all five guitarists were on stage to perform The Rocker. What a sound. About two-and-half years later, I saw Gary Moore in concert and Lynott came on stage for a couple of songs. Two months later he had sadly passed away.

September 1983. The Everley Brothers at the Royal Albert Hall. It was their reunion concert and it had been ten years since they had performed together. I took my Mum. She was in her early to mid-20s when the Everley Brothers started. Great to hear them sing. Wonderful harmonies. They did some wonderful songs. My Mum enjoyed the concert.

June 1984. Status Quo at the Hammersmith Odeon. As part of their supposed Farewell tour. Still going strong many years later. Some bands take a while to warm up and get the crowd going. Not Quo. As soon as they played the opening bars of Caroline the crowd was up for it. Many bands have tried to copy Quo but have failed. Can still remember the first three songs they played: Caroline, Paper Plane and Roll Over Lay Down.

June 1984. Joan Baez at the Hammersmith Odeon. I took my parents and my girlfriend at the time. Joan is still the best female I've heard live. What a great voice. The next time I saw her was in 2019 and she still had a great voice.

September 2014. Kate Bush at the Hammersmith Odeon. So glad I was able to see Kate in concert. Missed her in 1979. A great performer who has written some great songs. The concert was almost operatic.

Given that I've had to leave out the Stones, Bob Dylan, The Blues Band, Nine Below Zero, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and B.B. King and so many more it was difficult to whittle down the list.

 

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7 hours ago, just said:

Good shout Ersk, but why was it the best you ever saw?

The sheer quality of their performance that night. It was outstanding.They performed in the big hall (Hall 4) of the SECC.

It’s basically a big shed on the banks of the River Clyde. With not the greatest of acoustics. Yet U2 powered their way through their set. Starting with ‘Where the streets have no name.’ They had immediately had the audience in their hands. And the music flowed, seemingly effortlessly.

At the end, they gave a very decent encore, finishing with the song  ‘40’.  ‘40’ seemed to go on for ages. 

Brilliant gig and it doesn’t seem like I saw it 35 years ago!
 

 

 

Edited by erskblue
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On 11/03/2022 at 09:34, just said:

I have two "greatest ever" gigs and they are about as diverse as you could possibly get. The first was The Jam on the last night of their farewell tour at Wembley Arena in 1982.

I saw The Jam in the Fair Deal in Brixton in 1981 as a 15 year old my first ever gig. Don't remember too much about it to be honest I do remember my late brother having his long handle steel comb confiscated by the bouncers.

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1 hour ago, bluehaze said:

I saw The Jam in the Fair Deal in Brixton in 1981 as a 15 year old my first ever gig. Don't remember too much about it to be honest I do remember my late brother having his long handle steel comb confiscated by the bouncers.

What an amazing first gig!!!

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Bit off subject but I prefer gigs at small venues as the atmosphere tends to be better. Some venues are too big and the sound isn't always great unless you are near the front. Also with small venues if you're lucky you get to chat to the performers afterwards. They appreciate comments and support from the punters.

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Bruce Springsteen, Wembley Empire Pool, May 1981.

It was the first night of his week-long run of shows at Wembley, and the first in several years since he played at Hammersmith and practically had a nervous breakdown on stage (he wrote about it in detail in his autobiography), such was the ridiculous hype around him. I remember seeing the posters advertising the shows around London: "At last London is ready for Bruce Springsteen". Even though I was only 14 at the time and knew nothing about him or his music, I thought the posters were cringe-worthy. The two gigs were both superb (he released the cd and dvd about 30 years later) but the NME did a number on him and wrote him off as one of the dinosaurs they were so desperate to be swept away forever by punk and new wave. Even though he was in his 20s and as far removed from prog rock like Yes and Genesis as they were from the Clash. But they were in a way justified in taking the piss, given the embarrassing promotional claims in the posters (which he hated and allegedly ripped down when he saw them)

In the years after that tour, he worked his bollocks off writing, touring and playing 3 1/2 hour gigs in the US, and I was desperate to see him and the band perform, having been blown away by his albums, which hadn't actually been big sellers, and having read about his legendary live shows 

In '81 he was touring The River album (not one of my favourites), but the show was absolutely stunning. They opened with Born To Run (normally one of the encores) and Wembley went nuts.

I've seen the band several times since, every gig fantastic, but that will always be my favourite show of all time.

I've seen plenty of top bands going back to the 70s: The Who (with Keith Moon), The Stones, The Kinks, Tom Petty, Thin Lizzy, Jethro Till, REM. The Eagles, Southside Johnny, Squeeze, but Springsteen is the best I've seen.

Edited by Backbiter
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4 hours ago, Boyne said:

Bit off subject but I prefer gigs at small venues as the atmosphere tends to be better. Some venues are too big and the sound isn't always great unless you are near the front. Also with small venues if you're lucky you get to chat to the performers afterwards. They appreciate comments and support from the punters.

Totally agree 

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14 hours ago, Boyne said:

Bit off subject but I prefer gigs at small venues as the atmosphere tends to be better. Some venues are too big and the sound isn't always great unless you are near the front. Also with small venues if you're lucky you get to chat to the performers afterwards. They appreciate comments and support from the punters.

Boyne: Good shout mate, agree with that.

I’ve visited The Cavern Club in Liverpool a few times and remember there was somebody playing an acoustic guitar solo set for about 20 mins. I have no idea of the person’s name. However,the atmosphere and way he played and sang were brilliant .

Edited by erskblue
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Probably Beastie Boys (with the infamous 10 foot phallus), Run DMC, And Whodini at the Cap Center (now gone) in the DC suburbs in 1983 or 1984.   After that, maybe Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre and others (limp bizkit) at some DC venue in the late 80s.  And Lynyrd Skynyrd (the original members!) sometime in the 70s.  I was at a Springsteen concert in the 70s, but was unimpressed. It was over 4 hours long, though.

Edited by Phillip
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On 13/03/2022 at 10:48, erskblue said:

Boyne: Good shout mate, agree with that.

I’ve visited The Cavern Club in Liverpool a few times and remember there was somebody playing an acoustic guitar solo set for about 20 mins. I have no idea of the person’s name. However,the atmosphere and way he played and sang were brilliant .

Been to The Cavern a couple of times myself Ersk. Very atmospheric. You could literally smell the history but feck me you couldn't swing a cat in there. 

Saw Razorlight head lining at a small, local festival called Wilkestock about 4 years ago. They were excellent and we were right up by the stage for the whole set. 

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10 hours ago, just said:

Been to The Cavern a couple of times myself Ersk. Very atmospheric. You could literally smell the history but feck me you couldn't swing a cat in there. 

Saw Razorlight head lining at a small, local festival called Wilkestock about 4 years ago. They were excellent and we were right up by the stage for the whole set. 

just: Agree re Cavern Club. That’s very probably what makes it to be honest.

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  • 11 months later...
On 11/03/2022 at 10:35, erskblue said:

U2. The Joshua Tree Tour. Glasgow. July 1987

Defo some show, I went to the August show in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, UB40 and an Irish trad band were the support so the place was rocking by the time they came on to the stage to Stand By Me (Ben E King)

As for a smaller gig, Stiff Little Fingers in Brixton Academy around 1989, was just nuts.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Led Zeppelin @ Knebworth, August 1979, turned out to be their last UK show.

Rory Gallagher @ St Albans City Hall, 1988. Fantastic, beer, sweat and great blues.

Queen @ Alexandra Palace, 1979. Relatively small venue, huge band.

                                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice thread, some big acts lucky people 

generally I am with Boyne I prefer an intimate gig mostly these days 

although I was very fortunate to go Live aid at Wembley so will have to say that. Although I was not appreciative of it at the time - the Queen set of course gone down in legend and from my nostalgic memory rightly so 

 

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Barrowlands in Glasgow is my favourite venue. Still looks the same today as it did 30 years ago which is part of what I like about it.  Seen a stack of gigs there over the years.  Most recently Brian Jonestown Massacre and also Peter Hook. Favourite one in there was probably The Cure back in about 1990.

Much prefer small venues too.

 

But favourite ever gig. Probably Bowie at Old Trafford Cricket Ground back in about..err..probably about 2002 give or take.

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1 hour ago, loz said:

Barrowlands in Glasgow is my favourite venue. Still looks the same today as it did 30 years ago which is part of what I like about it.  Seen a stack of gigs there over the years.  Most recently Brian Jonestown Massacre and also Peter Hook. Favourite one in there was probably The Cure back in about 1990.

Much prefer small venues too.

 

But favourite ever gig. Probably Bowie at Old Trafford Cricket Ground back in about..err..probably about 2002 give or take.

Good shout re Barrowlands in Glasgow. It definitely hasn’t changed much. Brilliant acoustics.

Saw Big Country there in June or July 1986. ‘The Seer Tour’.

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Seen U2 at Wembley, OMD, Big Country, Pogues, Peter Gabriel and Prince.

The only other was Simple Minds in 86 at Milton Keynes, great atmosphere and crowd including the weird mob following the support group, the Cult. 

I drove and getting out was very tricky still the mean old MKIII GT Cortina combined with assertive manoeuvring got us on the road reasonably quickly my mate felt ill probably with sun stroke and then on Monday I was asked at the lunch spot whether I had gone to Chernobyl for the weekend as my face was so red. 

 

 

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