Any time, any place
I just celebrated a birthday this week, marking my 44th year successfully rotating the sun. It was delightfully relaxed and low key, highlighted by dinner and drinks at the Pig and Redlight Redlight for a lengthy nightcap and some good conversation. One of the topics that came up was, given a TARDIS like ability to control time and space, if you could see one band in any place/time period, who would you choose? I rolled off a few choices on the spot, but of course my mind is going to obsess on a big, fat, juicy, wheelhouse question like that for days (Thanks, Shawn), so here’s ten of my possibilities, in no particular order.
The Talking Heads, 1975 at CBGBs in New York: If only to get to see this song performed in all of it’s glory. Mental note, skip the bathrooms though.
The Rolling Stones, 1971 Exile on Main Street recording sessions, Nellcote, France: Not a concert per say, but can you imagine the absolute insanity of watching the Stones at the height of the powers (and in the midst of out of control drug and alcohol use) recording one of the great rock albums ever, with the likes of Gram Parsons and William S Burroughs hanging around? Yes, please.
The Stone Roses, 1989 Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England: The zenith of the Roses career. Oh to be there if only for the all out jam that breaks out during I Am The Resurrection during the show’s closing number (forward the video to the 48:18 mark to see what I’m talking about).
The Clash, 1977, London: The greatest punk band ever (and maybe the greatest rock band this side of the Beatles when all is said and done). The Clash top my list of “bands I regret never getting a chance to see” list.
The Smiths, 1984 Manchester, England: I’ve told my sob story before about missing out on a chance to see them later in the 80s, but this is my choice of time and place for one of my favorite bands ever.
The Velvet Underground, 1969 New York: Much like the Stones entry above, this one is just as much for people watching as it is for the incredible music.
Radiohead, 2006 Bonaroo: In general, I’m not a big fan of festival sets or festivals in general. Too many people, unbearable heat, mud, $8 water and not enough toilets is not my idea of a good time. But man, the setlist of this show is just off the charts. There is a soundboard recording of the show lurking around for those willing to look for it.
Queen, 1985 Live Aid: What’s that? I get a chance to see the greatest front man ever take complete control of tens of thousands of people with one of the truly amazing performances of all time? Where do I sign up?
Big Star, 1973 Memphis, TN: More specifically the show Big Star played at the first (and last) National Association of Rock Writers’ Convention, for two reasons. 1) As described in the fabulous Big Star doc, Nothing Can Hurt Me, the band absolutely killed. 2) Where else could you find guys like Lester Bangs, Lenny Kaye, and Richard Meltzer (not to mention a 16-year old Cameron Crowe) in one room? If these were in order this would have been my #1 choice.
So there you go, the ten shows/moments I’d go and see if you given complete command over time and space. If you know me you’re probably thinking there are some notable omissions here, namely R.E.M., The Replacements, Elvis, and the Beatles. Well, I’ve seen the first two at their peak (and in the case of R.E.M., in pretty much every conceivable venue and circumstance), so I wouldn’t waste this opportunity on something I’ve already experienced. Elvis was hard to leave off, but there’s enough video footage of him to suffice. As for the Beatles, have you ever seen footage of a Beatles show? There’s so much screaming going on that you can’t hear a lick of the music, so I’ll pass. I mean, those British Invasion shows at Epcot are the next best thing, right?
Those are my choices. What would you pick?
Posted on January 16, 2014, in Music and tagged Big Star, concerts, Elvis Costello, Queen, Radiohead, Talking Heads, The Clash, The Rolling Stones, The Smiths, The Stones Roses, The Velvet Underground, time travel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.