I've gone to relatively few concerts for someone my age. I just tend not to think to go. I want to get past that: I've missed two or three chances to see Mark Knopfler in concert, and why haven't I managed to see Mark Knopfler in concert?! But I've been to more than I thought, as I realized when I compiled this entry in June 2010. A few months later, by the way, I did finally see "Weird Al" Yankovic be very, very energetic and funny in concert. I've added! And that was a good show. But still, best concert?
It may be when I got to see the last (so far) performance by Sleater-Kinney.
August 2006. Crystal Ballroom. Actually the second time I'd seen the band (the first was spring 2001). Opening act The Thermals. Special guest Eddie Vedder; it helps to have the f'ing lead singer of Pearl Jam as your friend! He played a song solo, then he and drummer Janet Weiss did a duet with Weiss on ukelele. I was all the way at the back of the Crystal and I still saw how huge the grin was on Weiss's face. And then songs from all over Sleater-Kinney's career, including I think every song from the band's final (again, so far) album The Woods. They were on stage for nearly three hours, very, very, very energetically. Plus there was pop-cultural weight to the night, with the band ending their time as a band (unless, as they are allowed, they ever change their minds). I'm basking again six years later. Thanks for the chance to remember that basking, Mary-Suzanne.
But I've been lucky that almost all of my concert experiences have been good ones. They've often been intimate, like the house concerts by my friend S.J. "Sooj" Tucker, one of which was on my birthday so she led the entire group in singing "Happy Birthday" to me.
Some have been dramatic, like when I watched Ani DiFranco from the balcony of Portland's Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall: the show was a blast, then inspired a dream that night where I was in a college lecture hall whose floor was so raked that people had to be strapped into their chairs. Yeah: the Schnitzer balcony is a little steep. (Also dramatic and fun? Elton John in 1995, my first concert ever, in the Portland Veteran's Memorial Coliseum.)
The most all-encompassing: Lilith Fair 1999, at the Gorge Amphitheatre, and including Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, live-singing Sandra Bernhard, and my first exposure to Luscious Jackson. HOURS AND HOURS OF MUSIC. And hours and hours of getting there. All worth it. And I had this fascinating talk with the woman sitting next to me during it. She and I had a small-world connection: her husband, a Navy technician, first served at sea on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John F. Kennedy in 1988-1989...the same cruise that was my dad's last Navy cruise. (And this amused me: She was surprised I was a Navy brat who didn't smoke pot or drink a lot.)
I could go on, even with my limited concert experience, but that can involve other entries some other time. Long live live music!