Following the lead of Paste Magazine and many others, I decided to recap my ten favorite concerts of the decade.
10. Over the Rhine/Rosie Thomas (Eddie's Attic - October 23, 2007) - My buddy Bailey got me to come to this show. I had listened to some of Rosie Thomas and had never even heard of Over the Rhine. I was blown away...by both. Though I can now really appreciate the talent of OVTR, that concert caused me to become forever hooked on Rosie.
9. Bon Iver (Variety Playhouse - June 7, 2009) - I had only heard bits and pieces of their breakthrough album For Emma Forever Ago. Every song was absolutely captivating. Here's Justin performing Re:Stacks:
8. Dave Matthews Band (Sept. 10 2000) - This was their last tour before they started putting out crappy albums. I loved these guys in high school and will definitely remember their great live shows. Also got to see the young and unknown John Mayer for the first time live (on the dinky little side stage).
7. Derek Webb (Smith's Olde Bar - Sept 22, 2009) - I was completely surprised by this one. I had seen Derek probably 20 something times (counting Caedmon's days). I had come to know and love him as an acoustic singer/songwriter. His album Stockholm Syndrome had just come out and I liked it okay, but I just wasn't too sure about how good a show it would make. He played the album front to back in its entirety (with a four song acoustic set in the middle) and I loved every minute of it. Here he is performing The Spirit vs. the Kick Drum and What Matters More.
6. Counting Crows (The Tabernacle - October 31, 2002) - It was Halloween night. Graham Colten opened and the CC were all decked out in costumes, including Adam in a big pink bunny suit. Hard Candy had just come out that summer (still one of my favorites by them), and they played an incredible set.
5. John Mayer (40 Watt Club - January 20,2001) - It was a little hard to pick my favorite Mayer show. However, this show was the one that made me a huge fan. Inside Wants Out was his only album out at this point, which was a staple of mine my freshman year.
4. Radiohead (Lakewood Ampitheatre - May 8, 2008) - Sadly, I had not heard much of their stuff before this show (or else it would probably be higher). I bought In Rainbows a few months before, liked it, but mainly bought the tickets as a b-day present for Roy who was a huge fan. After a very close call, almost not making the show, we ended up with great seats to watch arguably one of the greatest bands of our time put on a phenomenal show.
3. Mute Math (Variety Playhouse - March 24, 2007) - It had been a couple of years since I had seen them last. Their self-titled album had helped to make these guys one of my favorite bands. Their thoughtful lyrics combined with their energetic sound made me excited to see the show. I wasn't disappointed at all. Their energy and use of lights rivals most any other concert I've seen. Here they are performing Break the Same on Conan:
2. Coldplay (Philip's Arena - October 28, 2005) - My dad snagged a couple of seats in the box. Bailey was the grateful recipient of ticket #2. X & Y had recently come out so they had three great albums to produce an sensational show. I'll remember the countdown to begin, the yellow balloons falling from the ceiling, and Chris Martin skipping all over the stage. Oh yeah, they also played an acoustic set of Johnny Cash songs. AND the encore was an extraordinary performance of Nightswimming with none other than Michael Stipe.
1. Sufjan Stevens (Fox Theatre - September 20, 2006) - Epic. That pretty much sums it up. After a great performance from My Brightest Diamond, Sufjan and the gang (consisting of a twenty something piece orchestra) came on to the stage wearing wings and bird outfits. They proceeded to blow us away with a set list that was a thing of beauty. A crazy moment happened during the fourth song (The Trangsfiguration) when the sound went nuts and caused everyone on stage to stop playing. A friend who was a couple rows back later told me how she heard Sufjan exclaim "awesome" during the disruption. That's one reason I appreciate him. He sees even the screw-up moments in performances as significant in creating his works of art.