Welcome back everyone, to another “Special”!
I hope you all love music. You may not have the same taste in music as mine, but I know that this is relevant to all concert going folks. What I’m going to do here is a little breakdown of the 10 biggest concerts I attended and focus on my expectations going in versus the general feeling I had on my way back to the car/bus/train.
I don’t know about you, but I buy tickets ahead of time and spend the following days or weeks until the concert developing some expectations. Especially when it comes to artists I see for the first time.
I can’t say I suffered in any of these of course, and everything in life is relative. But there were some let downs, some shows that hit the spot and some that exceeded expectations.
The shows are not ordered by how good or bad they were, and there’s a lot of weight put into the overall placement to the significance of said artist to me personally.
With that, let me walk you through some fun times!
All Set lists taken from the great setlist.fm, a great resource for people of my age.
|Location||Beer Sheva, Israel|
|Date||June 19th, 1993|
I don’t really need to explain why I expected 10 from arguably the most influential singer of modern history, right? But that was a lesson one learns only when one goes out and experience.
The show wasn’t bad, as much as I was young, drunk and not familiar with the full scope of work of Bob Dylan, nor with his tendency to do things perhaps for different reasons, other than pure entertainment.
The reason I left that concert deflated was mostly my unrealistic expectation to hear a stream of songs (not least of which – Joey) tailored to my personal preference. As I said…young and drunk.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
|Location||Ottawa, On, Canada|
|Date||May 12th, 2003|
Ok, so in this case I was absolutely ready for the show! Or was I?…
I fell in love with the peppers a long time before I saw them. Mostly because I lived in Israel and didn’t have the opportunity to see them live. What I did see, were videos from concerts that aired on MTV and other outlets. With that in mind, I was sure I’m going to get treated to a crazy Flea fest, kiedis 101, the whole 9 yards.
Instead, the band was relatively “tame”… In fact, the only member who remained as I remembered him was John Frusciante. But again, Just look at this set list. For 2003, I can’t complain. I had tons of fun! Added bonus – Warm up show was Queens of the stone age! (On the ticket was printed the next sentence “Dave Grohl will not be playing with Queens of the stone age”).
|Date||August 23rd, 1995|
Neil Young is another (if not THE) one of these guys who perform not only for entertainment (See Dylan, Bob). At that time in my life I was really – and still am – a Harvest/Harvest moon type of guy. Again, I did not suffer one bit. Hell, Neil F’ing Young AND Pearl Jam in one night? It was a little short and kind of weird at times (Israel is not an easy place for artists of this magnitude to perform in), but that’s Neil Young for ya’ – Keep on rocking in the free world!
|Location||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Date||July 12th, 1994|
For me, Aerosmith was always a fun band to listen to. Groovy, not too complicated and… Steven Tyler, like, duh? J
With that in mind, I came there expecting to have fun and fun I had. The only thing this concert lacked a little was a great crowd… Not the band’s fault.
Guns N’ Roses
|Location||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Date||May 22nd, 1993|
I was a BIG Guns N’ Roses fan and to this day I believe that an ensemble of musicians such as this one is very unique. It was a well-oiled, mean, lean, Rock machine with a set list that simply could not go wrong. I loved each GNR song bar none.
Axl brought his A game (read: showed up), Slash was his awesome self and played Hava Nagilah.
Two things stood between this concert and perfection. One was a terrible sound system… I’m not sure you can even imagine how frustrating listening to Slash’s solos as they fed through these bush league speakers could be… The second was again, a crowd which included some violent guys in the front rows. At one point, Axl had to run for cover and the show was interrupted for a public request to stop throwing bottles at the stage??!!?
|Location||Alpharetta, GA, USA|
|Date||August 10th, 2010|
On the day of the show, I wasn’t even aware it was. When a friend tried to convince me to go, I said I didn’t really know many Green Day songs and didn’t feel like standing around just to hear Minority and go to sleep. My friend said something that proved to be surprisingly true. “You don’t realize just how many Green Day songs you actually know”.
You know what? I went and really loved that show. It really exceeded my expectations and the only reason it’s not at the top of the list is that Green Day, while being loads of fun, are not at the top in terms of significance to me personally.
|Location||Atlanta, GA, USA|
|Date||September 22nd, 2012|
Pearl Jam were some of my heroes back in the day… Yes, I’m afraid I’m one of those guys. You know, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in chains, etc. With that in mind, I did not particularly like each and every album Eddie and Co. produced in later years. However, one does not simply not go to a Pearl Jam concert when one is presented with an opportunity.
Pearl Jam however knows what many of the fans want and they deliver. They will play whatever they want, but they will always remember that the fans will not be happy without “the old stuff”. So what you get is a mix, just right for you to go home and still hum Black or Even Flow.
|Location||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Date||June 30th, 1993|
I saw Metallica three times. They rocked each time. So I’ll focus on the first, where the expectations couldn’t possibly be higher.
Just to give you an idea how much I waited for this one, had my commander in the army not let me go out on a Wednesday (nearly unheard of), I would have gone AWOL. My buddy came to fetch me, took me all the way back to my parent’s place so I could lock my weapon away and sped up to Tel Aviv to catch the show. The sound system (See GNR) was much better. The band tore through many major milestones. It was Jason newsted on bass. It was perfect!
|Location||Duluth, GA, USA|
|Date||November 7th, 2011|
I also saw Foo Fighters three times, only for this I will pick that third time. It was their ‘Wasting Light’ tour and having seen them as they grew, I knew this was supposed to be the best Foo Fighters show ever.
The Foo Fighters are a band who lives to play music. You don’t need ‘Back and Forth’ or ‘Sound City’ to know that. But watch these anyway.
I had zero concerns about getting disappointed and as expected, the show absolutely rocked! Songs choice, performance, Dave Grohl… Well, you know how I feel about that. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to see these guys live.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band
|Location||Ottawa, ON, Canada|
|Date||April 18th, 2003|
I saw Bruce and the E Street band twice (and have a ticket for the third as we speak). Bruce Springsteen (As discussed before on this very blog) is the reason I love music. The reason I love Rock and Roll. A man (with a band) I never thought I’d get a chance to see live. I saw so many taped performances through the years that when I held that ticket, my expectations didn’t go through the roof. They went all the way up to music heaven.
Now, there was no way, Bruce could have disappointed me. Really, All he had to do was show up and say “Hello Ottawa”. Well, he did a hell of a lot more than that.
Playing the crowd like a conductor. Starting with the prayer of ‘The Rising’, the reflections of ‘Lonesome Day’ and ‘No Surrender’ then lifting it up with ‘Proove it all night’ before slowing down for the deeper songs from the rising album and once the crowd was in his palm, he declares “Let’s have a party” and takes us on a 2 plus hours (concluding in possibly 3.5~4) of a joy ride only the boss and his fantastic band can give.
(At least until the next one)
Here’s how they compare (In Expectation Vs. Performance only). They were all good!
That’s all for today folks. I hope that (at least) met your expectations 🙂
Feel free to share your experiences right here.
Until next time,