In the spirit of Blackfin's "Top five albums" post, I thought we might find out who we've seen, and what shows were the best.
My first real concert (I don't count Three Dog Night and America at Worlds of Fun) was Bruce Springsteen at Kemper Arena in 1984. I was fourteen, and it blew my mind. Incredible energy in the building, and Bruce made sure you got your money's worth.
Other shows for me:
John Mellencamp - Kemper Arena '86 and a farm benefit in Chillicothe around '87
U2 - 87 with the BoDeans (Kemper), '92 with the Sugarcubes, and 97 (last two both at Arrowhead)
The Who - 89 (Arrowhead)
Nirvana - Memorial Hall in November of 93, with Mudhoney and Jawbreaker
Alice in Chains - around 93, Memorial Hall
Screaming Trees, Spin Doctors, and Soul Asylum - 93 (Sandstone)
Horde Tour - 93 and 97, artists included Blues Traveler, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Morphine, Primus, The Samples, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Ben Folds Five, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and others I can't remember (both times at Sandstone)
Blues Traveler - in Anchorage, AK '95 (some big bar)
Planet Party - around 93, with Midnight Oil, They Might Be Giants, and Matthew Sweet, among others (Sandstone)
Matthew Sweet - 97 with Fastball, Liberty Hall
The Samples - 97, Liberty Hall
Michelle Shocked - '97 some place in KS, 2000 Santa Fe, NM
Pearl Jam - 2000, Albuquerque, NM with Supergrass
The Shins - 2012, Albuquerque, NM
I'm probably forgetting some.
The best big shows were Springsteen and the first two U2 concerts. I know it's trite, but the ability of Bono and Bruce to make thousands of people simultaneously feel like they matter is otherworldly. And the stage set for U2 in '92 was incredible.
Seeing Morphine and Primus live was amazing, man can (could, RIP Marc Sandman) those guys play! I was not a fan of either band until I saw them live. Midnight Oil and Soul Asylum were shockingly good live, and watching John Popper of Blues Traveler play the harp is something to behold. Mark Lanegan from the Screaming Trees has one of the great voices in music, so underrated. Michelle Shocked felt like a big happy gathering of wonderful people, she really enjoys playing music and telling stories. Most of you probably don't know the Samples, but they were a lot of fun live, and their music has great sentimental value for me.
Of course, I will be forever grateful that I saw Nirvana live. It blows the minds of my ninth grade students when I tell them that I saw Kurt Cobain. Also very grateful to have seen PJ live, even if wasn't when they were younger and full of piss and vinegar. I've been a Shins fan for about ten years, now, so I was glad to finally get to see them, in one of James Mercer's hometowns, no less.
I really hope to get a chance to see Arcade Fire and Wilco, and I wish I would have seen Soundgarden in the 90s, and R.E.M.