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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, July 22

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k-fresh / October 20, 2005 11:14 AM

JaGoFF!!!! Those dudes totally know how to throw down!!!! And when they have Kimchi Love dancing with them, even better! Great stage presence and attitude. LOVE THEM!

Moon / October 20, 2005 11:16 AM

Pink Floyd - Soldier Field - I think it was 1979??

Greatest EVER.

shermann / October 20, 2005 11:23 AM

Prince - Purple Rain tour at the Rosemont Horizon.

"Purple Rain" was at it's peak of popularity and I sang along to every song because I knew all the words. Plus Shelia E was the opening act and it was her birthday. So she went all out.

Alex / October 20, 2005 11:26 AM

Pet Shop Boys "Behaviour Tour" in 1991 at the Chicago Theater. It was amazing! Costume and set changes at every song. Incredible!

I'll give the 1984 "Purple Rain Tour" at Rosemont Horizon a close second. The stroking of the guitar watering the audience was the best.

jen / October 20, 2005 11:32 AM

radiohead at hutchinson field a few summers back. i loved hearing thom yorke screw up the beginning of "paranoid android" and admitting it. made it all the more memorable.

Nick / October 20, 2005 11:34 AM

Phish, 12/6/97 Auburn Hills, Michigan. Amazing second set. This is far and away the best show I have seen.

NotSoHealthy / October 20, 2005 11:37 AM

1994 Ramones at the Riv, #2 would be 1997 Ramones at the Riv,

george c / October 20, 2005 11:38 AM

P-Funk tour 1977 Soldier Field when we landed the spaceship, I think it's still there.

leah / October 20, 2005 11:40 AM

REM blew me away a few summers back. Almost 10 years ago now, I guess. The fantastic seats didn't hurt, either. Leedle Stipe is such a cute spaz dancer.

And the Arcade Fire the other week at the Aragon. Holy geez that show was magical.

aj / October 20, 2005 11:49 AM

I'll second Radiohead at Hutchinson Field. Also want to add Garmarna at the Old Town School of Folk Music; absolutely spellbinding.

old hag / October 20, 2005 11:58 AM

Souled American , Stumpwhoopt, and Uncle Tupelo at the Gallery in Normal circa 1989

David / October 20, 2005 11:59 AM

Jeff Mills' five-hour Axis retrospective DJ set at the State Theater in Detroit, no question.

Still gives me shivers.

esskaycee / October 20, 2005 12:02 PM

I'll third Radiohead at Hutchinson Field, and throw in Bjork at the Lyric Opera that same year.

And every Gogol Bordello show ever.

Justin / October 20, 2005 12:02 PM

Radiohead at Alpine Valley, August 23, 2003.

Pure coincidence: the guy just hired for my Iowa job offered two cheap tickets for a place to stay. How could I say no? I was in love, had work, a dog, a new apartment, and suddenly a chance to see my favorite band. For the first time since graduation I felt life was turning up.

Pete / October 20, 2005 12:03 PM

Hard to pinpoint just one show...but one that really stands out in my mind is Bob Mould's solo show at the Vic in 1997. Possibly the most emotionally intense one-man-with-guitar performance ever.

bam / October 20, 2005 12:11 PM

The Meat Puppets at the Lounge Ax '92. Curt was really mauling the Les Paul that night.

or maybe the Run Westy Run set sandwiched between Pearl Jam (the openers, pre Ten) and Soul Asylum (the headliners (pre Runway Train)) at the Riv.

And whenever I watch Paul Wertico drum, I am convinced that's the best ever. Is there a better drummer in this town?

Erica / October 20, 2005 12:12 PM

Best show "Evar"
Against Me! at the Bottom Lounge ... last year, I think. The best part is that I didn't even know about them yet. I went to see another band play. The overwhelming love in the room broke my heart. I'll never forget it.

Best song live that made me cry: Ted Leo "Little Dawn" at Metro

Most solid performers that never disappoint: Reverend Horton Heat and Slackers

brian / October 20, 2005 12:13 PM

I'm not a huge live music fan, but the contact high from my first Metallica concert at Poplar Creek (!) was a good time. On the other side, seeing the CSO perform Beethoven's 9th last year was incredible.

Robin / October 20, 2005 12:20 PM

September 11, 2001

Belle & Sebastian at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon

They opened with a cover of Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds and the whole place was in tears

Just yesterday my friend sent me a cd bootleg from that show - he's been trying to track it down for the last 4 years. He finally found someone with a copy

I listened to it last night, and cried a little. The very first words on the recording are Stuart Murdoch, "This has been a really strange day."

amy / October 20, 2005 12:40 PM

Favorite shows....

Afghan Whigs w/ Love Jones - Late Show, Metro '92 or '93. Greg Dulli is a evil genius. Love Jones was silly and talented. It was perfect.

Superchunk w/ Rilo Kiley and somebody else - I think it was 2002 - it was my 10th time seeing them and they brought all the bands out at the end to do an encore of 'Born To Run'. Then entire crowd sang along and it was too much fun.

Soundtrack of Our Lives - Double Door 2002. Big fat Buddah Man (aka lead singer) had everyone ON THEIR KNEES during one song. He did it. I've never seen it - but we all got on our knees. The show at Metro 6 months later - I clapped so hard my hands hurt for 2 days after. That band rocks harder than any band in the world. And the last time they played live - The Dears opened for them and now I love The Dears. So never ever turn down TSOOL tickets.

FINALLY - Jill Sobule at Martyr's last year. I got to be a back up singer!!! Dreams do come true!

(I think I go to too many shows - or think about this question too much)

Maggie B. / October 20, 2005 12:46 PM

I'll second the Purple Rain Tour, Rosemont Horizon. Hands down, the best I've ever seen.

The Musicology tour was also better than most live acts out there.

Oasis put on a fantastic show at Metro around 10 years ago, too.

christian / October 20, 2005 12:47 PM

Radiohead at Hutchinson Field.
Bjork at the Lyric Opera.
The Aquabats at Metro early this year, I think they may have covered a Journey tune.

The first time I saw the Coctails way back when and the reunion show.

Winston / October 20, 2005 12:53 PM

Guided by Voices. anytime, anyplace. In Bob We Trust!

j3s / October 20, 2005 12:58 PM

Not sure, seen so much good stuff. I-F at Furthur 2001, Bjork at the Lyric Opera, Richie Hawtin at Furthur '98, Doormouse at Furthur '98 (yeah, that was a good year), Nasenbluten in Sydney 1998...I wish I could remember all the awesome performances better.

David - you really think the Jeff Mills show at the State Theater in Detroit was his best? It was good, but another case of him riding the levels too high all night kind of killed it for me. The best set I've seen by him was in Sydney, 1998.

jima / October 20, 2005 1:03 PM

Four words: El Vez Christmas show.

K. / October 20, 2005 1:05 PM

Radiohead, Liberty State Park, NYC, 2001.

Hutchinson Field was wonderful, but man, I get chills just thinking about that NYC show.

Dunl / October 20, 2005 1:12 PM

Magnetic Fields. Lounge Ax. Tuesday night, June 3, 1997. Somehow when the encore hit, Stephin Merritt was in a great mood, totally on (thanks no doubt in part to the Alumninum Group keeping him well supplied with drinks), and the encores were longer than the set. They did every single Magnetic Fields, 6ths, etc. song recorded up to that point -- and many not to appear on record for years. Longest-ever show at Lounge Ax, and definitely best show I've seen.

D / October 20, 2005 1:22 PM

The Who, Alpine Valley, summer 1989. I was so happy that I was still a teen to shout "teenage wasteland" with them.

Also--the Old 97's at Lounge Ax, January 1999. Well worth dancing around in extremely painful boots in a claustrophobically-crowded space to feel their live energy for the first time.

And El Vez does put on a helluva Christmas show...

eep / October 20, 2005 1:24 PM

Oingo Boingo at the Main Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan, sometime in the spring of 1994. I had front row center, which only made it better. I saw them at the Metro the next night, and it just wasn't the same. Seeing as how the band retired the next year makes that show all the more special for me.

Other shows that I loved:
Prince's Musicology tour. Simply amazing.
Radiohead at Alpine Valley, 2003. I'd waited years to see them, and it was beyond what I'd ever expected.
Weezer at Allstate earlier this month. Just too much fun.

Ann VanMoxie / October 20, 2005 1:28 PM

I was at that Bob Mould show in '97. I remember reading some review afterwards (or perhaps following the '98 show at the Riv) that described him dancing around on the stage "like one of the cows from The Far Side." Perhaps not exactly flattering, but vivid.

Guided by Voices was always very good, and I always had a good time at those really cheap Naked Raygun shows at the Riv. You know, back in the day.

steven / October 20, 2005 1:29 PM

Impossible to name just one.

Jane's Addiction - Aragon - Ritual tour. Fantastic.

Nirvana - Aragon - Because they didn't play Teen Spirit. And they ::rocked:: live.

Radiohead - Hutchinson Field

Portishead - Riv

And best of all - Curve at the Riv, way back. Reason it's best is because I was at the front of the stage during the show. At one point, being completely blown away by what I was witnessing (and being completely in love with Toni Halliday), I took off a ring I was wearing (gift from girlfriend) and held it up for her as she wandered over to my side of the stage. She grabbed it, put it on, and smiled. Oh Sweet Heaven.

David / October 20, 2005 1:31 PM

j3s -
I liked Mills' set as much for the nostalgia as the performance; Detroit, B-boy movies, Salt & Pepa tracks, the whole bit.

Although now that you mention it, the at Furthur was also highly entertaining. I still can't help but smile when I remember the meat, the tent collapsing, etc. Ah, those were the days.

waleeta / October 20, 2005 1:33 PM

Screaming and crying like a little girl at a concert: U2, 2002, Bono held my hand and sang to me.

Quieter music that was sung so beautifully it made me dizzy: Tori Amos, 1996(7?) Park West.

Rockinest Rollinest: Smashing Pumpkins, Aragon Ballroom, 1993

Greatest display of musical talent: Andrew Bird, his violin, amazing voice and lyrics - Old Town School of Folk Music, 2004.

daruma / October 20, 2005 1:36 PM

Boy George at this little leather bar on Clark called Bistro Too, around '92. Totally mind blowing. He had hare krishnas onstage for the finale.

Susana / October 20, 2005 1:37 PM

Sigur Ros last month at the Chicago Theatre.
The Flaming Lips, NYE 2002, Metro
The Wedding Present, Chicago, April 24, 2005
Sonic Youth in a no-name warehouse in Dallas, Deep Ellum, summer 1986. All 5 of us in the audience were speechless (and deaf)

Dino / October 20, 2005 1:38 PM

Jessica Simpson, at SummerFest in Milwaukee, Summer 2004...She took my breathe away, and I had a boner the whole time!

hench / October 20, 2005 1:39 PM

really hard to name just one.

radiohead @ alpine valley 2003 is in the top five.

nin @ assembly hall 1994 is definitely in the top three.

any of the nil8 hobgoblinspookadelics or douglas park shows back in the late 80s/early 90s were hella formative (springfield represent...)

jesus lizard @ mabel's was also always a riot.

too many shows lodged in my brain...

Omkar / October 20, 2005 1:40 PM

Me on the toilet with my harmonica and a mandolin...

that and Celine Dion in Vegas

rob / October 20, 2005 1:44 PM

tortoise at millenium park for the world music festival last year. amazing weather, free, perfect sound, and oh yeah, the music was amazing too.

j3s / October 20, 2005 1:46 PM

David - I lost my shit when Doormouse dropped the "B-E-E-R" song for the first time ever, that was a great night; shortly after that, Rich's set had one of the speakers in flames. At least, I think I saw that.

Wow, I miss Furthurs. Fortunately, I just got an email from Drop Bass suggesting that something might happen again over Labor Day weekend next year...!

Carrie / October 20, 2005 1:48 PM

Polyphonic Spree. I love seeing them. I've only seen them twice, but both shows I couldn't help but smile the whole time.

Son Volt at The Vic (I think it was The Vic) was also a really, really good show a few years ago.

emily / October 20, 2005 1:48 PM

tortoise at millennium park last year. two drummers, light show, new stage, perfect weather, sandwiches and wine.

andrew bird at the old town school of folk music last year. i was at a table right up front, in absolute awe the whole time. i haven't seen him play that well since.

Paula / October 20, 2005 1:49 PM

Just about any Naked Raygun show from when I was in high school - back in the days when NR played old cartoons on the pull-down screens at the front of the stage at Metro before they went on, Pylon in 1990 or 91 at Metro, and APB (a somewhat obscure Scottish funk band) sometime in the early '80's at Metro.

Nguyen / October 20, 2005 1:50 PM

NIN @ Congress Theater, Allstate Arena this past September

roderick / October 20, 2005 2:20 PM

Les Savy Fav, Intonation Music Fest, Summer 2005.

Or Youngblood Brass Band, Martyr's, Winter 2004.

My first and most memorable: Metallica, at the Rosemont Horizon, winter 1995(6?).

Jill / October 20, 2005 2:26 PM

Jane's Addiction - Aragon a few years ago, when Flea stepped in for Eric A

Allman Brothers Band - Red Rocks, CO

YAJ / October 20, 2005 2:29 PM

That Purple Rain show did rock, but thereís been so much more since then. There have been too many to choose just one, so hereís my top 5.

NIN at the Riv sometime in the 90s Ė best mosh pit ever, but some (then) newish band Marilyn Mason opened. I still donít like them.

Hole at the Metro, Courtney was ranting at Billy Corrigan all night and amazing.

L7 at the Fireside bowl just a few years ago. The place and sound system was a wreck (worse than usual) and the band was pissed and fueled by their rage to perfect performance.

Fugazi & Shellac at the Rainbow Rink.

Most recent favorite show: NINís triumphant return this summer at the Congress.

Nicole / October 20, 2005 2:40 PM

Oh gosh, where to start-

Dismemberment Plan, Metro summer 2003- break up tour. Broken Social Scene, Coachella 2004. Menonema@Empty Bottle last year. Arcade Fire @ Empty Bottle, 11/04.

Live songs that have made me cry:

Wolf Parade- I'll Believe in Anything. Radiohead- Creep (at Coachella). Broken Social Scene- KC Accidental.

loir / October 20, 2005 2:55 PM

Shellac with the Nerves on New Years Day morning in, hmmmm. 1997? 98?

amyc / October 20, 2005 3:10 PM

Pixies at the Aragon last year

Ani DiFranco at the Ark (Ann Arbor) in '94 and Lounge Ax in '95. The first show was incredibly cozy and funny, and the second was clearly just after a bad breakup -- completely raw and kind of hard to watch at times.

Culture Club, Cobo Hall '84. God, I loved them! And walking from the parking garage to the theater, I was nearly knocked over by a sprinting Roy Hay.

The Gossip the year they opened for Sleater-Kinney at the Metro (99?). Beth Ditto had the whole room in the palm of her sassy hand.

And I hate to admit it, but the first All-Starr Band tour in 1989. I wasn't expecting much from The Least Beatle, but as soon as he took the stage, I started sobbing like a little girl. Completely surprised me.

Oh, and Port Wine Lads, Club K, fall 1991. Huevos Grandes! Oy!

ivy / October 20, 2005 3:10 PM

Sonic Youth @ UW-Milwaukee Union Ballroom, 1990

bran / October 20, 2005 3:11 PM

Macha at the Flower 10 anniversary show a couple of years back. I went to see the Sea and Cake, and Macha blew them off the stage. It's a shame none of Macha's albums lived up to the power of their live performance. Anybody know if they're still around?

Kevin / October 20, 2005 3:12 PM

Morphine on the second stage of a festival, like, 10 years ago. If you judge how good a show is by the crowd reaction, that has to top it for me.

Also, loved Radiohead too, but my favorite set of theirs was at the State Theater in Detroit when they were touring for OK Computer. I nearly died of dehydration, since it was so bloody hot. But I didn't, so it was totally worth it.

matt.T. / October 20, 2005 3:17 PM

the U.S. version of The Rollercoaster Tour back in October 93 at the State Theater in Detroit on Devil's Night. the night started off with a young Spiritualized in prime somber, beautiful drone mode; then went on to an energetic, wayyyy sexy and noisy Curve; and ended with Honey's Dead-era Jesus and Mary Chain, complete with a kick-ass stage show and strobe light fast projections. total audio/visual sensory overload....

oooohhhh, also Swervedriver and Medicine at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor back in 94. got there early and saw em sound check to "Duress". life-affirming.

jen / October 20, 2005 3:26 PM

soul coughing - august 1, 1997, the odeon, cleveland, oh

sigur ros - september 22, 2001, tla, philadelphia, pa

in chicago? probably...
mf doom - november 11, 2004, abbey pub

Moon / October 20, 2005 3:53 PM

If you count operas, Samuel Ramey in Mefistopheles was just unbelievable. At one point, they had over 100 singers on stage (above stage, actually) dressed as angels.

From start to finish, a spectacle.

/Almost all Lyric Opera performances blow away anything you will see on a rock stage.

Kevin / October 20, 2005 3:59 PM

James Brown - Denver - 1984
April Wine & Edddie Money - Fargo, ND - 1983

pete / October 20, 2005 4:02 PM

Don Caballero + Dianogah @ fireside bowl.

slb / October 20, 2005 4:11 PM

nin '94 downward spiral tour @ uic pavillion for sure.

live songs that made me cry? radiohead '03 @ alpine valley, "lucky."


oh, and iggy pop put on an awesome show at canopy club in urbana about, oh, 6 years ago. maybe only 5. he rocks hard for an old guy.

so many more. so many.

melissa / October 20, 2005 4:21 PM

Jane's Addiction at the Aragon in '97 when Smashing Pumpkins performed as the surprise opening act.

Bjork at the Riv, House of Blues & Lyric Opera.

Portishead at the Riv is probably my most favorite. Just simply amazing!!

Flynn / October 20, 2005 4:27 PM

A few choices:

- P.I.L. At George Washington U's Listner Auditorium in 1989. John Lydon had some bad seafood and was running off stage to puke every few songs. He even quipped "F$&*#ing oysters" while putting out more energy than most people do when they're well.

- Smashing Pumpkins' at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC in 1990. Gish hadn't come out yet, and they played a 3 bands for $3 night there. The encore consisted of all Blue Oyster Cult covers (if you've never heard the Pumpkins cover Godzilla, you haven't lived). Oh, and since a guy I knew in high school knew them, I interviewed them. We talked about Star Trek, Chicago, and being a band fag. I still have my 45 of Tristessa autographed by all four of them.

- Fishbone at THE American U. in 1990. No one is better on stage than Fishbone. Everyone doubles on a horn. They should be contained in a magnetic field, they could power at least half of the country. At least. Nothing like hearing Skankin' to the Beat at about 40000 BPM.

- Negativland's True/False tour at the House of Blues here in 2000. I never thought they could be pull it off live, and they were amazing.

- DJ Vadim at the Empty Bottle in 2002 (I think). Unbelievable. The only thing that could have made it better was if Sarah Jones was there to perform Your Revolution.

libby / October 20, 2005 4:55 PM

honestly? when i was 12 and went to see the new kids on the block with my cousin. i fabric painted my jean shorts and a white oversized sweatshirt with NKOTB slogans and such. i got my first period. i screamed so loud and my heart just about burst. i think that was about as emotional during a live performance ever. i have seen some great bands play, even in really small, intimate clubs but nothing generated such a response, i.e. creating an entire outfit for the show and eliciting yelps for four hours straight.

matt / October 20, 2005 5:00 PM

ween at the vic, fall 2003.

leah / October 20, 2005 5:09 PM

Any show that gives you your first period and inspires you to fabric paint your clothing is a good effing show, man.

sparkychicago / October 20, 2005 5:32 PM

laurie anderson @ park west, chicago, 9/11/2001

when she sang "here come the planes, they're american planes" from "o superman," it nearly stopped my heart.

AK / October 20, 2005 5:41 PM

Too many memorable shows! Most recently Graham Coxon (formerly with Blur) at Double Door in March 2005. Great guitar work.

leelah / October 20, 2005 6:06 PM

The Wedding Present. Anytime, anyplace.

Neutral Milk Hotel at Lounge Ax was up there, too.

But as Amy mentioned, that Superchunk performance of "Born to Run" was DAMN awesome!

Chuckles / October 20, 2005 6:08 PM

Beck and the Flaming Lips, 2002

Rilo Kiley & M.Ward in this hole in the wall in Salt Lake City summer of 2003

Stephen / October 20, 2005 6:13 PM

I cannot name one, so I'll name five :-)

Hoover @ The Sitcom in Indianapolis, 1993
Fugazi @ City Lights in Indianapolis, 1992
The Dears @ The Metro in Chicago, 2005
Red House Painters, Cleveland, 1997
Air @ Vic Theatre in Chicago, 2001

bran - i saw Macha last year at the Hideout Block Party. They were pretty incredible. Not sure if they are still together though.

jk1 / October 20, 2005 6:30 PM

Probably Einsturzende Neubauten at the Metro, I think it was in 2000.

Also, Swans at Lounge Ax. I think it was 1996 or 1997.

Eamon / October 20, 2005 7:24 PM

Pat McCurdy @Lounge Ax: I threw a bag of Skittles up to him, which hit the microphone instead and smacked him square in the mouth.

Oh, best? I thought you asked for worst.

paul / October 20, 2005 9:25 PM

In order of best EVAR...

Bruce Springsteen at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park

Roger Waters, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking tour - with Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton

Jethro Tull, Madison Square Garden

Magnetic Fields, Double Door

printdude / October 20, 2005 9:42 PM

Best show Ever?

The Cure at the Vic - just a few years ago, maybe 2001? Seeing them in that small place playing for over three hours was mesmerising and pure wonder.

L7 @ Fireside bowl was magical punk stuff: the girls were pissed as hell and they rocked harder for it. It was punk at punk's best.

The First Lollapalooza was a doozy - 11 hours of wonderful music with not a short set or bad song in the group - It was pure bliss for music lovin' head. Body count, Rollins Band, NIN was so loud I wanted to puke.

Okay thats the top three

Radiohead at Hutchinson Field was magical.

Trailer Hitch - any-fucking-where will get me off the couch everyday.

dave / October 20, 2005 11:26 PM

split lip, endpoint, none left standing, and falling forward at the sitcom collective in indianapolis. must have been 1993 or 1994. amazing.

the hoover show stephen mentioned was also rad, particularly because it was the first real show one of my bands (lockstep) played.

Mister C / October 21, 2005 12:25 AM

Like most of the posters, I've got to name several (it was hard to pare it down to this).

Midnight Oil at Poplar Creek: Blue Sky Mining Tour 1990ish. Tom Waits at the Chicago Theater: Mule Variations Tour. Ween at the Vic- 2003. Stereolab and Mouse on Mars at Metro 1998(?)Nick Cave at the Park West a few years back.

But the most powerful experience I ever had at a musical performance was seeing the Art Ensemble of Chicago in some hall at the UW-Milwaukee in about 1983. They got on this extended insane avante garde improvisation (as they were wont to do)that was so intense I actually began to have visual hallucinations (and I wasn't even on anything). I've been blazing at Dead shows and not had as psychedelic an experience.

Oh, that reminds me, another great show was the Dead (Winter 1982) at the Coliseum in Madison WI. There was a horrible blizzard so only the hard core contingent made it and there was even an opening act(unheard of for them), The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

john / October 21, 2005 12:50 AM

ABBA at the Auditorium Theater sometime in the late 1970s. Their sound was even bigger live than it was on record.

Steve / October 21, 2005 7:57 AM

Mid-90s Yo La Tengo tours, when they brought the noise for 80 percent of the set. Caught them at the 930 Club, and they came on stage marching like a high school drum corps.

My Bloody Valentine/Dinosaur at Mississippi Nights in '92.

Wedding Present at Metro, spring '92. I even missed most of Band Jam to see them.

All those many Poster Children shows during my two years in C-U.

Pixies/Happy Mondays in 1989 at Metro. First Chicago Buzzcocks reunion gig. The The, spring 1990. Nick Cave at Chicago Theatre in 2003. Lloyd Cole, 2004 at the Old Town School -- or AMC that same year in the same venue. Monaco in 1997 -- the Metro was far too small to contain Peter Hook's grizzly charisma. Chameleons reunion tour, 2002. That Petrol Emotion on the Babble tour. PE and Sonic Youth on the night they closed old Uptown down after the police provoked a teenage riot.

Future Fuel suggestion: what opening act that you'd never heard of before completely blew you away?

sabrosa / October 21, 2005 8:12 AM

Oh my God!! I saw Al Green in June at the House of Blues. That man is so sexy and I couldn't take my eyes off him! He is truly an amazing performer who proves that he still has it above the rest. I'm so grateful I was able to see him in person!

Bill.N / October 21, 2005 8:51 AM

Plastikman live / Richie Hawtin DJ Set - Transcendance Toronto 1995

Fugazi live at the Aragon 1995 (or any time for that matter, but particularly this one because it was the first time I saw them)

Pixies Reunion Tour at the Aragon last year - worth the wait....

Jeff Mills - Lost Party NYE 2001/2002 in London - not the best set ever, but a great night

tony / October 21, 2005 9:40 AM

John Spencer Blues Explosion in 94(?) at the Lounge Ax on the night of the O.J. slow speed chase. Explosive and hot like wathcing a show in a crowded train boxcar.


The Jesus Lizard in 92(?) at Crobar shortly after the club opened. Out of control and loud enough to shake your jeans.

Kelly / October 21, 2005 9:49 AM

Sufjan Stevens at the Metro. Pretty much flawless.

Fredbeck / October 21, 2005 10:33 AM

I'll second Radiohead at Hutchinson for the umpteenth time, but I've seen so many good shows. And I'll always regret that I never made it to Lounge Ax.

One show that stands out: Ray Charles at a mall opening somewhere in the Western Suburbs. It was, maybe, December 2000? That's a guess, but it was in the 40s, the stage was in a parking lot outside a Pottery Barn, but my god... even that late in his life, it was clear why he was called the Genius. It was a frickin' mall parking lot in the winter, and he made you forget. I miss you, Ray.

RevDave / October 21, 2005 1:01 PM

The Hives - Metro

Beulah - Abbey

radiohead - grant park.

Carly / October 21, 2005 1:25 PM

Rage Against the Machine - Aragon
What can I say? I was an angsty teenager.

Ben Gibbard - Schubas
He was singing TO ME. Oh yes he was.

Pinback - The Empty Bottle
After missing them the year before, they totally live up to my high, high expecations.

PMan / October 21, 2005 1:47 PM

Jimmie Dale Gilmore at Fitzgerald's after Spinning Around the Sun came out. Just him playing accoustic with another guy playing electric.

Charlie / October 21, 2005 1:51 PM

I'll definately put my vote in for NIN at Assemlby Hall.

Rage Against the Machine in DeKalb at NIU back in the early 90's... amazing.

Harry Connick Jr. in Rockford at the Corodado Theater I think it was 1989... Big Band goodness.

Jason / October 21, 2005 2:11 PM

New Model Army, every time.

Runner up: gybe! at the Knitting Factory in August 2000.

Libby / October 21, 2005 3:06 PM

Jesus & Mary Chain and Mazzy Star, Cornell University Campus 1995. Spectacular and strange show.

Sensefield, Syracuse, NY, sometime in the mid-1990s. I loved this band so much then that I nearly cried. It was one of the first times I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by a show.

Interpol, the Riviera, late 2002. I've never seen a more precise band in my life.

Sufjan Steves, Metro, last month. Just good clean fun.

And yeah, the Radiohead show in Grant Park would make the list too.

mar-mar / October 21, 2005 3:16 PM

my first night in Paris, December 2000, on a chilly walk alone outside Notre Dame cathedral, I noticed a line forming at the entrance. I got into the line. Turned out to be a Gregorian chanting Pentecost concert. For twelve bucks i got to sit in a chair, at night, in Notre Dame cathedral lit only by candles and listen to people chanting psalms from all the shadowy corners.

Leelah / October 21, 2005 3:47 PM

Steve reminded me of the My Bloody Valentine/Dinosaur Jr show on Valentine's Day at the Metro in 1992. Soooo loud. sooooo good.

andy / October 21, 2005 4:29 PM

Smashing Pumpkins. 1994. Milwaukee WI at the Eagles Ballroom. This was the very last show on the Siamese Dream tour. They played four encors, waiting a good 15 minutes before coming out for the fourth. And during the fourth encore James Iha refused to leave the stage with the rest of the band. Finally, he cajoled Billy Corgan to come back out, and Billy jumped on the drum kit and starting playing drums. I wish I could remember what they tried to play, but it didn't matter. It was a funny moment that finally ended when it was obvious that Billy wasn't much of a drummer, and they both walked off the stage.

Second favorite show ever. Radiohead on the Bends tour, in 1995, at the Metro.

nico / October 21, 2005 5:25 PM

cibo matto at the metro a few years ago. they covered guns n roses' "welcome to the jungle" -- it was amazing.

John / October 22, 2005 8:28 AM


Well the two best shows that i can remember off the top of my head are.

Pink Floyd- 1987? The Delicate Sound of Thunder, Tampa Florida. The band had recently introduced one of the best visual stage shows I had ever seen at that time. With a huge video screen and the usage of an impressive laser show.

Metallica- The "Black" album 1990 Detroit Metallica were the headliners, no opening band just them. Which was quite unprecedented thing to do for its time.
The band was incredible, the energy they produced seemed boundless, but what really made this concert so mind blowing for me was the audience. The audience knew every song and sang with the band so in turn the whole stadium became this syncronized chorus of song. I know it is heavy metal but at the same time it almost felt like a realigious experience.

andy / October 22, 2005 10:03 AM

Shit! I almost forgot about Sleater Kinney. About two weeks ago. At the Metro. Not only the best Sleater Kinney show that I've ever seen, but easily one of the best shows ever at the Metro. Those girls played out of their minds.

victor / October 22, 2005 11:09 AM

Clicago Blues fest/saturday night/ 98(?)

Eddie Clearwater
Luther Allison
Otis Rush

This was when Luther had cancer. He and Eddie put on such a show that it inspired the normally mercurial Otis to respond in kind. This was by far the best live blues performance I have EVER heard. If you get a chance pick up the CD of Luther's live performance on Alligator. Even now when I am feeling bad, I close my eyes and remember that day and it makes me feel better. Three west side guys playing west side blues; it cannot get better than this, folks.

Sarah / October 22, 2005 11:57 AM

Blonde Redhead at the Abbey Pub...was it 2003 or 2004? Right when Misery is a Butterfly came out. My sweetie and I were obsessed with that show for days afterward. It was such a touching, beautiful performance.

The Jesus Lizard was always amazing. At the Metro in probably 1994, David Yow relentlessly threw himself in to the crowd, over and over again, and the band just completely fucking rocked.

Sleater Kinney at the Fireside Bowl blew my mind. That must have been around 1996? Dig Me out Tour.

daniel / October 22, 2005 11:21 PM

I haven't been to many shows in my lifetime, but of the dozen or so, these would be my ordered favorites:

Radiohead - alpine valley

Cake, Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, De La Soul - aragon ballroom

Earth, Wind, and Fire - northerly island pavilion

Explosions In The Sky - logan square auditorium

daniel / October 22, 2005 11:26 PM

also... i should note that it seems many people posting here listed the radiohead concert at alpine valley... i've never been so impressed by a band in my entire life. i felt like gelatin at the end of their performance. after sitting through an amazing show, a double encore, and being treated to one of their rare live performances of, "creep", i couldn't have felt any luckier in my life.

Emerson Dameron / October 23, 2005 1:58 PM

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, 2002, at the (now defunct) Masquerade in Atlanta, GA. Probably Blixa Bargled's last go-round, but I'll remember that "Stagger Lee" scream forever.

Sarah / October 23, 2005 5:24 PM

Daniel beat me to it, but I was also going to list the Cake, Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse and De La Soul show. I, however, saw it in Kansas City outside at City Market. Modest Mouse played in the rain, and everyone danced. And my friend Tom had a dance-off hoedown with another dude during a Hackensaw Boys set. I laughed so hard I think I wet myself.

Vanessa / October 24, 2005 12:58 AM

Erykah Badu at the Auditorium Theatre, touring for "Mama's Gun." Absolutely ridiculous. Amazing.

Also, Black Crowes at Aragon Ballroom, 2001. Wow.

Tom Petty, this year.

Maureen / October 31, 2005 8:34 PM

Devo @ Aaragon Brallroom 1981
Dead Kennedys @ Club COD 1982
Morrissey @ HOB 2004
Big Black @ Gaspars, now Schuba's 1988
Naked Raygun w/Defoliants @ The Riv 1988

Maureen / October 31, 2005 8:39 PM

I'd also like to say Radiohead @ Hutchinson Field, 2001(?) and Alpine Valley the following year. Black Sabbath @ The Amphitheater(right before they fired Ozzy) in Chicago 1978. Also, Circle Jerks at The West End 1984. Oh and how could I forget, Kiss 1977 at the Chicago Stadium

Sorry, I've been going to shows since I was 12 and I'm much older than that now!

Oddur / November 3, 2005 1:23 PM

U2, Red hot Chili Peppers & Coldplay @ Slane Castle 2001.

Greg / November 3, 2005 10:16 PM

At the Drive-In in Louisville at the Mercury Paw in 1999 a bit before their record came out on Grand Royal and they ended up on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Second would have to be the Slint reunion show in Louisville on Feb 22 of this year.

RL / August 15, 2006 6:50 PM

yo you have any port wine lads recordings?? I know its out of the blue but my sister has been looking for years. Oh yeah, p.s. i worked at that sleater kinney show. it was hot. also its rlm0no with zeros not "o"s. kinda tough to tell...

simon / December 26, 2008 9:30 AM

it not about your favourite songs or band. its a question about who is the best live act. i'm a huge nirvana fan but to say they where a great live act is just plain wrong!! even tho i dont think they have many great songs i have never seen a band blow me away like MUSE did. For me they r unquestionably the best live act in the world today. crowded house never seem to get a mention aswell. Amazing. Check out muse live!!!!

brian k / April 6, 2009 12:50 AM

i was at a point in my life when i was bored with music until i saw RICHARD BUCKNER perform with my friends in the six parts seven as his backup band at the beachland taverne in cleveland, ohio. that show changed everything for me and i was in awe the entire set. anyone have it?

as far as electronic music, anyone who was at the CONTROL parties in detroit should recall those. and i also agree with the posts about HAWTIN live in toronto at transcendence. what a night that was!

mills at state theatre was a spectacle i won't ever forget.

alex under @ darling foundry MUTEK was killer...

surprised no one has mentioned any RACHELS shows or GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPORER. they were always unreal.

rachels at wexner center columbus ohio

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