Marilyn Manson freak-out so completely that when his ear-pieces weren’t working he self-destructed in a scream that could have done nothing but destroy those bleeding ear-drums further;
An electrocution of The Deftones’ Chino Moreno at the end of their Warped Tour set;
The Smashing Pumpkins, somehow, twice;
A grizzled old roadie snort a beer, on stage, during a break from the sonic-bludgeoning that is Pantera;
Ani DiFranco get an encore opening for a SHIT Bob Dylan on my 21st birthday;
A quixotic pairing of Jane’s Addiction & the Red Hot Chili Peppers when Dave Navarro added some Black Sabbath-ness to the end-riffs of "Give It Away";
A backup-dancer magnificently sprain his ankle on the very first beat of the Beastie Boys’ Lollapalooza set;
A kid whose life I saved from the most atrocious, and unexpected, mosh-pit I’ve ever been in take a swing at me once he came out of whatever stupor he was in – this, during a Neil Young show;
Oasis, as an opener for Young, get pelted by plastic-bottles...and I even got a hearty "nice shot" from Liam Gallagher for hitting him with a piece of gum after he called the debris on with a severely-British, "let’s have it, then";
A four-hour Godspeed You! Black Emperor show that tested even the most blissed-out reveler’s endurance.
But that’s not the best of it...oh, no. Prepare to delete me from your Blogrolls, as I depart on a description-laden run-down of The Best Concert Experiences of All Time – not my Greatest Experiences, but THE Greatest Experiences because, as you must know at this point, I am as objective as a vulture with a tapeworm.
Saturday August 22 1998 @ Molson Park
I have seen Pearl Jam nine times – NINE. One short of double-digits. Probably six more time than was necessary but for my uncontrollable compulsion to see the Eddie Vedder Express every time they roll through Toronto...or within walking distance of my place in Hammertown...or, once, in Detroit.
This was the best of the bunch, however, during a beautiful sunny day on the rolling hills of Molson Park; my shaven and un-suntan-lotioned head burned so badly that I pulled a piece of skin off it that was as thick as a bread-slice...and you’re welcome for that visual.
I managed to get to the front by the time "Animal" started, and was, I thought, completely exhausted...but no, there were dozens of actually exhausted teenagers who desperately needed to be pulled from the pit, so, begrudgingly, I lifted kid after kid up to the security-dudes until my chest and shoulder muscles clenched in a sort of pre-rigor mortis. By the time I was freed from the teeming pit, I only had enough energy to throw-up a couple of devil-horns at Vedder from the lip of the stage before being chased away, back to the comfort of my posse.
On my way back to my friends, I caught a few wild gestures from Vedder that seemed to shoot green light over the masses during "Given to Fly", and the night felt complete even though they were just beginning with the rock and/or roll.
Nine Inch Nails w/A Perfect Circle
Friday April 28 2000 @ Maple Leaf Gardens
They blew my 18-year-old mind in 1994 with a pre-Antichrist Superstar Marilyn Manson & The Jim Rose Circus; they opened for and KILLED David Bowie in 1995; they came and did a "little" show in 2005, followed by a "big" show later in the year w/Queens of the Stone Age in an Air Canada Centre that had lost its liquor-license...but this show in 2000 was the best.
Front-row, second-deck, facing the stage head-on, GIANT cups of beer and more than enough room to hang our feet over the balcony; it was like watching that live NIN DVD, but actually LIVE...and made sweeter by the fact that I hadn’t yet seen Tool, and this was my first crack at seeing Maynard James Keenan belt it out – and though A Perfect Circle is like Tool-lite, that doesn’t mean that "Judith" didn’t kick my ass leading into the Main Event.
Because it, like, totally did...Best Show EVER.
RadioheadFriday August 3 2001 @ Molson Park
Like the above-mentioned Godspeed, Radiohead’s FOUR encores required such stamina that we were on our way to the car when we heard the last one begin. I didn’t mind; I was fully satiated.
I was transfixed during "Exit Music" and "Talk Show Host", and absolutely surprised by the humour that the supposedly-glum Brits displayed, as the pin-hole camera attached to Thom Yorke’s keyboard kept him goofily, sleepy-eye-staring into us like an adult making googily-faces at a child...and though I’m making it sound patronizing, it was a nice juxtaposition to "Pyramid Song".
Thursday September 18 2001 @ Air Canada Centre
At this point, I had seen Keenan sing for A Perfect Circle twice, and then saw a one-hour, irritated version of their show when they agreed to close a festival without any knowledge of the time-factor, noise-restriction laws at Molson Park, keeping their set-list to the radio-hits and crowd-pleasers...
During Tool’s show at the ACC, the spindly, aerobic strangelings from their "Schism" video climbed up ropes to the ceiling and hung upside-down for so long that my friend Peaker became so distracted as to their health that he was dizzy by the time the intermission rolled around.
Say what you will about showmanship, by the way...there is nothing better, somehow, than watching Keenan rock back and forth, singing as though possessed while staring at a wall with his back to the audience; it works, and I don’t question it.
Tenacious DThursday January 24 2002 @ Kool Haus
They were hilarious, they made with the rock, and they turned "Fuck Her Gently" into an epic love story told in climactic harmony...so you can fuck off with that derisive eye-rolling.
Beck w/The Flaming Lips
Sunday October 20 2002 @ Massey Hall
Beck? Whatever; but the Flaming Lips, and Wayne Coyne in particular, created the most joyous, euphoric musical-atmosphere that I’ve ever seen; "Do You Realize??" was absolutely gorgeous, and even though "technical-difficulties" (pronounced "dif-FIC-ulties") cut their set short, they played backing band to Beck, and subsequently made him rock a lot harder than he had any right to.
The Flaming Lips kicked my ass with a confetti-filled balloon, a singing-puppet, and grown men and women in furry animal costumes...it was beautiful.
Fantomas w/The Locust
Friday April 15 2005 @ The Phoenix
One solitary Canadian date, and Fantomas opts for a version of "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie, complete with a whispered chorus of "USA, USA" to further agitate us Canucks.
This is why I admit to Mike Patton man-love.
Fantomas operates as if a symphony-orchestra conductor had a killer three-piece band, access to a keyboard with the programming-capabilities of a pre-psychopathic HAL, and could alternately squeal like a pig with a cattle-prod in his rectum and sing like a Spanish Lionel Richie.
The Locust and their shrill, confusing-but-wildly-entertaining music are but a perfect opener for the beast that is Fantomas, but there is nothing like Fantomas itself.
An unfortunate side-note: I came home to find the girlfriend not around, so I settled in to watch Shaun of the Dead; the 3am phone-call from the police detailing her horrific car-accident, in which she flipped multiple-times while breaking a bone in her neck and dislocating her left-elbow so badly that it will never fully straighten, came, for those of you who know the movie, when Shaun realized what was going to happen to his mum...not cool.
The White Stripes
Friday September 16 2005 @ Molson Amphitheatre
This was the meat of a Pearl Jam-sandwich, a Tuesday-Friday-Monday-deal that left Jack White’s completely unhinged performance the perfect counterpoint to Mr. Vedder’s less-manic stage-presence.
I had always heard the disbelief from show-goers at the seeming-impossibility of a two-person band so thoroughly kicking said show-goers’ ass; I now understand. Jack White sticks with you, well after you’ve sung along with his high-pitched shrieks, after you’ve looked at the girlfriend who decided at the last second to come along and found that she, though not necessarily a fan, was surprisingly enjoying herself as much a you...
If it were math, it wouldn’t work; however it does work, so fuck math...and the calculator it rode in on.
Twilight SingersSaturday May 27 2006 @ Lee’s Palace
I talked about this show earlier, in an almost-embarrassing fashion, but it’s too late to stop this roller-coaster of good-slash-bad* writing now...
*As if to prove my point.
Gnarls Barkley w/ Peeping Tom
Wednesday August 9 2006 @ Kool Haus
This show was the impetus of the best thing I’ve ever written...excepting, of course, my unpublished story of the filthy man whose nutsack gets so dirty that it develops rational, though malicious, thought and drags him around, one nut at a time...but this digression is the very definition of something being "neither here nor there".
If not for Gnarls Barkley, I would never have seen Gnarls Barkley; they picked Mike Patton’s Peeping Tom as their opener, and I bought tickets, as always, to see Patton.
And Peeping Tom delivered, even giving human-beatbox Rahzel some solo-action before they commenced for a penultimate rendition of one of the Five Greatest Songs Ever Recorded, "We’re Not Alone".
So, my ass hurts a bit now, having just been kicked in it and all, and then Gnarls Barkley collectively take the stage and leaves bootprints on my underwear...it was fucking ridiculous how good this show was.
This is the kind of post that my brother would call "ostentagious". If it’s any consolation, my back hurts from wheeling this monstrosity up to the Blogger head-offices; I had to get a special permit just on length alone, something I’m no stranger to, wink wink, nod nod...