With zero hyperbole I can say that going to see concerts has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. As I’m lining up for another great year of shows I’ve been thinking back on some of the very best concerts I’ve gotten to attend. I’ve gotten to see my fair share of legends (U2, Hall and Oates, Paul Simon, Genesis) as well as more contemporary greats (Bruno Mars, Beyoncé) but there are a select few shows that stand above the rest..
The Search For Everything Tour – John Mayer, 2017
Mayer’s unique format of breaking up the show into three different sets – band, solo acoustic, trio – was so brilliant I don’t ever want to see him any other way. Watching him play “3×5” from Room For Squares was an unexpected surprise and a highlight of the night.
X Fest 2015
All that needs to be known about how stacked this show was is the fact that Andrew McMahon was the opener. The co-headliners were Weezer and Panic! At The Disco, who had just enough fan overlap to work on the same bill. The difference in the stage presence of Brendan Urie and Rivers Cuomo can’t be overstated and yet somehow the crowd loved both equally. This show was at the outdoor Stage AE in Pittsburgh which, while not small, was comparatively intimate to the size venues both Weezer and Panic typically play. It was one of those special concerts that felt like I was watching lightning in a bottle.
Mylo Xyloto Tour – Coldplay, 2012
I’ve seen Coldplay before and since but Mylo Xyloto as an album best lent itself to the kind of grandeur now associated with their live shows. This was the first time I’d seen the Xylobands in person – truly a sight to behold. For all of its spectacle though my favorite part of this concert was getting to hear “Trouble,” an unplanned setlist audible, during the C stage part of the night.
21st Century Breakdown Tour- Green Day, 2010
I don’t consider myself a huge Green Day fan but whenever someone asks me what the best concert I’ve ever seen is, this is my fall back answer. The sheer maniacal energy from beginning to end that unfortunately proved to be a sign (Billie Joe went to rehab not long after this) was nonetheless incredibly entertaining. There was all sorts of ridiculousness: t shirt canons, guitar giveaways, fans getting up to play. With a lot of other bands it probably would’ve looked gimmicky but with Green Day it was absolute madness in the best way possible.’
Out There Tour – Paul McCartney, 2015
I saw McCartney once before in Toronto. But I had spent my whole life hoping he’d play my hometown of Buffalo, NY and it finally happened on the last night of his Out There tour. Considering that tickets were extremely hard to come by (it actually was the impetus for state legislation) it was really special that my whole family got to attend. There were some next-level gems in the set list that made the night exciting for hardcore Beatles nuts like myself – One After 909, Lovely Rita, All Together Now, Another Girl. The fact that McCartney continues to deliver 3 hour shows at his age and at such a high level is remarkable.
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