There is a post on http://www.thisdayinmusic.com/
asking visitors to vote on the greatest ever live band. I gave this a quick thought and it got me to thinking what a daft question it is. You can ask what you think the greatest band is or what the greatest single, album, live album etc is as you can listen to all the evidence and judge from there. But even if like me your gig count is probably north of 200 shows, how can anyone judge this unless they have been to 1000s – and even then, they haven’t been to everything. Maybe one of the top photographers can judge or a leading journo, but even then they are bound to be prone to a bit of showboating – after all if you have a reputation to maintain, few people are going to say that Status Quo at Cambridge Corn Exchange in the mid-90s was better than Led Zeppelin
at Knebworth, even if they did find themselves nodding off during the JPJ’s bass solo, but could have happily kept Rocking All Over The World for many more hours.
So I thought about it from my point of view…..
Skid Row were certainly the most consistent live band I ever saw. Between 88 and 93 I must have seen them 8 o 9 times and they were outstanding on every occasion. Aerosmith
were brilliant most of the times I have seen them, but a bit predictable on others. Love/Hate were another fantastic live experience in the early 90’s and deserved full marks every time I saw them, same with the Wildhearts
and Wolfsbane, while Motley Crue
ranged between "could do better" and possibly the best gig I have ever been to when I saw their secret ‘Four Skins’ show at the Marquee (you can see me on their Anarchy In The UK
/USA video). The Foo Fighters
at Wembley this year when they wheeled on Jimmy Page
and John Paul Jones was a phenomenal gig - if for no other reason than I expected it to be no more than an OK show. Then you have Bruce Springsteen
, a man that puts more into a concert than I have ever seen from anyone else, but by the same token The Ramones tended to put in 45 minutes and then sod off (although on the Adios Amigos tour they did put in 2 hours plus) so does that make one a better live band than the other? Does any of this make any of them better than Led Zeppelin
? Maybe not, but how can I tell as I never saw Queen
or Led Zep
Then of course there are Guns N' Roses
that if I went on their performances in 1988, were amazing. However, if I go on seeing them at the back end of the Use Your Illusions tour then they were dreadful. Then as an Axl solo project they were arguably tighter than at any other time I saw them, but could I say Guns N’ Roses
at Hammersmith in 2007 (or was it 2006? I forget, time flies when you get older) with only Axl from the original line was actually a better gig than when Slash
and Duff were still on-board?
But if I had to nail my colours to one band holding better live memories for me it is AC/DC
. Great indoors at theatres and arena, while at Donington they were simply magnificent. But is that nostalgia speaking or was that show that AC/DC
recorded for their AC/DC
Live at Donington album and video actually one of the greatest gigs ever?
I have been to a lot of gigs, but not nearly enough to judge this sort of thing. There again I am probably better placed than the kids that went to see Green Day
at Milton Keynes poll a couple of years back and then voted it as Kerrang! Magazine's greatest ever concert. I am sure Billie Joe
and the boys were pretty damn good if you were there, but if that genie popped out of the lamp and said "Alex, last wish, now choose a gig you wish you had been at" then I doubt it would have been that. So that is probably the point I am getting at – that the poll should be "What gig do you wish you had been at?"
I might say The Who
at Charlton Athletic, but was that because of my dad banging on about how great it was or because it was their finest moment? Would I choose Woodstock, Monterey Pop, Isle of Wight or Altamont because of their cultural significance? Seeing Bruce Springsteen
at Hammersmith in 1975 as he toured Born To Run
would have to come close to the top. With the likes of Freddie Mercury
, Bon Scott
and Phil Lynott
dead before I was able to see them, how could I pass that sort of opportunity by? The Rolling Stones
at the Marquee, The Beatles at the Cavern, Sex Pistols
at the 100 Club or New York Dolls
at Max’s Kansas City
may or may not have been great shows, but should I choose one of them for their ‘I Was There’ bragging rights? I wouldn’t say no to seeing Elvis or The Rat Pack in the Las Vegas prime either, but would they be top of the list? There is a chance that I would correct one of my few regrets in life – when I passed on a ticket to see Nirvana
at the Astoria because a girl I was trying to bang wanted to see Slayer
and Mind Funk at Hammersmith
(no, since you asked, to make matters worse I didn’t get a result with the girl)
I have no idea and it would be a struggle if such a situation arose, but if anyone knows of a genie then I would happily take on such a task.
Labels: AC/DC, AC/DC. Metallica, gigs, greatest concerts, Led Zeppelin, Live, Queen, rock concerts, wish list