Top 10 Favorite Concerts

I’ve seen a lot of concerts, but these ten stood out to me for various reasons.

Radiohead

Radiohead
June 10, 2012
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Tinley Park, Illinois

I had been saying for years and years that if I ever got to see Radiohead perform live, I could die happy. Seeing as they haven’t been to Minnesota since The Bends-era, I thought I’d never get a chance. My friend Lauren called me and told me she had bought a ticket for me to see Radiohead in Tinley Park, Illinois as an early birthday/Christmas/whatever gift. I thought I was going to keel over. I couldn’t believe it. We road tripped to see them, and they were amazing. AMAZING! It was such a fantastic experience.

Coldplay
August 14, 2002
First Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I’ve been a fan of Coldplay since their first album, and I was bummed when they didn’t come to Minneapolis to tour for that album. But when A Rush of Blood to the Head came out, they finally came to Minneapolis. It was the perfect time to see them — they were on their way to being well-known, but weren’t so huge that they were playing arenas. First Avenue is a decent-sized venue, but it still feels intimate. They put on a fantastic show. The music really spoke for itself, and they seemed in good spirits.

Electric Six
April 24, 2004
Fine Line Music Cafe
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Although Electric Six are sometimes viewed as a “joke” band, they’re actually extremely talented and write really awesome songs. They also put on one hell of a show. Cramming six people onto the stage at the Fine Line must have been a challenge for them, but that didn’t stop Dick Valentine from busting out crazy dance moves, push-ups, jumping jacks, and other crazy antics. It was such a high-energy show that I swear I was still bouncing around three days later. One of the best parts was an audience member dressed as “The Dance Commander,” complete with a marching band hat. After the show, I got to meet the entire band, who were so incredibly down-to-earth and awesome.

Franz Ferdinand
June 11, 2004
Fine Line Music Cafe
Minneapolis, Minnesota

When Franz Ferdinand made it to Minneapolis in 2004, they were still a band most people hadn’t even heard of. There was a slight buzz about them, and the majority of the people at the show were there out of curiosity more than anything. The show was a sold-out one, and the place was definitely packed. I was in the front row, giddy with excitement. The show was amazing, just bursting with energy. At one point, a woman’s sweater was tossed onstage and Nick put it on (backwards) and wore it for a couple of songs before politely asking if he could remove it because he was too warm. When a couple local police offers peeked their heads in the side door to take a listen, Alex dedicated “Michael” to the Minneapolis Police Department. They seemed pleased, but obviously unaware of the song’s lyrics. It made me laugh. The vibe was like seeing a bunch of friends in a local dive bar, and the band seemed to have a blast. I know I sure did. That show solidified my love for them.

Muse
March 7, 2013
Target Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I first saw Muse in 2004, and they absolutely blew me away. I didn’t think they could top themselves, but my god, they sure did when I saw them in 2013. Aside from having an incredible stage set, they were spot-on. I can’t get over how powerful and awesome Matt Bellamy’s voice is live. He just blows me away. The highlight was hearing “Muscle Museum,” which they hadn’t played since the very first time they came to the Twin Cities (back in 1999 opening for Foo Fighters). It was awesome.

The Futureheads
March 3, 2005
Fine Line Music Cafe
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I’ve seen The Futureheads a bunch of times, but I never ever get sick of seeing them. They’re always just a bundle of fiery energy, and their onstage banter cracks me up. You can tell they love what they do, and have a ton of fun when they play shows. Their energy is contagious. I bounce and dance around non-stop from the moment they start playing until the last note is played. I usually leave exhausted, sweaty and sore, but it’s always worth it. Also, it’s always fun to take a guess how long it will take for Ross’ glasses to go flying off. Sometimes he doesn’t even make it through the first song.

Kaiser Chiefs
June 1, 2005
First Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ricky Wilson is one of my favorite frontmen. He doesn’t stop moving the entire time he’s performing, and combines high jumps and cowbell whenever possible. Watching Kaiser Chiefs is kind of like watching a bunch of five year olds hyped up on sugar and caffeine let loose in a toy store. It’s amazing. I wanted to climb onstage and rock out with them.

LCD Soundsystem
October 19, 2005
First Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Don’t let the image fool you: LCD Soundsystem are a band. The stage is overflowing with keyboards, samplers, percussion instruments, guitars, and various members of the band switching off and playing combinations of the various gadgets onstage. James Murphy doesn’t look like a rock star. He looks like a guy you would run into at the supermarket buying frozen Jack’s pizzas and a six pack of Mountain Dew. And really, that’s what I love about him. As a band, they are unbelievable. It’s a non-stop dance party. At this show, apparently the majority of the band was recovering from illness, but you never would have known it.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga
August 31, 2010
Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minnesota

Even if you’re not a fan of Lady Gaga, there is no question that she is an amazing performer. Unlike many pop stars, she doesn’t rely on backing tracks to sound fantastic live. She has a truly amazing voice. On top of being a bundle of talent, her show is over-the-top (in a good way) and entertaining. There are costume changes, dancers, video interludes, stage sets, lights…everything! Seeing Lady Gaga is an event…an extravaganza!

Travis
July 22, 2007
First Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I’ve seen Travis a gazillion times, but there was something about this show that really stuck with me. They’re always a fantastic live band, but maybe it was the fact it was several years since I had seen them last that made me so excited to see them at this show. They seemed to have such fun, and they sounded so amazing. At one point, Fran sang “20” without a microphone to a packed venue that was completely silent, just entranced. I cried. Their music has been the soundtrack to my life for the past ten years, and so there’s so many memories tied to their songs. Every time I hear them, I get a rush of emotions. After the show when I said hello to the guys, Dougie still remembered me from running the Groovy Dougie Fan Club years ago. What a sweetie.