Here's another Facebook meme, courtesy of my friend and co-worker Waylon. The idea this time around is to list 50 musical artists or bands you've seen in concert. As with that movie meme from the other day, you're not supposed to think too hard about this, but to list only the first 50 acts that occur to you. Of course, that presumes you've been to at least 50 concerts, which is a pretty unlikely situation, I think, for most people. But even if that's in the realm of possibility, listing 50 music shows off the top of your head isn't as easy as it sounds; I've kept a scrapbook of ticket stubs and reviews ever since my very first concert back in 1981, but without having it here beside me to refer to, I had a devil of a time remembering who-all I've seen. I couldn't quite manage 50 names even when I included the handful of memorable opening acts I've seen, but I'm not sure if that means I haven't actually seen 50 discrete musical artists or if I'm just forgetting somebody.
In any event, here are the results, along with the usual commentary, starting with the original rules:
Test your memory/love of live music by listing 50 artists or bands (or as many as you can remember) you've seen in concert. List the first 50 acts that come into your head. An act you saw at a festival and opening acts count, but only if you can't think of 50 other artists. You should list bands/singers that you specifically went to see. Oh, and list the first concert you ever saw (you can remember that, can’t you)?
- Rick Springfield
As my Three Loyal Readers no doubt know, Rick was my first concert experience, Halloween night, 1981, the Working Class Dog tour. I have seen him six times since then, all in the last 10 years. And I'll be seeing him again in about two weeks. What can I say? He puts on a good show.
- Kenny Rogers
This was before I decided these guys and every note they've ever played were all the work of the devil. As you might imagine, there's a story there; maybe I'll tell it one of these days.
- Bryan Adams
I've seen our Canadian friend twice; the third time will be coming up at the end of the month. Curiously, the t-shirt I bought in '92 has turned out to be the most durable concert tee I've ever owned, and I've worn it a lot. They must make 'em to last up there in the Great White North.
- Huey Lewis and the News
Seen 'em twice.
- The Moody Blues
Three times, one of which was with the Utah Symphony. Which should've been deeply awesome, but really wasn't because the venue -- the Delta Center, now called Energy Solutions Arena -- has such astoundingly poor acoustics. After that show, I vowed never to see another concert in that echo-y cave, and thus far I've stuck to my guns, even though it's caused me to miss a number of tempting shows.
- Night Ranger
- B.B. King
Three times. I figure with these aging artists, you don't pass up an opportunity, because they might up and die on you.
Two or three times, I believe -- I can't remember for sure off the top of my head .
- Fleetwood Mac
Seen 'em twice. Stevie Nicks is much prettier sober, even if she gained weight after kicking the coke.
- Garth Brooks
I dabbled a bit with country music in the early '90s, right around the peak of Brooks' popularity, and even though I wasn't a big fan, I felt more or less obliged to go. Terrible show, incidentally. The rabid fans screamed non-stop for three solid hours; I don't know how they could tell which songs he was performing, because I honest-to-god couldn't hear him.
- The Judds
My mom is a big admirer, especially of Naomi. I took her to see their farewell tour.
- Wynonna Judd
Possibly the scariest concert I've ever attended; there was a lot of man-hatin' going on that night, and with my beard, I'm rather overtly male, so I couldn't help but feel nervous for my life. Or at least my manhood.
- Mary Chapin Carpenter
I've seen Chapin two or three times, I believe -- again, I can't recall for sure.
- Gordon Lightfoot
A huge disappointment; I was expecting the hunky guy on the cover of Gord's Gold, the one I remember listening to with my mom when I was small boy riding around with her in her '56 Ford pickup. Instead, I got a scrawny bantam with a weirdly high-pitched voice. It hardly sounded like the same man who record "Sundown" back in '74.
- The Alan Parsons Project
- Depeche Mode
I'm stunned to note that I've seen them twice now.
- The Steve Miller Band
- Def Leppard
- The Police
- Billy Joel
- Barenaked Ladies
- Ray Charles
- Styx/REO Speedwagon
This was a joint tour back in 2000, with both groups sharing equal billing and one t-shirt. I was never a huge fan of either group and probably wouldn't have gone to this if I'd been paying my own way, but I scored some free tickets so figured why not? For the record, REO put on the better performance. They were tight, and obviously enjoying themselves. Styx was a bit sloppier, although still enjoyable.
- ZZ Top
I've seen the bearded boys from Texas twice. The first time, back in '86 or thereabouts, featured one of the coolest stage designs I've ever seen, and a laser show that made a big impression on my hormone-addled teenage brain.
- Jimmy Buffett
I've been to Margaritaville twice. It's fun, but honestly I think it'd be awesome if Jimmy did a more serious tour where he played all his ballads and earlier, pre-carnival stuff. But I'm no doubt in the minority on that one.
- The Beach Boys
For a while, these guys were like honorary Utahns. It was inevitable that I'd end up seeing them at least once.
- Little River Band
- 38 Special
- Eric Clapton
- Marc Cohn
- Celtic Women
- Bonnie Raitt
She opened for Steve Miller, just before her big album Nick of Time hit the radar. I'd only vaguely heard of her before the concert; I was a fan afterward. That entire evening was something else, a story I'll have to tell sometime...
- The Hooters
They opened for Loverboy; I still love "And We Danced."
- Eddie Money
He was with Styx and REO. Normally, I'd be the last guy to mock anyone for being stuck in the '80s, but I thought Eddie was pretty embarrassing -- same haircut and same outfit I remember him wearing in the music videos when I was in high school, right down to the red sneakers. And his voice was pretty shot, too. His heart obviously wasn't in it, and I'm guessing he needed to make a mortgage payment.
- Cheap Trick
I've seen them twice, in a triple-header with Journey and Heart, and a triple with Def Leppard and Journey. Didn't really like them either time.
- Crystal Gayle
She opened for Kenny Rogers, way back in 1982. I remember being astounded at her trademark hair, which brushed the floor when she walked.
- The Stray Cats
They were with The Pretenders and ZZ Top in another of those triple-threat nostalgia tours. I was only lukewarm on them back in the day, but I really enjoyed their performance. They're tight, they're still in good shape, they know how to work a crowd, and they're having fun.
- The Pretenders
I've never been a fan, and this performance -- sandwiched between The Stray Cats and ZZ Top -- didn't make me one. Part of the problem was Chrissy Hynde's shilling for PETA midway through the show. The crowd wasn't interested in her message, and the whole speech landed with a sickening thud.
- Elvis Costello
He opened for The Police. He played well, I just don't care for his stuff.
And there you go... like I said, it seems like there were other acts in there somewhere, but those are the highlights of my concert-going over the past 28 years. Wow... that's a sobering thought.