Yesterday, David Hepworth posted something on his blog:
OK, here are the rules. Test your memory and your 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. Oh, and list the first concert you ever saw (you can remember that, can’t you)?
A bit drunk and bullishly thinking that I could reel them off easy peasy, I sat down and typed a list. Took longer than I thought it would to remember fifty acts that I’ve seen live. I’ve left them in the order that they (sometimes surprisingly) drifted into my head. Notes about each concert added over lunch.
1. U2, Elland Road, Leeds, 1987. First concert I ever saw. Supported by the Pretenders, the Mission, and the Fall. Didn’t play “Where the Streets Have No Name,” the bastards.
2. The Mission, Rock City, Nottingham, 1987. My brief goth phase.
3. Sonic Youth, Rock City, Nottingham, 1990. Lots of equipment malfunctions.
4. Blur, Rock City, Nottingham, 1994, I think. Lots of jumping up and down.
5. REM, Milton Keynes Bowl, 1995. Friend forgot to bring her ticket and had to buy one from a tout.
6. Elastica, Rock City, Nottingham, 1995. Drunk. Lots of fun.
7. Spiritualized, Royal Albert Hall, London, 1997. The only concert I’ve been to where a live album was recorded.
8. New Order, Alexandra Palace, London, 1998. Off my head. Strange hallucinations of carpet removal men.
9. Underworld, Brixton Academy, London, 1999. Worse for wear, spent most of it sat down watching a pretty girl with nice calves dancing. Tapped her on the thigh, told her I wasn’t being creepy, but that she was a really good dancer, and she was happy cos she was studying dancing at college.
10. Black Mountain, Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA, USA, 2009. A beard convention.
11. Super Furry Animals, Royal Festival Hall, London, 2007. A perfect New Year’s Eve.
12. Brian Wilson, ICC, Berlin, 2002. Pet Sounds tour. I wept a little.
13. Lou Reed, Tempodrom, Berlin, 2007. How could one not want to see him doing his “Berlin” album in Berlin?
14. My Bloody Valentine, WaMu Theater, Seattle, 2009. Time travel back to my youth.
15. Wilco, Postbahnhof, Berlin, 2005. Beautiful.
16. Primal Scream, Marcus Garvey Centre, Nottingham, 1991. Supported by Andrew Weatherall and The Orb. Awesome night.
17. Oasis, Rock City, Nottingham, 1994 or 95. Back when they were good.
18. These Animal Men, some place in Derby, 1994. A friend of mine got it on with the bass player, so we had to go and see them again a few days later in Sheffield.
19. Suede, somewhere in Hull, 1992 or 93. I think my then-girlfriend and I had an argument that night.
20. The Pierces, some place I forget the name of, Berlin, 2007. Last show I went to in Berlin before I left for a year-and-a-half. Pretty girls. Lots of boys in the audience, weirdly.
21. Tinariwen, Kesselhaus, Berlin, 2007. Mindblowingly good.
22. Phoenix, Columbia Fritz, Berlin, 2004. Around the time of the second album. Way better live than I’d ever imagined they’d be.
22. Fields of the Nephilim, Rock City, Nottingham, 1989. Stood next to the speaker. My ears hurt the next day.
23. Pet Shop Boys, Tempodrom, Berlin, 2007. Simply wonderful.
24. Kraftwerk, Tempodrom, Berlin, 2004. Sick in the toilets.
25. Kylie Minogue, NEC, Birmingham, 1990. The “Enjoy Yourself” tour. I bought the t-shirt.
26. Shakira, Max-Schmelling-Halle, Berlin, 1997. Mmmm…
27. Madonna, Max-Schmelling-Halle, Berlin, 2001. It was okay. “Holiday” was ace.
28. Justin Timberlake, Velodrom, Berlin, 2003. A reminder how good pop concerts can be.
29. Radiohead, Velodrom, Berlin, 2003. Gosh, “There There” was so ridiculously awesome that night.
30. Birdland, Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham, 1989. Very short show.
31. Menswear, De Montford Polytechnic, Leicester, 1996. Lost my glasses. Found them again unharmed.
32. Pulp, City Hall, Sheffield, 1996. This close to being in a car accident on the way home.
33. Moonflowers, Drill Hall, Lincoln, 1990. Split up with my girlfriend and got back together on the same night. Aaaah. Great show, too.
34. The Telescopes, Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln, 1988. Remember very little about it.
35. Mega City Four, Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln, 1988. Got head-butted by the boyfriend of a girl I was friends with. He didn’t like us being friends.
36. Mudhoney, Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham, 1989. In a gym. Awful sound.
37. Inspiral Carpets, Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham, 1990. I spent the whole night watching the shadow of the singer’s head on the wall, bobbing around like a Muppet.
38. Pixies, Rock City, Nottingham, 1990. Sweaty. Got Kim and Joey’s autographs.
39. Elton John, Waldbuhne, Berlin, 2001. Solo show, just him and his piano. Lovely natural amphitheatre. Rained when he finished with “Candle in the Wind.” Diana’s tears, I tell ya.
40. Nik Kershaw, some club in London, 1999. It was a launch party thingy for his then new album. The 13 year old Craig would’ve been impressed with me going to such a thing.
41. Grandaddy, Magnet, Berlin, 2003. Inspired me to not shave off my new beard.
42. Arcade Fire, Magnet, Berlin, 2005. Got a migraine after a few songs, had to go home. I don’t think I’ve ever forgiven them.
43. Twilight Singers, Postbahnhof, Berlin, 2006. Mark Lanegan sang with them. Wonderful cover of “I’m on Fire.”
44. Ken Nordine, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 1997, I think. Fantastic to hear his “Colors” stuff live.
45. Hurricane #1, The Zodiac, Oxford, 1996. Bus trip from London ran by Creation for music industry lowlifes like me. Shit band, but being drunk in Oxford was fun.
46. Killdozer, Subterranea, London, 1990. All I remember was it being loud and very difficult to get back to my hotel.
47. Duran Duran, Columbiahalle, 2004. Really was a magnificent night out. They played “Careless Memories” and it was superb.
48. Pan Sonic, roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 1999. Supported by Richie Hawtin. One of the best experiences of my life.
49. Rufus Wainwright, Passionkirche, Berlin, 2004. Such a happy, happy night.
50. Magnetic Fields, Passionkirche, Berlin, 2004. Most boring concert I’ve ever seen.
It’s a very self-indulgent blog post, but if it inspires you to make a similar list, it’ll be worth it purely because it’s a lot of fun to remember so many good nights out, and to flick around in iTunes for a while. Music has been good to me, it really has.