I’ve generally adopted a rule of thumb for live gigs – the bigger the crowd, the more disappointing the experience. The other golden rule is never expect your favourite tunes to be performed as you’d want to hear them – that way, you’ll never be disappointed.
Having said that, some of the most memorable live gigs I’ve seen have been by the following bands:
The Style Council (mainly because I’d “taken a trip” beforehand)
The Church (deafening – no wonder Kilbey has severe tinnitus)
The Cruel Sea
TISM (once, at the much loved Trade Union Club in 1989)
The Dandy Warhols
Dr Feelgood (three times)
Honourable mentions – the Moffs, the Happy Hate Me Nots. Seen many times in pubs across good ol’ Surry Hills.
Venues are often a very important factor in whether or not a gig is enjoyable. Don’t know how many of you ever had the pleasure of seeing a gig at Selina’s in Coogee, but my goodness, it was an experience and not necessarily in a good way. The Prodigy gig for example, was in January (’97?) and by the time we left, the auditorium would have been about 45 degrees, complemented by 93.1% humidity. We were so stuffed we actually blundered across to the beach and utilised the showers there (probably around midnight). There is nothing quite like catching a taxi from Coogee to Newtown at 12:30am on a Sunday morning wearing soaking wet black Levi’s drainpipes.
The most disappointing gig? Gil Scott-Heron, 1995. Did not play any of his signature tunes, instead he bemused the audience by solely playing the tracks from his latest album, none of which I (and presumably most of the audience) had ever heard before.
The other side of live performances are studio gigs, where the songs will often most closely resemble their original recording. I thoroughly recommend Cats have a look through the catalogue of “Later … With Jools Holland” if you’re interested in catching some absolute classics performed live by just about any artist of any note since 1992.
Anyway, enough self-indulgence from me – here’s the two intro songs.
Simple Minds – Glittering Prize, Newcastle 1982 (definitive line up)
INXS – Never tear us apart, Later Archive (1994)
Let’s see some interesting and obscure gigs posted in the comments, Cats!