What's the best concert you ever saw. Doesn't have to be GD


For me it was Bruuuce in 1980. Total electric crowd and Bruce was on fire.



Whole show is on YT,

Best performance, Billy Preston at the Roxy Theatre in LA LA land, late 70's...   I was seeing all the legends back then, but he just smoked the place with heart and soul, let alone chops!  Best of the best, with honors, sir!!! 

Honorable mentions;

Best Rock show;  AC/DC blowing Aerosmith off the stage, Long Beach arena in 78(?), AC/DC first US tour.

Most mesmerizing;  Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass, Mt Hood Jazz festival 1985.    

Best Choreography;  David Byrne, American Utopia tour (Eugene)

Best light show; Genesis late 70's (now everyone has great effects, but back then it was way different)

Saw AC/DC July 4th 1979 at a fest. Blew everyone off the stage.

Some more Bruce from 1980


David Bowie in 1976 at the New Haven Coliseum gave me my first real taste of epic rock and roll, and it didn't hurt that my buddy and I had fourth row center seats.

The Replacements last show in Grant Park in Chicago in 1991 was kind of crazy.

Koko Taylor at a dive bar in Joliet, Illinois in 1993. She was in her 60s at the time, but still had an amazing set of pipes on her.

David Byrne's American Utopia a few years ago at the Santa Barbara Bowl was just flat out amazing. As was the Sunday Billy Strings show there last June. He played for 2.5 hours straight, and I never stopped dancing the whole time. (Pro tip: don't try to keep up with the mandolin player.)

There's more I'm sure, but that's a start.

Monterey Pop Festival, 1967. If I had to choose one performer or group from that weekend it would be very hard. Maybe Otis Redding.

"Best" is likely not possible. In the memorable column, gut response is Prince, Purple Rain tour 85 LA Forum and first GD show fall 87 Long Beach.  Those were very impactful as a 14, 16 y/o.  Memorable?  Phish - 12/31 Big Cypress.  Still not sure I've ever had a night like that before, after...

Hard to answer. I'd bet a dollar,  every answer the ticket to  the shoe was way less than a hundred dollars. 

I won't take that bet, jaz.

Simon and Garfunkel in Central Park in 1981 (for free).

Pink Floyd Animals Cleveland Stadium 77 adventure of a lifetime at 15 hitch hiking to Cleveland with my lifelong friend. Hitch hiking back home at 2 am to some hicktown in Ohio, one of those Harold and Kumamoto White Castle kind of nights 

Here is a double entry AC/DC opening for UFO on their first tour. Bon Scott and Angus were magic 

Bob Seger


Jane's Addiction at toads

Clash at us festival

Og black sabbath New Haven coliseum 

Byrds 71 Oakdale Wallingford

Mahavishnu Orchestra 72 Palace Waterbury  (1st of 2 shows I attended in my life that I can honestly say I left a different person than the one who walked in to the show)

Mahavishnu Orchestra opening for Zappa 75 Palace Waterbury

The Who 75 Springfield Civic Center 

Allman Brothers 86 Riverside Park Agawam Mass in a drenching rain

Roger Waters Radio KAOS tour in Hartford  (2nd show I left a different person)

Off the top o me head

Oh moto spellcheck 

Sonny Rollins -  On a double-decker boat sailing around Manhattan, summer 1986. A few days before this show, Sonny had played outdoors in Saugerties, NY. While playing he jumped off the 6 foot high platform they were playing on, and broke his heel. The performance on the boat had him sitting in a chair, with his lower leg in a cast, and his leg resting on an ottoman. His playing that night was unbelievable, as energetic as anyone could get. The encore was a 15 minute 'Don't Stop The Carnival' where he was bouncing in the chair while playing, to the point where we thought the chair was going to break. I had no idea a musician could put out notes the way he was doing it. Improvisation on top of solos on top of improvisation. I became a fan for life, and never missed a show of his again. In my mind, one of the greatest musicians of all time.

That Clash US Festival show was epic. Last show with Mick Jones.

>>>>Roger Waters Radio KAOS tour in Hartford  (2nd show I left a different person)


we were 10th row for that one, thanks for the reminder...

the "nuke" going off still haunts my dreams

The first time I saw Zero was at the Sweetwater in the summer of 1986. I knew of John Cippolina from his work with Quicksilver, but it was the new guy, Steve Kimock, who stole the show.

So many, a couple GD of course, Grisman Quintet, New Grass Revival, Tony Rice, original Mahavishnu Orchestra, Mile's Pangea tour, Pat Martino, four piece Derek Trucks Band. Kimock playing Cole's Law at the Howard Theater in DC.

If I have to pick one the original Allman Brothers Band at the Atlanta Pop Fest.  

I am elderly.

Allman Brothers Fillmore East 6/26/71 late show

Pink Floyd Carnegie Hall 5/2/72

Husker Du Maxwell's 10/4/84

Gov't Mule Deepest End Saenger 5/3/03

LCD Soundsystem "Farewell" show MSG 4/2/11


Too Many -  in no particular order

Chemical Brothers - Warfield

Cramps - Channel Boston

Peter Gabriel - Orpheum Boston and again The Greek Berkeley

Indigo Girls - Greek Berkeley

David Bowie - Warfield

Laurie Anderson - Somewhere in Boston

Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald - New Port Jazz Festival

Yo La Tengo - Warfield

Santana - Fillmore

Husker Do - Providence

Joan Armatrading - Concord NH

Levon Helm > Grateful Dead - Lewiston ME 1980

The Kinks - Cape Cod


I'm not sure I could pick just one as best as I've been fortunate to see several amazing performances over 55 plus years of concert going. So here's just a couple of my favorite/memorable/best ones just through 1977 (saw some great shows after that but don't feel like taking it further as the list would be long) in somewhat chronological order as some of the earlier dates are a little fuzzy. Comes with the territory I guess.

1967 Vanilla Fudge & Iron Butterfly at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, NJ 

1968 The Doors, Vancouver, Canada 

1969 - Guess 

8/6/70 Festival For Peace, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Creedence and many other great artists, Shea Stadium, NYC

8/17/71 Jefferson Airplane/ Commander Cody, Gaelic Park, NYC

8/28/71 Elton John, Asbury Park, NJ

11/25/71 Emerson Lake & Palmer NYC  

1972  Pick about any East coast Grateful Dead show from 3/25 thru the Stanley Theater shows in Jersey City, NJ

6/6/73 Old & In The Way, Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ

4/1/74 Mike Bloomfield & Friends, The Bottom Line, NYC

11/5/74 Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders 

10/26/75 Hot Tuna, William Patterson College, Wayne, NJ  

11/6/76 Lou Reed, Capital Theater, Passaic NJ

9/3/77 Grateful Dead, Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ


12/31/81- The Grateful Dead 

Pink Floyd  1977 Anaheim Ca

Echo and the Bunnymen Mayan Theater L.A. and the Arlington Theater santa barbara ( forget the years )

Several DNB shows

Ryan Adams And The Cardinals tucson az

PLQ 2001 Greek berkeley  3 show run


there are others

I've been thinking long and hard about this today and while I've seen my share of top--the-heap concerts over the years I believe these two are in a virtual tie for #1. 

Peter Gabriel Secret World Tour at the Brendan Byrne Arena in E. Rutherford, NJ. I don't think any concert production will ever match that Gabriel tour. A male and female stage, moving conveyor belts transporting set pieces and musicians between the two, alien space craft landing from the upper reaches of the arena, rotating projection screens, miniature cameras focusing on various musician body parts. all of the band, with the exception of Gabriel climbing into an oversized suitcase and being carted by a straining Peter. I've talked to a number of lighting/stage managers for various rock bands and almost all of them call that tour the one that blazed horizons in staging that hadn't even been thought of before. Add a kick-ass band playing a stellar song collection and it would be hard to not rate this one so highly. 

The other show was simply the purest rock show I ever witnessed. That one is Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at the Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ, on September 19, 1978. I had been traveling the US following this tour and was planning on following it to the end. After this show, which was broadcast on WNEW-FM and many other stations in the Northeast, I stumbled out into the Passaic night thinking to myself that it will never get any better than that night, found buyers for the upcoming shows and decided that any more would be chasing the dragon. Didn't go to another Springsteen show for 14 years!!! It was that good. 

For me, I'll say the best concert I've ever seen is Grateful Dead 12/31/78 Winterland.

That one isn't my favorite concert, which would be Grateful Dead 2/17/79 Oakland Coliseum, but the Winterland show was definitely the best overall.

My top five (breaking the thread instructions) are those two, along with Jeff Beck 1980 at the Greek Berkeley, Talking Heads 1983 at the Greek, Grateful Dead 9/11/81 Greek.

(The Greek Theatre has a gravitas that elevates events)

And then many, MANY more.

might be this one


Green Day at Woodstock 94 stands out

George Jones in a scuzzy Vegas showroom, maybe 2000ish


I forgot about this one: Maybe best, maybe not best, but maybe best because most emotional, deepest, most welcome, special, important:

Jerry's first show after his coma, JGB, October 1986 at the Stone in SF.

I'll play!

Johnny Winter 12/23/1978 Old Waldorf.  He came out solo, sang maybe 2 verses, and started to jam blistering electric blues, on and on... We turned to each other and said:  "This is still the first song!"

King Crimson 11/27/1981, 11/28/1981 Old Waldorf.  $8.50, late show, both nights.  Explosive.

Peter Rowan, Mark O'Connor, Jerry Douglas xx/xx/1985(?) Great American Music Hall.  The newgrass maestros were new to me then, but Pete was amazing, so many songs, and that voice!

John Renbourn Group 4/29/1988 Kresge Town Hall - UCSC.  Ship of Fools tour.  The acoustic instrumentation, the voices and harmonies.  Ahhh...

Michael Hedges, Michael Manring 10/12/1996 Luther Burbank Center.  Manring was new to me then.  Alone and together.  Oh my!

Govt Mule 9/20/2001 Warfield Theatre.  Twenty bucks for 4 hours of music (and my first show after 9/11) with an amazing rotating Deep End lineup.

Jerry Garcia Band, Lake Tahoe 1988

Grateful Dead, Rochester 11-7-85

Jerry Garcia Band, Warfield. 4-30-92, Riot night.

Bob Dylan, Princeton Univ., Dillon Gym, 2000

Neil and Crazy Horse, Old Princeton Landing, 3-19-96

A few more I might consider "best", depending on the day.


Doesn't have to be GD, but it is, and there are at least 20+ Grateful Dead concerts that was the best concert I ever saw.

“They aren’t the best at what they do, they are the only ones that do what they do” ~ Bill Graham

>>>Gov't Mule Deepest End Saenger 5/3/03


At that one too(backstage)

Neat that I attended 2 concerts listed above(not including the GD/JGB shows) as favorite shows by other Zoner's

I wouldn't know where to begin to make a list. 

Most of my favorites were more about me and the good times I had rather than what happened on stage.

1999 Shoreline Roger Waters(front row)

1991 Jerry on the Eel

199? John Prine with a full band on his birthday Catalyst, Santa Cruz

Just about every S.C.O.T.S. concert I've seen.

1999 Galactic late night Mt. Aire 

1990 Latvian Song festival Riga, Latvia


Favorite concert, I don't know.  Favorite memory has to be Grateful Dead in Telluride 

B-52's in Telluride!!!

Grateful Dead 6/20/83 Merriweather Post Pavilion (my 1st GR show)

Grateful Dead 9/7/85 Red Rocks

Formerly The Warlocks  10/9/89 Hampton Coliseum

Sacred Drums (Max Roach, Tito Puente, Olatunji, etc,) 10/17/90 Duke Ellington School For The Performing Arts, Washington D.C.

R.E.M. (with The Minutemen opening) 12/5/85 The Mosque, Richmond, Virginia

Rock Against Reagan (Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, MDC, Government Issue, etc.) free show on the Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial 7/3/83

Johnson Mountain Boys early 90s, Warrenton, Virginia Courthouse lawn, as part of the Bluemont Concert series

The Rolling Stones 8/14/2019 Century Link Field, Seattle, Washington

The Rolling Stones 12/7/81 The Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland 

Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys 1/18/93 "America's Reunion" free concerts on the Mall in Washington D.C. to celebrate Bill Clinton's inauguration 

Toots & The Maytals/Burning Spear Reggae On The River 1997

Neil Young & Crazy Horse/Los Lobos opening 11/10/2012 Key Arena, Seattle, Washington

Ray Davies 07/14/2012 Neptune Theatre, Seattle, Washington

Neville Brothers/Dr. John/Buckwheat Zydeco Summer of 1988, Wolftrap Farm Park, Vienna, Virginia

Allman Brothers Band 7/8/89 Columbia,,Maryland, Merriweather Post Pavilion

>>>1999 Galactic late night Mt. Aire<<<

THAT was a raging show!



Hands down no mo roof

The Who in Cincinnati December 1979.


Camper Van Beethoven in Tijuana,  August '89

Monks of Doom, the Casbah San Diego 1991




X & the Blasters,  Disneyland,  May 1985  (around midnight, blasted on acid)


Masada... 1996? Khyber Pass, Philadelphia. 


This was a heck of a night/day


Mom's Ball Feb 17, 2006 New Orleans!!!>

Andres Osbourne 10:30 AM Feb 18, 2006 Le Bon Temp, Nola>

Crawfish Boil 2pm Feb 18, 2006 on the neutral ground on St. Charles for Bacchus Parade

8/17/71 Jefferson Airplane/ Commander Cody, Gaelic Park, NYC>>>

GD final show with the original 5, same venue, 8/26/71

Wasn't at this Bruce show but the audience is sure having a good time.


Dr. Doolittle ~ you should be on the payroll. wink

Hey if Bruce wants to shoot a check my way I'm all for it.

I've been noodling on this and had to do some research to get accurate dates: 

Not in priority order....

Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder -- May 2022

David Grisman Quintet in a meadow in the north Cascade mountains, near Leavenworth, WA  -- July/Aug 2000 -- Could not find a recording or video, but this was at the Icicle Chamber Music Series (LOL)

David Lindley and El Rayo X, Santana, Grateful Dead, Angel's Camp 1987

David Nelson Band Hawaii 2020  (all of it ;)

JGB Seattle Paramount Theater 1984

Phil's 70th Birthday @ BGCC, 2010

Art Blakey​'s Jazz Messengers Reims, France, 1985 or 86   Likely lineup in those years: Terence Blanchard (tp), Jean Toussaint (ts), Donald Harrison (as), Mulgrew Miller (p), Lonnie Plaxico (b) , Art Blakey (ds)

The Q @The CAP October 2021 -- because finally, it was my first Q show.





After last night, I have to add Patti Smith to my list.

Talking Heads NY 1980

Tuna 76

Englishtown 77


No particular order~off the top of my head:

The Who performing Quadrophenia at Great Western Forum in fall '96

Tedeschi Trucks performing Mad Dogs and Englishmen w guests...LOCKN 2014(?)

Richard Thompson Band at Strawberry Music Festival...spring 2004

DNB 2/14/2009 forestville club

John McLaughlin w opener Jimmy Herring at Warfield Dec 2018

PLQ 9/25/2003 (my 39th bday)at the warfield

CSNY acoustic at Arlington theater Santa Barbara '88

Hot Tuna/David LindleyEl Rayo-x/commander cody on the Eel '88

Neil Young and Crazy horse at the Forum-Oct '78 

Neil Young and Crazy horse at Universal Amph. '87

Neil Young and Crazy horse at LA Sports Arena, opening acts buck pets, social distortion in 91