29 December 2008

Best of 2008...Live Music Shows, Part 1

I've wanted to do this for ages, but for the past two years that inspiration would come and go by the wayside...or at least would not get 'recalled' until the proper time for such posts had long since past. This year, I'll maybe get some of this down at last. It's still unknown how many parts this will be.

Best shows from this year (in no particular order, and I've thrown in pictures where I could...and please forgive if they are repeats from the slide shows):

  • AC/DC at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, December 18. I've expounded on this at length to anyone within earshot, so I'll spare you non-heavy-metalheads another plug for these legends' Black Ice world tour. Still amazed they're as good as they were (esp as they've been doing this for 35+ years), and still do not regret a cent spent for my rather highly-priced (for me, $100+) ticket. Would enthusiastically still do it again, although not on the backside of a 24-hr-long beach vacation.

    AC/DC performing "You Shook Me All Night Long", Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC, December 18, 2008.

  • St. Patrick's Day celebration featuring Hercules Mulligan and My Three Kilts, and a host of other acts before and after, at Tir Na Nog, Raleigh, March 15 weekend. Not only music and beer, but quite easily the most agreeably drunk lot of Irish, Irish-descendant, and Irish-wannabes I've ever encountered in this neck of the woods. I will not put up pictures of such event on here to protect the innocent, however let me just say I'm frankly not sure who was the more 'memorable': Chris King (lead singer of the Hercs), the combined talent of My Three Kilts (who had the difficult job of directly following the Hercs), or my beloved Wise Ricky, who reduced himself to banging in rhythm on the table with the silverware, scaring all of the neighbouring table guests, and then somehow remembering his Virginia upbringing by calling his Irish mother to wish her a happy holiday...all the while banging away on said wooden tables.

  • Great Big Sea at Fletcher Opera Theater in The Progress Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, October 29. A strong runner-up to Best Show (Period) this year...Alan Doyle and Company had the audience eating out of their hands from the outset and kept it going all night long. My first Great Big Sea concert down here and I did not leave disappointed. I've seen Mr. Doyle before...but with another band and on mostly on another continent...and was more than pleasantly surprised with his easy demeanor and friendly style (the other arrangement did not let him speak much). The show wasn't so much a concert per se, but more a singalong party atmosphere among an earnestly devoted group of fans --- fans who knew every word, and to every song, for the most part. Standing room only from the first chord to the end, too (at least in my section).

    And dispute the complaints of the reviewer linked here (calling it 'a ridiculous distraction'), I thought the 'fan jumping on stage to declare her love for her now husband and children' bit was more than a bit welcome, and actually very well received, by most in attendance. (C'mon, people, have a heart.) I found out post-concert that the 'she' (and her husband) in question are Friends of this Blogger (and great friends and supporters of the Hercs as well), aka Mr. and Mrs. Pat Young. Well done, everybody.

    Great Big Sea performing in the Fletcher Opera Theater at The Progress Energy Performing Arts Center, Raleigh, NC, October 29, 2008.

  • Barleyjuice at The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in Linville, July 12. While I've been on the fence about who the Kings of the Mountain are, so to speak, in the past, I do think that Barleyjuice slightly nudged out the Scottish lads of Albannach this go-around (at the Highland Games, anyway...it's a friendly competition). I love their energy, I love their instrumental work, I love the happy-go-lucky rumble of their characters. Given the especially difficult task of getting this year's Saturday Night Concert going (previous acts had lulled some of the audience into a bit of a nap), the Barleyjuice lads more than took on the challenge and won. Additional shows at the Williamsburg Scottish Festival later in October only cemented my appreciation of them.

    Barleyjuice performing in one of the morning grove stages at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Linville, NC, July 12, 2008.

  • Reckless Kelly, Nashville Pussy and The Reverend Horton Heat at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, November 6. I hate to say this, but I all but missed Reckless Kelly this show (and, yes, I know I shall burn for this, as RK is a damn fine band). I've seen RK do several other shows over the years, and I guess I saw it as a reasonable sacrifice in terms of things to come. The last time I saw the Rev at the Lincoln...last year in a memorable trifecta that had Nashville Pussy opening (something seems so wrong when typing that), Hank Williams III/Assjack in the mid-show, and the Reverend closing...I had the misfortune of (a) being a bit body slammed into the side walls (courtesy of the 'hillbilly mosh pit' that occurred during the Assjack set), and (b) losing out on getting an additional beer later on, and (c) seriously wondered if I was getting too old for this fan base.

    So armed with that knowledge this year, I deliberately set out to get the beer rations in advance and also a handy T-shirt work shirt. Reckless Kelly almost-miss aside, the Nashville Pussy show was absolutely top-notch and the RHH (especially my favourite bassist ever, Jimbo) showed, once again, why they deserve to be headliners anywhere they go. (And while we're speaking of headliners, I fully expect Pussy to be doing just that next year...they consistently get, and keep, a show going.) And I didn't once miss the body slamming into the outside wall.

    The Reverend Horton Heat at The Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC, November 6, 2008. All-time crowd pleaser Jimbo is on the stand-up bass to the right.

    More wonderful mentions as time allows tomorrow night...
  • No comments: