Strange but true, I have to say the best show I ever saw -- and got into -- was Dream Syndicate in Baltimore in June 1988.
I was only a moderate fan of them before then, and this turned out to be their final tour. And yet it was held at Hammerjacks, which was a gargantuan heavy metal headbanger club that lasted a number of years until I think the early 90s. (It was like having a drink in the middle of one big, horrible Winger video.)
Dream Syndicate -- often cited as key members of L.A.'s "paisley underground" scene in the 80s (a sort of revival of Velvet Underground-influenced music) -- was completely out of place. Like they were ready to lynch their booking agent. But they went ahead anyway and played an intense show to a wholly unappreciative crowd...except for maybe me and one of their roadies. The rest of the crowd gathered in the other corner of the bar, exchanged hairspray and makeup tips, and listened to Dio.
After that I would probably have to pick the time I saw Fugazi play in Chicago in July of 1990 -- a much better performance and a better crowd than when I caught them for the first time at 924 Gilman in Berkeley just a couple months before. Chicago's own Trenchmouth opened. Guy Picciotto seemed to perform half that show standing on his head.
Seattle 1989 is really one of the best concerts ever made. If you liked Cunnings stuns I don't know what you will think about this one. They are from two different universes. In Seattle they are really on fire, they play heavy and loud. In cunnings stunts they are rather unenthusiastic and they don't even play the full mastodont Master of puppets. Hetfield's voice in Seattle is absolutely fantastic and that was before he had taken any singing lessons. Ullrich's double-bass play in this show is by far the best I've ever heard, some songs such as the opening Blackened are so great fromUllrich that it erases all the doubts about his capacity right away. The best song from Seattle is Harvester of sorrow.
The most important difference is that Seattle isa genuine metal performance while Cunning stunts is more of a commercial concert. Seattle also makes you realize that perhaps the black album wasn't all that important.
Seattle 1989 is found in the Live shit - Binge & Purge box.
AC/DC's No bull tour is a good choice. Not only because of the music but also because of the great scenery and especially my favourite Angus Young.
Pink Floyd's Pulse tour was the best musical performance ever. They must have soundchecked for days in order to make the sound so good. It really takes some masterminds to make their songs so good live, I didn't think it was possible before I heard this.
Chuck Berry's concert from Albert Hall is on of the best concerts I've seen on teve. He really knows how to get contact with the audience.
And if you're looking for pure entertainment value beyond anything musical per se, few concerts I've seen can match the performance art of San Diego's Crash Worship. If you haven't seen one of their shows, definitely check them out. Wear something disposable. And don't go if you fear open flame or being sprayed by unknown fluids.
Whatever you do, just don't go do something stupid like buy one of their recordings.
Are we talking concerts that we've been to, or concerts that we've seen on TV.
If we're talking about the former, then hell, I've got a ton. I've been going to shows since 1976 when I saw KISS at the age of 7.
So, here we go.
#1) Prince- 1987, Rome Italy. during the Sign O the Times tour. Happened to be on vacation during that time, and as luck would have it, my cousin scored a couple of tickets for us. Don't know what she had to do to get them, but I appreciate the sacrifice.
#2) Rush- 2004 Boston, Mass. Actually, it was last month. 30th anniversary tour. 3 1/2 hours of intellectual rock-godliness. Neil Peart is still the best drummer on earth.
#3) Van Halen, Providence RI, 1984. The last tour with david Lee Roth. they opened up with Unchained, and 3 hours later, my life was never the same
#4) Bon Jovi- 1988 Providence, RI. Don't laugh. The man puts on a great show. Also happened to be his B'day that night, and we sang happy Birthday to him and got shwoered with champagne. (3rd row)
#5) black Sabbath 1996 Boston Massachusetts- reunion tour. Absolutely amazing
#6) black Sabbath 1986, Providence RI. Black Sabbath themselves sucked ass in a major way, but the opening act that night happened to be this group called, um. what was their name again? Oh Yea, Metallica.
#7) KISS, 1979 Providence RI- Dynasty tour, when they came out with their disco song. The 76 Destroyer tour and 77 Love gun tours were better, but I had front row for this one, and Paul Stanley gave me his fireman's hat that he was wearing at the show.
#8) Prince, 2 weeks ago, Boston massachusetts- He still has it. Phoenomenal guitar player, and the best part of it was we went to the afterparty that he held, and he performed for another 2 hours after that. didn't get home till 7 the next morning.
#9) Metallica 1988, Providence RI.- And Justice for All tour. Need I say more? any setlist that includes "Breadfan" is alright with me.
#10) 2Pac. 1994, The Living Room, Providence RI. Hey, who knew what would happen 2 years later.