My Top 5 Classic Rock Concerts
Working in radio for the past 20 years, I’ve been very fortunate to attend a lot of concerts. In fact, there’s only five major acts on my bucket list I haven’t been able to see: The Stones, The Who, Zeppelin, McCartney and the Grateful Dead.
I had the chance to see the Dead back in the 90′s, but foolishly spent my ticket money on drugs in the parking lot outside of the show. Less than a year later, Jerry Garcia has died. In fact, I saw Tom Petty on the night Jerry died his tribute was as close to a Dead concert as I ever got. I learned right then and there, if there’s a band you want to see, you’d better see them when the chance because you never know if that’ll be their last tour.
With that in mind, here’s the Top 5 Classic Rock Concerts I’ve been to:
1. Pink Floyd “Division Bell” Tour 1994. Mile High Stadium, Denver. This was Floyd’s final US Tour and I was there for the Denver show. At the time, we all complained that tickets were $40. Nowadays, that wouldn’t buy a ticket to any concert. The stage show was, and still is, the most elaborate production I have ever witnessed. Interestingly enough, a fellow concert goer a couple rows back actually threatened to call the ushers on the people who were smoking weed. Until he realized that everyone was smoking weed, except for him.
2. Guns N Roses and Metallica 1992. Mile High Stadium, Denver. For metalheads in my generation, this was as good as it gets. Only it wasn’t. After Metallica turned in a blistering set, GnR took over an hour to come on stage. Then Axl Rose left the stage halfway through the first song. Only to return 45 minutes later for a shortened set. We didn’t know it at the time, but Axl had actually left Mile High Stadium that night and was headed back to the hotel before the legendary Barry Fey “coerced” his into returning to the venue (rumor has it, he held Axl at gunpoint). Needless to say, the ongoing “Who’s better, GnR or Metallica?” debate wasn’t much of a debate at my high school after that evening.
3. The Eagles “Hell Freezes Over” Tour in 1995. Mile High Stadium, Denver. At the time, this was one of the biggest reunion tours ever. I saw the second leg of the tour in the summer of ’95. In the summer of ’94, a few of my friends who saw the first leg ended up in a paddy wagon after they were found to be “drunk in public” by the local police. I saw them in Mile High Stadium and we actually ended up sneaking up to the 25th row. At the time, there was a new product called “Bar-noculars”. They were replica binoculars used for smuggling booze into events. We filled ours with Jim Beam. Sadly, my college roommate drank both of the flasks on his way back from the t-shirt vendor.
4. KISS Reunion Tour 1997. McNichols Sports Arena, Denver. This is one of the funnest concerts I have ever seen. Die hard fans had waited 20 years for this reunion. For the rest of us, it was the first time we ever got to see this infamous stage show live. The band was great. Especially Ace Frehley, who stole the show with his killer solos. To this day, I have never heard a louder crowd at a concert. And I’ve seen AC/DC.
5. Fleetwood Mac Reunion Tour 1998. McNichols Sports Arena, Denver. This one was right up their with the KISS and Eagles reunion tour; a long time coming. While the crowd wasn’t nearly as rowdy as the KISS reunion the year before, this was a very memorable show. The band was outstanding and you could genuinely feel the chemistry. As much as I loved hearing Stevie Nicks sing all of those great songs, Mick Fleetwood’s drum solo was my personal highlight. It remains, to this day, the best drum solo I have ever seen live.
When you’ve seen as many shows as I have, it’s hard to pick your Top 5. Truth is, I’ve forgotten most concerts than most people have gone to. And if you can really remember the show, you probably weren’t really there.