August 10, 2005

Music meme.

Here's a new meme suggested by the comments on this post from yesterday. Commenters correctly guessed that I saw Iron Butterfly perform "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida." (It was 1969, at the Atlantic City Pop Festival, and they played a very long version of their big song twice.)

Picking up the cue, commenters started talking about great acts they had the privilege to see in their prime. And Volokh Conspiracy's Jim Lindgren totally won.

But it made me think of a new question: If you could travel back in time, which five music performances would you like to see? Give the artists' names, the year you want to hear them in, and -- to make it more interesting -- the song you want them to play.

UPDATE: This chart might help. (And let me just brag that I was at the June 14, 1969 and the May 15, 1970 show.) That chart suggests lots of other questions: the one show you'd most like to have seen, the most obscure show, the most ridiculous combination, the most quintessentially sixties show ...


vbspurs said...

Oh no, it had to be a music meme. It couldn't be a cinema meme, when I'm on terra firma.

I saw Frank Sinatra perform when I was nothing more than a little girl (the ushers didn't even complain at my presence either, nor did the audience get snarky with my parents, "Couldn't you find a minder then?").

I don't even know when that was (1982 at a guess), but I am happy today I can make that boast on Althouse.

P.S.: I have my Top 10 Films of all Time ready to go, Ann. Just say the word!


goesh said...

Jimi the H. Janis Joplin Jefferson Airplane Iron Butterfly and the Doors - anywhere, anytime. Right on, man!
Power to the people! Tell it like it is! That's heavy, I mean really heavy! I mean like, man, all kinds of shit will be coming down - all the heads will be there, man!

Meade said...

Sherman, set the wayback machine to 1958, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England.
Artist: Buddy Holly & The Crickets
Song: Rave On

DB said...

Well, let me be extravagant:

In no order:

Django Reinhardt (QHCF) 1937
Charley Patton 1929
the Wolf 1962
Moon era Who 1971
Led Zeppelin 1976
the original Ramones 1977 (late enough for Rocket to Russia material)

Can't stick to the song requirement. Way too many songs, plus, I always find an artist's own setlist interesting.

Ann Althouse said...

Let me be clear: Iron Butterfly was not very good. But in the days before people actually figured out how to do heavy properly, they had real idea and it was fun to see the phenomenon emerge, butterflylike.

Charlie Martin said...

Mozart, any time.
Bach when he did the improv thing that led to the "Musical Offering".
Beethoven's first performance of the 9th Symphony.
Bessie Smith in a bordello bar.

bill said...

1924 Paul Whiteman Aeolian Hall Concert. This concert was the debut for Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue - very fast-paced with a banjo solo. In 1984, Maurice Peress reproduced the entire concert with the original scores. I had thought this had never been released on CD, but according to I was wrong.

Prince, 1982-84, First Avenue. Before “Purple Rain” Prince had a habit of showing up at First Avenue unannounced and performing. Never lucky enough to be there on the right night.

Kinks, 1964. The first time they performed You Really Got Me.

Newport, 1965. Dylan Goes electric. Why were they booing?

The Wallets, 1986 or 1987? Outdoor concert in Loring Park. Perfect summer moment I’d like to see again. Minneapolis’ best band with the best version of My Girl I’ve ever heard.

Ron said...

Beethoven, 5th Piano Concerto

Beatles, Sweden, 1963

Brian Eno & Robert Fripp, when they used to do their very odd 'tour', 1975

The Cramps, I dunno, 1982?

hmmm...maybe even Nancy Sinatra doing "Boots are made for Walking" back when it first came out...with her dancer backups, of course!

Ron said...

Wouldn't it have been fun to see the Beatles rooftop show in Jan, '69 from a nearby roof? You can see a few people do that in the video...

Contributors said...

1. Sinatra 1965 in Vegas singing Luck Be A Lady.

2. Sinatra 1968 in Vegas singing September Song

3. A 1956 Alan Freed all-star spectacular with Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the rest. I know the song I wouldn't want to hear is the all-star jam.

4. Morrison at the Whiskey-a-go-go singing anything.

5. Any Elvis concert before he found uppers in the Army.

Tom said...

The Replacements, First Avenue, the night Bob Stinson was knocked cold by a beer bottle thrown from the audience.

Joseph Angier said...

It's just a testament to my misspent high school years (just a subway ride away from St. Marks Place), but I probably hold this particular record. Just after the Fillmore East closed for good, there was a magazine with a listing of all the shows that played there. After counting down, I realized that I'd been to 91 of those shows.

But remember, when I first started going there in the spring of '68, tickets were 3,4 and 5 dollars. When it closed three years later, I think the top proce was still only 7 bucks.

Joseph Angier said...

PS -- That included Iron Butterfly. They were the headliners ... The warm-up act that night was the newly-formed Led Zepellin.

Pat Patterson said...

Now I know I'm old. Jimi Hendrix "Manic Depression" 1967, Cream "I'm So Glad", Big Brother and the Holding Company "Piece of My Heart' 1968, Traffic "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys", and something only over 25 years ago The Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen" 1977. What's really depressing is that I was on the ten year plan in college and saw all these bands while still in school.

Pat Patterson said...

Now I know I'm old. Jimi Hendrix "Manic Depression" 1967, Cream "I'm So Glad", Big Brother and the Holding Company "Piece of My Heart' 1968, Traffic "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" 1971, and something from only 25 years ago The Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen" 1977. What's really depressing is that I was on the ten year plan in college and saw all these bands while still in school.

JZ said...

Those of us in Detroit had a place called the Grande Ballroom in the late 60s where I saw Procol Harem, Cream, Mary Hopkin, Joe Cocker and some others who I don't care to name. Joe Cocker, with the Grease Band, was my favorite. It was a place you went without telling your parents.

Kathy Herrmann said...

Melissa Etheridge in Spokane in 1995. Just after Yes I Am came out. Fabulous performance and she held the audience enthralled.

Etheridge held the concert at a smallish venue (Spokane Opera House maybe?) with no more than about 25-30 rows. I sat towards the back of the theater but it still felt close to the stage.

fenster said...

This will mark me as a New Englander, and only New Englanders will know whereof I speak:

Barry and the Remains, circa 1966.
Song: Don't Look Back.

I'd also love to have seen the early, pre-bombast Who doing I Can't Explain or I Can See for Miles. Same era.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

[1] Mozart as a child prodigy. [2]Bruce Springsteen, dropping into the Stone Pony before he and the E Street Band really hit the big time, but when those in Asbury Park knew they had talent. [3] Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens the day *before* the music died. [4] The Beatles in Shea Stadium. [5] Bad Company playing at the IronWorks in Columbus, Georgia on November 17, 1988--my first date [a blind one] with my husband. I would not be able to tell you the songs I want to hear...I want to hear the whole bloody concert!

Dr. Tufte said...

Genesis with Peter Gabriel. The 1975 Lamb tour would've been great, but the sound was lousy, so I'll opt for the Selling England by the Pound Tour of 1973-4, and I'd like to see Supper's Ready.

Grateful Dead ... something from one of the Fillmores in the Spring of 1971 - probably Hard to Handle.

Allman Brothers - anything with Duane that was a bit more upbeat.

Derek and the Dominos - Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?

Dire Straits - I skipped them on my last chance to see them figuring they'd be around the next summer.

Dr. Tufte said...

The Iron Butterfly post reminded me of the one and only Right Said Fred concert where they opened with I'm Too Sexy, covered something, and then closed with I'm Too Sexy.

Earl said...

Artist: The Who

Song: My Generation

Venue: Leeds University, Feb 1970

This, ladies and gentlemen, IS the majesty of rock.

Dwight said...

I think this list would change every day, but for today's it would be
1) Elvis Presley, just before recording his first record (1954?), any song (runner-up: to be present during the "million dollar quartet" at Sun)
2) The Clash, 1977, any song (runner up: the Sex Pistols performance on the Thames during the Queen's Silver Jubilee)
3) A Harlem great from the 30s or 40s--Louis Jordan is today's pick; any song
4) James Brown at the Apollo in 1962, any song
5) Husker Du, 1985 or 1986, any song (didn't see them live until 1987, unfortunately)

Flamen Dialis said...

1. The Monochrome Set - Early 80s - Anywhere they played shortly after the release of their "Love Zombies" LP, where they would be playing the majority of the material from that disc live. Song: "Eine Symphonie Des Grauens"

2. Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart - 1974 - Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. One of the shows that the main bulk of the material for the "Bongo Fury" LP was taken from. Song: "Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy"

3. UFO - Any late 70s show with the lineup of Phil Mogg, Michael Schenker, Pete Way, Andy Parker and Danny Peyronel. The same members for the "Force It" and "No Heavy Petting" LPs. Saw them with this lineup twice and it was too freaking incredible. The greatest metal band ever, in my opinion. Song: "Can You Roll Her"

4. Albert King & Otis Rush - Virtually any gig that these two guys played on the same stage together. Song: Any damned thing they felt like playin!

5. Emerson, Lake and Palmer - 1975-1975 - Any show from that Brain Salad Surgery tour. Song: "Toccata" or "Karn Evil 9, 2nd Impression"

It's painful narrowing this list down to only 5 choices!

XWL said...

First on the list has to be the first public performance of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Paris, France, 29th of May, 1913. Rioting, scandal, and no doubt amazing conversations with a guest list of the likes of Cocteau, Nijinksy, Picasso, and Duchamp (give me time to learn French and Russian fluently before heading back then though).

Second on the list would be seeing Farnielli in his prime. Purported to be the greatest of the Castrati (a movie a few years back was made about him). His first public performance in Venice in 1728 (let's add Italian to the list of languages) would be a good choice of time and venue. My reason for this is because it would be a unique experience, impossible to duplicate (and given how his vocal range was obtained, barbaric).

Third, Cheap Trick at Budokan, just cause that album rocks! 1976 Tokyo would be fun to see too (and again give me the time to become fluent in Japanese before sending me back.

Fourth, Lena Horne, any intergrated venue (the smaller the better) at any point in the 30s (that voice, that face, I wouldn't travel back to the Cotton Club, or venues of that ilk, for all the tea in China)

And Fifthly allow me a counterfactual time and place. The 1994 Lollapalooza tour (at the Aztec Bowl in San Diego) with an intact Nirvana (and alive Kurt Cobain). They had signed on to co-headline with The Smashing Pumpkins shortly before Kurt blew his brains out (and, no, he wasn't too pure for this world). I was at the actual concert (without Nirvana, but still had Pumpkins and Chili Peppers) and his spectre hung over the festivities. The eeriest moment being when 'All Apologies' played over the PA between sets and it seemed like everyone was singing along (SFU brought that back up for me recently, now it seems as if I imagined the whole thing, and it is possible it was a different Nirvana song, but memories are slippery that way).

Soooo many worthies left off this list, but what are you going to do (and since this comment string started with a Sinatra boast I saw him at the Desert Inn, Vegas, on Valentine's Day, with my honey, but it was in 1990, and he was in decline, but he was still Sinatra).

DRS said...

1. Jimi Hendrix opening for the Monkeys c. 1967 Little Wing
2. Dylan going electric at Newport Folk - Like a Rolling Stone
3. Any Beatles show at the Cavern Club '62? - Twist & Shout
4. John Mayall c. 1965? Clapton on guitar, All Your Lovin'
5. The Who, 1970, Tommy

goesh said...

Can I add Ravi Shankar to my list??

Kev said...

1) Miles Davis, c. 1959, anything off Kind of Blue.
2) Charlie Parker, Royal Roost, 1948...anything, anything at all.
3) Ella Fitzgerald, the famous concert in Berlin where she blew the lyrics to "Mack the Knife" (immortalized on vinyl and now on CD).
4) Frank Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra at the Sands, 1966, Fly Me to the Moon.
5) John Coltrane, any live performance of A Love Supreme, 1965, the whole thing.

Path said...

Iron Butterfly is from Tampa, Fl where I now reside. A concert that stands out for me was the Doors, The Who, and a band called Kangaroo at the Singer Bowel in NY in the summer of '68. The Who smashed their instruments, and Jim Morrison recited obscene poetry and threw chairs at the crowd and nearly started a riot. The Doors were the headliner. The music as well as a back from college reunion of friends made it special.

Jim Lindgren said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Lindgren said...

When I first read Ann’s question, I thought it was asking about rock or other popular music concerts that I wish I had seen, but when I read the comments, I realized that one would not be limited to the last 50 years or so. Accordingly, being transported back in time to a concert for a few hours, all my choices would be for going back to a time before I was born, as much to understand the time and place as to hear the music.

1. Water Music. I would love to have been on the barges floating down the Thames on July 17, 1717 to hear Handel’s Water Music performed three times (an hour each) by fifty musicians also on barges.

2. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. May 7, 1824, K√§rntnertor Theater, Vienna. At the first performance of his 9th Symphony, Beethoven insisted on conducting, even though he was completely deaf. Without his knowledge, another conductor was beating time for the orchestra. When the performance ended, Beethoven had to be grabbed on the arm and turned around to realize the ovation that the symphony was receiving. What a moment that must have been!

3. Giovanni Gabrieli, 1597, Cathedral San Marco, Venice. I would love to have heard Gabrieli in his prime.

4. Aleksandr Scriabin, Prometheus: Poem of Fire, March 29, 1915. The premiere of Scriabin’s Prometheus, complete with light show would have been fun.

5. Leroy W’s choice of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in Paris in 1913 sounds pretty good to me as well, though if I gave it more thought, I’d probably bump both of my 20th century performances for particular performances of Mozart and Bach.

One more thing: imagine you could bring along two high quality movie cameras and microphones and film the walk to the theater, the crowd filing in, the performances, and the cafe talk afterward. Can you imagine what historical value such a film would provide on life, architecture, and even the pronunciation of words in England in 1717, Venice in 1597, and Vienna in 1824 -- not to mention instrumentation and performance techniques?

Jim Lindgren

CraigC said...

Iron Butterfly was not very good. But in the days before people actually figured out how to do heavy properly, they had real idea and it was fun to see the phenomenon emerge, butterflylike

Ann, Ann, Ann. "Before people actually figured out how to do heavy?" Are you talking about '69? Hendrix had three albums out by '69, and there was a ton of good heavy bands.

James said...

1) Jimi Hendrix
2) Stevie Ray Vaugh
3) Lollapalooza, with Pearl Jam and Nirvana
4) U2 at Red Rocks, the infamous Sunday Bloody Sunday video
5) sorry, can't think of a 5th, I've seen too many good concerts.

Ann Althouse said...

CraigC: You're right, though there is something about the origin of heavy metal that I'm trying to get at. Hendrix was never called "heavy metal." On Iron Butterfly's historical role re h.m., here's Wikipedia:

The word "heavy" (meaning serious or profound) had entered beatnik/counterculture slang some time earlier, and references to "heavy music"—typically slower, more amplified variations of standard pop fare—were already common; indeed, Iron Butterfly first started playing Los Angeles in 1967, their name explained on an album cover, "Iron- symbolic of something heavy as in sound, Butterfly- light, appealing and object that can be used freely in the imagination" Iron Butterfly's 1968 debut album was entitled Heavy.

The linked article is good on the time line of the development of the style. The Kinks have a special honor to be noted too. But the earliest actual metal genre things on the radio sound plodding and awful compared to later metal, and "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida" is the prime example of this.

Ann Althouse said...

I'd definitely use this time travel power to go back to a point before the group was successful. I wouldn't go to any big concerts of the sort that would be on some "Live" album -- not counting the live albums made off of some fan's cassette recorder. I'd like to see the Velvet Underground with Nico before the first album came out. And like Bill, I'd want to see the first time the Kinks played "You Really Got Me." I'd like to see one of the Beatles shows in Hamburg in 1960. I'd like to see The Who at the same phase (but after Keith Moon joined). And I'll give my last slot to Bob Dylan, in New York, before any recordings.

Beth said...

Any performance, any time?

-Marian Anderson, Easter, 1939, at the Lincoln Memorial

-don't know the place, but Rolling Stones, doing Gimme Shelter, with Merry Clayton doing that awesome backup vocal

-Elvis at the Louisiana Hayride
-I saw Melissa E. during that same 1995 tour, five rows back, and it was incredible. I don't buy her cds, but she's a great live performer.
-why oh why didn't I get to see the Clash, the Ramones, or Patti Smith when it mattered?