Browsing Tag: my year of concerts


    Ranking All 18 Shows From #MyYearOfConcerts

    December 31, 2023

    I saw 18 shows this year during #MyYearOfConcerts and figured I’d rank them all in one post to wrap up the year. Here we go!

    18. The Church (Seattle)

    Sorry, The Church. It’s not you, it was me. I was in a lot of back/neck pain that day (and also exhausted from two months of travel), so I left after 5 songs. Maybe we’ll try again someday.

    17. REO Speedwagon (Kennewick)
    16. Night Ranger (Tacoma)
    15. Billy Idol (Spokane)
    14. Counting Crows (Spokane)
    13. Collective Soul (Spokane)
    12. Toad the Wet Sprocket (Spokane)

    This group above are all pretty similar. They’re all basically tied. It’s not like Night Ranger was worse than Counting Crows. But Night Ranger was a worse venue, though. Same with Billy Idol…great show but rough night outdoors in the heat.

    11. Journey/Toto (Spokane)

    I should probably rank this one higher. Most of the shows I saw, the band/artist was playing its old songs more slowly than normal. Don’t know why, I’m not a musician. But musically, Journey sounded so close to their original songs and albums. They were really tight, a much better show than I expected.

    10. U2 night 1 (Las Vegas)
    9. Duran Duran (Portland)
    8. Bryan Adams/Joan Jett (Seattle)
    7. U2 night 2 (Las Vegas)
    6. Sting (Portland)
    5. Billy Joel (NYC)
    4. Foo Fighters (Spokane)

    Foos deserve to be Top 3 thanks to sheer rock ‘n’ roll awesomeness but I don’t know all of their back catalog so I felt like an outsider for stretches of time. But damn, they were fantastic.

    3. Eagles (Portland)

    I saw Eagles at the end of their Hotel California tour. The musicianship was perfect, the vocals and harmonies were heavenly. And what I loved the most was how they presented the album. They played Hotel California at the start of the show, in full and in order. Don Henley stopped a couple times to tell stories about the songs and making the album. They brought out a string section and choir for some of the album tracks. They gave the album the respect and attention it deserves.

    2. Springsteen (Portland)

    This was every bit the masterclass I expected. I was exhausted an hour into the show just from watching and singing, and Bruce kept going for almost three hours at age 73. No stage production, no video production, no crazy light show…just a guy and his band telling great stories.

    1. Adele (Las Vegas)

    Speaking of storytelling, Adele will have you in tears one moment and in stitches the next with her stories in between songs, then in complete awe when she’s singing. She’s just perfect in every way. Her show was, too.

    Shall we do it again in 2024?


    My Year of Concerts™: U2

    December 18, 2023

    MyYearOfConcerts has come to an end! And I suppose there’s some poetry in the fact that it ended with the band that was a huge part of my life for 30+ years…the band that gave me a world of friends I cherish to this day…the band that made me a published author…etc.

    I saw U2 on Friday and Saturday down at the Sphere in Vegas.

    I went cold turkey on U2 (and U2 fandom, for that matter) back in 2019. I left fandom entirely and stopped listening to U2 songs — a hard break in the name of taking care of my mental health. I very cautiously started listening to them again about six months ago — my #U2rehab as I’ve called it on Twitter. As recently as 5 days ago, I wasn’t sure I wanted to see them live.

    So, after a 4-year break, to say this weekend was complicated would be an understatement. I could probably write 2,000 words or record a 2-hour podcast episode on the whole experience, and that might not even cover the concerts themselves.

    In lieu of that, the short recap is as follows: The visuals were often stunning and the sound in the Sphere was the best I’ve ever heard. The band brought me to tears a couple times each night, but overall I thought the shows were underwhelming. Aside from looking at a couple setlists, I had avoided all spoilers leading up to this weekend. I had some expectations of what a show built around my favorite album should be like…and it wasn’t like that at all.

    The best part of the weekend was reconnecting with some longtime friends I hadn’t seen in years and making some new friends, too. Quality time with Sherry, Becky, and Dan was very good for my mental health.

    In the end, going to Vegas and seeing these shows was a Good Thing.

    So #MyYearOfConcerts is over, but I already have tickets for five shows in 2024, so…… #MyLifeOfConcerts? 🙂


    My Year of Concerts™: Night Ranger

    November 18, 2023

    You didn’t think I was gonna go all of November without seeing a concert, did you? 😁

    MyYearOfConcerts continued last night in Tacoma with my first-ever Night Ranger show!

    It’s funny, when I told Cari I was gonna drive 3+ hours for this show, she was like… “I didn’t know you liked them THAT much!” I kinda do. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ When I cleared out my 100- to 150-piece vinyl collection from my parent’s house back in the day, and had to choose about 20-25 records to bring out west with me, Night Ranger made the trip.

    Don’t get me started about the venue (Emerald Queen Casino), but thankfully the show itself was great — much like Toto and a couple others from earlier this year, much better than I expected.

    This is Night Ranger’s 40th anniversary tour, and they’ve been releasing albums for a good part of those 40 years — but wisely, they kept the setlist to the big, first three albums from the early- and mid-80s. Heard ALL of my favorites, which was awesome.

    So that’s 16 shows in 2023. #MyYearOfConcerts might continue…I have tickets for two shows in December, but not 100% positive yet that I’m going.

    Collective Soul in concert

    My Year of Concerts™: Collective Soul

    October 8, 2023

    Gotta admire a rock singer who doesn’t wear black from head to toe. 😄

    #MyYearOfConcerts continued last night in Spokane when I saw my third overall Collective Soul show!

    I saw them about 15 years ago in BFE Idaho, then about 10 years ago at the county fair in Yakima — both were good but not great shows. Last night was 100x better. Ed was more talkative than usual and the whole band was more active. They only played for about 90 minutes, but that was okay because it meant I got home at a respectable hour. #OldManPriorities

    I got to hear “The World I Know” live (again), which is one of my top 3-4 songs of all time. They did a little spoken tribute to some of the Georgia artists that influenced them — Little Richard, Otis Redding, James Brown, Allman Brothers, etc., and then did a cover of REM’s “The One I Love.”

    Great show, glad I went.

    Not done yet, #MyYearOfConcerts continues….


    My Year of Concerts™: Counting Crows

    September 14, 2023

    #MyYearOfConcerts (post #2 today!) continued Wednesday night when I saw Counting Crows in Spokane! 🥰

    So I was pretty exhausted after the Billy Joel show and almost a week in New York City. We got home around dinnertime on Tuesday and the Counting Crows show was 24 hours later. TBH, I think Younger Matt would’ve skipped the show and stayed home. Older Matt said f**k that and made the drive north anyway! You only live once, carpe diem, life is short, etc. etc. etc. — that’s the whole point of #MyYearOfConcerts.

    As you can see from the photos, I splurged on tickets for this one: first row!! 🔥🔥🔥

    It was totally worth it. It’s amazing to see the musicians that close, to see the guitarist close his eyes and get lost in the moment as he plays an all-time fave that he’s played a zillion times before … or to see Adam (Duritz, the singer) act out the lyrics in his facial expressions and sell every song to the audience. It’s incredible when there’s literally nothing but a rail between you and the music. Feels like the couple other thousand people aren’t even there.

    All that said, I knew going in that this would be a tough show. Counting Crows kinda makes you work. They don’t play the songs as you remember them. Most artists will do that a few times in every concert, and that’s cool to hear a new twist on a familiar song. But CC changes up pretty much every song. (Listen to this clip from “Rain King” and you’ll know what I mean.)

    The other challenge, which I also knew going in, is that they’re not playing my three favorite CC songs much on this tour. Oh, well. They did a bunch of deeper cuts that I wasn’t familiar with, which at first you’re like … ugh … but then I listened to those songs on the drive home today and DAMN they’re good. (“Colorblind” and “When I Dream of Michelangelo” stand out.) I did get to hear “A Long December” and “Holiday In Spain” live, so I came home a very happy camper.

    Counting Crows and Collective Soul are my two fave ’90s bands. I’ve seen CS a few times, but had somehow never seen CC. So I’m glad I finally fixed that hole in my concert history.

    More to come later this month. #MyYearOfConcerts will continue!


    My Year of Concerts™: Billy Joel

    September 14, 2023

    #MyYearOfConcerts continued this past Sunday night when Cari and I caught Billy Joel live at Madison Square Garden, part of his residency there that started way back in 2014. Total bucket list show for both of us.

    Little-known fact: 52nd Street is the first album I ever bought with my own money. My parents had a house at the Jersey shore in the ’70s, and one day I walked to this cool, little record store that was maybe a half-mile away and decided on 52nd Street because we’d always listen to it from start to finish when I was visiting my best friend’s house and hanging with him and his older brothers.

    The show was great and, like just about every other show I’ve seen this year, brought me to tears several times — I think because we’re so close to the one-year anniversary of the accident that inspired this year of concerts, and also because it’s amazing how Billy Joel’s biggest songs run the entire course of my childhood and young adult life, from the ’70s thru the ’90s.

    In 40 years of concert-going, I’ve only seen one artist do a hometown show: U2 in Dublin. Never saw Springsteen in Jersey. Never saw REM in Athens. Never saw Eagles in L.A. So I was pretty excited to see Billy do a hometown show, and it didn’t disappoint at all. My goodness, the absolute ROAR when he walked on the stage was no different than the U2 shows I’ve seen in Dublin. New York City LOVES Billy Joel.

    Bucket-list show as I mentioned, also bucket list to finally hear “Piano Man” and “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” live. Re: the latter, you haven’t lived until you’ve sung “And there we were waving Brenda and Eddie goodbye” with 20,000 other people, each one of us singing at the top of our lungs and waving them goodbye as if they were there in the room with us. What a moment.

    Posting this several days late because there’s already been another entry in #MyYearOfConcerts, so I’ll work on that post next.