Thursday, December 13, 2018

Year In Review 2018 - Favorite Live Show

The live show is a slippery thing. There are lots of variables at play, most having little to do with the performance itself. Does the venue have enough bathrooms? Is it going to rain? What day of the week is it on? Did I have a shitty day at work before hand? Did tickets cost waaay too much? All of this effects one's opinion of a live show before the band even tunes up and with reason, but when the stars align, there is no place RtBE would rather be than in the moment of magic occurring spontaneously from the stage.
Live Music Has No Equal!
Taken By The Fantastic Megan Donohue
While obviously we can't see every show that is out there, we try to get out often to catch live music. Sure there are a few left in the calendar year, but for now, here is a listing of the best concerts we were fortunate enough to have caught in 2018.

There are links to show reviews in the titles, also because who doesn't love arbitrary rankings, one show at the bottom took the top prize as RtBE's 2018 Favorite Live Show. This year was better than most as some excellent concerts were left off this list. Click that "Read More" button and get started

HONORABLE MENTIONS (In Chronological Order): 

Steve Winwood 3/8/18 NJPAC Newark, NJ

Our first live surprise for 2018 occurred on a freezing night in Newark as Steve Winwood displayed a dynamite set of his tunes, touching on all aspects of his career. While we saw him and loved him at Jazzfest years ago, this topped it. Great set, great seats, great venue and great friends helped, but Winwood brought his A game to NJPAC.

Jack White 3/23/18 Warsaw Brooklyn New York

Jack White kicked off his Boarding House Reach Tour with a blast of rock and roll in a packed small club in Brooklyn. I have seen everyone from Cocksparrer to The Secret Machines to Dinosaur Jr. all of them super loud bands at Warsaw in Brooklyn but none were as loud as White and crew on this night. We caught White four times on this tour, the first was the best of the bunch, the second in Cooperstown was second place and the most recent, again in Brooklyn, was our third favorite (His Jazzfest set needs an * as I was under the weather with a massive sinus infection).  That said, all almost made our list as White is simply the best going out there.

Drive-By Truckers 3/30/18 Brooklyn Bowl BK, NY
Sometimes seeing live music you really like by yourself (in a room full of like mined people) can be a joy. No one could join me for DBT on this night and maybe it was for the best as I appreciated the band on a whole new level. Great night of original and covers from the Truckers.

Dr. Dog 6/21/18 Brooklyn Steel BK, NY
RtBE have seen Dr Dog in all venues they have played in NYC since way back in '06 and this was the best show we saw the scruffy Philly rockers do in a loooong time. They were on.

Jame Hunter Six 7/13/18 Lincoln Center, NY, NY
This was a special NYC night this past summer. A free super cool event that had all shades of New Yorker's swing dancing until the wee hours. Two sets from the band and they could have played more. A fun sweltering night under the stars.

The Hold Steady Stay Positive 10th Anniversary 7/25/18 White Eagle Hall, Jersey City, NJ
Another special show but for a different reason. Rather then finding a hidden gem of a night, this was a long time favorite celebrating in a small club with passionate friends and family. The band did a few of these shows this year, but this was the first and best.

Morning 40 Federation 11/9/18 Maple Leaf Bar New Orleans, LA
For a band we have been seeing for ages (even longer then Dr. Dog) it is nice to know that their wild partying years left them enough energy in their middle age to still be able to throw down a sweaty night of tunes, even on a cold fall night uptown in the Big Easy.

Bob Dylan 11/27/18 Beacon Theater, NY, NY

Unreal, we agree with Lee Ranaldo. Dylan keeps challenging himself, his band and his fans and did so in completely successful fashion this night. I want to find a bootleg really bad. Anyone got a recording? Hopefully official Never Ending Tour releases are in the future.

And finally....

RtBE's Favorite Live Show of 2018:

The Misfits 5/19/18 Prudential Center Newark, NJ

We saw so many great shows this year, even more then we can put on this list. Honestly, any of the shows above this one could have taken the top spot. I went with the Misfits at this moment of compiling, but Dylan, Dr. Dog, Jack, Winwood, tHS were all fantastic.

On a rainy Saturday (how else) with the proper amount of libations, a great wide ranging group of friends, a classic band who I thought I would never see live, classic supporting acts (who we also love), family and sense of youthful joy in the air (also on the heals of a Chelsea FA Cup Victory) this was a hell of a day/night. After the show the songs stuck with me for a long time and I had never liked the band more then after seeing them on this night.

One plus which I know not all fans are happy with is the idea which both the Misfits and Jack White have adopted, putting your cellphones in a pouch for the show. It is an excellent evolution and one that will only gain supporters in the upcoming years as it allows you to focus on the show...makes it hard to take notes, but I can deal.

Get out and support live music in 2019.

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