Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Year In Review 2022 - 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 2022 (THANK GOD LIVE MUSIC IS BACK!).

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 2022 Favorite Live Show. We also make mention of a few live streams we enjoyed in 2022 as they now seem like a positive development for all involved. 

Favorite Live Streams:

This was a perfect lunch break stream as Fish and the band rocked out from 1pm-2pm EST and were on point. RtBE caught Sam Fish a few times in 2022 and this may have been the best the band sounded which is odd, but still cool. Here is a different stream from Fish and Co. and RtBE was at this show in Brooklyn but didn't review it, just enjoyed it. 

A killer show from Cha Wa and as always they brought the Mardi Gras Indian party straight from the Big Easy to Relix, but they also splashed in a killer "Fire On the Mountain" cover before ending with a killer version of their "Wildman". Here is that bad ass Dead cover:

The lumbering fuzz rock trio were on their game when they played the tiny stage at Third Man Records in London. Having caught them a few weeks prior (look down this list) RtBE can safely say they were clicking at a high level this tour.  "Lung", "Back To Yr Heart", "Little Fury Things", "Out There" were just some of the highlights in the cramped spot.  This is one RtBE was happy to stream from the comfort of the couch. Check it out:

Favorite Live Shows (In Date Order)

Thanks to Glen for inviting me and Ramsey for hooking it up. A really intimate show where the band was tight and GZA was fun to hear. He dipped in and out of his rhymes with ease and great stamina. Was also fun hanging with the band post and chatting before their second show. Wu-Tang Forever.

White released two albums and toured the whole world in 2022, his stop in BK was far from sold out (full sections were empty) but unlike his Radio City concert years ago, the crowd didn't affect him, and he and the band ripped it up.  

RtBE favorites The Rough Seven got back together for two killer shows during Jazzfest and the first at BJ's was a howler in all forms. This band just has IT and RtBE was so happy to be in the house for the jamming. The second night up at The Maple Leaf was pretty solid as well. Don't believe me? Check it out:

RtBE loves The Who, but we had thought our days of seeing them live were over. When tickets popped up for a MSG Friday night show, the full staff of the site packed up and headed over to the The Mecca and witnessed the band in really strong form.  It was surprising and very exciting. Hell of a gig... 

From MSG to a small club... The San Diego, CA based jam/stoner/metal band rarely gets to NYC so RtBE had yet to catch them live even though we have been fans for years.  This show was dynamite as the band played the new album and wailed! A few cover tunes to end and things were excellent in Bushwick on this Friday night.  

Catching the ferocious Dino trio down in New Orleans on Canal Street was a pure noise metal rager as the band was tight as all hell and the venue suited them perfectly. Dino are always good live but this show (and the live stream mentioned above) seemed to find them even more locked in, a good omen for the future.   

RtBE's first time seeing the roots rock legends was a blast. Los Lobos still kick so much ass and were a hell of a good time. The punkish edge to their blues based songs and Tex-Mex rock was top notch.The closing "Not Fade Away>Bertha" was mega.  Check it out: 

Favorite Live Show of 2022

In the end RtBE just couldn't decide between these two vastly different shows. 

In March I saw the amazing Kingfish at the famed Apollo Theater and the show blew my doors off.  It was the first time I managed to catch the blues virtuoso live, after having loved his first two albums. He delighted the crowd and lived up to the moment, playing (literally) throughout the historic venue.   

On a sweaty weekday in August I managed to catch Spoon, who I have seen multiple times, in a tiny bar in Brooklyn to prep for their upcoming tour. The band delivered an hour and a half of flawless indie rock in a venue size they haven't played in decades, Baby's All Right fits only 280 people and all of those spaces were filled for this one. 

Amazingly, (Thanks Tom and Lindsay) we caught both acts together on the same Beacon Theater stage last week at the WFUV Holiday Cheer Benefit, but each of their individual shows were a step above. 

From Harlem to Williamsburg, live music is a drug and both of these acts hit the aural sweet spot and deserve the top spot, so we will call it a tie. 

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