Top 100 (50) Concerts

As with all the "Top 100" lists I've compiled or am compiling, this is just my personal favorites, it's not intended as an 'absolutely objective' list of concerts that were 'unquestionably GREAT'. I become more & more aware of how many amazing concerts I've had the chance to witness in my life & this is a list of some of the ones that made the biggest impression on me or that were important to me for one reason or another. I haven't kept a list of these concerts so my attempt to reconstruct when (&, sometimes, even where) they were is bound to be partial at best. E.G.: I definitely attended a Sun Ra concert at the Famous Ballroom in the late 1970s but it might not've been for the 1978 date listed below.

Thinking back on it I find it rather astounding that I've been to as many concerts as I have. So many of them must've been remarkable & yet I don't list them below because they haven't stuck with me in a particular way. I heard Duke Ellingon play solo piano in downtown Baltimore; Archie Shepp ditto; Frank Zappa at the Lyric Theater in Baltimore; Frank Zappa in Miami in the fall of 1972; Ry Cooder on the same bill with Arlo Guthrie at someplace like the Merriwether Post Pavillion; The Mahavishnu Orchestra supported by a friend's brother's band at the Baltimore Civic Center; Crosby, Stills, & Nash ditto; Michael Nyman's group in London in 1978; a duet version of The Incredible String Band in Pittsburgh in the 2000s; Sun Ra & his Solar Myth Arkestra outside at the Station Building of the Maryland Institute College of Art; the Arkestra without Sun Ra at the New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh; John Cage performing "Empty Words" at UMBC in the spring of 1979. & then there've been so many smaller concerts: a plethora of improvisors; a plethora of more academic avant-garde classical concerts; so many concerts by friends & collaborators; all of the rock concerts in smaller venues in Baltimore such as the Marble Bar & the Bluesette; concerts in many countries around the world; Psychic TV spoofing Throbbing Gristle in London in 1988; orchestral concerts by unfortunately risk-free orchestras. Listing them all would be interesting in & of itself but I couldn't even begin to do that.

Christian Marclay's another stellar example. My friend, & roommate of the time, Chas Brohawn, showed me a small article about Marclay's cutting up & reassembling records & playing them in 1975. We both found this very exciting, By 1982, I got a chance to witness Marclay perform, probably around 1982, at the Pyramid Club in New York City, with the trio "Mon Ton Son" & found it musically disappointing. I went to hear him play again, with a different trio if I remember correctly, somewhere in Washington DC in what might've been the same year or soon thereafter. Again, I was disappointed. In 1986 I got a copy of his "Record Without a Cover" which I thought, & still think, is a very important work.

In 2002 he played in the theater, this time with 2 DJs, of the Andy Warhol Museum, where I was the projectionist. I remember being disappointed that cameras were set up, at Marclay's direction, to show the labels he'd placed on the records he was playing. Since I give projection performances & since I knew the capabilities of the museum's projection booth I wanted to do something more complex. Again, even though all the performers were very nice, I found the music somewhat lackluster.

Probably since then, I've gotten his "records: 1981 - 1989" CD & found it dull. I've also seen an exhibit, maybe of record covers, possibly curated by Marclay, maybe at the Warhol Museum that, again, didn't do anything for me. Of course, I've heard multiple recordings of Marclay playing with John Zorn. I'm still very interested in seeing the movie he made of clock shots from other movies organized in the order of the time shown on the clocks - that's probably fabulous. The point is that even though I think Marclay's a pioneer I've never found the 3 gigs I witnessed by him interesting enough to add to this list.

I include my own most exceptional concerts (or, as I prefer, "Uncerts" (Uncertainty Concerts)), for the simple reason that I think that they, too, have been great & that I deserve to be in the company I present them in here. In fact, I'm inclined to include almost every Uncert of mine here but I'm retricting myself to just some exemplary cases. As I think of more concerts from other people I'll probably gradually remove some of mine to make room so as not to exceed the target 100.

 

- November 26, 2020 note from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

001. 1970.03.22 Jefferson Airplane; Civic Center; Baltimore

002. 1971.06.03 Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention; State Farm Show Arena; Harrisburg

003. 1972.09.24 Incredible String Band; Ritchie Colliseum; University of Maryland, College Park

004. 1972.11.11 (early show) Frank Zappa & the Petit Wazoo Band & Tim Buckley; D.A.R. Constitution Hall; Washington DC - https://youtu.be/d5_vIDDxa-c - The main reason why this concert stands out in my memory so much is because Zappa asked the audience to make suggestions for the structure of what they were playing. Listening to the recording, I realize that my memory of this is very exaggerated. Zappa gives the audience a 'choice' of possible dance endings & then basically just plays a boogie. That's it. In my memory there was the option to structure the entire piece from the beginning.

005. 1973.12.28 The Grand Pooba Subway & Fuji's Navy; The First Annual End of the World Show, Shriver Hall, Johns Hopkins University; Baltimore - http://www.baltimoreorless.com/2014/06/the-first-annual-end-of-the-world-show-1973/

006. 1974.02.22 Soft Machine; Latin Casino; Baltimore

007. 1978.07.23 Sun Ra & his Solar Myth Arkestra; Famous Ballroom; Baltimore

008. 1979? Laurie Anderson; DC Space; Washington DC

009. 1980.10.19 Z'ev; Red Door Hall; Baltimore

010. 1981.02.02 Laurie Anderson; Pension Building; Washington DC

011. 1981? Hugh Davies; UMBC; Baltimore

012. 1982.11.27 Art Ensemble of Chicago; Pension Building; Washington DC

013. 1984.01.24 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE & t he booed usicians; Galaxy Ballroom; Baltimore - https://archive.org/details/BooedUsic

014. 1984. Phil Wachsmann; London

015. 1986.04.19 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE & t he booed usicians; SCP Bunker; Montréal

016. 1987.09.13 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE & t he booed usicians; Ultimatum II; Montréal - https://youtu.be/OL1Mppt2ck4

017. 1988.05.28 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE; Leicester Square; London

018. 1988.08.13 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE & t he booed usicians; Murraygate Mall, Dundee - http://youtu.be/Wk-J_nDrVSo

019. 1989.05.05 John Cage; Strathmore Hall Arts Center; Rockville

020. 1989.11.04 Something That Dissolves the Shadow of Something Which Was Once Close to Something That Once Burned Twice; Displace; Baltimore - https://youtu.be/yamGE-mVW8A?t=5208

021. 1991.08.13 the Official, August 13rd, 1991ev, Bughouse Apex Roto Zither Auxillary; BAUhouse; Baltimore

 

022. 1992.04.29 the Official, April 29th, 1992ev, Band That Does Accept Money From Institutions; UMBC; Baltimore - https://youtu.be/DdAPsiswqT8

 

023. 1992.05.08. Splatter Trio; 14 Karat Cabaret; Baltimore - [the most appropriate link I can provide is one to their CD: "Anagrams": https://thesplattertrio.bandcamp.com/album/anagrams ]

024. 1993. Willem Breuker Collective; 14 Karat Cabaret; Baltimore

025. 1993.11 Watershed 5tet; 14 Karat Cabaret; Baltimore - [the closest I can come to a representative video: "Braque": https://youtu.be/I2My7k5ITno - Ben Opie: "I know that this was in the book at the time and we played it there"]

026. 1993.11.21 Franz Kamin; Church of Saint Michael & All Angels; Baltimore - https://youtu.be/C32z98YpSDU

027. 1994.05.27 Klauhutte Bangzeit 200; Marstall Theater; München - https://youtu.be/19_pe-nT9u0

028. 1995.09.08 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + Colin Hinz + John Henry Nyenhuis; Music Gallery; Toronto - https://youtu.be/kjkDZsaWhkk

029. 1997 Elliott Sharp & Zeena Parkins; Pollinator, Oakland Beehive; Pittsburgh - The date on this is an extreme guesstimate, I'm not even sure the venue was called the "Pollinator": it was a small upstairs club above the Oakland Beehive Coffee Shop, there was a larger venue that doubled as a movie theater on the 1st floor. The Oakland Beehive was one of the best places in Pittsburgh I've ever gone to - unfortunately, the greed of the landlords forced them out of the building by May 14, 2001 after only a decade of being in business.

030. 1997.07.12 Neoists; Tolerancia '97 fesztivál; Debrecen

031. 1997.08.30 Anonymous; Anonymous Family Reunion, Sonambient Theater; Bally - https://youtu.be/Igk75JaCTPw

032. 1998.03.29 Volunteers Collective; Chatham Swimming Pool; Pittsburgh - https://youtu.be/xnghwdLNZx4

033. 1998.08.22 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE; Po-Po into the Wastelands; Toronto - https://youtu.be/ugZqSTGV9Rk

034. 1999.11.27 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + Monty Cantsin Amen!; the Dairy; Windsor

035. 2000.02.06 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + John Dierker; Ottobar; Baltimore - https://youtu.be/QBTFTpscd4M?t=5821

036. 2000.04.09 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + Warren Burt; Musician's Club; Melbourne - https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM?t=3061

037. 2000.08.21 Grandmothers; 31st St Pub; Pittsburgh

038. 2001.08.10 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE; Mattress Factory; Pittsburgh

039. 2003.03.21 Who is like God?s; PCA; Pittsburgh - http://youtu.be/Qk_UOY0c1bk

040. 2005.11.19 Group Armageddon (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + Daniel Higgs + Michael Evans); Garfield Artworks; Pittsburgh - https://youtu.be/Db1SXIFd4AI

041. 2008.04.30 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + Ben Opie; Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood Screening Room; Pittsburgh

042. 2008.06.01 Anthony Braxton +; Marsh Room, National Aviary; Pittsburgh

043. 2009.01.09 HiTEC; New Hazlett Theater; Pittsburgh - https://youtu.be/lc20DsVW718

044. 2010.10.08 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE; Naropa University; Boulder - http://youtu.be/f2puiVTPGYU

045. 2011.07.15 Stray Birds; Mattress Factory; Pittsburgh

046. 2015.01.24 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE +; Babyland; Pittsburgh - http://youtu.be/cn3U055X-2U

047. 2018.05.10 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + Pamelia Stickney; Glitter Box Theater; Pittsburgh - https://youtu.be/VNNRBa5Z-cM

048. 2018.08.11 Ryan McMasters +; Frick Environmental Center; Pittsburgh

049. 2018.12.06 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE + Jeff Weston; 3577 Studios; Pittsburgh - https://youtu.be/j4vwPXLPLNg

050. 2019.04.07 "365" Ensemble; Regent Square Theater; Pittsburgh - https://youtu.be/fsi5EVJaqUU

 

 

 

 

 

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