I’m a sucker for “Top x” lists. I thought I would make one of my own that I haven’t seen before.
I like live music. From my first concert (Iron Maiden in 1986) I was hooked. I have seen literally hundreds of bands in my life, and I do mean literally. I had seen over 300 bands when I moved to Florida 23 years ago and stopped counting. What I’ve compiled here is the best setlist taken from all of those shows. If I could make one concert out of the best songs I’ve seen, this would be it.
These aren’t necessarily my favorite songs, or even the best that these bands have to offer. All that they have in common is that I’ve seen these songs played live, and the band KILLED it that night. Usually it had something to do with the way I felt about the song or how the crowd reacted to it, but that’s all part of the fun of live music.
I’ve tried to keep this list reasonable in length. Under 20 songs. I’d love to hear from you and know what your picks would be. Oh, and this show takes place at Red Rocks, where I also had the pleasure of seeing a show a few years ago.
Slayer – Reigning Blood – The best opening song in the history of ever. The crowd explodes with energy when this song gets going.
Offspring – Staring at the Sun – High energy fun that keeps speeding up. There’s more to living than only surviving. Maybe I’m not there, but I’m still trying.
Ramones – Pinhead – I could list a half-dozen Ramones songs. I could list a half-dozen that are essentially the same same song, but what fun it was.
Dream Theater – Finally Free – The closing song from the best concert I’ve ever seen. I still get chills to hear the last line: “We’ll meet again my friend, someday soon.” Ministry of Lost Souls takes a close second here.
Iron Maiden – Hallowed Be Thy Name – Many different songs in one. Maiden is one of the best live bands ever. I was spoiled that they were my first. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Flaming Lips – She Don’t Use Jelly – The Lips are a spectacle to behold. Pure goofy fun and the crowd is half the show.
Stevie Ray Vaughn – Tightrope – Guitars look like they were born to be in this mans’ hands. Only the luckiest ones were.
Jeff Beck – Where Were You – Probably the only person who could bring tears to my eyes with nothing but a guitar.
Snow Patrol – The Life-ning – “Waking up in your arms, a place to call my own, This is all I ever wanted from life.”
Ani Difranco – Shameless – A girl, a guitar, and utter fearlessness.
Rush – Turn The Page – A Taoist manifesto from one of the best live bands.
U2 – City of Blinding Lights – Not many bands can really pull off a show in a football stadium, but when they do, WOW.
Guns n Roses – November Rain – The highlight of a great night with great friends, when GnR was at the top of their game. The play of tension in this is superb. Just when you think it’s over, it gets even better.
Regina Spektor – On The Radio – There is more wisdom packed into this song than there was in my college philosophy classes.
Intermission with a story told by B.B. King. The man is a living legend and a joy to see live.
Al Green – Here I Am (Come and Take me) – Even into his 60’s this man could put on a show. The fact that I saw him at Red Rocks in Colorado made it unforgettable.
Peter Murphy – Ziggy Stardust – I’ve never seen Bowie, but Peter Murphy ends his set with this. It’s such a good song, and a great way to close out the show.
Assemblage 23 – Alive – “Here comes that old familiar pain, Like a long lost friend’s return”
VNV Nation – Perpetual – The show closer for me. May you all be never-ending light.