Just like the rest of my life, my concertgoing frequency wasn’t up to my generally high standards this year. That said, I saw some doozies that fall into the “best ever” category, not just “of 2015.”
Bully at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco in October
Built to Spill at The Independent in San Francisco in July
Sufjan Stevens at The Fox Theater in Oakland in June
The Decemberists at Keller Auditorium in Portland in March
Dixie Chicks at Bridge School Benefit at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View in October (this should’ve made my top 10, but I’ve rewritten it too many times. Luckily they’re playing a full show next summer.)
Though it didn’t get the best reviews, the sheer RAWK this band brought, no matter how sloppy, still impressed for me.
My second time seeing Lydia. Only reason she didn’t rank higher is that I had to miss half the set, which was a damn shame and entirely my fault. Can’t wait for next tour through SF.
I lucked out and found out this show was happening *just* before Leon Bridges blew up. Always thankful to see someone in an intimate venue when I can get the chance.
I revised this blog post to add this in because I was an idiot and forgot that was this year (2016 goal: keep better track of concerts)…I also flew out to Berlin two days later with Bay to Breakers in between. Complete sensory assault with noise and strobes…just as I wanted.
Losing track of how many times I’ve seen Tune-Yards, but I never regret it. Merrill always BRINGS it and playing to a hometown crowd on a hot summer day, she brought it hard. Bonus: sitting with great friends in the VIP section. Double Bonus: the delightful Dakha Brakha opening.
Hardly Strictly always adds solid shows into my year, so much so that it’s hard to sort out “the best” from that wonderful weekend. But this Laura Marling set was absolutely transcendent. It was just her and a gorgeous guitar and I think every one of the thousands of people in the crowd completely forgot about anything else in the world for 45 minutes.
My first time at the magnificent Greek and only my second time ever seeing B&S in almost two decades of loving them. A near-perfect venue and an absolutely delightful show.
These top three are in the “best concert ever” category. Wowwowow. The first and last time I saw S-K was the penultimate show before the 2006 hiatus. With a ten year break the energy shift in this show was palpable. The ladies were clearly having a GREAT time and so was the audience. Absolutely awesome.
I’m still not sure how I ended up scoring a ticket, hassle-free, to this show, but it resulted in a post-Berlin trip to Amsterdam, experiencing one of the best venues in the entire world (everyone is right, The Paradiso is a special place), and dancing my ass off with a group of international strangers to a band I thought I’d never see in my life, nevermind twice in a year (it also made up for a disappointing experience renegading a seat after being stuck in the rafters at the Masonic).
My new life goal is to completely destroy a guitar on stage in front of 1000+ adoring fans on my 69th birthday. Of course I won’t be playing an iconic album like Horses all the way through and have Michael Stipe bring me cake and sing “People Have the Power” with me, but a gal can dream. My year in concerts was bookended by the Godmother of Punk and this final one was once again a spiritual experience. Oh Patti, I’m so glad to have you.