Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Amy's Top Five Live Shows Of 2004

OK, techincally, it's six...

1. Vote For Change Tour: Bright Eyes, R.E.M., John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band / Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA / Oct. 1, 2004

Sigh… We were all so young and naïve back then, weren’t we? (Read full review in October archives.)

2. R. Kelly, Jay-Z (with Foxy Brown, Ja Rule, Mary J. Blige, Usher, T.I., Freeway, others) / Madison Square Garden / Oct. 29, 2004

For obvious reasons. (Read full review in October archives.)

3. Prince / Madison Square Garden / July 14, 2004

Morris Day and the Time were the surprise opening act. Sheila E. got a five-minute standing ovation after “The Glamorous Life.” It was raining that day. During the show-closing “Purple Rain,” the Garden was a sea of swaying umbrellas. No bad luck here.

4. Big & Rich / CBGB / June 23, 2004

The rapping cowboy was there. The little person was there. A CMT camera crew was there. Many ecstatic rock critics were there. The only thing missing? Gretchen Wilson.

5. Tie: Scout Niblett / Buffalo Billiards, Austin, TX / March 19, 2004 and Joanna Newsom, Antony, Devendra Banhart, Vetiver / Bowery Ballroom / June 21, 2004

This is what I wrote about Scout Niblett in my South by Southwest wrap-up for Kitty Magik:

“She sounds exactly like something I’ve heard before, and that something is Cat Power. But the British singer/songwriter/guitarist/drummer was a million times better in concert than Chan Marshall. For one thing, she finished every song. And she wasn’t afraid to scream at the top of her lungs or beat the shit out of her drums. The greatest thing about Scout (real name, Emma) was how much joy she appeared to be getting out of making music. Her playing was extremely rudimentary and awkward, and she resembled a wide-eyed child who has just discovered the wonders of rock and roll. It was so refreshing, after watching so many artists go through the motions, or just look like they aren’t having a good time up there. Why even bother, right? Scout’s performance reminded me that music is magic, an idea I have been forgetting about more and more often these days.”

Now, will somebody PLEASE put Scout Niblett and Joanna Newsom in a recording studio together? Just think of the magic these pale, frail freak-folk pixies could make together. Maybe it would come close to the thrill of experiencing Joanna, Devendra, Antony and Vetiver doing Joanna’s “Three Little Babes” together.

(I should probably take this opportunity to mention Devendra’s performance at WBAR’s annual WBAR-B-QUE in April. He only played for about 20 minutes, but during that brief time, I finally “got” what all the fuss was about. The mid-afternoon sun was bathing the Barnard cafeteria, Devendra was wearing his trademark hoodie, and a couple of children were crawling around the stage. I felt like I was on a commune.)

Honorable Mentions: Mary Lou Lord on a street corner during South by Southwest, Cex, Hasil Adkins, Friends Forever, Bright Eyes at the National Lawyers’ Guild benefit, The Blow, Dead Milkmen reunion, OVO