Originally written for the "fun" email group at work, October 28, 2005. You can see my updates at the end of the post, I'll try to keep it fresh.
Top 10 of all Time
1. The Pixies playing under the name "Black Diamond" at the Rocket Club in Tampa, crowd of 200 people right before their last tour before they broke up the first time, 1991. I was so close to the stage Black Francis and Kim Deal sweat on me. Followed by a show 2 days later of a 1500 or so at the Beach Club in Orlando. (Hey, this was the same tour referenced by Grieder below.) Their show at the Greek in Aug 2004 was awesome as well.
2. Big Audio Dynamite/UB40/The Pretenders/U2 – Bernabeu Stadium – Madrid Spain – for $12!! Summer '98
3. Sugar – CMJ Music Showcase/ Random Warehouse in SoHo (NY) – Fall 1992 – one of their first public appearances, this show was one of the loudest I've seen. But it made me sad I never saw the Du.
4. Yo La Tengo – Venue? Atlanta – Fall 93/ The Social Orlando/ Fall 93 – I saw them multiple times this tour and they never played the same set list twice. Fantastic entertainment.
5. The Dismemberment Plan – The Social – Orlando, FL – Summer 2003 – Final tour before they went bust – I love them, the show went on for a long time, and they managed to include all the crowd favorites.
6. The M's – Bottom of the Hill – Feb 2006/ Rickshaw Stop – March 2006 – I went to see Archer Prewitt (of The Sea and Cake) and these guys opened. He sucked and they rocked. I went to see them again a month later with high expectations which they managed to exceed.
7. Broken Social Scene – The Greek – July 2006 – This ensemble musical act was compelling, putting on a show, playing their music in a new way, and downright entertaining. Too bad the band they were opening for (Bloc Party) sucked.
8. Sarah McLachlan – Venue? Ybor City, FL – 1994? – I know I lost all cred by saying this show was so awesome, but literally the lights went on and the small crowd refused to leave. She ended up coming out for an unexpected third encore. (Don't get me started on the encore, the biggest waste of time…)
9. Pearl Jam – The Edge – Orlando, FL – 1991 – This was before they broke big, and I got to hang with the band before the show. Just a lot of vitality and energy in the show. Not to mention a crowd gone wild.
10. The Spitvalves – Will's Pub – Orlando, FL – December 2003 – You know how a friend says "hey, I'm in this band…" OMG, I had never gone to one of their shows, not being the biggest ska-core fan, but they knew how to rock it. Sadly, since disbanded.
Worst shows? In no particular order
Yo La Tengo – The Station – Fern Park, FL – 1992 – They walked off stage after 2 songs and never came back on
Stereolab – The Fillmore – 2004 – Boring. I can sit home and listen to their music for free and it sounds exactly the same.
Tortoise – Bimbo's – 2004 – Ditto my review for Stereolab.
John Wesley Harding – The Junkyard – Orlando, FL – just not that great
The James Taylor Quartet- Bimbo's – 1996 – The show was so bad the 'zine I was writing for refused to publish the review.
And, as aforementioned, Archer Prewitt wasn't so great and Bloc Party was so bad I left.
Replacing Pearl Jam and nudging everything from #2 on down would be the Rachel Fuller/Pete Townshend + Special Guests show I saw at La Zona Rosa in Austin for SXSW 2007. See the SXSW write-up for more details.