Yesterday somebody asked me for the gigs I’ve enjoyed most ever. Shit! That’s one of the most difficult questions to answer, impossible to reply instantly, plus there are many shows to come.
I’ve been thinking of a top 20, because a top 10 wouldn’t be enough, but then it’d be too long, plus, no matter whether the list names 10,20 or 30 bands, I’m gonna be regretting all the time for forgetting this or that band, so…let’s make it once and for all, following a chronological order.
Here they go!
GUNS N’ ROSES, MADRID, 1993
At that time I already adored this band, but wasn’t conscious of what they would mean for the rest of my life. Guns n’ Roses are my favorite band, and they were the first ones I had to move my ass from my hometown to see on stage.
I was 16, my parents wouldn’t allow me to go to Madrid on my own, thus I managed to gather money for my father’s ticket, as a birthday present. He liked them and couldn’t refuse. Eventually, he had so much fun as to give me the money back.
The trip was crazy, it was organized, and the coach was plenty of diehard fans packed with booze and joints. By the time we reached Madrid, everybody was pissed and stoned, me and my dad included.
The show was great, despite the fact that Izzy wasn’t in the band anymore. And yes, Axl went on stage almost two hous later than supposed. Didn’t mind.
KISS, REUNION TOUR, MADRID, 1997
I wasn’t a big fan, in fact, I wasn’t to excited about going to Madrid to see Kiss, but I had given Rock n’ Roll Over to my boyfriend as a present, and he insisted I should go, so finally I accepted.
I had to help him and another friend with the make-up, and remember while going to the venue, people stopping us to take some pix.
I was left on the stands, half babysitting two kids in their 15’s, scared for so much noise and the explosions. I started to vibe and cheer up with all the show, fire, explosions, blood, guys flying…it was awesome! Remember when Paul Stanley came flying towards us singing Love Gun, and there he was, on a platform, 10m from when we were. I had a total crash, fell in love with the band for good.
Kiss is a band you should see at least once in your lifetime, and the younger you are, the better. I’d pay millions for seeing Kiss when I was fifteen.
BACKYARD BABIES, @ WATER RATS, LONDON, 1998
I had been living in London for 3-4 months more or less. Weather was crap, my job at a laundry services factory was shit, and living with my boyfriend a nightmare, plus I had had a huge argument with him hours before.
The previous night, the Swedish were meant to open for Monster Magnet and Rob Zombie, but unfortunately due to doors opening delay, they couldn’t make it. Still I got the chance to talk to Nicke, and moreover, have a long chat with Dregen, who ended up being really cool and I promised to bring him a bottle of Spanish wine the day after.
The show was organized by the band fan club, and not being members, we weren’t allowed to get in the venue. It was freezing, raining, and we couldn’t believe it, until he came out for changing his creepers for his ragged sneakers, Dregen came straight to me and asked what was going on. I explained, and he begged, I swear, to the guys at the door, to let us in. After some talks we made it, for free, so I spent all the money on merch, and gave him the bottle that he drunk during the show.
The Yo-Yo’s were the supporting band, a blast, but then Backyard Babies came after, and God, such energy and rage were unfuckinbelievable!
THE HELLACOPTERS @ THE BARFLY, LONDON, 1999
My first gig as a single, I went with a friend from my hometown who was spending summer working in London. I was a bit down yet in the mood for having fun.
The venue was very small and we were around 100 people. Before the show, I was sitting on a pool table, and the guys in the band were asking me for my lighter all the time. It was like a big family having a party, we jumped onto the stage, danced and everybody got crazy. They were introducing my favorite Hellacopters album, Grande Rock.
BLACK SABBATH REUNION TOUR,@ ASTORIA, LONDON, 1999
I received the news that Black Sabbath original lineup were performing their first show in London when I was on holidays in Spain. My friend Lukas called me after he tried to buy a pair of tickets unsuccessfully, apparently they were sold out in just a couple of hours.
Once back in town, I heard of a new ticket selling place and gave them a call, in order to buy one for Iggy Pop and try luck with Sabbath. And I won, but just one, at the initial cost, 19.50 pounds. Tickets sold by scalpers were over 350.
Later I knew that it was kind of launching, not a proper tour gig, so most of the audience were guests and media coverage.
I cried, and screamed, most of time on my own, although at the end of the gig, people were hugging each others, moved by happiness for real.
FU MANCHU @ BORDERLINE, LONDON, 2000
I had already seen Fu Manchu twice before, but this time it was kind of pre-launching of California Crossing mixed with King of the Road, the venue, able to hold barely 150 people, was overcrowded, and once again everyone got crazy.
It was so full of people, some in the first rows got hit by Scott Hill’s guitar. Fuzz was so loud, I had this uncomfortable whistling for a couple of days. It didn’t mind, I got what I wanted.
RYAN ADAMS, @ HAMMERSMITH ODEON, LONDON, 2007
The unfortunate performance and bad attitude of the singer years before have forced a kind of veto into this country, so if you feel like seeing him performing, be sure you’ll have to move your ass somewhere else. This is gonna happen next month, I’m going to see Adams to Portugal, and happened three years and a half ago.
My ex and I arranged an exciting weekend in London with three gigs in three nights: Adams, Alice Cooper with Joan Jett and Motorhead, and as special dessert, Lucinda Williams.
Adams played for more than two hours. I liked him, but not as much as I do now. He introduced Everybody Knows EP, and the feeling I got it was as if Heaven was down to Earth. I got these flashes, these sparks in my mind, very fresh, I will never forget. I was listening to beautiful songs with my beloved one, felt grateful for what was happening, and was also aware of being really happy…shy tears brought out from my eyes…everything was perfect that night.
THE WILDHEARTS @ RAZZ 3, BARCELONA, 2008
I had already seen The Wildhearts twice, one at the festival in Vitoria, and second, one month after seeing Ryan Adams, in London as well.
Once the gig was confirmed we bought the tickets thinking they might be sold out. No way, this doesn’t happen in Spain, this band is doomed or something here, venue was even changed to a smaller one, which in the end was better, because we were closer to the band, packed and one thing was for sure, those 100 people there, were diehard fans of the band.
It was party animal gig, jumping onto the stage, sweating, we lost our voice…I got the set list and a pick from CJ. Everyone was so happy! It was a “I was there” moment, once in a lifetime, full of magic.
NEIL YOUNG, PRIMAVERA SOUND, BARCELONA, 2009
I had seen Young at a festival in UK I worked for, back in 1996, and got really impressed at the time. Although I always liked and respected him, it took me many years to take him seriously and become a devotee of uncle Neil. Gotta give the credit to my ex, he became completely obsessed and eventually convinced me I should pay him more attention.
When Young came to Barcelona, it was the right time, and enjoyed the gig a lot, surrounded by good friends. Once again, I cried. You can’t get enough of Young on stage, he could be playing for 4 hours, sure you’d like him to play four more.
MICHAEL MONROE @ ISLINGTON ACADEMY, LONDON, 2010
I reckon this was the best show I witnessed last year, so great, I’m seeing him in two weeks twice, here in Barcelona, and two days after in Madrid.
Monroe is one of the finest front men ever, set lists are like bombs, and this guy sweats and shit energy wherever he goes.
First time I saw him in London, on my own, and was another party with the guy stage diving, jumping, climbing and everything. I was in shock!
Last year was mayhem at the venue, supported by an amazing lineup, he left his balls on the stage, the setlist was just perfect, and they sounded best ever.
It’s two o’clock already, I’ve been thinking on this post for many hours this afternoon, but started writing very late, and with all the decisions, memories back, and all the stuff, I’ve been here for two hours. I will edit the post and add some pictures, probably when you read this, they’ll be already uploaded.
Many bands and shows have been left out, but it had to be 10.
I feel lucky for still being able to feel passionate about live music. Many people who go to gigs on a regular basis, have lost this emotion or illusion, you name it. I’m able to cry of happiness, get excited to abnormal levels when a date of a band is officially confirmed, and feel the groove in the pit, standing right in front of a band.
Some other day, I’ll talk about stuff collected from gigs, you know, setlists, picks, drum sticks…there’s stuff all around my Hellhouse.
I know you feel shy regarding writing comments in here, I don’t care the language you use as long as I can use Google Translator, I beg you, I’d love you to participate telling me those gigs which have left a mark on you for the rest of your lives.