My Concert Decade

DF3416C5-2229-4BEB-9B9B-CFF96348634EThe theme of my life during the decade of the 10s is easily described by two words: live music. I saw music in clubs and bars and breweries and coffee shops and restaurants and arenas and outdoor festivals and theaters (and theatres) and music/symphony halls and pavilions and homes and synagogues and basements. My friend Wil had Southern Soul singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer perform at his wedding so I’m counting that, too. I subjected my body to standing in the rain (Chicago Blues Festival), waiting in line in sub-zero cold (Panic! At the Disco), walking through D.C. in whiteout snow (Zarni de Vette), and driving 3½ hours each way in the same night (Adam Lambert).

No way to talk about them all so I’ll synopsize my favorite decade of live music in my favorite way – in categories. With all apologies to the hundreds of artists and the many venues I don’t have time or space to mention . . .

First concert of the decade Jason Castro (Jammin Java, Jan 25, 2010)EE97F54A-ACA2-47B7-A25D-2B7AD937FF65_1_102_o

Last concert of the decade Anberlin (The Fillmore Silver Spring, MD)

Seen the most times[1] Fitz and the Tantrums (8x), Paramore (5x), St.Lucia (5x), Melanie Martinez (4x), Adam Lambert[2] (4x), Anberlin (4x)

I go to London Poets of the Fall, (O2 Academy Islington, London, England)

I got London to come to me Jessie Ware (3x), Jungle, Rag’n’Bone Man, Ellie Goulding, Lianne La Havas, Emeli Sandé, Royal Blood

I wish YOU could see Queen + Adam LambertQueen

I missed seeing and am questioning my life choices[3] Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Paloma Faith, Delain, Nao, Florence and the Machine, Banks, Maggie Rogers[4]

Reality singing show contestants seen American Idol: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Jason Castro, Carly Smithson, Tori Kelly, Daughtry, Elliott Yamin, Todrick Hall, Zealyn (Angie Miller); The Voice: Melanie Martinez, Dia Frampton, Javier Colon; X Factor: Josh Krajcik

Most ridiculously over the top stage show in a good way Muse (April 2019, Capital One Arena)IMG_1057

Most captivating Sia never moving from a box in the dark of the rear left corner of the stage for the entire show with her face covered by her idiosyncratic two-toned wig and keeping a Verizon Center[5] audience utterly transfixed for two hours by the music (mostly her incredible singing voice) and her interpretive dancers.66A81BF8-AA8E-41A9-8CBF-2D3D39B4FB8B

Most jaw dropping moment When Me’Shell Ndegécello covered Al B. Sure!’s Night and Day. (April, 2018 at Kennedy Center)

OMG AM I ACTUALLY HERE Lindsey Stirling/Evanescence (July, 2018 at Jiffy Lube Live) It’s possible I cried several times. I tried to keep my daughter from noticing.

010B4E81-22A3-47A7-8EAA-BAF9AE576AFC_1_201_aAdele (yes, she’s a category unto herself) 9:30 Club, May 2011Adele diptic

It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (but it’s coming to take your soul) Royal Blood (saw them 2x). When they open with Lights Out, they announce they’re coming for you. By the time they get to Monsters, you question whether you’re going to survive. After 60 perfect gut-punching minutes (you could not withstand any more than that), you bask in the afterglow of experiencing rock purity.

Best openers (non-big name) St. Lucia (for Ellie Goulding), Kitten (for Paramore), Juniper Lane (for Bon Jovi)

Best pre-show conversation Melanie Martinez[6]

Best post-show conversation Ginny Blackmore, who let me buy her a glass of Chardonnay after her show at Jammin Java and then regaled me with stories about working with Christina Aguilera (diva), Adam Lambert (nicest guy in the world) and L.A. Reid (tough-minded music executive).

Best concert No such thing.

I know I said the theme of the decade was “live music.” More accurate would be “live music with my daughters.” Overwhelmingly, my live music experiences of the decade were shaped and shared with one or both of them. As one of them would say, “Huzzah!”


[1] Not including the countless times I saw guitar virtuoso Joanna Connor in Chicago clubs

[2] Not including seeing him with Queen + Adam Lambert

[3] i.e. abdicating to work or illness

[4] I have seen Maggie and Banks but really wanted to see them again.

[5] Now the Capital One Arena

[6] We may have possibly crashed a Meet and Greet?

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