I always thought I was unlucky for living in Australia as bands never seemed to come here. However, after meeting my husband I now realise I am quite the opposite.
Last year Alex and I went to see Radiohead at the local arena. Alex’s mouth was wide open in awe during the whole show. For me, it was a typical sound-and-light extravaganza style concert, those of which I have seen many times. In Costa Rica they have only recently built a large arena. For me, I have been seeing big shows like this since I was… well, 9.
My first concert was Pearl Jam in grade 3. I have parents who desperately wanted me to be into rock music like them. But I did love Pearl Jam. I think the best part of the concert though was having permission to be late for school the next day. The teacher thoroughly tormented me – he was probably just jealous that I got to sleep in!
As I grew up, I was dragged along willingly and not-so-willingly (the latter, to see Kiss many, many times, thanks to my obsessed brother) to many concerts, always arena shows. I saw Pearl Jam and Kiss numerous times when I was younger, and when I was older I had more choice in what bands I wanted to see.
Recently I have been thinking about all the concerts I’ve ever been to, and how good the best ones were. I have decided to compile a list of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, because they were just so amazing that this information really needs to be shared. And then you need to go and see these bands play. Unless you live in Costa Rica, then you might be waiting a while.
The Decemberists, 19/10/09 @ Royce Hall, UCLA, LA
Woah. I had just discovered this band one month before I saw them live. I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous. But hear me out: Alex had mailed me a mix-CD of MP3s a month or two earlier and I was reading through the bands listed. I saw The Decemberists and typical lamo me thought, “Oh, this band sounds cool” because I was born in December. The album was The Hazards of Love, which is still to this day one of my favourite albums ever. It is amazing; it’s one of those albums you have to listen to all in one sitting, and you absolutely cannot listen to one track at a time. A beautiful love story it is (actually, the last track is mine and Alex’s “song”).
Anyway… I was going to move to Costa Rica in October 2009, and for some reason I had a stopover in Los Angeles for one night. Somehow I discovered that on my one-night stopover, the Decemberists would be coincidentally playing in L.A. I could not believe it. As I was totally obsessed with the album by this stage, I thought this to be a sign (or something) and immediately proceeded to purchase a ticket.
So, so glad I did. The concert was to be divided into two parts: first, the band would be playing the entire album that I was obsessed with; and second, the band would be playing some of their oldies.
I remember the night well. I was staying near L.A. airport. I was already ridiculously excited, because a) I was in another country; and b) I would be meeting my future love in my new home the following day. I caught a cab to the majestic Royce Hall at UCLA, which was where the concert was held. I even bought merchandise for a band I’d only known for one month (there was a buy-one-get-one-free deal so I couldn’t help myself). I think of my goodies as souvenirs to remind me of the most ridiculous coincidence I have encountered to date.
The concert itself was phenomenal and I was in awe for the entire show. My most favourite part was when guest Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond) came up to sing, her booming voice sending shivers up my spine. In the background was a visualisation spectacular, which resonated beautifully with the music. The second part of the show was fun, and we were also given a bit of an insight into the lead Colin Meloy’s humorous side.
Finding a cab from the middle of a secluded university village on a weeknight was another story. But I eventually made it back to my hostel in one piece, thrilled and exhilarated, enjoying my last night of being single in a dingy bar with some drunk old truck drivers and a bag of free popcorn.
This is possibly the best concert I’ve ever been to, so much so that I would pay to see it again and again on DVD, even though I lack a DVD player. Unfortunately, it seems it was never recorded.
Part 2, coming up (eventually).