My first concert was, as far as I am concerned, the Beach Boys at Chicago Fest in 1980 or 1981. The first concert I actually attended intentionally was New Order (and the Sugarcubes and PiL) in 1988.

I love going to concerts. It’s such a privilege to watch the artists you admire perform in front of you. Hearing a beloved song being played in the moment, watching the musicians create the sounds that mean so much to you, being a small part of the existence of that song at that time and place – it’s almost a religious experience.

Some of my favorite concert memories, in no particular order: Henry Rollins angrily crouched on stage after someone threw a boot at him; Bernard Butler going full guitar god at a Suede show; Ben Carr dancing; discovering the Front Bottoms; seeing Peter Hook up close; Gordon Gano wearing a leather jacket in 90+ degree weather; Billy Bragg’s charm; a mosh pit at Best Coast; the “Ladies” bathroom plate on Anna Waronker’s guitar; the guy from Red City Radio ending his set by saying “Fuck it, let’s go see Slayer”; talking to Mike Joyce of the Smiths; seeing the Chills; the Essex Green doing a medley that included New Order’s “Age of Consent”; Green Day before they were huge; the Cure’s impressive professionalism; an angry Jeff Tweedy; the Flaming Lips playing along to a video projection of Steven Drozd playing drums; seeing Johnny Marr; Doug Martsch’s guitar playing; being feet away from post-REM Mike Mills and Peter Buck; the rumpled urbanity of Luna; Robyn Hitchcock covering “Desolation Row”; a stroke-recovered Scott McCaughey; discovering Spiritualized; meeting Pete Shelley; J Mascis’s wall of Marshall amps; Neutral Milk Hotel at sunset; Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell telling the crowd “you’re lovely”; either Corin Tucker or Carrie Brownstein slipping and falling on her ass and barely missing a note; Morrissey’s live version of “Angel, Angel, We Go Down Together”; Social Distortion’s sweaty intensity; the Rickenbackers of the Bottle Rockets; Robert Forster’s gentlemanly manner; Cracker’s David Lowery heckling the crowd (back); Ian McCulloch chain-smoking through an Echo & the Bunnymen show; the brothers Reid arguing on stage while playing guitar.

Washington, D.C.

The 9:30 Club (F Street location)

WUST Radio Music Hall

GW University Lisner Auditorium

The Bayou

RFK Stadium


Merriweather Post Pavilion


New York


Roseland Ballroom

The Knitting Factory

Tower Records (East 4th Street)

The Fez Under Time Café



Aragon Ballroom

The Riviera

The Vic

The Elbo Room

The Bottom Lounge

The Empty Bottle

The Subterranean

The Double Door

Lounge Ax

Lincoln Hall


Thalia Hall

The Hideout

Sleeping Village

Old Town School of Folk Music

The Cubbie Bear

Soldier Field

Pritzker Pavilion

Harris Theater for Music and Dance

Park Grill

Tribune Tower Plaza

Tower Records (Clark Avenue)

Virgin Records

House of Blues

Humboldt Park

Douglas Park

Union Park

Navy Pier

Taste of Randolph Street

West Fest

Skokie’s Backlot Bash

Wicker Park Fest

Square Roots Festival


Out of Space

World Music Theatre


Doug Fir

Mississippi Studios

Revolution Hall

Crystal Ballroom

Wonder Ballroom

Moda Center

Polaris Hall

Aladdin Theater

Star Theater


Coffin Club

Other Cities


First Avenue

San Diego

Music Box



Paramount Theatre


Capitol Theater

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