sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 30, 2006

best concerts of ’06
posted by soe 7:03 pm

I think this may have been the first year of my entire life that I have attended enough concerts to not only have a top ten list but also to reject some in favor of others. May this trend continue.

My top ten list:

  1. Billy Joel (March, Verizon Center, DC): My folks had seen the Piano Man several times and had insisted he put on a great show, so when Rudi asked me if I wanted to go, I immediately said yes. And I’m so glad I went. Despite the fact that we were in a huge coliseum, Billy played the show as if it were intimate club venue and chatted it up between numbers. Truly worth every penny and every neck crane from sitting in the nose-bleed seats and I’d pay it again.
  2. Paul Simon (July, Merriweather Post Pavillion, Columbia, MD): I really liked Paul’s performance this time. He seemed like he felt really comfortable with the audience, with his bandmates, and with the material. Paul had reworked a number of the pieces to update them or to better suit them to his current band configuration, and it all just really worked. Unlike the last time I saw him, when he talked-sang his songs, this time he did actually sing, reminding me of why it is that we consider him one of the great poet songwriters of his generation.
  3. Pink Martini (September, Lisner Auditorium, DC): Pink Martini is just a fun band, the sort of group where you just want to stand up and dance, even if you don’t know how. Their singer kicks serious ass and their brass and percussion sections drive the tempo. Even if you don’t understand the words (they sing songs in a variety of languages), you really understand what it’s about from the arrangements they’ve put together. If you haven’t heard or seen this Portland, Ore.-based group, what have you been waiting for?
  4. Peter, Paul, and Mary (August, Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center, VA): While some people might argue that ’60s folk music was all about protesting, I would argue that it’s all about optimism: Yes, some things aren’t right. But we (you, me, them, us) working together can turn it around and fix it to make everything better. And that’s what this concert ultimately was about.
  5. James Taylor (November, Warner Theater, DC): JT, how do I love thee? I love how goofy you are and how you know you’re goofy and you perform in spite and because of it. I love how you signed anything for anyone during the concert and how you ignored the grumpy people who wanted you to stop and to start singing RIGHT THEN. I loved how you told stories that illuminated certain aspects of your songs. I loved how you brought your Mac onstage with you so you could show slides and videos as a backdrop to your performances. I loved your scaled-back show with just you and your pianist (and for the record, I could have lived without your wife’s chorus performing back-up for you on songs where you like having a choir). I love your boyish grin and your beautiful tenor and your moving lyrics. And I loved that you finished it all up with my favorite song. Please come back soon.
  6. KT Tunstall (March, Paradise Theater, Boston): KT might have rated higher if I hadn’t been coming down with a really nasty bug that night. As it was, I just sat there and listened while a whole club stood and cheered around me. But even with all that, I appreciated what a fun show she put on. If you can still catch her in a small venue, do so, because it won’t be long before she’s selling out whole arenas.
  7. Brian Wilson (November, Warner Theater, DC): This was our final concert of the year and it ended the year in a strong fashion. I grew up on Beach Boys music, but have never been impressed by Brian’s performances on late night shows. Rudi has attended a number of Brian’s shows and finally convinced me that I was missing something special and it turns out that he was right. Brian started out a little shaky, but as the night went on, he really seemed to connect with the audience and with his fellow musicians until it ended with such strong performances that you really felt that you were part of something larger than yourself.
  8. Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab for Cutie (April, DAR Constitution Hall, DC): For such an illustrious hall, this was a rocking show. We’ve been Franz Ferdinand fans for a while, so they were the main draw for this show, even if Death Cab for Cutie were the headliners. But I was pleased with both groups’ performances and it was a fun show to attend.
  9. The Counting Crows (August, Nissan Pavillion, VA): We attended this show with Susan and Sarah. I wasn’t blown away by opening act, The Goo Goo Dolls, but the Crows did a a great job and it was a wonderful way to spend a summer evening with friends.
  10. Ellis Paul (January, Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA): Ellis was the first concert of the year — a Christmas present for Rudi last season. We’re both big Ellis fans, so it was great to be able to see him in an such an intimate venue. He is friends with both the Brindley brothers (who own the club) and with Don Conoscenti, who all performed solo works before joining together to end the show with some jamming and cover tunes.
Category: arts. There is/are 2 Comments.

And where does the author concert at Radio City fit in!? J.K. Rowling anyone??? 😉

Soe I didn’t know you like Franz Ferdinand… but then you probably wouldn’t have pegged me for a fan of theirs either so I guess that makes us even. 😛

I saw a few great concerts this year including the Dixie Chicks and Pet Shop Boys. Imogen Heap at Webster Hall was far and away the best concert of the year though. I really wish you’d had the chance to see her live when she was in DC. She is… well she is just so perfectly Immi. She is playing a few dates across the pond in the new year if you want to join me…?

Hoping that 2007 is filled with many more good concerts… and lots of goodness in general.

Comment by ejbro 12.31.06 @ 12:07 pm

I completely agree about Pink Martini! I first saw them in 2002 @ the Hollywood Bowl. In 2005 I saw them in a very small venue here in Chicago (was at both shows). In 2006 I saw them at the House of Blues here in Chicago. I definitely look forward to more of their concerts. 🙂

Comment by Amy Artisan 01.01.07 @ 10:39 pm