It’s that time of the year when the performance calendar slims down, through mid-January. Like teachers and Senators, musicians like to work only eight or nine months, thank you.

I keep rhapsodizing about the joys of live music, so I had this idea.

Send me a list of the five best concerts you ever saw. Who, where, and date as best you can look up, remember or guess. You can comment if you want to, or not.

I don’t need hundreds of people to respond, because such ploys never get that. But I think each response will be interesting, and maybe be included in a column.

If you can’t come up with five… you definitely need to get out more, and can use this NOTEWORTHY column as a guide each Thursday

So here we go with my Top 5. Out of literally 1000s. So hard to pick, but this is just for fun, nobody’s judging, no right or wrong entries. So c’mon, walk down that musical memory corridor with me, and share your ecstasy.


Led Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge, 8/2/69, Albuquerque Civic Auditorium (capacity 3,000) – Zep’s first US tour, Vanilla Fudge were scheduled as the headliner but someone came to their senses and put them on first, Plant played a lot of really good harp, they rocked like no one before them (and some would say, since), this show imPLANTed that first eponymous LP in my DNA as my all-time Zep favorite.

Jimi Hendrix, 6/19/70, Civic Auditorium – of course, Jimi, but three months later I had to write an obit for him for my college paper. Some were shocked that he didn’t play with his teeth or set fire to or smash anything but I knew he had by then eschewed those theatrics and he stood in one spot on the stage the whole time and filled the room with unbelievable sounds.

… and you’ll have to wait until next week for the rest of mine. As The Fudge sang, you just keep me hangin’ on.


— except she made me let her have 10, and then she made me a great dinner. If you too really need more than five, tell me what’s for dinner.

Bob Marley – 1/25/79, Santa Barbara Bowl (his last recorded show – you can see me, the redhead, right in front of the stage); Peggy Lee – early ‘90s, Hwd; Aretha Franklin – 9/3/17, Ravinia Bowl, Chicago (her last concert, postponed from 6/17 because of illness, no one knew if she would make this one but she totally rocked it); Prince – 5/28/11, The Forum, Inglewood (21 night stand to pay off debts, a different guest artist every night, we saw Mary J Blige and Maceo Parker, other nights Whitney, Stevie, Gwen, Chaka, shows lasted three hours, many costume and instrument and mood changes); Ray Charles – 10/6/02, a park in Pasadena (our daughter and friends got right up next to the stage); Ella Fitzgerald – 3/86, El Camino College, Torrance (my idol as a jazz singer); Talking Heads – 12/83, Pantages Theater, Hwd (filmed Stop Making Sense); Rolling Stones – 5/3/13, Staples Center, LA; Paul McCartney – 8/10/14, Dodger Stadium; Dolly – 8/16/05, House of Blues, W Hwd.


DEVO – 6/29/14; Dolly – 10/3/16; King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – first LA show; Stevie Wonder – 7/24/11, Hollywood Bowl; Prince – 5/28/11 (see Mom’s, above).


MAGIC FLUTE – LA OPERA (oh lordy lordy the outrageous preview videos were entrancing but made me think, could be genius, could be disaster but LA Opera staged this before, so did Berlin and it garnered the rave reviews it deserves, like nothing I’ve ever seen, Magic Flute the most popular opera there is but this staging with exploding brilliant backdrops of Betty Boop meets Bauhaus with Buster Keaton, Nosferatu and animation surrounding the singers coming out of three levels onto small platforms, do not trip on those backstage stairs! — to sing while coordinating their movements with the visuals swirling around them, there were a few vocal miffs and the brass early on was a bit off but how can they even keep their minds focused, a visual-aural treat you must not miss, only six performances so don’t dawdle!), Sat, next Thurs 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $44-$309.


TONIGHT! – 1984 (stage adaptation of the chilling George Orwell novel, returning from a world tour with Tim Robbins directing and in the role of Big Bro’s buddy O’Brien, tricky, excellent adaptation from the novel by Michael Gene Sullivan, memorable, use of sound really really good, innovative, Will Thomas McFadden’s Winston is a good mix of defiance and crushed spirit but should I recommend it if the website says all performances are sold out? — call, go, beg), Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun 8 p.m., The Actors’ Gang Theater, Culver City, $20-$35.

TONIGHT! — JULIA MIGENES (takes us back to the Paris of Piaf and Picasso, Django and Hemingway, an evening of personal stories from her amazing long career — debuted at The Met at 3 — and nostalgic French chansons by Aznavour, Ferre, Brel, Legrand, music does elicit the entire spectrum of human emotion and in this show she magically transports us to the romantic Paris that no longer exists, but in those songs always will, at The Odyssey exclusively, like, you will not get to see this show in NY, Paris or London, only WLA), Thurs, Sat 8 p.m., Odyssey Theatre, WLA, $40.

WHAT BOOKS PRESS presents (poetry and prose from the authors of four new titles — Mariano Zaro’s Decoding Sparrows, Cathy Colman’s Time Crunch, L. I. Henley’s Whole Night Through and Katie Silver’s Echo Under Story, we missed out on a Library Girl so this can keep you literary types going), Fri 7 p.m., Beyond Baroque, Venice, $6-$10, free for BB members.

7 DUDLEY CINEMA presents PXL THIS 29 (I’ve always wanted to go to this,

it’s the 29th annual toy camera film festival featuring Pixelvision films made with the Fisher-Price PXL-2000 camcorder), Sun 7 p.m., Beyond Baroque, Venice, free but donations gratefully accepted.

BARBARA MORRISON (it’s the great Barbara Morrison, at another venue you might pay $20-40 but the comfy confines of Pips are her sometime home, take advantage), Tues 7 p.m., Pips on La Brea, LA, free.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: JACK SHELDON Big Band, 11/29-30, Catalina Bar & Grill, Hwd; LA PHIL, DUDAMEL Conducts RACHMANINOFF, STRAVINSKY, 11/30 12/1, BEETHOVEN’s “Eroica” 12/6-7-8, Disney Hall, DTLA; THE PIXIES, 12/1. No Vacancy, Hwd (must be a Radio 88.5 member to win tickets); BILL FRISSELL & JULIAN LAGE DUO, 12/5, Royce Hall, UCLA; SNOOP DOGG, I Wanna Thank Me Tour, with Warren G, 12/5, Wiltern, LA; LA BOHEME: aka “The Hipsters,” 12/6-7-11-13-14, Highland Park Ebell Club; ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC, 12/11, Disney Hall, DTLA; X, LOS STRAITJACKETS, 12/19-20, Teragram Ballroom, DTLA; YOUNG DUBLINERS, 12/28. Harvelles, DTSM.

BODACIOUS BIRTHDAYS: COLEMAN HAWKINS – made the tenor a jazz horn (1904); BJORK(1965 ); ALPHONSE MOUZON – Weather Report (1948); VOLTAIRE (1694); STAN MUSIAL – Stan the Man, one of the best hitters ever, known for his modesty and sportsmanship, 22 seasons with St Louis Cardinals, .331 lifetime, 7x NL batting champ, was also an amazing pitcher and was offered a major college basketball scholarship (1920); JACK BENNY, violin and Richard Nixon, piano, play their famed duet (1959).

Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at

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