I want to know!

And so would other readers, I think. I get people following this column who really love live music, some really passionate about it.

But don’t worry about “being judged.” You can ask me to leave your name off if I do publish your picks.

So, send me a list of the five best concerts you ever saw. Who and where, and date as best you can look up, remember or guess. Just the approximate year will do. You can comment if you want to, or not.

Send to: (that email is at the bottom of all my columns).

If you can’t come up with five … you definitely need to get out more, and can use the NOTEWORTHY column as a guide each Thursday. If you’re moaning that “it’s so hard to pick only five!” — you aren’t the only one to complain. My daughter refused the limit, until I cajoled and badgered her into it.


I gave the first two last Thursday, with a promise to finish this week. So here’s the other three.

GRATEFUL DEAD, NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE, 11/17/71, Civic Auditorium, Albuquerque — A former fellow UNM Lobo newspaper mate of mine recently passed along memorabilia of a Grateful Dead concert 50 years ago that day, and included was my review in the paper. Not ever a Dead fan, really, not even after that concert, but they played more than five hours of absolutely superb music that really was country music, and the very countrified New Riders of the Purple Sage, protegees of Jerry Garcia who produced and played on their first album, were smokin’. OK, yeah, I was smokin’ too during the show but that’s irrelevant (no, really it is) and had long worn off as I floated through the next 4-5 days with that music swirling in my consciousness. I have never experienced that before or since. Maybe I should have thrown it all away to become a Deadhead — nah.

ROLLING STONES, STEVIE WONDER, 6/15/72, University Arena, Albuquerque — Nearly everyone agrees the Stones’ ‘72 tour, with the elegant Mick Taylor more than ably replacing the tragically drowned Brian Jones, was their best, and with a 22-yr-old Stevie Wonder, already a 10-year veteran with a bagful of hits and unlimited promise, just killing the opening set, it was pure rock and roll heaven.

BOB DYLAN, THE BAND, 2/6/74, Denver Coliseum — Those other great concerts were blessed anomalies, but Albuquerque went from rock and roll whistle-stop to landing nearly every major tour, because of young UNM assistant dean Tom Hogg who used his mastery of nascent computer science, the newly-built 20,000 seat basketball arena The Pit, and his great taste and knowledge of rock and roll combined with a sharp sense of marketing to lure every big name except The Who (they were scheduled but got snowed in Utah, serves ‘em right for even going to Utah, and this tour, Dylan’s much-anticipated first tour in eight years after his near-fatal motorcycle accident. I always tell people I would’ve made the trip to Denver just to see The Band. Albuquerque music freaks filled two rows in Denver. Hogg ascended to the rarified position of number three at the new company Ticketmaster, moved to LA, and kept me in great seats for decades (I always paid for them, but face value). Thanks Tom, and Happy Birthday. See? — you’re still famous.


Not complaining, I shoulder my heavy burden willingly, but it is tricky every week picking the best shows 10 days in advance, and now with holiday printing schedules pushing it up another five days, I’m just throwing my hands up and putting in a few things I can count on. At the bottom I just copied part of last week’s COMING ATTRACTIONS that now fall into this week. Otherwise, you’re on your own, kids. (See how much you need me?)


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!), Sun 2 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $169-$394.


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), 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), Fri 8 p.m., Sun 7 p.m., Odyssey Theatre, WLA, $40.

JACK SHELDON Big Band, 11/29-30, Catalina Bar & Grill, Hwd; LA PHIL, DUDAMEL Conducts RACHMANINOFF, STRAVINSKY, 11/30 12/1, 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;

COMING ATTRACTIONS: BEETHOVEN’s “Eroica” 12/6-7-8, Disney Hall, DTLA; 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.

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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