With the exception of our second Live concert this Friday, our summer of concert mania is over. We survived, although have probably suffered some hearing loss, long-term larynx damage and are slightly more insane than we were 5 months ago. But with no further ado, here are the rankings from best to downright hideous, which hopefully my dear sister (DS) will concur on:
1) Live/Collective Soul/Counting Crows -- DS would give this a 2/3 rating, because we evacuated the premises when the Crows' Adam Duritz started dropping f-bombs and miserably reworking the songs, but, as I mentioned earlier, Live more than made up for it. This band continues to deliver the goods and is exciting even after repeated viewings. Collective Soul was good as well, but just couldn't get out of the shadow of Kowalczyk and Co.
2) Psychedelic Furs/The Alarm/The Fixx -- DS would also give this 2/3 of a rating based on the fact that the Fixx's Cy was just plain weird. But for pure adrenalin and emotion, nothing beats that 45 minute set by The Alarm. And for pure nostalgia and the enjoyment of one of the most unique voices in music, the Furs had us won over.
3) Keane -- God, this show seems ages ago, back in mid-May. But this is another band we've seen every time they pass through...from arenas where they support U2, to small dance clubs and now the Pavilion, Keane always hold their own and put on an excellent show. They have a knack for putting together setlists that are perfectly paced and excellently presented. They're going to have to seriously mess up to get off our "must see" list.
4) The Police -- This was our most expensive ticket of the summer, so we were sort of expecting to be hugely disappointed. And Fenway is a hellacious venue to see a show, but when you were too young to see them in 1983 no matter how much of your allowance you used to bribe your parents, you have to see them when you can. The Police offered up a solid show with a near-perfect setlist. I was thrilled and not disappointed at all.
5) Barry Manilow -- For the showmanship and the nostalgia, this was a great experience. Personally, this show lived up to our childhood expectations. Like him or not, Manilow is a legend, and we were delighted with the performance.
6) Squeeze -- Squeeze would have rated higher with a better constructed setlist. They definitely delivered their hits, but the 25 minutes of dead time for newer (aka lesser-known) non-hits really sucked the wind out of this show. The last 20 minutes or so were pure-bliss for a child of the 80s.
In an effort of full and fair disclosure, there is an enormous gap between Squeeze and our next entry:
7) The Fray and OK! Go -- The highlight of this show was OK! Go doing "Here It Goes Again" even without the treadmills. That should tell you how pathetic this show was. The Fray has one album with only four songs that are really worthy of a second listen, and two of those are grossly over-played already. Yet they insisted on presenting a slew of new material for the half of the setlist. We were impatient and bored, so we left a show early, for the first time ever. That should tell you something.