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A few months ago, my daughter was compiling a list of concerts she had seen.  I experienced two emotions:  pride (regarding the diversity of musical styles she’s interested in) and petty jealousy. (How is it that my daughter has seen The Black Keys, Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy, and I have not?)  I had no choice but to play my trump card:  “Oh, yeah, well I saw Talking Heads, and now they’re broken up, so there.”  Then I went off to find my son and my wife and settle the score with them for also having committed the sin of seeing artists who I have missed.  (Son:  B.B. King.  Wife:  The Ramones.)

My daughter suggested I create my own list of the live music I’ve seen over the years.  I said, “Honey, there is no way I could remember every single live performance I’ve ever seen.  That’s going back forty(!) years to my very first concert (Aerosmith, 1976).  No…no, that would take a long time, and, really, to what benefit?”  Even as I was saying the words, I was mentally building the list.

This was purely a vanity project for my own rainy day fun.  I don’t expect you to actually read this entire list, but if you do, allow me to answer some questions that might come to mind…

My Live Music F.A.Q.

How many? – 149 artists, 205 performances.

Waaait a second.  “The LeRoi Brothers?”  I never even heard of them.  You can’t call this a list of real concerts. – I didn’t say it was a list of concerts I saw at the American Airlines Center.  What’s the criteria for being on the list?  I don’t know…I just gotta feel it, but it’s definitely not determined by size of the venue.  I saw blues legend, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown at a tiny club in Galveston, and he is absolutely on this list.  I saw Jonathan Richman at a small club in Dallas with about 60 people.  (“Who’s Jonathan Richman?”  I’ll not dignify that with a response.)  As for The LeRoi Brothers, I saw them several times in the early 1980s at a little place in Waco called Water Works, and I have two of their albums.  You can still catch them playing around town in Austin, and you would be fortunate to do so!

So this is every band you’ve ever seen?! – No, that list would be twice as long as this one.  Local cover bands, long-forgotten, nameless bar bands playing in the background…no, those are not listed.  Basically, if I saw a band that released an album or was written up in any kind of national publication, I consider it list-worthy.

Steve Martin?  The comedian? – Yes, but I saw him touring with his bluegrass band…playing music (and telling a few jokes, too).  It counts!

Dokken?  Nazareth?  Seriously? – In the late ’70s and early ’80s, there was a series of annual summer events called The Texxas Jam.  They were held at the Cotton Bowl, and there would be six to eight acts on the bill.  It was a punishing day in the sun for thousands of pasty-white kids who gave not one moment’s thought to things like sunscreen, finding shade or staying hydrated.  They were there to rock, man!…and, for some of them, to spend several hours in the medic tent.  My four visits to “The Jam” added some great bands to my list (Van Halen, Eagles, Cheap Trick) and a lot of filler that I would not have seen had they not been on the same bill with the headliners (Dokken, April Wine, Point Blank, Billy Thorpe).

How were The Strokes?  – Terrible.  I saw them at New Orleans Jazz Fest.  They were arrogant and bored, and they didn’t want to be there.  But they’re on the list, just the same.  Awesome or awful, if I saw the show, on purpose or accidentally, it’s on the list.

Biggest regret? – My friends saw a young, unknown guitar player “from Austin” at a little club in Waco in 1981 (or maybe ’82).  His name was “Stevie Ray something,” and there were probably about 50 people in the audience.  My friends raved about the show for weeks.  I had chosen not to tag along that night.  Ouch.

Is this really a complete list? – Probably not, but this is everybody I can remember…

  1. Aerosmith (x2) – 1976:  My first concert.  Not good.  The band was drunk and sloppy.  I’m surprised I ever went to another show.  1986: Primo!  Definitely in my Top 10.  Steven Tyler had just graduated from rehab, and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.  (Thank you, Bruce Thatcher!)
  2. Air Supply – Oct. 20, 1980, Waco Hall, Baylor University. First date with Linda.
  3. Gregg Allman – New Orleans Jazz Fest
  4. Dave & Phil Alvin – The Kessler Theater (Dallas). Ya gotta go to the Kessler!
  5. Dave Alvin – The Kessler Theater.  Top 10.
  6. April Wine – Texxas Jam
  7. Marcia Ball – N.O. Jazz Fest
  8. The Bangles – Granada Theater (Dallas)
  9. The Beach Boys – Tarrant County Convention Center
  10. Beck – Dallas.  Top 10.  (Not Jeff Beck.  Just “Beck.”)  Awesome.
  11. Better Than Ezra – N.O. Jazz Fest
  12. Scott H. Biram (x3) – The Kessler Theater and Deep Ellum (Dallas)
  13. Frank Black – Deep Ellum
  14. The Blind Boys of Alabama – N.O. Jazz Fest
  15. Blind Melon – Opened for Lenny Kravitz
  16. Blue Oyster Cult – Texxas Jam
  17. Benjamin Booker – Deep Ellum
  18. Boston – Texxas Jam
  19. Brave Combo (x10) – At least 10 times.  Poor David’s Pub, The Czech Hall, German Fest (Muenster, TX), etc.
  20. Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – The Strand (Galveston)
  21. Junior Brown (x3) – The Kessler Theater, Sons of Hermann Hall,  Deep Ellum
  22. Kenny Brown (x2) – Goat Fest I and II!  (Clarksdale, MS)  Top 10.
  23. Buckwheat Zydeco – Bedford Blues and BBQ Festival
  24. Jimmy Buffett – Gotta see him at least once, right?
  25. Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcom (x2) – Dallas and at Goat Fest II
  26. Aaron Burton (x3) – The Goat (Dallas).  Not “Goat Fest“…that’s a different goat.
  27. David Byrne (x4) – Hot show, every time.  Top 10.
  28. Glen Campbell – Branson, Missouri – mid-’90s.
  29. The Cars – Reunion Arena (Dallas)
  30. Neko Case – Granada Theater
  31. Cheap Trick – Texxas Jam
  32. C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band – N.O. Jazz Fest
  33. Alex Chilton – At a small bar called Check Point Charlie in New Orleans not long before he died.
  34. Eric Clapton – Dallas.  Outdoor venue in the pouring rain, our hands covering our beer cups.
  35. Slaid Cleaves – The Kessler Theater.  (Thanks, Sid!)
  36. Coldplay – Nokia Center (Grand Prairie, TX). Or the “AT&T Center?”…or “The Verizon Center?”  It changes annually.
  37. Elvis Costello (x2) – Dallas and Shreveport (Thank you, Sammy!)
  38. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Outdoor venue (Dallas)
  39. Christopher Cross – Texxas Jam.  Not very well-received by the hard rock crowd!
  40. The Dandy Warhols – Terrific show!  (Deep Ellum)
  41. CeDell Davis – Goat Fest II (The New Roxy Theater, Clarksdale, MS)
  42. Dixie Chicks (x2) – Once at Fat Tuesday’s Bar (Arlington, TX) and once at The Richardson Wildflower Festival.  Had to be 1991 or ’92.  Great little Texas Swing band.  Wonder whatever became of them?
  43. Dokken – Texxas Jam
  44. Bob Dylan (x4) – Saw him once at the legendary and lost Bronco Bowl in Dallas. (Shedding a tear for The Bronco Bowl)
  45. Eagles (x2) – Texxas Jam and Reunion Arena
  46. Eels (x4) – Top 10.  One of these was far and away the loudest show I have ever experienced.
  47. Jason Elmore (x2) – The Kessler Theater and at Dallas Guitar Show
  48. Joe Ely – Can’t remember where, but I KNOW I saw him.
  49. The English Beat – Granada Theater
  50. The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Opened for The Rolling Stones
  51. The Flaming Lips – Nokia Center?/AT&T?/Verizon?…whatever!  “The Phone Center” in Grand Prairie, TX.
  52. Fleetwood Mac – Texxas Jam
  53. Foreigner – Texxas Jam
  54. Guy Forsyth – The Kessler Theater
  55. Ruthie Foster – The Kessler Theater
  56. The Four Freshman – Dinner theater with my parents!
  57. Grandaddy – Opened for Pete Yorn.  (Why did I go see Pete Yorn?)
  58. Buddy Guy – Ft. Worth’s Caravan of Dreams.  (Why did Caravan of Dreams have to close?!)
  59. Sammy Hagar (x2) – Texxas Jam
  60. Emmylou Harris – N.O. Jazz Fest
  61. Heart – Texxas Jam
  62. Bugs Henderson – Caravan of Dreams
  63. Robyn Hitchcock – Opened for R.E.M.
  64. The Hoodoo Gurus – Opened for The Bangles.  Great fun!
  65. Wanda Jackson – The Kessler Theater
  66. Billy Joel (x2) – Late ’70s.  Unforgettable show, both times. (Dallas and Houston)
  67. Jamey Johnson – N.O. Jazz Fest
  68. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Granada Theater.  Hot show!
  69. Valerie June – Opened for Sharon Jones
  70. KC & The Sunshine Band – Las Vegas.  (The were the entertainment at a 7-Eleven corporate event.)
  71. Lenny Kravitz (x2) – N.O. Jazz Fest and at Reunion Arena
  72. Jonny Lang – Bedford Blues and BBQ Festival
  73. Bettye LaVette (x2) – McFarlin Auditorium (SMU) and The Kessler Theater
  74. Left Lane Cruiser – Goat Fest II
  75. James Legg – Goat Fest II
  76. The LeRoi Brothers (x5) – Water Works (Waco).  Rowdy!
  77. David Lindley – The Kessler Theater
  78. Little River Band – Texxas Jam
  79. The Long Ryders – The West End (Dallas)
  80. Los Lobos – N.O. Jazz Fest
  81. Lydia Loveless – Deep Ellum
  82. Nick Lowe (x2) – The Kessler Theater and Sons of Hermann Hall
  83. The Lumineers – “The Phone Center” in Grapevine…whatever it was called at the time.
  84. Luna – Opened for Lou Reed (Bronco Bowl!)
  85. Yngwie Malmsteen – Dallas Guitar Show
  86. Steve Martin – Morton Myerson Symphony Center (Dallas) (Thank you, Bill & Neita!)
  87. Dave Matthews – N.O. Jazz Fest
  88. Jimbo Mathus – Juke Joint Festival (Clarksdale, MS)
  89. Metallica – Texxas Jam
  90. Steve Miller – Texxas Jam
  91. Matisyahu – Opened for The Flaming Lips
  92. The Moody Blues – Outdoor venue (Dallas)
  93. The Motels – Opened for The Cars
  94. My Morning Jacket – N.O. Jazz Fest
  95. Mystikal – N.O. Jazz Fest
  96. Nazareth – Texxas Jam
  97. Willie Nelson – N.O. Jazz Fest
  98. Anders Osborne – N.O. Jazz Fest
  99. Joan Osborne – The Kessler Theater
  100. Pearl Jam – Houston (Thanks, Pete!)
  101. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (x4).  Top 10.  (Thanks, George!)
  102. Wilson Pickett – N.O. Jazz Fest
  103. Pink Floyd –  Reunion Arena
  104. Pixies – “The Phone Center” in Grand Prairie, TX.
  105. Point Blank – Texxas Jam
  106. Grace Potter (x2) – N.O. Jazz Fest and House of Blues (Dallas)
  107. Primal Scream – Epic show.  (Austin)
  108. Prince –  What a brat.  It was a 90-minute medley!  I think he might have played one song all the way through.
  109. R.E.M. – Reunion Arena
  110. Bonnie Raitt – N.O. Jazz Fest
  111. Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Richardson Wildflower Festival
  112. Lou Reed – Bronco Bowl
  113. The Replacements (x2) – Bronco Bowl and as openers for Tom Petty
  114. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Juke Joint Festival (Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art)
  115. Jonathan Richman (x8) – Eight times, and I’m probably forgetting one.
  116. Jason Ringenberg – without The Scorchers. (Deep Ellum)
  117. Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters – N.O. Jazz Fest
  118. Rodrigo y Gabriela – N.O. Jazz Fest
  119. The Rolling Stones – Cotton Bowl
  120. Mason Ruffner – What was the name of that place on Greenville Ave. in Dallas?
  121. Scorpions – Texxas Jam
  122. Ron Sexsmith – Sons of Hermann Hall (opened for Nick Lowe)
  123. Michelle Shocked – The Kessler Theater (opened for Junior Brown)
  124. Paul Simon – N.O. Jazz Fest.  Top 10.
  125. JD Souther – The Kessler Theater
  126. Bruce Springsteen (x3).  A Top 10.  Total playing time for 3 shows:  57 hours.
  127. Mavis Staples – The Kessler Theater
  128. Ringo Starr – Remember Ringo’s All-Stars?  Other big names on stage who I can’t remember.
  129. The Strokes – N.O. Jazz Fest
  130. Styx – Tarrant County Convention Center
  131. Jim Suhler (x3) – Great blues guitar player
  132. Talking Heads – Dallas Convention Center, 1983.  Top 10.  (The “Stop Making Sense” tour.)
  133. They Might Be Giants – Granada Theater
  134. Billy Thorpe – Texxas Jam
  135. Trombone Shorty (x2) – N.O. Jazz Fest and House of Blues (Dallas)
  136. U2 (x2) – Cotton Bowl (Thanks, Eric!)
  137. Van Halen – Texxas Jam
  138. The Wailers – Richardson Wildflower Festival
  139. Tom Waits – A rare sighting of this rare bird.  (Dallas)
  140. Bob Welch – Texxas Jam
  141. Leo “Bud” Welch – Goat Fest II, Red’s Lounge (Clarksdale, MS)
  142. The Who – Cotton Bowl (freezing!)
  143. Wilco – Granada Theater
  144. Webb Wilder (x3) – Austin and Dallas
  145. Steve Winwood – Opened for Tom Petty.  A big night for music!
  146. Carolyn Wonderland (x2) – The Kessler Theater
  147. Y&T – Opened for Aerosmith (1986)
  148. Pete Yorn – McFarlin Auditorium (Dallas)
  149. ZZ Top (x2) – Opened for The Rolling Stones and for Tom Petty