Best Concert – Heaven and Hell
This one could have been pretty lame, a la Spinal Tap. However, it was pummeling. With all of the Zeppelin hype right now, I am reminded that people say Sabbath and Zeppelin ‘co-created’ heavy metal. Well, the difference is, if you go through all of Zeppelin’s albums, there is not ONE bad song in the lot. Ozzy era Sabbath? Tons of crap songs, especially in the late 70s. The Dio era was when Sabbath hit homer after homer. This show basically melted my face and was so good it was ridiculous.
Most Overrated – The Police
OK, so I gave this one a multi-star rating the day after the show. Looking back, it was mostly due to the excitement of this reunion even happening at all. The show was great, mind you, but they were awfully loose and the changes to the song arrangements were not always the best. Our show was the third or fourth of the tour, so I am still inclined to cut a load of slack. They are still on the road and I bet they are pretty tight by this point.
Biggest Surprise – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Loved the movie “Once,” bought tickets to the live show of the main characters playing the music. Thought it might be too mellow/boring. Was surprised at how funny Hansard was and how he kept 1,200 people at the Crystal Ballroom quiet so he could do the first song without any P.A. and hold everyone’s attention regardless. John Mayer at the New Orleans Jazz Fest was a close second here. His blistering guitaring and great attitude onstage ensures that I see him next time he’s in town.
Biggest Bummer Cancellation – Asia
Had tickets to see the original Asia at the Aladdin Theater, which hold less than 700 people. Just to get that close to Steve Howe and Carl Palmer was enticing, much less hearing all of those classic tunes live. But singer John Wetton had to go and have open heart surgery. Damn him. 2008 dates are scheduled worldwide but alas no Portland yet.
The One That Got Away – Van Halen
The reviews of this tour have been stellar. Roth is especially shining – in fine voice and just the right amount of “Diamond Dave” and Eddie is focused again. I had an available ticket and decided not to go. They may be back next year and if so, I’ll be there, just to say that I saw this one. Honorable mentions to ones I could have seen but missed – Genesis (really good prog-focused set list was surprising) and Tool (just could not make this one but really should have).
Honorable Mentions – Rush (set list included seven new songs, loads of unearthed classics. You can never go wrong with live Rush). Roger Waters (show vacillated between brilliance and boredom. Not impressed with guitarist). Jesus Christ Superstar (Incredible. I just wish the drummer in the pit had a real drum set, not an electric kit).
Happy New Year, everyone!