Memories and impressions change. These are mine right now.
First concert — Depends how it’s defined, but I imagine it’d be Simon & Garfunkel in Central Park in Manhattan in 1982 when I was a sophomore in high school.
Last concert — I’m assuming this means live and in person (not streaming online), so it was Mit Darm (Suki O’Kane and Edward Shocker), sharing the bill with the duo of Steve Adams and John Hanes at the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco on January 30, 2020.
Worst concert — Hard to say. I think of a particular Juliana Hatfield show at the Cattle Club in Sacramento as a turning point for me, where I just couldn’t take that much verse chorus verse ever again. But that’s me, not her.
Loudest concert — Yes at Madison Square Garden on the 90125 tour. (Fun fact: a young Steven Soderbergh directed the live film of that tour.) None of us could hear the next day, which messed up a concert our high school choir was due to perform. A decade or so later I wrote a comic about the experience that was drawn by Justin Green and published in Tower Records’ Pulse! magazine, where I was an editor at the time. (Amid the “loudest” category I’m not counting concerts that were so loud that it was assumed you had to put in noise blockers simply to attend.)
Seen the most — Probably John Zorn, even though it’s been decades. I saw him a lot in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.
Most surprising — Not sure, but finding myself sitting behind John Cage during a performance of his toy piano works during a Bang on a Can marathon was a surprise, even more so when he fell asleep.
Best concert — I’m having trouble answering this one. “Best” isn’t something I take naturally to. Derrick May and Juan Atkins at a rave in Oakland always comes to mind when this topic comes up. Maybe Charles Gayle at a squat in the East Village in 1988 or 1989? Hard to say. Maybe Billy Childish with Thee Headcoats in England in the early 1990s (I showed up just at the end and caught maybe a song or two of encores, but they were awe-some!) Probably Talking Heads at Forest Hills during high school on the tour that became the film Stop Making Sense.
Next concert — I don’t have any tickets pending, that’s for sure. I’m guessing it’ll be whatever is playing next at the Luggage Store Gallery or the Center for New Music here in San Francisco when the pandemic breaks.
Wish I could have seen — This is a big category. Not really sure where to begin. I do wish I’d seen Rage Against the Machine live.