Depending on the year, I may go to a heck-of-a-lot of concerts. Sometimes 30+ in a single year. 2018 has definitely been concert-heavy.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to maintain a running concert top 10. The 10 best shows I’ve seen in recent memory. That doesn’t necessarily mean just the past year, but will probably be somewhat skewed that way.
So without further ado…
#1 David Byrne at The Fox Theater, Oakland
Brilliant staging and lighting design, fantastic choreography, and a lifetime of incredible music.
#2 Maggie Rogers at The Fillmore, San Francisco
Incredible enthusiasm, outstanding vocals, and a genuine love and appreciation for being on stage and sharing her passion with the crowd.
#3 Brandi Carlile at Grass Valley Center for the Arts, Grass Valley
A beautiful Christmas season show with a stripped-down sound, some incredible solo moments, Brandi’s gorgeous voice, and the most amazing rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “River” I’ll ever hear in-person.
#4 Amber Mark at The Great American Music Hall
Surprising grace and style, vivacious, and clearly having a great time. Oh yeah, and that voice… This woman is just getting started but she has incredible potential.
#5 OK Go at The Fillmore, San Francisco
Pictures of this show would not be complete without the confetti. One of the most boisterous, fun, and technically well-executed shows I’ve seen in ages. OK Go are just masters of creating a mood, whether on stage, or in meticulously crafted music videos.
#6 Typhoon at The Fillmore, San Francisco
Wildly brilliant frontman Kyle Morton back with a band after a solo stint, and only slightly diminished by it being about half the number of members as last time I saw them. I did miss the horns a bit, but still plenty of energy and heart. And man that guy can write a song.
#7 Paul Simon at Oracle Arena, Oakland
A fitting 2+ hour tribute to one man’s long, varied, and influential career, and the collaborators that have helped him along the way. He sounded a little shaky at first, but toward the end his voice had warmed up nicely, and though he didn’t play every song I wanted to hear, it would be hard to do that in one show given such an epic career. I found his solo songs to be some of the most poignant and moving.
Emily Afton at Cafe du Nord, San Francisco
KFOG Concert for Kids 2017, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at The Masonic, San Francisco
Jade Bird at The Chapel, San Francisco