People like to talk about the best concerts they have ever attended. I think I would like to write a short post about the worst shows I ever saw. It is a funny thing how people can judge an event differently. Millard saw a show by Patti Smith that he despised, another guy I know saw what I believe was the very same show and loved her.
The whole thing is very subjective.
Anyhow, here is my personal bottom ten:
Elvis may have good phrasing but he doesn't always stay in tune. This show was incredibly painful to listen to. I believe the worst of the worst in my concert experience, think two hours of intense dental surgery on heavy meds. Bad PCP wurlitzer carousel ride. Never again.
The most pointless group of decent musicians ever assembled. Keith Richards, Stanley Clarke, Ron Wood etc. Band simply too stoned to play, with terrible material and the results were two hours of my life I very much wish I had back. Absolutely unlistenable drek.
There are times when you have to think that just one more horrible and depressing shaggy dog ballad will send you out for a revolver. I accompanied my sister Barbara and her husband to this show after a little prodding and have yet to forgive her.
However she did take me to Madison Square Garden to see the Stones in 1972 on Jagger's birthday so I will cut her a little slack.
Kenny played to so many boos that he left the stage in a half hour saying, "Catch you on a better night." Thirty minutes too much, if you ask me.
5. Jeff Beck Band - San Diego Harbor. 1995
This was a tour double billed with Santana. Beck played with Terry Bozzio on this particular night. It was a sonic wankfest with his name continually displayed in glowing pyrotechnics behind the stage. Jeff Beck was a sideman extraordinaire but he had all the magnetic presence of a limp carrot. Quite emotionless. Another night where I left shaking my head.
A great fusion guitar player, in the knob spinning mode of the earlier Roy Buchanan, the late maestro was not particularly interesting to see live, at least in my experience.
Enough southern twang and testosterone for a Nascar race and way more than I would ever need for the entire rest of my life. They were supporting Steve Stills, who was good but not quite enough to get all the stupid out of my ears.
7. Roberta Flack - Dr. Pepper Music Festival, Central Park NYC 1970
This one was different. The music was good. This was back in the day when you didn't have to buy a ticket, could sit on the hill and listen. They brought tear gas in to move us, someone shot a pistol in the air. Cops moved in. Suddenly five thousand people running towards 59th St. at the same time, absolute riotous bedlam. Very scary.
Somebody had the bad idea to invite Jerry Garcia to play with Daniels during his set. Mr. Daniels took that as an invitation to play so many notes that Jerry could hardly get a single one in. Charlie evidently thought it was a speed competition.
I will never forget Jerry leaving the stage in disgust, palm batting away at Charlie as if to say, what a freaking waste of time. Which it was.
This was a time that the band was in their drugged, punk phase and pretty awful. I was friends with the sound crew, Vinnie gave me a ticket.
Things got so bad that a guy walked right up to the stage and gave him the finger screaming, "Fuck you, Jorma" to cacophonous applause from the crowd. Later they got better, or you could will yourself into thinking they were anyway if you were stoned enough.
10. Ray Charles, San Diego Civic Center. 1960's
I went to this show with my dad and his then wife. Music was actually very good but Charles was a total asshole. He stopped the show to berate his hired guitar player. "It's an e chord, boy, do you know how to play an e?" Tormented the guy so bad it ruined the show for me.
I went to a lot of shows and I am sure there were many more stinkers but these are the ones that stand out. David Peel was always real bad. Cockney Rebel at the bandshell. Ian Astbury with the Doors was terrible. Suzanne Vega at the Belly-Up was a very cold fish. Phil Lesh in Albuquerque was awful but doesn't quite sink to this level. Warren Zevon, very drunk and caustic at Santa Barbara, almost made the grade but I kind of dug it in a sick way. What were your worst concerts?