Thought this question would be a welcome distraction for people… I can’t decide whether it’s HEALTH for intensity, Sigur Ros for beauty, Prince for energy, Fka Twigs for sensuality, Deftones for brutality, Muse at peak of their powers in a tiny venue, Depeche at Barrowlands for majesty, 1975 at Reading for a cultural moment, Paramore for losing my voice singing along … but I’m gonna say Nine Inch Nails at Royal Festival Hall for all these things and more
The best gig I’ve been to was Refused’s first shows after their reunion in the UK. Absolutely perfect setlist, a band who most people in the audience wouldn’t have been able to see live the first time around so were lapping it up, a reformed band who seemed as vital as before the break up and were there because they had unfinished business. Absolutely brilliant stuff.
Then they all took their trousers down and shat all over this in the following 8 years but oh well
It’s about as boring and stock generic DiS answer as is possible, but I’d be lying if I said someone other than Radiohead at Reading in 2009. The peak of my Radiohead fanboying, with loads of my friends, a light smattering of rain (just enough to give it atmosphere) and about as close to a greatest hits set as you’ll ever see from them.
Dillinger Escape Plan at the Concorde 2 in Brighton supporting One of Us is the Killer.
Lost my voice, nearly lost my glasses, incredible moshpit, just perfect.
Or Cave In on their Final Transmissions tour a few years back (their first tour after Caleb died). Perfect setlist and really emotional evening, and a fitting tribute to an amazing guy.
Gah! I can’t believe I’ve never seen them. I nearly put seeing (International) Noise Conspiracy at Notting Hill Arts Club in the above. He was dancing on the bar. It was extraordinary. I think I also saw Radio 4 and The Rapture in the same week. And Icarus Line and Pretty Girls Make Graves and Interpol (at the ICA?!?) within a few months of that. What. A. Time. Etc.
Went down to the Manchester date of this tour and can testify that it was fucking brilliant. It is definitely the wettest I’ve been at a gig from the heat. When I came out it looked like I’d taken a shower.
I was there too. Oddly, it still didn’t convert me to the band. I can’t believe I haven’t been banned from these forums but this might be the comment that does it.
Can’t believe I did this opening post without meaning At the Drive In at Reading or Trail of Dead or Biffy (opening for Aereogramme at the Barfly?!)
Also seeing Lizzo just as Batches & Cookies came out.
And The Roots at Reading!
Only seen a tiny number of gigs compared to most DiSsers and it feels like a boring answer but Bjork and PJ Harvey both absolutely stunning each time I’ve seen them.
Sufjan at the Brighton Dome on the Age of Adz tour I think
The Mars Volta
Moderat / Modeselektor
Run The Jewels
Oh yes also Sufjan
Can’t limit it to just one.
Rocket From The Crypt, Manchester Academy 1995 - I think the only gigs I’d been to before then were big arena concerts. To see a band (in silver lame suits) fill a small stage and create such a huge noise (my ears were ringing for days) blew me away.
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Sheffield Boardwalk 2004(?) - I’d been a big fan of Ned’s in their heyday but never got to see them live so when I got to see then with a couple of friends on one of their early “we need the money” reunion tours I was so happy. Leaping around in the moshpit getting bruised, sweaty and exhausted. I don’t think the grin left my face for hours.
Tool, Manchester Arena 2006 - I’d been a huge fan for more than a decade and finally got to see them on the 10,000 Days tour. Huge child-like excitement and tingles down the spine for about two hours.
Fever Ray on the first album tour was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
Kate Bush at the opening night of the gigs she did in 2014. Felt v. special, and came a few years after I’d spent getting pretty deep into her music.
Runner up - Olivia Tremor Control at The Garage in… 2006? Had thought I’d missed ever seeing them, and was super happy they got back together to play some gigs, and they were on great form.
Though the more I think about it, the more gigs will come up that were equally special in their own way… like this(!):
Literally two of the greatest. Which tours did you see? I saw one random Bjork show in Iceland that was anti fracking between campaigns which was wonderful. I haven’t seen her do a full show for some bonkers reasons.
PJ Harvey at Eden Project is up there with one of my favourite gigs (memory ruined slightly by a rowdy idiot in the crowd who tried to stub a cig out on me during Elbow’s support set) did an amazing solo show at Manchester International Festival when White Chalk came out. Everything about it was amazing. She created some loops. This set list
- Oh My Lover
- Send His Love to Me
- The Devil
- White Chalk
- My Beautiful Leah
- Nina in Ecstasy 2
- Electric Light
- Big Exit
- Down by the Water
- The Mountain
OMG! This! Saw a set at Brighton Dome. The lazers! The smoke! The strange intensity!
It’s either Pulp on the Park Stage at Glastonbury 2011 or Janelle Monae on West Holts at Glastonbury 2011. Went straight from one to the other. Heck of an evening.
The Dance Hall at Louse Point (Manchester Academy) performance is probably my single favourite gig. Bjork I’ve seen at various random festivals over the years and she is always amazing, just such an incredible live singer.