Best Concerts Overview
A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile…
by Don McLean, American Pie
Took My Chevy to the Levee is your musical spirit guide to the best concerts ever held; the concerts that stay in your heart, mind and soul forever. You’ll always remember the best concerts you attended: the performers come to life, that song you love played not in your bedroom but in an amphitheater, the neon lights, the larger than life screens depicting song meanings, the majesty of the stage, the energy of a common thread – those friends, family members and thousands of unrecognizable concert guests that derive meaning from the same songs and lyrics that you do.
Architectural Acoustics and Hi-Tech Electronic Gadgetry
There are concerts that introduce the latest in high-tech electronics and acoustic thrill. Emerson, Lake and Palmer was one of the first bands to introduce the vertical moving drum stand that sank below the stage and ascended like a rising sun onto the stage to the raucous disbelieving crowd; The Rolling Stones introduced a 3-story elevator that served as a stage platform on top then delivered Mick Jagger to the stage below in smooth rhythm to Sympathy for the Devil ; U2 introduced a semi-circular stage that propelled so far into the crowd that it accounted for one-third of the floor dimensions of each stadium venue. The goal was to improve the sightlines for thousands of concert goers and to offer those with less pricier seating an expensive view. Then there’s The Coliseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a state of the art acoustic machination that perfectly elevates the production and maintenance of sound. It is said to produce perfect acoustics, the type only heard in natural amphitheaters like the one in Ephesus, Turkey. Incidentally, the Ephesus Great Amphitheater is a 2,500 year old Roman amphitheater that was played by Elton John in 2001.
There are concerts that leave you exhausted, i.e., 4 hours of a Bruce Springsteen concert. And then there are concerts that are just good music, i.e., The Who, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, John Cougar Mellencamp, Dido, Keane, David Gray, Lyle Lovett, Josh Groban, Snow Patrol and yes, even The Boston Pops Orchestra.
Benefit Concerts That Promote Worldwide Causes
There are benefit concerts that promote worldwide causes (U2, Peter, Paul and Mary, Elton John).
Benefit concerts are financial support vehicles that contribute to the well being of artists and the cause du jour while allowing music lovers to listen to select live pieces of music performed by their favorite musical artists.
In some cases, it’s the first time concert goers have heard of the cause and thus becomes a great opportunity to contribute to a person, group, community or region
in need of aid.
Not only do concert organizers donate concert proceeds and promote awareness but they often enlist concert-goers as volunteers for additional projects and causes. With the advent of satellite link-ups and broadcast television, musicians and promoters have identified a formidable way to globalize and address an issue.
Live Aid Benefit Concert Gives Birth to Farm Aid Concert
In the 1980’s there were a number of sponsored concerts and events that set a higher bar for future benefit concerts. Bob Geldof’s Live Aid concert, which included performances by the music industry’s elite including INXS, Santana, The Pretenders, Joan Baez, Elvis Costello, Boomtown Rats, BB King, Sade, Black Sabbath, Sting and Phil Collins, Bryan Ferry, Crosby, Stills and Nash, U2, The Beach Boys, Queen, David Bowie, The Who, Elton John, Tom Petty and so many more, raised more than $40 million to benefit famine victims in Ethiopia. Additional fund-raising efforts related to the concert have resulted in overall donations of more than $300 million to-date.
The Live Aid concert sparked other types of benefit concerts including Farm Aid, organized by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John (Cougar) Mellencamp. The Farm Aid concert has been held annually for more than 20 years and has grown to become an organization that wholeheartedly supports U.S. farmers’ efforts. In addition to the concerts, the group works to build connections between farmers and consumers by supporting locally grown and organic food sales. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $30 million to help keep American family farmers on their land.
Benefit concerts headlined by famous performers since the 1980’s have raised millions for Tsunami victims in Southeast Asia, families affected by 9/11, hurricane victims in the U.S. and a number of additional worthy causes.
Rock Concerts Clean Up Their Acts
Rock concert tours and music festivals have cleaned up and become greener, with a strong emphasis on giving back to the farms and pastures that host the concerts, reducing waste and recycling and even using biodiesel to power generators and tour buses. Musicians like Pearl Jam hope to positively influence their fans by example, and for all intents and purposes it’s working, as recycling efforts grow by leaps and bounds year after year at concert events.
Many people who can’t afford to attend music festivals gain admission as volunteers, often working to keep the grounds clean during an event. The dedicated volunteer work helps promote a clean environment, making the festivals greener and helping to promote a family-friendly show. In addition to lessening negative impacts on the environment, keeping a festival clean makes the event more enjoyable for everyone in attendance and reduces safety hazards. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
The High Cost of Sold Out Concert Tours
The cost to put a band on a concert tour is often quite prohibitive. Though exploding ticket costs (in recent years we’ve seen Elton John and Madonna charge several hundred dollars for top-notch concert seats) might make this hard to believe, often bands don’t make much profit at all from sold-out concert tours. The costs include transportation and the care and feeding of the band, the crew, and assorted hangers-on. Even on a sold out concert tour, record companies are lucky to break even- let alone pay the band for all of its hard work.
The real reason bands keep touring and putting on concerts often is more closely tied to the reasons fans buy concert event tickets: it’s a chance to get close to the audience, and to bring a band’s message home to its fans by virtue of proximity and emotion. You might remember when you bought your first CD (or cassette tape or album!) but you probably don’t remember where you bought it. But you can probably remember most- or all- of the concerts you’ve attended in your lifetime.
Before You Buy Concert Event Tickets, Find the Best Shows to Attend
Before you buy concert tickets, learn more about the best concerts we’ve attended, would have liked to attend or plan on attending in the near future:
- Before you buy concert tickets, find out who’s hot and why: learn more about shows with the highest attendance;
- Find out what makes the longest touring bands so popular;
- Learn about famous concerts and infamous performers;
- Read about regional concerts, music festivals and how to avoid the side effects of concerts.