This is more of a commentary about changing eras than “Best” concerts…but these are the concerts I remember right now…
Most “Rock & Roll”: Standing front row/center at a Replacements “Don’t Tell A Soul” concert with the stage divers hitting me in the head, random strangers (female) crushing into my back, and supporting the crowd with my arms.
And…now attending a bunch of pop/rock and classical events in the last few years:
Best Combination of Active Writing and Technical Production: Muse “Drones” tour – old school classic rock, giant projection screens, a pop-up piano, and drones flying everywhere. But, they actually play their music (not lip syncing)!
Narrowest, Most Unexpected Demographics: Fleet Foxes – Attendees appeared to all (1) attend college, (2) regularly take baths, (3) come alone if too shy/no date, and (4) be Caucasian. Music favored by librarians and kind micro-brewers (and I like it). Unfortunately the nuances of the records were lost in the live setting.
Passing of an Era Concert: Queen + Adam Lambert – Main takeaways (1) fans are largely older, mainstream, and grew up on radio and network TV, (2) very, very few active musicians have the talent and ‘rock star’ stage presence of the two survivors (Brian May & Roger Taylor), and (3) see the originals before they die – even with the hyper nostalgia.
Best All Ages, Global Culture Concert: Gorillaz “Humanz” – Truly fans of all ages singing along and on their feet. Ranging from 4 years old to retirees. Extremely multiracial crowd, with some “Hmmms…?” from each segment. Hip-hop to pop to retro vocals to rock. Mixing cartoon videos with both gentle and adult themes gets you this mix.
Will This Culture Survive?: Escher String Quartet. My wife is a hardcore classical fan and we have seen this strong group several times. The paying classical audience averages age 70, with just a handful of people (students) under age 30. This audience stands to change (shrink) dramatically within 10 years.