The B List: My Top 50 Concerts of 2008

7. Wilco / Neil Young – Madison Square Garden – 12/15: Neil Young broke out the hits for his fall tour and invited two bands he clearly influenced along for the ride. We were treated to a fantastic hour long set by the Wilco boys before Neil Young showed why he’s one of the best performers who ever picked up a guitar.

6. David Byrne – Count Basie Theater – 11/3: Heaven was a place called Red Bank, NJ on November 3 as David Byrne mesmerized the crowd with a set chock full of Talking Heads classics and brilliantly arranged tunes from his recent album with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. If you like the Byrne, you’ll love this show.

5. Langerado – Big Cypress – 03/06 – 03/09: Langerado transformed itself from a suburban festie to a festival in the middle of the Florida Everglades for the 2008 event. Last year’s festival was well run and featured a killer varied lineup. Among the best sets I saw were Umphrey’s McGee’s epic late-night performance, the Beastie Boys well-paced headlining set and a quick spurt of The Felice Brothers that left the 40 or so folks in attendance speechless.

4. My Morning Jacket – Madison Square Garden – 12/31: What more could you possibly ask from My Morning Jacket? On New Year’s Eve, the Southern Rock quintet gave attendees a slew of fun covers, a number of their finest songs that weren’t performed at the band’s last NYC concert at Radio City and terrific versions of their classics. The only things that sucked were the bizarre setbreak video and two of my friend’s jackets being stolen.

3. Newport Folk Festival – Fort Adams Park – 8/2-8/3

[Photo by Drew Granchelli]

You can’t beat two days of incredible music from one legendary act after another at one of the most gorgeous settings I’ve ever seen. Trey Anastasio and Jim James delivered marvelous acoustic sets, while Jimmy Buffett, Levon Helm and the Black Crowes plugged in for fierce electric sets. If you’ve never been to Newport for the folk fest, make sure you make it out next year. One of the finest traditions in the land. Here’s part one of the reviews I wrote.

2. Jimmy Vivino’s Birthday Party – BB King’s – 01/10

[Photo by Adam Kaufman]

Some of the concerts on this list are from powerhouse performances from one artists, while others are more of a gang bang. Jimmy Vivino’s birthday party at B.B. King’s was the gang bang of the year. Pretty much everyone that ever played with Jimmy Vivino came out to help celebrate his birthday, as well as promoter Bill Graham’s birthday. The list of performers still blows my mind: Levon Helm, John Sebastian, the Fab Faux, Warren Haynes, Paul Shaffer, Little Sammy Davis Jr., Willie Nile and Buster Fucking Poindexter. Check out my original review for much more on that once-in-a-lifetime evening.

1. Paul Simon’s Under African Skies – BAM – 04/09

[youtube]RZyA15aXL1Q[/youtube]

While I do my best not to go into a show with any expectations, how can you not get excited about seeing Paul Simon perform songs from Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints with an all star cast led by David Byrne and Ladysmith Black Mambazo? Yet the show completely lived up to the hype. Watching Paul and LBM sing Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes and David Byrne fucking own I Know What I Know were among the most blissful moments of music I’ve ever experienced. It made me feel bad that I only paid $50 to see this show. I felt so bad I gave the venue more money. You’re looking at a paid supporter of the Brooklyn Academy of Music!

11 – 20:
11. Classic TAB – MHoW – 8/7
12. Tom Petty / Steve Winwood – Madison Square Garden – 06/17
13. Paul Simon’s American Tune – BAM – 04/26
14. Fab Faux – Radio City – 9/15
15. My Morning Jacket – Radio City Music Hall – 06/20
16. Relentless7 – Kenny’s Castaways – 12/12
17. Umphrey’s McGee – Philly Fillmore – 07/25
18. SoulFarm – Private Party – 09/01
19. The Lee Boys w/ Marco – Sullivan Hall – 06/05
20. The Jammys – Theater @ MSG – 05/07

21-30:
21. Marco Benevento Trio – DROM – 11/08
22. American Babies / Apollo Sunshine / Gov’t Mule – Stone Pony – 07/20
23. Clapton and Winwood – MSG – 02/26
24. The Felice Brothers – Maxwell’s – 09/13
25. Wilco – McCarren Park Pool – 08/13
26. Ha Ha The Moose – Sullivan Hall – 12/06
27. Pearl Jam – Madison Square Garden – 06/25
28. Little Feat – The Concert Hall – 09/27
29. Jennifer Hartswick – The Blue Note – 05/24
30. Page McConnell w/ PBS – BB King’s – 09/26

31 – 40
31. Apollo Sunshine – Monkey Town – 09/15
32. Vampire Weekend – SummerStage – 06/14
33. Widespread Panic – Irving Plaza – 11/19
34. The Felice Brothers – Mercury Lounge – 02/01
35. Umphrey’s McGee – Blender Theater – 10/14
36. Dark Star Orchestra / Tea Leaf Green – Governor’s Island – 07/13
37. Crowded House – Irving Plaza – 04/29
38. MoogFest – Manhattan Center – 10/14
39. Umphrey’s McGee – Brown University – 04/12
40. U-Melt – Highline Ballroom – 10/03

41 – 50:

41. Steely Dan – Beacon Theater – 06/14
42. Omega Moos – Rocks Off – 06/28
43. Umphrey’s McGee – Blender Theater – 10/15
44. Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB – APW – 08/10
45. The Heavy Pets – Tap Bar – 02/23
46. Boombox – The Knitting Factory – 04/09
47. Ryan Montbleau Band / Zach Deputy – Sullivan Hall – 02/14
48. Cornelius w/ The Duo – Webster Hall – 01/26
49. Umphrey’s McGee – 9:30 Club – 11/21
50. Rush – PNC Bank Arts Center – 07/14

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17 Responses

  1. Man you were lucky to see that many shows! Of course, being in NYC can’t hurt. Here’s a list of my top shows (not in any order, really):

    1. Wilco – 3/2/08 – The Ryman
    2. Drive-By Truckers & Glossary – 3/15/08 – The Cannery
    3. Ween – 7/9/08 – City Hall
    4. My Morning Jacket – 8/15/08 – The Riverfront
    5. The Felice Brothers – 9/18/08 – Exit/In
    6. Trey Anastasio & Orchestra Nashville – 9/27/08
    7. Widespread Panic – 10/31-11/1 – UNO NOLA
    9. Rothbury 7/3/08-7/5/08
    10. Bonnaroo 6/12/08-6/15/08
    11. Umphrey’s McGee 4/3/08 – Orange Peel
    12. Umphrey’s McGee 5/2/08 – HOB NOLA

    Over 2008 was a great year for shows, I can’t wait for 2009 though!

  2. Great list Scotty, looking back at 2008 I took in 64 shows, here’s my Top 10….

    10. The Black Crowes / Howin’ Rain – Hammerstein Ballroom – New York, NY – 10/28
    9. Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY – 2/26
    8. Bon Iver – Town Hall – New York, NY – 12/10
    7. Blitzen Trapper / Fleet Foxes – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY – 3/29
    6. Dr. Dog – Webster Hall – New York, NY – 12/2
    5. Ryan Adam & The Cardinals – The Fillmore – San Fransisco, CA – 8/23
    4. Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY – 8/12
    3. Wilco – McCarren Park Pool – Brooklyn, NY – 8/13
    2. The Felice Brothers / Deer Tick – Spiegel Tent – New York, NY – 11/3 / The Felice Brothers – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY – 4/12
    1. Wilco – Tower Theatre – Philadelphia, PA – 8/23

  3. great lists guys…its interesting to me that you guys and I share a lot of the same taste in music, yet none of you (so far) listed Radiohead in 2008…of the 5 concerts i saw by radiohead would all be in my personal top 10…imo Radiohead blew everyone else away in 2008.

  4. Scotty…thats F’ing crazy! I’m impressed you even remember all those nights leave alone order them 😉

    Lets hope 3/6/09 is at least top three on next years list!

  5. 1) Umphrey’s McGee, 12/31/2008 The Auditorium Theatre
    2) Sigur Ros, 9/19/2008 Harborlights
    3) Stevie Wonder, 6/22/2008 Great Woods
    4) Return To Forever, 8/6/2008 Harborlights
    5) Radiohead, 8/13/2008 Great Woods
    6) Wilco, 8/12/2008 Tanglewood
    7) The Raconteurs, 6/3/2008 Harborlights
    8) Trey Anastasio & Classic TAB, 10/21/2008 Lupo’s
    9) Umphrey’s McGee, 10/31/2008 The Warfield
    10) The Dodos, 10/2/2008 Museum of Fine Arts

  6. Joker, I would put Radiohead from APW way way way up on my list and I hated All Points West. Others from mine:

    – Back Door Slam @ Bowery Ballroom
    – Electron (with the Phish covers) @ the Highline
    – moe. @ Summer Camp
    – my gay crushes Frightened Rabbit @ MHoW
    – OCMS @ Wesbter Hall
    – the Jammy’s
    – Ben Folds @ Stubbs BBQ
    – Gemma Hayes @ Mercury Lounge
    – MMJ new years eve @ MSG
    – Wilco @ McCarren Pool
    – Matt Costa @ Bowery Ballroom
    – DSO @ Governors Island (missed TLG)

    #1 by a landslide: AC/DC at the Garden

    The worst: anything and everything at Roseland and Smashing Pumpkins @ United Palace

    Best Venue: Nokia Theater

  7. 10. Raconteurs-ryman 9/30
    9. Stephen Malkmus- mercy lounge 3/25
    8. King Khan&BBQ- EXIT-IN 11/20
    7. Sonic Youth- city hall 4/25
    6. Deerhoof- mercy lounge 10/30
    5. Bonnaroo(mainly epic set by broken social scene)
    4. Evangelicals w/ Dressy Bessy w/parenthetical girls-
    the end 10/11
    3. wilco-ryman 3/2 and St. Louis 5/15-17 pageant
    2. Pitchfork Fest(animal collective,king khan,spoon,
    apples in stereo, atlas sound, les savy fav…)
    1. of Montreal- tabernacle 11/8

  8. Great lists everyone. Especially, you, douchebaggery (aka DJ Kucinich). Somehow I knew Umphrey’s and Phil Lesh wouldn’t be on that list.

  9. “The worst: anything and everything at Roseland” I agree 100%. Worst show of the year: STS9 at Roseland, 07/23…I walked out before UM.
    Top ten:
    Umphrey’s at 9:30 – 11/21
    Dr. Dog at 9:30 – 12/03
    Disco Biscuits at State Theatre – 04/15
    Grace Potter and The Nocturnals at 9:30 – sometime in February
    Lettuce on a Rocks Off Concert Cruise – sometime in August
    Licorice, The Heavy Pets on a Rocks Off Concert Cruise – sometime in July
    The Bridge at The 8×10 – 09/17
    Tea Leaf Green at The 8×10 – 05/09
    Phil Lesh and Friends at All Good – 07/11
    Perpetual Groove at All Good – 07/10

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