Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Decade of Concerts

Things I learned in Grad School: Wordle
Today marks the end of the first decade of my concert-going life. Back in 2003, my dad got me tickets to see Matchbox Twenty with openers Sugar Ray at the AmSouth Amphitheater here in Nashville, and ever since I've been chasing the good spirits that come with catching a much-loved band live.

If you're interested in a full account of that first show, you can check out a post I wrote last year for all-around-cool Tumblr Gigs Reflex.

I'm a big believer in documenting things, so I got a little excited when I found a MB20 concert DVD tapped in Atlanta, a mere three nights after their Nashville date called Show: A Night in the Life of Matchbox Twenty. Rest assured it's on my Amazon Wish List.

But beyond capturing MB20 on video or blogging about some of the bigger shows I see, I decided this year to put together a Google Docs spreadsheet with the nuts and bolts of every show I've been to in the past ten years– headliner, opener, venue, date, and who came along. While seeing shows shouldn't be a numbers game, I can't say I don't enjoy adding rows to the document. I used the columns devoted to venues and artists to make a word cloud using Wordle. I suppose the big story of my concert-going life is that I end up at the Ryman Auditorium more often than not. I was surprised to see Syracuse's Westcott Theater as big as it is since I was only up North for a year, but I guess looking back, I made more than a few stops. I was also pleasantly amused to realize that I've seen friends' bands as many time as I've seen some of my favorite acts like Andrew Bird or The National.

Style-wise, the outliers in this mix are definitely T.I. and Public Enemy, but yes, I have indeed seen them. Dawes should probably be a bit bigger considering that the three times I've seen them have been well inside of one calendar year. Special points for that, right? What else. I'm weirdly proud to have seen the Flaming Lips. Even if they're not my favorite or even most familiar band, they are probably my favorite live show to date for not only being a joyous spectacle, but for this particular performance at Rites of Spring when it started raining lightly as they came on stage and we were just all so happy to have survived the mosh pit for N.E.R.D.. The show that represents the biggest achievement is probably the Avett Brothers from last month. You can't even really make it out on the Wordle, but know that it took me six years to catch them on tour.

So, that's the decade. It's been great and my hearing has probably suffered as a result, but I've also found that going to shows is one of my favorite things to do. I'd call that a gift.

Here's to the next ten years.

No comments: