By Chuck Cox
This is my inaugural post for Rattle and Hum, so I thought I’d let you know a little bit about my love of music. Although I don’t have a musical bone in my body, I have adored music since I was a child. As I grew up, my musical tastes became pretty eclectic. I am the opposite of a music snob, in that I’ll give pretty much anything a chance. I’m also a child of the 1980s, so that’s my favorite music decade. It’s the soundtrack of my formative years, after all. Also, my parents never let me go to concerts until after I graduated from high school, which is probably a lot of the reason I love going to shows so much. I typically go to 50-60 a year. With that in mind, here are my top five shows from 2012.
1. The Avett Brothers, June 29, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Col. — It was pretty much a given this was going to be my favorite show of the year. It was my first trip to Red Rocks, where I had wanted to go ever since first seeing U2′s video for “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” It did not disappoint. The scenery was nothing short of amazing. And the show itself was even better. “The Ballad of Love and Hate” was my favorite moment of live music this year.
2. Eddie Vedder, Nov. 15, Music Hall at Fair Park, Dallas — Although initially it took me a little while to come around to Pearl Jam, they quickly became one of my all-time favorite bands. I have seen them three times, but they have not played Dallas since 2003. Vedder actually mentioned the long absence, chalking it up to “bad management.” I was also a little worried the show would be a ukulele fest. Instead, it was absolutely awesome from start to finish. Mixing in Pearl Jam tunes, solo stuff and covers, Vedder had the place in the palms of his hands. Opener Glen Hansard was also a show-stopper.
3. Counting Crows, Nov. 10, Stubb’s, Austin — If I absolutely had to chose a favorite band, Counting Crows would definitely be in the discussion. I got the VIP package for this show, which I don’t do all that often. It was reasonably priced, and I got to attend sound check and get into the venue early. I also got to meet the band and get some photos with them, which was really cool. After Tender Mercies and Mean Creek put on solid opening sets, the Crows delivered a killer show. They played for a little more than two hours, hitting parts of their entire catalogue with an emphasis on their covers album, “Underwater Sunshine.”
4. The Beach Boys, April 16, Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie — From the standpoint of nostalgia, this makes the list. But it was also a great show. The band delivered an incredible 42-song set that had me leaving the show unable to say, “I sure wish they would have played…” They did all of the biggies. And the mere fact I witnessed Brian Wilson playing with the Beach Boys was something I’ll never forget. “Sloop John B” was my favorite. Just awesome.
5. Radiohead, March 5, American Airlines Center, Dallas — It says an awful lot about Thom Yorke and the boys that even though I’m not a huge fan of their recordings, I don’t miss a Radiohead show. These guys have got the live show thing down pat, which is evidenced by the fact they sell out every time they come to town. It’s kind of hard to explain to somebody who has never seen Radiohead, but it is just a band that knows how to push all of the right buttons live. And while I love to hear the hits live, I also respect a band that does a set list that it wants to do — as long as the band does it well. And few do it better than Radiohead.