Just caught up with some news from two weeks ago: Todd Rundgren plans to release a new album in April 2013 and follow it with a tour.
This is of note to me because, if he plays in my area, I will go see him.
And if I go see him, he will become one of a small handful of performers I have seen three times.
I’m not one of those people who considers any particular artist an absolute must-see — not one of those U2 or Springsteen fanatics with a glass-topped coffee table full of ticket stubs.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
– I just don’t get out to hear live music that often any more. I gave in to parenthood and boringness a long time ago.
– I haven’t gotten into many younger bands, and I don’t particularly want to see most older ones. (For instance, I never saw Aerosmith as a teenager, even though I loved them then; and I’m convinced that seeing them now would just be anticlimactic.)
– The region where I’ve lived for the past decade doesn’t have a hockey rink-slash-arena. And, I don’t like driving an hour or two to see a show. So most performers of arena popularity have been off my list for a good 10 years, just because I have no patience for big-city, big-venue hassles.
For instance, seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse on their current tour would have meant going to Philadelphia. And going to Philadelphia from where I live is a pain in the ass on the best of days. While I revere Neil and the Horse, I don’t consider it worth the time and expense.
(I will be interested to see whether the hockey rink under construction in downtown Allentown attracts much in the way of concerts.)
So who have I seen three times? What performers have roused me to get off my arse and dismiss my excuses?
Bob Dylan – October 1994 at Boston’s Orpheum Theater; November 2004 at Stabler Arena, Lehigh University; and July 2009 at Coca-Cola Park, Allentown. Even though he doesn’t have the voice to front a live band any more, I would probably see him again, just because he’s Bob Dylan. (He also lets kids in for free at his outdoor summer shows; the July 2009 show was my older son’s first concert, which is a cool memory, at least for me.)
Neil Young – February 1991 with Crazy Horse at the Aud in Buffalo; March 1992 solo acoustic at the Orpheum; and August 1996 with the Horse at the Great Woods amphitheater in Mansfield, Mass. I’d probably see him again, as long as he wasn’t off on some dopey country tangent.
(An old friend of mine came into a bunch of free tickets to see Neil and the Horse in Buffalo in November 1996, but he didn’t tell me in time. Otherwise Neil would be atop this list.)
I might have seen B.B. King three times. I know for sure I saw him twice, in August of 1993 and ’94, at what was then called the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, N.Y. B.B. used to do package tours with two or three other blues/roots acts, and I caught a couple of those; they were always enjoyable, and a good night’s entertainment for the money.
There aren’t that many artists I’ve seen twice, and it’s a fair bet that I won’t be completing the trifecta for most of them:
They Might Be Giants – April 1993 at MIT, and April 1995 at Boston’s Avalon club. What can I say? It was a college thing. (Though I make no apologies for seeing the MIT show. It was pretty hot. Seriously.)
Yes – April 1991 at the Aud in Buffalo, and again in July 1991 in Canandaigua. Both shows were part of the bloated “Union” tour. My chief memory from the Buffalo show is keyboardist Tony Kaye waving to the crowd with one hand … with Rick Wakeman also in the band, Kaye was kinda surplus to requirements.
Phish – Opening for Santana, July ’92; then headlining in July ’94; both at Canandaigua. Yeesh.
Rundgren – October 2009, with Hall & Oates and the Hooters, in the last concert ever at the Philadelphia Spectrum; and again in September 2011 at Lehigh. By that schedule, I’m on track to see him again next year. And if he doesn’t give in to age, frustration or crankiness by 2015, he might just make the top of my list then.