Because as of today, my twenties are over.
1. Bon Jovi, Alpine Valley (2003): For all of the reasons outlined here.
2. Devendra Banhart and Gilberto Gil, Hollywood Bowl (2008): I had just moved to L.A. and was working as a hostess at the Palm downtown. On the night of a Lakers game, some guy called asking for a reservation. We didn’t have any available, but he said he would trade me a table for tickets to any show I wanted at the Hollywood Bowl. I found him a place to sit, and a few weeks later I was having one of the best nights of my life in a box near the front with a lovely friend and two dudes I had met at the Echo the night before. The tickets were handwritten, and I got to park behind the stage.
3. Bassnectar, Lighting in a Bottle (2012): Unless one is getting married or has died, it’s rare to get so many people one loves in the same place at the same time, but the stars aligned for this one. I know it sounds batshit, but this show was something like opening a portal to another dimension. That probably something to do with the mushrooms, but in any case, kismet.
4. The White Stripes, Bonnaroo (2007): For all of the reasons outlined here, and because the sun was setting over the Tennessee fields and because they played Jolene and because I was so dirty and it didn’t matter.
5. My Morning Jacket, The Pabst Theatre Milwaukee (2006): Because they were touring behind Z and I was in the front row and Jim James was wearing the same Mount Rushmore t-shirt that I at one point in my life had also owned. This show was the first time I really understood what it’s like to have your face melted off by rock music. Guitar solos!
6. Bon Iver, Hollywood Forever Cemetery (2009): There are so many special memories associated with this show, but basically: it was an exceptionally foggy night in L.A. and the gates of the cemetery opened at midnight, we all hung out on the lawn snuggled up in blankets and cuddling and drinking wine and smoking joints and watching the episodes of Planet Earth that were being projected on the mausoleum. Just before dawn some Buddhist monks did a chanting ceremony to bless the space and then Bon Iver came out as the sky was turning purple and orange and played a show so beautiful that it still makes me cry when I listen to my shitty recording of it. Blood Bank never sounded so good.
7. Bruce Springsteen, Bonnaroo (2009): The main stage show at Bonnaroo in eighty degree Tennessee summer night heat and the Boss comes out and plays Santa Claus Is Coming to Town and all 100,000 or us lost our damn minds. Basically a greatest hits show, and the first time I ever sat on someone shoulders during a concert of that size, which I recommend everyone does at least once in their lives.
8. Swedish House Mafia, L.A. State Historic Park (2012): People love to hate on Swedish House Mafia, but this show proved to me why they’re so fucking huge. A comprehensive play by play is available here, but basically: Ali and I danced our asses off, made friends with two very nice young men from Japan and Sweden and found ourselves in the thick of several group hugs with said gentlemen. There was never so joyous a moment as when they played “Don’t You Worry Child.”
9. Arcade Fire, Bonnaroo (2011): I use the word epic too much, but this show was that. Also, I was there with Buhman, who I love, and I sobbed when they played “Intervention.”
10. Justin Timberlake, Xcel Energy Center (2007): He was touring behind Futuresex/Lovesounds, so, you know, Sexyback.I drove to Minneapolis from Madison with a car full of girlfriends, and we had JT t-shirts made at the Mall of America (mine: “I’ll let you whip me if I misbehave”). I for sure had a better understanding of my womanhood after it was over.
11. Holy Ship, somewhere in the Caribbean (2012): This happened over the course of three days, but I’m counting it as one show because I didn’t really sleep at all. The highlight would probably be dancing in a very short red dress on the stage of some opulent cruise ship theater as Skrillex, Brodinski, A-Trak and a bunch of other DJ dudes all took turns playing a super grimy hip hop set that included Pony.
12. The Dead Weather, The Mayan (2009): Holy shit Alison Mosshart just dominated, which is saying a lot because her fucking backing band included Jack White. Them playing “Will There Be Enough Water” is to this one of the sexiest sonic experiences of my life thus far.
13. Girl Talk, The Hollywood Palladium (2010): For reasons I’m sure no one cares about I had spent much of the afternoon before this show in my bed sobbing. Girl Talk was basically the antidote to all that. Great energy in the Palladium, and so much fucking fun. Layla and B and I were in the thick of the crowd, and I remember the three of us screaming along to “Walking on Sunshine.”
14. Tom Petty, Bonnaroo (2006): Stevie Nicks joined him on stage for “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” and I finally got over my anxiety about dancing in public. Also, the first time I did mushrooms and the first massive music festival I ever attended. Not to be melodramatic, but it basically all changed my life.
15. Ghostland Observatory, Snowball (2012): I can’t accurately describe the cosmic intensity of this show except to say it’s one of my top three concerts of all time. It was in a park in Avon, Colorado, and 23 degrees (or so) outside, and I was dancing so hard that I got super sweaty in my snow pants.
16. Prince, Coachella (2008): He did a 15 minute slowed down, sexed up version of Little Red Corvette. On the way home, Nicole and I had to pull over on the side of the ten to sleep. We didn’t wake up until the next morning.
17. Rufus Wainwright, The Riverside Milwaukee (2003 ((2004?)): He was touring behind Want (1), which meant that the show closed with Beautiful Child. He also made a move on my boyfriend at the time.
18. Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Hollywood Bowl (2012): One of the greatest victories of my life is that I got to take my mother to see one of her all time favorite bands, as a surprise, in really good seats at the Hollywood Bowl. We were stuck in traffic on Highland when some guy peddling knock off Neil shirts walked by the car and she figured out where we are going, and thus started weeping (the good kind) like I’ve never seen before. Success.
19. Distrikt, Burning Man (2012): This wasn’t a concert, per se, but the most righteous party I attended at Burning Man, and thus one of the most righteous parties of my life. It was late afternoon, someone was DJing some deep house shit and Brittany and I climbed up on a wooden riser and proceeded to dance for literally hours, in our bathing suits.
20. Major Lazer, Electric Daisy Carnival (2013): I’ve seen these guys a bunch, but never was it so fucking fun as it was at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past June.
Fiona Apple, Northrop Memorial Auditorium, Minneapolis (2006)
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Coachella (2012)
Tame Impala, The El Rey (2012)
Fleet Foxes The Echo (2008)
Trombone Shorty, d.b.a. New Orleans (2010)
MiMOSA, Snowball Colorado, (2012)
Pretty Lights, Lightning in a Bottle (2011)
Beck, The Echoplex (2007)
Beyonce, United Center (2007)
DogBlood/Knife Party, Coachella (2013)