As I explained earlier in the list of the week project, a whole bunch of the lists are going to have to do with music. This week I present a list of musical acts that I’ve never seen live in concert, but hope to someday.
But first, there are some important ground rules to follow:
No Resurrection. Who among us wouldn’t want to see Jimi, Janis, or John? Or, how about Bob Marley or Jim Morrison? What I wouldn’t give to see Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper play the Surf Ballroom in Mason City. For that matter, I never saw Kurt or Tupac or Elliott Smith. While we are at it, let’s bring back Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Bach.
No Time Travel. Bob Dylan is not on my list because I am not very interested in seeing Bob Dylan in 2009. Now, if we were talking about Dylan in ’69, he’d be at the top of my list. Similarly, the idea of seeing Springsteen today is nowhere near as exciting as seeing him in the early 80s. Get what I’m saying? You can only listen to the artist as they are right now in the present day, not how they were in their glory years.
Bill Clinton Isn’t Available. I’m not talking about playing the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show. Even though Bill Clinton can go to North Korea to negotiate the release of journalists, we can’t ask Clinton to negotiate a truce between Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar so that Uncle Tupelo can get back together. If a band has broken up, we need to think that there is a good chance that they might reform and tour again if they are to be included on the list.
So, without further ado, in order of preference here are musicians I hope to see:
1) Weezer. I’m actually surprised that this is my top choice. After putting out two fantastic albums in the 90s, I thought Weezer's next three were disappointments. However, their latest album, the red one, has brought me around. They are at the top of my list because I know that I won’t just be twiddling my thumbs waiting for them to play “Undone” and “El Scorcho.” I like the new stuff too.
2) Smashing Pumpkins. This is a risky pick to put this high. Depending on the mood of front man Billy Corgan the show might be epic or it might be dysfunctional. It is worth the risk. Would it be too much to ask for them play versions of songs by Zwan? Yes, that would probably be too much to ask.
3) Lisa Loeb. It would have to be at an extremely cool coffeehouse somewhere. She would have to make witty banter with the audience between songs. I might seriously consider offering my pinky finger for this to happen. Above the knuckle? Deal.
4) Outkast. Just to see what one of their live show is like. If the Grammys let this (offensive) craziness happen, who would know what to expect?
5) Rilo Kiley. Putting this band on the list may be cheating because I’ve seen Jenny Lewis perform her solo material. But I’d love to hear RK play some of their songs.
6) Postal Service. This one time collaboration between Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello from Dntel produced an amazing album. I don’t know if they ever toured. Would a second album and a tour to support it be too much to ask?
7) Elvis Costello. While I can’t help but think that many veteran rockers would leave me disappointed and frustrated that I didn’t get the chance to see them in their earlier glory days, I bet Costello puts on one heck of a show.
8) The National. I only recently got turned on to their music. I love the distinctive vocals of Matt Berninger. I bet they would be awesome live.
9) Beirut. This up and coming band based out of New York City plays old world music with hipster coolness. Plus, their violinist used to be a member of the youth group at church where I served. Their live shows sound like a whole lot of fun!
10) Son Volt. If Bill Clinton can’t get Uncle Tupelo back together, I will have to “settle” on seeing Jay Farrar’s alt. country band.
Honorable Mention: Sufjan Stevens, Kings of Leon, The Pixies, Bright Eyes, Vampire Weekend, Iron & Wine, Jimmy Eat World