Discussion: This One Time, at a ______ Concert…

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this entry by CMT Blogger Alison Bonaguro. Apparently, an unlucky Washington Post reporter attended Sunday in the Country at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, only to become an unwitting obstacle to a poor young man looking for a place to…um, un-drink his good helping of beer (he finally settled on the side of the Roasted Almonds stand – so at least he got to enjoy the pleasant aroma of baking cinnamon while he was keeled over).

Having spent a full summer working in the box office of that very venue and dealing with my own fair share of well-meaning alcohol consumers (which is to say, O.A.R. fans), the concert review brought a number of fun memories rushing back to me. Live music is a weird beast that varies in nature from artist to artist and venue to venue, not to mention seat to seat. Sometimes, as with Sunday in the Country, the music is almost just an excuse to gather with close friends and have a grand ol’ time. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

But personally, my favorite in-concert moments have always taken place in smaller venues where the attention has been squarely on appreciating the music and the artists delivering it. To date, the best concert I’ve been to was Nickel Creek’s penultimate performance at the Ryman Auditorium, which fell at the end of last year’s Farewell for Now tour. For all its historic grandeur, the Ryman is beautifully intimate, and even from the balcony I had no trouble making out every one of Chris Thile’s kooky little gestures. The music was uniformly stellar that night, with seemingly no one but smitten fans in the audience, and the band was effortlessly funny in between songs, recalling the very best of Alison Krauss’ awkwardaries and then some.

I’ll never forget those magical few seconds right before the band launched into a certain cover, the likes of which I don’t think anyone thought they’d pull out on as reverent an occasion as one of their final shows. Thile looked out into the audience and murmured, “you guys are great. Seriously, all of you, we love what you do……but you know” – he suddenly started moaning melodramatically – “you know that you’re toxic!”

Cue Britney Spears song. It completely killed whatever decorum remained in the event, and that was what so fantastic about it: it was Nickel Creek leaving on Nickel Creek’s terms. And what terms they were:

Now, your turn. What is your favorite in-concert moment you’ve experienced, musical or otherwise?


  1. Kathy Mattea in 1994 at Westbury Music Theater.

    There was a no flash photography rule, and while she was onstage, she saw an usher trying to stop a guy from taking pictures. She ran off the stage, guitar in tow, and chased the usher up the aisle!

  2. Kenny Chesney concert, the summer of 06. The girl in front of us had gotten drunk and passed out in the bathroom floor…when she woke up and stumbled to her feet, she had a knot on her head the size of a softball…the funny part is…this was at l;ike 430 pm, so she spent all that money to be wasted. sadly, that was the most entertaining portion of the show.

  3. surprise covers are always fun..

    – Offspring playing the first jamming 20 seconds of Green Day’s ‘Welcome to Paradise’ before a “woops, wrong bang”

    – Sugarland launching into a full cover of Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’, or even Beyonce’s ‘Irreplacable’ before people knew that was coming.

    Other fun memories…
    – The cloud of “happy” smoke at Alanis Morisette’s “Jagged Little Pill” tour that would rival a Dave Matthew’s Band or Snoop Dogg show.

    – Smashing Pumpkins launching full throttle into the heavier part of their set at their last arena show. United Center, Chicago.

  4. Haha my favorite concert moment of the year was at the Brad Paisley show. It was after Brad was done, and Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough were doing a meet and greet. Since I’m a big fan of both, I thought I’d go get in line. So while I was a couple of people away from meeting Julianne, I look over to Chuck’s spot and notice a very drunk lady basically all over him! She kept wanting to hug him and she was rubbing him all over and basically throwing herself at him. He had no clue what to do so he kinda just stood there with his hands up. It didn’t take long for security to get her out of there but it was hilarious!!

  5. Me and a couple of guys from Abeline stayed up all night to see Robert Earle Keane. He was at the KPIG Swine and Soiree Dance. We had some trouble getting beer, but it worked out in the end.

  6. Patty Loveless at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, KY. 2004. I was in the second row and trying to get some photos for my myspace page. When Patty saw me, she stood right there (she was singing ‘Tear Stained Letter’) and sang her heart out while cheesing and posing while I took 8 extraordinary pictures. *sighs* I love Miss Patty so much …

  7. I’ve never been to a concert, sadly. But I love that video of “Toxic”, I actually posted it on my facebook a month ago because I love it so much!

  8. One of my favorite concert memories, Was at the 2008 Somerset Festival (WI).

    Alan Jackson performed “Good Time”, And literally, EVERYONE was line dancing (or what they thought was). By that time, It seemed everyone was so far gone they were just tippy towing in circles!

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