Live music has played a special role in my life since I went to my first concert at the Spectrum in 1996 to see Garbage and The Smashing Pumpkins. Ever since that day, I’ve had a deep love for the art and a sincere penchant for red heads. What a night.
I’ve mentally maintained a list of favorites over the years but asked myself recently: Which 3 songs do I need to hear live once more before the end?
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
You can basically call it a religious experience. All of the house lights fire up, and even an apocalypse outside of the arena’s gates couldn’t dampen what everyone’s feeling at that very moment. It’s liberating. Like you were just released from under a rock after 150 years.
Mr. Brightside – The Killers
The best thing about it is that the louder and faster it’s played, the better it sounds. There are so many trademark moments that get the blood flowing – the buildup towards the outro, the way they explode into the final chorus, the “it was only a kiss” blast that the crowd nails on cue and without fail. If you ever see it live, just follow Brandon’s lead and jump. Jump.
Baba O’Riley (Cover) – Pearl Jam
This is it. The one that changed my life. Sure, it’s not an original, but they sure as hell play it like it is. Part of the brilliance here is that the crowd expects them to play it like men possessed, which makes everyone seem pretty…well, possessed. It literally makes you want to grab the nearest sweaty person and just start making out. And anytime an event inspires that kind of behavior, you know you’re having a good time.
* I actually attended the Springsteen and Killers concerts featured in the above videos.