Best gigs ever

Everyone remembers fondly their favourite live music events, and I am no exception. I’ve also seen the likes of Pink Floyd, Genesis, Supertramp and many more fine acts live. Here are a few that stick in my mind:

Hugh Masakela/George Duke-Stanley Clarke Project

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If I tell you that the legendary South African trumpet player Hugh Masekela and his band Kalahari were the support act for this gig, you’ll get a measure of the kind of gig this was.  It was sometime in the early 80s at the Apollo in Manchester.  Masekela was warming up for the Stanley Clarke/George Duke band, with Philip Bailey (who had recently been no 1 with Phil Collins with Easy Lover) as guest vocalist.  Between this array of musical talent a sumptuous menu was served up, to the point where I was full and could barely take any more.

Robert Cray Band

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Also appearing at the Apollo, this time in the early 90s, was blues legend Robert Cray.  He dispensed with the horns and appeared with his standard band – no bad thing.  The set was magical, packed with glorious guitar licks – notably the slow blues numbers, where I had a shiver running down my spine.  He finished with two stunning and sublime encores: I Was Warned and Our Last Time.  I went home with a beaming smile on my face, in total awe.

Iggy & the Stooges

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I’ve written before about the Hop Farm in Kent, 2011.  There were many great acts playing, but the headliner was Morrissey – and he came on stage saying “How the hell do you follow Iggy and the Stooges?”  Iggy Pop at 64 was simply amazing – and he’s still at it, two years on.  Apart from boundless energy that saw him running from one end of the stage to the other without needing to stop for a breather in an hour-long set, the man is sheer stage charisma personified.  He might have performed a greatest his collection, but it was the man as much as the music – he was truly electric, and still attired in his customary pose minus shirt and displaying his sinewy torso – girls in the audience were throwing off their tops too!  But you couldn’t take your eyes off Iggy – Jagger eat your heart out!

The Pogues

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I saw the Pogues at Greenwich at the end of a stupendous July 2011.  Having already written a blog about them, linked above, I won’t repeat it – but believe me when I say that evening lives long in my memory as a truly happy time!

Antonio Forcione

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I’ve seen Forcione about 12 or 13 times now.  He’s never less than great value, being a virtuoso guitarist and a great showman in equal measure, and he’s a generous performer in that he will always jam with other artists.  One such gig was at the Jazz Café in Camden.  He came on and did a few solo numbers, then invited on one collaborator, then another, and before I knew it the time was 1am and getting home was nigh on impossible – I was utterly spellbound!  Forcione is a genius and a joy to watch, every time a winner.

I could go on, but these will do for now.  What were YOUR favourite gigs?

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