Although the list was tough to narrow down (sorry Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – you almost made it) here are seven shows I adored and three I wanted to adore.
1. Band of Horses, Johnny Mercer Theater, Savannah, Ga., April 4.
Despite the terrible Bud-based beer selection at the venue, The Band of Horses show at the Johnny Mercer Theater in Savannah was by far my top concert experience of the year. (You know this already if you read my 2011 picks posted earlier this month on OnMilwaukee.com). The intensity of their delivery, the absolutely breathtaking screen imagery of the natural world and the fact that the band is now based in Savannah's sister town, Charleston, S.C., really exposed the love.
2. Peter Gabriel, New Blood Orchestra and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Marcus Amphitheater, Milwaukee, June 29.
Peter Gabriel delivered a three-hour concert – with a 20-minute break for the spectacular fireworks show – that featured a 50-plus-piece orchestra headed by dramatic conductor Ben Foster and included a collection of international and Milwaukee musicians. Two female back-up singers accompanied Gabriel as well, one of which was his daughter, Melanie Gabriel. They had a couple of heartfelt moments on stage.
High points included versions of David Bowie's "Heroes," the Talking Heads' song, "Listening Wind" (according to Gabriel, Heads' keyboardist and guitarist Jerry Harrison was at the show), The Arcade Fire's "My Body Is A Cage" and his own songs "Digging In the Dirt," "Secret World," "Biko" and "Mercy Street," which he dedicated to confessional poet Anne Sexton.
If anyone in the audience was already on the verge of a breakdown over the beauty and injustices of the world, the show created the perfect setting. All of the songs were deeply emotional, dramatic and anthemic, particularly "Red Rain," "In Your Eyes," "Don't Give Up" and "Solsbury Hill." Even though fan-favorite, MTV hits like "Sledgehammer" were left out, it really didn't matter.
3. Bon Iver, Rivers…Read more...