Deano’s Favorite Concerts Of All Time

I prefer concerts to most other live events.  Some are better than you expect, and others let you down compared to what you expected (although this is rarer).  This is a rough list (probably not complete) of my favorite live performances of all time.

  1. Deadmau5 – Austin TX / Austin City Limits – 9/21/2019 – I haven’t even been to this concert yet but I already know it is going to be the best one I’ve ever been to.  The Cube Version 3 stage looks like it is going to be a modern marvel.  I’ve had this concert on my bucket list for many years.  I can’t imagine a performance being better than this! UPDATE: It was the best concert I’ve ever been too (see some clips HERE).
  2. Pink Floyd – Nashville TN / Vanderbilt Stadium – 5/8/1994 – Went with Emily (and 41,000 of our closest friends) in college for the Division Bell tour.  We paid top dollar and had great seats.  Vanderbilt’s Stadium looked like it was going to blast off into space with all the lasers shooting up into the air.  It was their final tour ever.  It. Was. Awesome.  This was the biggest grossing concert tour in history to that date.
  3. Orbital (opening act Crystal Method) – Tulsa OK / Brady Theater – 7/18/1999 – Flew in with my concert buddy, Brent.  It was our first time seeing our favorite college band.  I knew I was in for a good time when the opening act blew me out of my seat.  Then Orbital came on and lived up to all my pre-concert hype.  They did not disappoint! 
  4. Willie Nelson – Nashville TN / Ryman – 5/5/2009 – Went with my work buddy Trent and his wife (and Emily).  I’ve never seen The Ryman rock so hard.  Amazing show.  I was literally exhausted when the show was over.  That old dude was going to play all night!  What a Legend!
  5. Orbital – Atlanta GA / Some Place Downtown ATL – 10/5/2001 – Went to see them again (and again with Brent).  We met some of his friends in town.  A bunch of country boys in the big ATL.  We survived.  The stage literally looked like it was about to take off into space!  This tour was for one of my favorite albums they ever put out, so it was an amazing show!
  6. Justin Bieber – Nashville TN / Bridgestone – 1/18/2013 – Went with the girls and Emily for The Believe tour.  I have never heard an audience that was so loud at any concert.  I went kind of begrudgingly.  I left having developed a man-crush on him and I became a Bieliber that night!  There…I said it!  It was a fun night shared with my three girls (which immediately rockets it much higher on this list than it otherwise would be).
  7. Linkin Park – Nashville TN / Bridgestone – 2/26/2008 – Emily got me tickets to this show, and we went together.  I’m a big fan of Linkin Park and Fort Minor and it was awesome seeing them live.  When the lead singer popped up in on a stage in the middle of the crowd he was right in front of us.  I’m positive I acted like a total fanboy!
  8. Tycho – Nashville TN / The Cannery – 9/25/2014 – Brent and I were excited about this show.  It was better than we expected.  I’ve never seen an electronic act with a live drummer (and this guy was an awesome addition to the show)!
  9. Com Truise – Nashville TN / Exit-In – 5/18/2017 – The album he was touring on for this show was one of his best (and the one prior was just as good).  This made for a bunch of great songs.  It made for a show that was just really, really awesome.  Brent and his friend Blake (who I had last seen at the Orbital Atlanta show in 2001) went to see it together.  Great night, made even better by having the Uber driver play rap music all the way home (Brent’s favorite).
  10. Dave Chappelle – Nashville TN / Ryman – 6/23/2013 – Not a musical act but a great live performance for sure.  After years without Dave Chappelle, my friend Michael and I needed this show!  I almost laughed myself off the bench!  Dave Chappelle is my favorite comedian of all time.
  11. Skrillex & Pretty Lights – Nashville TN / Field Where Ascend Amphitheater Is Now – 10/26/2012 & 10/27/2012 – This was two nights.  The first night I went with my brother-in-law, Cameron.  That night Skrillex was the feature act and Pretty Lights opened.  The next night I went with Emily and they reversed the order.  I was impressed with the Pretty Lights show.  I wasn’t really too familiar with him but it was an awesome performance.
  12. Daniel Tosh – Chattanooga TN / Tivoli Theater – 10/7/2010 – Brent and Michael and I went to see this extremely funny comedian.  The show was hilarious.  Daniel gives Dave Chappelle a run for his money on my all-time funniest list.  The rest of the evening not as hilarious.  Keep in mind I did nothing wrong.  It is a long story, but we wound up getting kicked out of our hotel room (and the city) at around 3 AM in the morning and had to drive home with no sleep.  I arrived on my front porch at around 6 AM and had to explain myself to Emily (“why on earth are you home now?”).  Long live Smokey The Bear!  Remember only you can prevent…well, I won’t finish that…
  13. Kraftwerk – Nashville TN / Ryman – 9/27/2015 – 3D!!!  Probably the only 3D concert to ever be at The Ryman.  These guys have been pumping out electronic music since the 70s and it was awesome to sit front row and see them do it live…in 3D?!?!  Brent took me to his office overlooking Nashville (and The Ryman) before the show which was cool too!
  14. Depeche Mode – Nashville TN / Ascend Amphitheater – 9/18/2017 – Depeche Mode has always been one of my favorite bands.  In college, I wanted to go see them but I couldn’t find anyone who was cool like me that liked them enough to make the trip to Atlanta.  I never got to see them.  When they came through Nashville to Ascend Amphitheater, I crossed this band off my bucket list.  I drug Emily along and she pretended to enjoy herself while I really did enjoy myself.
  15. Ralphie May – Nashville TN / Zanie’s – 5/17/2014 – Emily and I went with my work friends (Mark/Jennifer & Travis/Marianne) to see one of the funniest live acts around.  I laughed so hard I felt like my lungs would collapse at times.   RIP Ralphie!
  16. Tycho – Nashville TN / Marathon Music Works – 5/9/2017 – This show would have ranked higher but I’d already seen him before.  It was still a very good show in a cool venue.  Plus, they had those beer glasses that fill up from the bottom which was kind of mind-blowing for an old guy like me.  Brent had to settle me down when I saw those!
  17. Nate Bargatze – Opry House – 10/27/2021 – This wasn’t really a “concert” it was a comedy show. Regardless, it was my first live performance since the whole COVID situation. I’d never seen Nate Bargatze before in my life. My friend, Michael, took me to the show. Nate is from Nashville and is extremely funny. His father opened the show and was also very funny.
  18. RÜFÜS DU SOL – Live from Joshua Tree – 3/4/2020 – This was an “online” concert during COVID. Nonetheless, it was “artwork” a great “concert”. A sunset inside a National Park, drones, lights, and great music. Beautiful.
  19. Prince – Nashville TN / Gaylord Entertainment Center – 5/6/2004 – Prince has one of my all-time favorite albums Purple Rain.  The movie was also great…well from a music performance perspective.  So, to be able to see many of those songs being performed live was awesome.  This concert would be much, much higher if it had been before 2004 (and had excluded some of the newer songs that were included).  Regardless, he put on quite a show!  The guy was so freaking talented! RIP Prince!
  20. Ed Sheeran – Nashville TN / Bridgestone – 9/13/2015 – I think Emily wanted to go see this show…or maybe one of the girls had bought tickets but could not go.  Regardless, I remember not being sure I was excited.  Emily and I went together and I was blown away how he did the entire show as a solo (just him and his little loop pedal thingy).  It was a really cool show and I came away from it a bigger fan.
  21. Alabama – Nashville TN / Starwood Amphitheater – 9/25/1993 – Went to see this concert with Emily and my Mom and Dad.  I grew up listening to them with Mom (she is a diehard fan).  When ‘Roll-On’ was played The Dean Family went wild!  “Our Daddy drives an 18 Wheeler…”
  22. Merle Haggard – Nashville TN / Ryman – 9/22/2009 – Seeing The Hag at all was awesome.  I’d listened to his songs for years and he is one of my all-time favorite country artists.  Seeing the Hag at the Ryman was ‘awesomer’.  This show might have ranked much higher but his health was failing him and it showed.  Seeing someone persevere through bad health to do what they love is always a treat, however.  Emily and I enjoyed the show a lot. RIP Hag!
  23. Johnny Cash – Nashville TN / Gaslight Theater @ Opryland – 4/23/1995 – Back when Opryland theme park was still around there was a stage.  During park hours it was where all the parents went to sit and watch a show while their kids ran around.  On this night, The Man In Black took the stage.  It was a strange venue but my college roommates, Michael and Brent, and I didn’t care.  We were getting to see a living legend…Johnny Cash! RIP Johnny!
  24. Triple Threat Tour (Bell Biv Devoe, Keith Sweat, and Johnny Gill) – Murfreesboro, TN / Murphy Arena / 1990 – The name of the tour said it all!  I probably wore out my Bell Biv Devoe tapes in high school.  I’m almost positive this show was at MTSU and not Starwood, but I could be wrong.  I got all dressed up and went to see them live!  It was so cool…and so was I.  That boy was POISON!
  25. Borns – Nashville TN / Ryman – 9/21/2018 – Molly said, “get a bunch of tickets for me and my friends and you guys to go see Borns when he comes”.  [concert date approaches] Molly says neither her or any of her friends are actually coming to the concert.  I sell extra tickets and Emily and I go anyway.  We have fun!  Take that Molly!  We don’t need a bunch of kids to have fun!
  26. Zac Brown Band – Nashville TN / Bridgestone – 12/29/2010 – We went to see this cool cat play.  Emily and I ate dinner at the hot wing place before the show and he was there!  We basically live the same life as famous people!  Be jealous!  When he sang Chicken Fried, I felt a special connection with him that night due to our prior chance encounter.
  27. Garth Brooks – Nashville TN – Bridgestone – 12/16/2010 – After the great flood of Nashville earlier that year Garth decided to add a bunch of extra shows to his comeback shows.  I think he wound up doing 8+ shows over a few weeks.  Emily and I had tickets to one of the first ones (maybe the first one).  He is a fun act to watch and I like a lot of his songs, but he isn’t my favorite ever.  Worth seeing however because he is a good live performer.
  28. Neil deGrasse Tyson – Nashville TN – TPAC – 6/14/2017 – This is not a concert but it was a fine live performance for sure so it is on the list.  My friend Michael spearheaded this with Brent and I.  Neil is extremely funny and entertaining.  It was like being in a college lecture class that was 1) fun and 2) with the ability to have a beer.
  29. Sting – Nashville TN / Starwood Amphitheater – 9/6/2004 – Emily and I went to see Sting in a rare night out without any kids!  I was heavy-duty into Sting at the time and she liked him too.
  30. Stereolab – Nashville TN / The Cannery – 2008 – Brent and I went to see this show together which was one of the first electronic bands we went to see on tour through Nashville.  We’ve seen better ones since.
  31. Metallica – Nashville TN / Starwood Amphitheater – 6/19/1992 – I went to see this concert with a crew of people that I barely knew from college.  I had worked all week/night/day and was exhausted.  I wound up falling asleep at the concert.  How on earth one falls asleep during a Metallica performance is beyond me.  I guess I was that tired.  I was jolted awake when some guy crawled over me followed by event security.  I looked around and the crowd had started to make little bonfires on the yard at Starwood.  So, Metallica was playing (loudly), fires were burning, and some guy with a knife or something was evading security—while I was napping!?!  It sounds about right!
  32. Justin Bieber (with opening by Post Malone) – Nashville TN / Bridgestone – 6/27/2016 – Emily and I had so much fun at the concert with the girls we went back for The Purpose tour.  It was pretty good but he was just going through the motions mostly it seemed.  Post Malone was his opening act so we got to see that guy too (which was actually better).
  33. Post Malone – Nashville TN / Bridgestone – 3/5/2020 – Speaking of Post Malone…I guess he got famous opening for the Biebs. Emily loves him so we had to go back to see him when he came to town. Coronavirus was springing to life so we risked our life to go see Post Malone. For Emily that was a worthwhile trade off I guess?!? I’m not sure it worth my life but it was a decent show. He’s got some good tunes!
  34. John Mellencamp – Nashville TN / Ryman – 1/27/2015 – Here’s a little story, about Emily and Joey, two concert-goers in Nashville, doing the best that they can.  We’d seen the Coug before but we like him (especially Emily), so we went to see him at the legendary Ryman.  He rocked it.  More of a concert for Emily than me, however…so lower on my list.
  35. David Gray – Nashville TN / Fontanel – 6/26/2015 – We had never been to Fontanel and we had never been there in a thunderstorm that rained out our concert.  We rectified both those situations on this night.  Luckily, we even got to see a little bit of David Gray too before running to our car to avoid death!
  36. Kid Rock – Nashville TN / Bridgestone – 2/15/2013 – Emily wanted to go see her boyfriend, so we did.  It was extremely interesting that this show was only about a month after I’d been in the same place watching Justin Bieber.  The crowd was a tad bit different.  Let’s just say that I had no wait at all in the men’s room at the Justin Bieber concert.  The men’s room at the Kid Rock concert was a show in itself.
  37. John Mellencamp – Nashville TN / Starwood Amphitheater – 6/27/2005 – We wanted to go see the Coug (Emily did) and we couldn’t find a babysitter (or didn’t try to) so we took Preston and little baby Emmaline and sat on the grass at Starwood for their first concert.
  38. Janet Jackson – Nashville TN / Bridgestone – 9/5/1998 – I think Emily wanted to go see this.  I had listened to her current album (Velvet Rope) and had liked it.  Not a bad concert but not my favorite. 
  39. B-52s – Nashville TN / Starwood Amphitheater – 10/4/1992 – I like the B-52s so we went to see them at Starwood while in college.  It wasn’t bad but I felt like they didn’t really have ‘enough’ to be in their own show in a venue as big as Starwood.
  40. The Judds – Nashville TN / Starwood Amphitheater – 6/10/2000 – The Judds sing good songs.  Emily likes them and Wynonna (and I don’t like her much at all).  Not really a great show (for me).
  41. Kenny Chesney / Tim McGraw – Nashville TN / Titan’s Stadium – 6/23/2012 – I don’t mind saying that this show was horrible.  It was hot.  I didn’t want to go at all.  Emily did.  She sat there ogling over those two ‘country hunks’ for hours.  I could have thought of all kinds of ways to spend an evening. Yes, this is jealousy talking.  Ha!
  42. Bon Jovi – Nashville TN / Starwood Amphitheater – 7/1/1989 – Bon Jovi at the rock bottom…ahead of a purple dinosaur!?!?  What gives?  When I was in high school my buddy Scott and I loaded up at 5:30 AM one morning to drive into Rivergate to wait in the rain outside the mall.  We needed to be first in line at Katz Music to buy our tickets for Bon Jovi as soon as they opened.  We did.  I was all set.  Then I got in trouble and somehow got grounded.  I got grounded often but this time it cost me the Bon Jovi concert.  So, this is my worst concert experience ever…which has nothing to do with Bon Jovi.
  43. Barney – Nashville TN / Municipal Auditorium – 3/5/1997 – One of the weirdest “concerts” I’ve ever been to.  Preston was a little dude and loved watching Barney videos.  When we heard the big purple dinosaur was coming to Nashville we went.  When Barney took the stage, Municipal Auditorium went ab-so-lute-ly ape shit!  And it wasn’t the kids…it was the parents?!?  Everybody in that place was up dancing and singing along to Barney songs.  Preston just sat there mesmerized.  Emily and I were actually scared out of our minds.  We were new parents and had no clue what on earth kind of cult we had just joined.  We didn’t know any Barney songs…yet!  A few years later we went to see Barney again…we had joined the cult.
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