thenaturalstoner’s Top 10 Shows of 2011

2011 was undoubtedly my finest concert going year on record (out of 31!).  I saw over 80 bands, did several awesome road trips, brought in visitors from around the country to come to the Gorge Amphitheatre, and almost all my shows were at least ‘decent’.  Obviously some rise to the top, and some fall to the bottom… so here is my list of best concerts of 2011.

10) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings 05/30/11 – The Gorge – George, WA (Sasquatch Festival)

I had seen Sharon Jones a couple years ago sing backup to Phish in Indio, California, so I was very excited to finally see one of Sharons own sets with the entire Dap-Kings. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer!  Sharon was amazing and I got to meet her after her set over in the meet and greet area (AWESOME idea Sasquatch), which was a super cool experience.  After Chromeo and Sharons sets, the final day on Sasquatchs mainstage was off to a blistering Monday afternoon start!

9) Foo Fighters 05/27/11 – The Gorge – George, WA (Sasquatch Festival)

I love Foo Fighters and this was my first chance to see them live.  Well, let me take that back, I had one prior opportunity and didn’t exactly “make it to the show” that night.  Over 10 years later, I got my second chance and the Foos rocked me just like I wanted.  Headlining Sasquatchs first ever Friday night, the Foo Fighters rocked my face off.

8) Modest Mouse 05/29/11 – The Gorge – George, WA (Sasquatch Festival)

When I made my festival review immediately after the Sasquatch Festival, I put this Modest Mouse set as number one on my list.  Over time, perspective pushed Chromeo over that for me, however this set was a monster, and something I was desperately looking for that weekend.  Going into Sasquatch I was hoping some band I have heard but never appreciated would turn me into a fan, and Modest Mouse did that FAR more than any other.  I am looking at you Wilco, Death Cab, etc.

7) Soundgarden 07/30/11 – Gorge Amphitheater – George, WA

A huge 4 band lineup, including the Meat Puppets, Queens of the Stone Age and Mastodon, concluded with Soundgardens tour closer at the Gorge, a “hometown” show finale.  The experience of meeting ConcertConfessions own Jay Porks and having Soundgarden live up to all my expectations made this a huge weekend stop in central Washington!  I even did a Babe Ruth called shot right before Pretty Noose.  Ahhh good times…

6) Eddie Vedder 07/15/11 Benaroya Hall – Seattle, WA

If it wasn’t for the following nights epicness, this show would have left a much higher imprint on me.  A fantastic show, in a beautiful venue, and getting the opportunity to tell Krist Novoselic “Thank you”, and get a “You’re welcome” back, made this a once in a lifetime night.  Thanks the Jesus I got into these shows after 5 attempts at various online ticket sales.


5) Chromeo 05/30/11 – The Gorge – George, WA (Sasquatch Festival)

I think Chromeo’s Tweet following the show says it all: “Moved to tears, Sasquatch.”

4) Ween 07/02/11 – Les Schwab Amphitheater – Bend, OR

A fun road trip to Bend, Oregon with several friends left us with a great Ween weekend.  Poopship Destroyer, Monique the Freak, Slow Down Boy, Waynes Pet Youngin, etc were great, but when Baby Bitch was played, and then Birthday Boy followed, this show got real.  What a moment!  Ween treats us well in the Northwest! Staying at the Rainbow Motel in Bend was the icing on the cake! Here is Poopship Destroyer from ConcertConfessions own Phishbeard.

3) Phish 08/06/11 – Gorge Amphitheater – George, WA

A show that felt exactly opposite from the night before to me flow wise.  The show got GREAT at the end, instead of a solid start. Reba with whistling, a teaseful Antelope and a super encore with Sanity and a Suzy Greenberg that I needed to hear to get off my stats list (even though I “saw” it at Festival 8). And the pizzadillas!!!!

2) Phish 08/05/11 – Gorge Amphitheater – George, WA

What a JAM!  Rock and Roll > Fire on the Mountain Jam (I still insist this happened) > Meatstick > Boogie On Reggae Woman was one of the best segues thrown down in years.  If the set didn’t go limp after Boogie On this could have been a number one contender.  This Rock and Roll jam gets to hang out up with the Boise AC/DC Bag and Inglewood Bathtub Gin as favorite Jams of my life. Getting to have Reverend Justito make it up to our neck of the woods for his first ever Gorge shows made this a perfect weekend.  One of the best camping setups we’ve ever had at Phish too. We did this weekend right. Here is a GREAT Roggae, with an unusually long (great!!) jam, that the Rev got on tape:

1) Eddie Vedder 07/16/11 Benaroya Hall – Seattle, WA

When I look back at all the concerts I have ever been to, again 31 years worth, two specifically stand out to me as “best evers”. My first Phish show, 7/17/98 at the Gorge, and a random Phish show on a Tuesday night in Boise back in 1999 where the band decided to produce a set as grand as any they have ever played.  The only way I know how to describe this Eddie Vedder show is to say that it is on the same level as those two Phish shows from the late 90s.  This was no doubt one of the best concert experiences of my life, and gave me an exuberant feeling of positivity that I wasn’t sure still existed in this world (it had been 12 years since something hit me like this after all). Everything about this night was perfect, highlighted by an astounding mid-set run of: Needle and the Damage Done > Long Road > Wishlist > Man of the Hour > I Am Mine that rivals anything I have ever seen.

 

Just missed the cut: Major Lazer, John Prine, Big Boi, Meat Puppets, Hall and Oates, Sleigh Bells.

Biggest Disappointment: The Flaming Lips, The Gorge Sasquatch Festival. Described as a “Soft Bulletin” set (we didn’t even get the whole album), this gig was full of distractions (who sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to a music Festival mid Album set?) and too much wandering banter from Wayne Coyne. For my first Lips show, I was hoping for a LOT more.

Funny moment on video: I had a funny thing happen during Flogging Molly at the Sasquatch Festival.  Near the end of recording video of ‘Don’t Shut Em Down’, some guy taps me on the shoulder and says, “Vomits running down onto your bag!”. I look down and sure as shit the lady about 5 feet behind me had puked and it was streaming down below my feet!  See 3:10 into this vid!

 

Worst show: The Presidents of the United States of America, Cub Ballroom, Pullman, WA. Just terrible.

You know what else was cool?: Giving Marcus Trufant a “Go Cougs!” at Lil Wayne at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, WA!

My own downloadable audio recording:

  1. Blue Scholars entire set, 10/29/11 The Belltower in Pullman, WA  http://www.mediafire.com/?pyejjt21tsmyb9r
thenaturalstoner is a Northwestern United States concert going human being who enjoys documenting his experiences. These are not always limited to the concert stage. thenaturalstoner likes his WSU Cougar football and collection of wet wipes as well (try ‘em out instead of toilet paper sometime!).
thenaturalstoner
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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 at 5:09 pm.
Categories: Reviews.

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