2018 Year in Review

Review and Photos by thenaturalstoner

Hi friends, it’s been awhile since I posted anything on this great site, and certainly longer than that since I have posted anything actually worth a damn, but now that I have gone to my last show of the year I felt inspired and wanted to put a Top 10 list together for you all.  I had a great year for concerts, except for having to cancel my trip to see Ween in Portland and missing two awesome shows, that really sucked.  FUCK.  But I got to see pretty much all my other favorite bands in 2018, including a couple “All Time” shows up here in the Northwest.  Here is how I would rank what I saw this year:

10. Jeff Austin Band, Johns Alley, Moscow, ID 10/26/18 – This bar is a smallish, windowless box of fun in Northern Idaho and I sure like seeing Jeff Austin when he comes to this town. We got two sets this time, which was nice compared to the one he gave us last time through – it was fun getting close, drinking a bunch of drinks, and having fun dancing to some bluegrass. The band was tight and Jeff kept remarking how he had been coming to this bar for 20 years playing shows and having good times.  He still owns it!

9. Metallica, Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA 12/2/18 – I’ve been wanting to see Metallica since the early 1990’s and it finally happened for the first time a couple weeks ago in Spokane. It was sweet seeing them in the round on the floor, and James sounded great all night. Kirk kicks ass on guitar of course, cool show, super loud and fun just how I hoped my first Metallica show would be. Encore of Blackened > Nothing Else Matters > Enter Sandman was awesome.  I really wanted that For Whom the Bell Tolls and I am super glad I got an Unforgiven night, I see they don’t do that one every night anymore.

8. Pearl Jam, The Home Shows Seattle Night 1, 8/11/18 – This show was pretty cool, although compared to the following night, it’s easy to overlook. This was a pretty big set from the band, lots of antics, including between security and myself which did not go in my favor, me and a scalper, and myself getting back to the floor. Fun covers at this one – I really liked the We’re Going to Be Friends from Ed solo and Comfortably Numb was epic, and any show that has a Long Road into Release is a winner in my book.

7. Pearl Jam, Washington-Grizzly Stadium, Missoula, MT 8/13/18 – Pearl Jam in Missoula is one of those things that I have learned you do your best to make every time. My first Pearl Jam show was in this exact same football stadium back in 1998 so it was cool to get back there and see them again all these years later. Nice that Tester got the W in his November vote too (nice poster Jeff!).  We got a super interesting setlist from Ament that was quite different feeling from the Seattle shows.  The first Know Your Rights in 6 years brought a bunch of energy to that stadium and I thought this was a great show to end the three show Northwest PJ run.

6. Phish in Lake Tahoe Night 2, 7/18/18 – I thought this show started out hot, I always love a What’s the Use, and the late 2001 and You Enjoy Myself when everyone thought Phish was watching the curfew clock/was going to give us Rocky Top, made this a heck of a fun night. My wife really likes Blaze On, so I was glad after 3+ sets at Harvey’s for her first run that she got that one to go home on.

5. Dean Ween Group, The Top Hat, Missoula, MT 7/7/2018 – Sweet small show in my favorite town in America. We brought my friend to Missoula from Washington state who doesn’t get to many shows anymore now that we are all old and he has a family, and we didn’t tell him where we were going – which made for a super cool road trip. This small bar show in Montana was smokin’, and while not a super long set that night we got super close and had a great time in Missoula with the Deaner!  I really wanted that With My Own Bare Hands.  And FRANK.

4. Lil Wayne, Bumbershoot Festival Seattle, 8/31/18 – I got to see my favorite rapper at Bumbershoot in Seattle this year, we managed to get upgraded to VIP status early in the day, and then ended up on THE RAIL for this set. Awesome!!  While this was only a festival set, it was super good and I am pretty sure I won’t ever get the chance to be on the rail for Weezy ever again in my life.  That was one awesome upgrade!  Will always see Lil Wayne when I can, and it’s good to know he is still the GOAT.

3. Phish in Lake Tahoe Night 1, 7/17/18 – This road trip and show was set up super cool for my wife and I, as this was the 20th Anniversary of my first ever Phish show, and it was her very first Phish show ever – so 7/17 is a very Phishy thing for us. Not an epic A+ Phish show but solid as hell to start a tour for sure. And to see Phish outside the Northwest for the first time in many years, plus taking my wife to her first show on my 20th anniversary was rad. The No Men in No Man’s Land > Carini kicked a whole lot of ass too!

2. Foo Fighters, Safeco Field, Seattle, 9/1/18 – I have seen several Foo Fighters shows and to be honest I thought I was kind of over seeing them live after the last one, even though it was fun as hell. But then I went and saw them at Safeco Field in Seattle in September, with Krist Novoselic’s new band Giants in the Trees plus the Joy Formidable opening, on a perfect Seattle night and everything aligned itself back to its proper state in the Foo world. Even with Dave Grohls voice going out at the end of the night, this show RULED.  I am back on board feeling like I should see the Foo Fighters every single time I can.  Molly’s Lips is really all you need to say.

1. Pearl Jam, The Home Shows, Seattle Night 2, 8/10/18 – A 3.5 hour marathon show filled with awesome guests (Kim Thayil!) and rare songs, with a boatload of money raised for charity. I saw somewhere that this was the third longest PJ show on record, and it was a frickin’ doozey. Cool covers of Missing from Chris Cornell, Sonic Reducer, Search and Destroy and others.  Crown of Thorns and Crazy Mary, I mean really?!  Plus the PJ tracks!  If you are a Pearl Jam fan you NEED to get this show.

Top single moment:

This is not my video, but this music moment in 2018 made me happier than I could ever put in words on this website.  It was one of those awesome feelings you get once every 10 years or so of going to shows.  Pat, Krist, and Dave all together on the same stage in Seattle, oh man.

Consolation Prize:

I am pretty sure my wife’s favorite set of the year was Ludacris at the Bumbershoot.  We weren’t on the rail for this set, but we still had a nice VIP spot over to the side, and my wife got to see her favorite rapper bust through an hour and a half of his best stuff!  It was pretty cool that we both got to see our favorite rappers on the same night, VIP.  I think Luda had a golf tee time the next AM in Atlanta as he was on a private jet home after the set to host his own festival that very same weekend, lol!

I hope 2019 is just as fun as 2018, long live ConcertConfessions!



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!).
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