Music History

Weekly survey: If you could go back to see a specific gig from a specific band, what would it be?

Late last year I read a fun book called Every Anxious Wave, the story of failed-indie-musician-turned-bar-owner Karl Bender who discovers that he has a portal in his closet that allows people to travel into the past to see any gig by any band at any time. He ends up running a nice secret side business sending music nerds into the past to see shows they missed or ones they need to see again. This is the basis for this week’s survey question.

If you could go back to see one artist perform a specific gig, who, where and when would that be? I’ve got a couple.

April 16, 1990: Nirvana plays Lee’s Palace with drummer Chad Channing. At the end of the set, Chad is assaulted by a volley of beer bottles, some of which are thrown at him by Kurt. You can hear the shattering glass at the end of this YouTube clip.

August 4, 1979: Led Zeppelin plays Knebworth, one of their last appearances before John Bonham died.

January 30, 1969: The Beatles play their last-ever gig on the rooftop of the Apple Corps building in London.

What would be your time travel destination?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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11 thoughts on “Weekly survey: If you could go back to see a specific gig from a specific band, what would it be?

  • OMG That’s a bit of a list. Led Zep at the concert Hall Toronto 1969, Cream at the Albert hall ,Hendrix at Monterrey and Wood stock , The Ramones at CBGB’s 1976-78 ,new years eve at the Rainbow Theatre and At the Danforth Music hall in 1980( was way too high and can’t remember it very well) The Who on the 76(?) US tour. Any Clash Show. The Hip at the Horseshoe any time. And probably hundreds more but that would require some research.

  • If I had to pick just one it might have been Jimi Hendrix and a Band of Gypsys on New Year’s Eve 1969-70 at the Fillmore East.

  • Easy! To be in the audience of that live in-studio performance of Led Zeppelin in Denmark, 1969

  • Any Pink Floyd concert between 1970 and 1980!

  • I’d like to be one of the handful at the first appearance of The Police at the Horseshoe Tavern right here in Toronto.

  • Lanois in June of 1993 at the Commercial Tavern in Maryhill, Ontario. I was there but … I want to see it again.

  • Allman Brothers at the Filmore

  • The Clash, literally anywhere

  • pink floyd in hamilton. 1975


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