All the Concerts I Can Recall, 2000-2009

All the Concerts I Can Recall, 2000-2009

There are things I don’t like about concerts. Sometimes they can be too late. Other times they can be too crowded. If it’s a festival, they can be too hot. (Concerts are generally never “too cold.”) If it’s Governor’s Ball, you have to walk back and forth across the bridge to Randall’s Island at 11 p.m., which is not ideal. For a year or two in the mid-2010s, after I moved from Bay Ridge (not good for attending concerts) to Williamsburg (lots of venues, or at least there was around 2012), I stopped going to concerts regularly because industry bros (always bros) would approach my wife and I and talk to me about inane bullshit while pretending my wife wasn’t even there. That’s just fucking rude.

I also deeply miss concerts. I miss going to concerts with my wife and our friends for a night out, I miss seeing music that I want to hear live, I miss coming home with merch, I miss yelling across the bar at Brooklyn Steel that even though they’re out of White Claws I can see a mango White Claw tallboy on the bottom shelf if he’d just grab that for me right there, thank you. I even miss seeing bad concerts—concerts where I walked away from them and said “Wow, that artist just doesn’t really have it together right now.” I miss being annoyed while being at concerts—that’s how much I miss concerts right now.

All I want is to be in a room with hundreds of people seeing Phoebe Bridgers play “Chinese Satellite” and scream along in unison “But that’s impossible”October 25, 2020

I know I’m not alone, and not just because I still haven’t managed to mute enough music writers on Twitter yet. As the pandemic stretches on endlessly, my inbox is increasingly stuffed with live album announcements. Today, I woke up to press releases announcing live collections from Belle and Sebastian and the Knife; tomorrow, there will likely be more.

As anyone who’s ever lived with me, is related to me, or has worked with me can attest through gritted teeth, I have a bizarrely good sense of memory. But memory is weird and slippery these days, and I thought it would be a good exercise to just rattle off all the memories of all the concerts I ever went to before concerts ceased to exist. (The things you can do when you have your own newsletter!) This one covers 2000-2009, I’ll dig in my memory more for 2010-2020 at a later date.

This isn’t just for me. As I mentioned before, I’m definitely not the only one who misses concerts. I’m sure you do too. If you want to email me your own memories at, I’ll publish the most coherent memories in a future newsletter. We’re all in this together, after all.

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  • First concert I ever went to: Dave Matthews Band at what used to be Giants Stadium. Eighth grade, my dad took me and my friend Kevin Farrelly. Angélique Kidjo opened. My dad got us Domino’s Pizza from a kiosk at one point. There were a few dudes smoking weed near us, and the next day Kevin and I were at school telling everyone that maybe we got a contact high, not knowing how drugs worked at that point. The show was great.
  • Wrote a little about the second concert I ever attended in the last Baker’s Dozen, but in case you’re not a paying subscriber: it was Stephin Merritt, Chocolate Genius, and Ben Folds at some New Jersey concert hall—with Kevin again, and his mother I think? Ninth grade probably. I think someone else joined us there too, maybe it was Jon Kanen. I loved Ben Folds going in, and going out I loved Stephin Merritt more. I bought The Charm of the Highway Strip on CD that night and went home and listened to it endlessly. To this day it’s still one of my favorite albums of all time.
  • Ozma, Saves the Day, and Weezer at the Meadowlands. Me and my friends had decent seats near but not on the floor, and Ozma ended up standing in front of us while watching Weezer after. I definitely remember having the members of Ozma autograph a piece of paper. I don’t have the paper anymore though.
  • Warped Tour, Randall’s Island. I got there very early to see Thursday. New Found Glory, Bad Religion, and Alkaline Trio were all great too. I bought Alkaline Trio and Bad Religion t-shirts, I wore the latter one until I was 20 at least.
  • The Rolling Stones, Madison Square Garden maybe? It was the Forty Licks tour. They are great live, no question. I weirdly walked away from it loving the Pretenders, who opened, even more though.
  • Spoon, the Kill the Moonlight tour, Irving Plaza. I had bought Kill the Moonlight along with Hot Hot Heat’s Make Up the Breakdown on CD at Tower Records on Route 17 a few months before. First time going into NYC without parental supervision, it seems like a blur to me now and also seemed like a blur to me then. A punk band opened, I thought they were ok but my friends hated them. In between sets they were showing The Hobbit on a projector screen. Spoon were very good, as they always are. Total pros. Got a Spoon shirt.
  • Field Day, a ton of bands. I wrote about this festival a little in my 19 Thoughts on Radiohead’s In Rainbows, forgot to mention Spiritualized though, who were also very good. Bought a Radiohead shirt.
  • The Blood Brothers and Cursive, some club in the Oranges, The Ugly Organ tour. The Blood Brothers were amazing, so were Cursive but the A/C broke during their set so it was very hot. My friend’s dad gave Tim Kasher his real estate card afterwards in case he was interested in buying property or something.
  • The New Pornographers and Stars, Prospect Park Bandshell. Definitely right around the time Set Yourself on Fire came out. Have been thinking of doing a 19 Thoughts on that album in the future, who knows.
  • The White Stripes, Elephant tour, Hammerstein Ballroom, Loretta Lynn opened. My friend demanded we sneak backstage after the show, we managed to make it to Loretta Lynn’s green room, saw her enter the room, yelled “Loretta!,” and got carried out by bouncers immediately. Bought a White Stripes shirt. My friend’s dad took us to Krispy Kreme afterwards, don’t think that Krispy Kreme is open anymore.
  • The Hold Steady, Maxwell’s, Separation Sunday tour. Bought a Hold Steady shirt, during the show I tore the Radiohead shirt off my back and threw it on stage. Franz Nicolay wore it as a cape. Tad handed me a bottle of Jim Beam mid-set and I downed it, not a great idea. My friend and Christian and I hung out with Galen at the bar afterwards until Maxwell’s security realized we were underage and kicked us out. Not the last time I’d see the Hold Steady live, not the last time I’d be kicked out of Maxwell’s.
  • Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust tour, saw this with my brother at the Meadowlands. I think this was my first Springsteen show?
  • Devendra Banhart, Webster Hall, Cripple Crow tour. Good show, bought a shirt. At one point the stage was flooded with people and two guys were making out, a guy in a business suit in front of me said “Ugh, gross” and left. Webster Hall audiences were the fucking worst.
  • The Decemberists, Picaresque tour, Webster Hall again, couldn’t have been more than a month later. Fun, a little long, my friend insisted on sitting on the floor in between sets, that kind of sucked. At one point Colin Meloy made fun of “the major label executives” in the VIP section. Like a year later they signed to Capitol. “Haha,” I guess.
  • Animal Collective, Feels tour, Webster Hall (again), first of a few times I saw them on this tour (saw them twice the weekend I saw this show). When I entered Webster, a guy tackled me and then security tore him off me. He was having a bad trip. Hope he was ok.
  • Love Is All at the Knitting Factory between those two Animal Collective shows on the same weekend. Don’t remember much about the show beyond the fact that it was great.
  • Animal Collective at Bowery Ballroom the night after. A guy in a Mets hat passed out in my arms and had to be taken out by security again. They attract a certain crowd for sure!
  • Stars again, Webster Hall. Lot of couples, I think it was around Valentine’s Day?
  • The Fiery Furnaces, Rehearsing My Choir tour, Town Hall. I bought the tickets before I heard Rehearsing My Choir. Confounding show, they were true originals.
  • Art Brut, Haverford College while visiting my friend Christian. Approached Eddie Argos after the show and invited him and the band to a kegger, we ended up partying together all night. I still have Eddie’s number in my phone and spent most of my college years “accidentally” drunk-dialing him, sometimes he picked up and was drunk as well.
  • Ghostface Killah, Columbia University, 2006. Spent the night before drinking Sparks with two guys I just met and ended up staying up all night, going to Williamsburg at 5 a.m., and getting breakfast at Egg (RIP). I threw up during the Ghostface show after a friend offered me a sip of whiskey. The show wasn’t very good either.
  • Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary tour, NYU. Two celebrity sightings: David Cross in the hallway as I left, and Adrian Grenier in the audience after his awful band opened for them. I very soberly and obnoxiously shouted at him “Hey, Vinny Chase!” several times before several women talking to him called me “annoying.” Guilty as charged.
  • Cat Power, Irving Plaza. As I was walking up the stairs with my friend, I realized that M.I.A. and Diplo were doing the same right next to us. I fanboy’d out at M.I.A., who was the nicest person in the world. We tried to take a 2006-era selfie on my flip phone together, but my phone wasn’t working right at the moment. This was a year before Kala, so I asked her when the next album was coming and gestured to Diplo to ask if “he” was contributing to it. She said, “Only if he proposes to me!” and pretended to sock him in the stomach. He grimaced and said, “We have to get to the VIP section soon.” What an asshole.
  • Serena Maneesh, Warsaw. Had never been there before. Show was poorly attended, the band sounded very loud. Midway through me and my friend noticed James Iha was standing in front of us. He disappeared, and then reappeared on stage and played guitar for five minutes with the band even though you couldn’t tell if his guitar was making any noise. Then he put the guitar down on the ground and vanished again. It was funny and it was kind of cool.
  • The Hold Steady, Irving Plaza. (My dorm was right near Irving Plaza in the 2006-2007 school year.) Boys and Girls in America release show, I think. Very rowdy crowd.
  • The Hold Steady, New Year’s Day 2007, House of Blues Chicago. Me and my friend bought tickets for New Year’s Eve and New Years’ Day, and stayed in a youth hostel. NYE show was 21+, I was 19 and he was around the same age, he had a fake and I didn’t. His fake ended up getting confiscated so we went back to the hostel, drank champagne in the common room and watched a CSI marathon all night. the NYD show was good, we ended up going to Dunkin’ Donuts afterwards with a few fans we met in the audience. America runs on Dunkin’.
  • The Hold Steady, Swarthmore College, had to be just two months or so later. We brought bags of confetti and threw them up in the air at the end. Afterwards we talked to Craig after the show about Bruce Springsteen and the Mötley Crüe oral history The Dirt.
  • (Sighs) The Hold Steady, NYU. My friend came up with one of his college friends, who proceeded to drunkenly pee on an audience member that turned out to be someone I knew. Oh well.
  • Kanye West’s Glow in the Dark tour, Madison Square Garden. Went with my brother and a few of his friends. I had to drive us home from the town train station afterwards, but they pounded beers at the Sbarro’s across the street beforehand. The openers were Lupe Fiasco, N.E.R.D., and Rihanna, I don’t remember Lupe’s set but thought Rihanna was great. The Kanye show was obviously a huge weird psychedelic blowout with a talking spaceship and a very long, winding plot with lots of ranting. It was fascinating and incredible, I’ve only seen a few things like it since and most of the time Kanye was behind it.
  • Man Man and the Fiery Furnaces, Webster Hall. Had to leave midway through Fiery Furnaces because several friends were having a bad trip. Man Man were good.
  • I swear this isn’t a bit and is a real documentation of the shows I went to around this time, but: The Hold Steady, Battery Park. Acoustic show, I think it was either my birthday or the day before my birthday. I turned down a ticket to Daft Punk to see it. Something I regret, to be honest.
  • The Police, Madison Square Garden, went with my brother. We both enjoyed it well enough but, you know the whole deal with the Police reunion—Sting made every song seven minutes long or something, wanted to jam too much. We left after “Walking in Our Footsteps,” as one often does.
  • Enon, some venue in Brixton. I did a semester abroad in London, it was the only show I saw the entire time. I actually think I’m experiencing a false memory here, because I also saw this awful alt-country band there that two of my friends had a crush on. I think we made plans to see Enon at my urging, but I don’t remember…if we did? I also wanted to see Electrelane while I was in London but I had to go to a class event that night, and then they broke up. Bummer.
  • The Blow, NYU. I didn’t like it, even though I like her music.
  • Literally the last time here: The Hold Steady, 2008, Webster Hall. Was losing the enthusiasm at this point. All things must end.
  • Les Savy Fav, NYU as well. Kind of a weird setting to see them in. I went alone, which kind of felt like a bummer too. Tim Harrington climbed the auditorium and did his thing though, which was fun.
  • Black Lips, Bowery Ballroom. Did I go to this alone as well? Weird stretch of shows to go alone to. During Quintron and Miss Pussycat’s set, two women in front of me were spading coke into their noses, and then one of them passed out and had to be taken out by security. If you’ve ever enjoyed the Black Lips’ music, you should read this.
  • Patti Smith, Bowery Ballroom again. Went with a friend who was a huge Patti Smith fan. After the show we saw Patti getting into a cab and both of us yelled “PATTI!” and she waved. We got tortas afterwards.
  • The Dodos, Death By Audio, right after Visiter came out. I’d been an intern for SPIN for several months, and I finally got to write something for the site—nothing big, a fluff piece asking people in the audience about a hot topic with a photographer taking their pictures. (The things websites did in 2008!) Got a ride back to Manhattan with some random guy and his girlfriend, they were very nice.
  • Windsor for the Derby, Mercury Lounge, another SPIN thing (this time we didn’t have to do the audience Q&A stuff). They were fine, I barely cared beyond the assignment, had a party afterwards that I wanted to go to more.
  • The Cool Kids, Studio B, for the same sort of SPIN thing again. Felt hopelessly out of my element at this show, too hipster-y. I barely enjoyed it.
  • Dan Deacon, McCarren Pool. Remember McCarren Pool? It was a small-ish show for his set, just everyone gathered around his box of electronics freaking out. My friends and I talked to him afterwards and he said someone stole the green skull on his gear, which is a shitty thing to do.
  • All Points West, the first year, summer of 2008, covered the festival for Tiny Mix Tapes. I wrote about this a little bit in the In Rainbows piece as well (linking again because, well, this has been a lot of text). First day shows I remember the most were Radiohead (as I previously wrote, wasn’t too into this set for whatever reason), Grizzly Bear pre-Veckatimest (incredible, as they often are), Girl Talk (always the same), Mates of State (always liked them more than most people). Second day was Chromeo (almost always bad live, great studio band though), Animal Collective (pre-Merriweather Post Pavilion and testing out the new material, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen), the Roots (always fun). To be honest, I had a nervous energy all day during this one because I had plans to go into the city later that evening and meet up with a group of friends that included my now-wife, who I was just starting to date around this time. Day three I didn’t watch much, just mainly went to interview Neil Halstead from Slowdive, who was very nice. It was one of the first in-person interviews I’d done, and I had no experience being backstage in a press area before, so I was very nervous. I think it went okay.
  • Bloc Party, Webster Hall, had to go for SPIN. Don’t remember enjoying it too much, but also I was commuting from New Jersey during the summer for my internship so I think I was mostly annoyed at having to hustle back on the PATH/NJ Transit afterwards.
  • Huh, ok, turns out I did see The Hold Steady one more time, I think? At McCarren Pool again? The Gaslight Anthem opened. I think. I honestly enjoyed their set more than the Hold Steady’s at that point.
  • Deerhunter and Times New Viking, at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Deerhunter were riding high off of Microcastle and Weird Era Cont., Times New Viking were one of the best indie rock bands in the world at that point. I think this was the only tour where Whitney Petty was Deerhunter’s guitarist? I remember she did a cartwheel at one point.
  • Aimee Mann’s holiday show at what was then known as Nokia Theatre Times Square. It was very sweet. I love Aimee Mann. Fred Armisen did a bit where he read the newspaper.
  • My Morning Jacket at Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve. Amazing show by an amazing live band. They even covered “Islands in the Stream.” I remember there being balloons at some point. Any good New Year’s Eve show has a balloon drop.
  • Animal Collective on the Merriweather Post Pavilion tour, Hammerstein Ballroom. It was good, but I think this was the first time where I was less dazzled than usual by their live show because they were getting more into playing static set lists of well-known songs instead of previewing new material like they’d done throughout the 2000s. I’ll write more about their live sets in the 2010-2020 portion of this micro-series.
  • Dan Deacon again at NYU, after Bromst came out. It was fine, I enjoyed the punk-y energy of the Spiderman of the Rings-era shows more.
  • M.I.A., Hot Chip, and Chaka Khan at some massive branded warehouse thing—VICE had to be involved, I’m sure of it. Too big, too branded, too incoherent. A terrifying vision of the future that was to come. Would have never gone if it wasn’t for work (at this point, I was at SPIN on a permalance basis while finishing out my senior year).
  • Yo La Tengo and Wilco at MCU Park in Coney Island, where the Cyclones play. From Animal Collective on, I didn’t go to a ton of shows in 2009 for a few reasons: I was in the throes of graduating college and had to focus on my colloquium at Gallatin (look it up, I’m not explaining what it is right now), then a month after graduating and moving into an apartment in Bay Ridge, I was laid off from my permalance gig by SPIN. Spent a few months coasting before I got a job as a host at Blue Smoke in September of that year, and the irregular hours of that gig basically meant no real time to see concerts on a regular basis. I think the only other concerts I went to for the rest of the year were Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with my family (during the tour where they were playing Born in the USA in full) and the Ruby Suns and the Dodos at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
  • Right around the time I lost my job, my now-wife moved in with me as well, and one of us purchased these tickets for the other’s birthday (our birthdays are about a month and a half apart). So I had a lot of uncertainty about the future all of the sudden, after assuming that I was leaving college with a decent paying job—which meant that this concert was a bit of a respite. And it was. It wasn’t too hot out, Yo La Tengo sounded loud and gorgeous, Wilco played all the hits. It was, for a moment, the perfect distraction, and I still have the baseball-themed program they gave away for free because I cherished it so much. It’s nice to have perfect distractions sometimes.

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Jamie Larson