A new T-shirt stirs me to pick my personal top 100 bands I’ve seen in concert

And I wore it to see The Todd Hobin Band at Sharkapalooza last night.

And I wore it to see The Todd Hobin Band at Sharkapalooza last night.

My dear daughter Elisabeth gave me a great T-shirt yesterday.

It proudly proclaims: “I May Be Old But I’ve Seen All the Good Bands.”

I will wear it proudly. I am indeed, from the vantage point of my 23-year-old offspring, old.

I have also seen many, many good bands.

Not all, though.

I never saw the Beatles. There’s a pretty big one right there. I haven’t seen The Eagles. At least I may still have a shot at that one.

Yes, the message on my new shirt has me thinking.

Nowhere in my belongings (or online archives) is there a list of my favorites from the good bands that I’ve seen. I could go all Google on you and research those that I reviewed in the 21 years I was music critic for Syracuse’s big daily. No, thank you.

When I used to tell people I’ve seen way more than a thousand different bands over the years — yeah, I always got there in time to see the opening acts — either they wouldn’t believe my math or they slapped me on the back.

So I’d rather take a trip back through my memories, stream-of-consciousness style.

Here, then, just because I wanna, is a list of my favorites that I’ve seen playing music live. I won’t go local on you, though there are a handful of Syracuse and Long Island bands whose live shows have tickled me plenty.

Thank you for stirring the pot, dear daughter. I am a lucky man.

There are big bands. There are little bands. Many of the artists I saw multiple times. (More than 40 for the first listed, in fact.) I judged those by the the best show. Some of the artists made it to the list even though I only saw them once. I only considered full sets. Artists that I only saw play a couple songs in all-star caravans were not considered.

My top 100:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Frank Sinatra. The Rolling Stones. Stevie Wonder. U2. Ray Charles. Steely Dan. Aretha Franklin. Allman Brothers Band. Tim McGraw. Vince Gill. Rascal Flatts. Fabulous Thunderbirds. Little Feat. Prince. David Bowie. Billy Joel. Ringo Starr and his All-Stars. The Kinks. Santana. Bob Dylan. Elvis Costello. Neil Diamond. Black-Eyed Peas. The Beach Boys. Crosby, Stills and Nash. Neil Young. The Band. Zac Brown Band. Toby Keith. Reba McEntire. Shania Twain. Martina McBride. Tony Bennett. Harry Connick Jr. Michael Buble. Smokey Robinson. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Rusted Root. Don Henley. Jackson Browne. James Taylor. James Brown. B.B. King. Buddy Guy. Bobby “Blue” Bland. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Green Day. The Dead. The Jerry Garcia Band.

The Dave Matthews Band. Aerosmith. Fleetwood Mac. Elton John. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Pink Floyd. The Who. Def Leppard. The Guess Who. Rush. Tragically Hip. Barenaked Ladies. John Fogarty. John Mellencamp. Willie Nelson. Jimmy Buffett. George Jones. George Strait. Johnny Cash. Joe Jackson. Squeeze. Emerson, Lake and Palmer. R.E.M. Beck. Jeff Beck. Mark Knopfler. Talking Heads. Leon Russell. Dr. John. Blind Boys of Alabama. Bo Diddley. Lone Justice. Alice Cooper. Joni Mitchell. Alicia Keys. The Pretenders. Heart. Alanis Morissette. Pat Metheny Group. Earth, Wind & Fire. Chicago. Kelly Clarkson. Rob Thomas. Metallica. Van Halen. Foreigner. Journey. Brooks & Dunn. ZZ Top. Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Band.

There you have it. I had to leave out plenty of good bands dear to my heart. Sorry Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John, America, Taylor Swift, The Kennedys, Evanescence, Fergie, Mike Ness, No Doubt, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, The Marsalis Family Band, John Pizzarelli … Now there’s a baker’s dozen for you. I really did dig your concerts.

I dare you to draw up your own list with all your fingernails coming away intact.

And I don’t think the list would fit on the back of my new T-shirt.

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