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The Show I'll Never Forget: 50 Writers Relive Their Most Memorable Concertgoing Experience Paperback – Bargain Price, January 2, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306815087
  • ASIN: B000YFACAY
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,503,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this uneven but engaging collection of essays, 50 writers recall their most memorable concert experience, spanning about 50 years of popular music history. Manning does a great job of collecting a diverse range of writers and musicians for this project, and his sequencing has the intuitive logic of a well considered set list. Though the book is chronological, the parallel movements of different musical eras are allowed to bump up against each other in fascinating ways, such as when the smooth showmanship of Billy Joel gives way to the raw violence of X in 1979. The pieces in this collection are most successful when they combine personal anecdotes with specific and original recollections of the band being profiled. Tracy Chevalier's essay about seeing Queen in 1977 is a perfect evocation of experiencing live music for the first time, as she describes "the familiarity and yet also the strange rawness of the songs." While the overall pace of the collection is slowed by "you had to be there" essays about a Bruce Springsteen show, Woodstock and other events, there are enough high points to satisfy a dedicated live music aficionado. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The authors of these musings on favorite concerts include the well known (Ishmael Reed, Harvey Pekar, etc.) and the less known, all offering deepish thoughts about performers and performances. Chuck Klosterman remembers the night Prince played the Fargodome in North Dakota--surely a night when pop cultural worlds collided--while spouses Robert Burke Warren and Holly George-Warren compare notes in separate pieces about a 1989 Van Morrison show. Heidi Julavits lauds proto-headbangers Rush; novelist Reed, the discreeter charms of Miles Davis in 1955 in Buffalo, N.Y.--an event that, along with a trip to Paris, "would determine the course of [Reed's] life" (he eventually "dropped out of high school and went to work at a library"). For comparing and contrasting the perceived impacts of the Rolling Stones in 1965, Public Image Ltd. in 1981, and Nirvana in 1991, it would be hard to beat this book. And then there's Max Alan Collins on Kevin Spacey at the House of Blues in Chicago in 2004. Kevin Spacey? Collins is so mysterious. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erica Bell on March 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Shows that stick in our minds, decades after the fact, are so interwoven with who and where we were at the time--and why we couldn't breathe-- that it's hard to tease apart each element. That's why words like these from John Albert, musing on his then-15 year old self (and Black Flag) in the late 70's ring so true: "I love punk rock but know it is a fantasy. We are not in England. I am not poor. It is not raining. I can relate to the rebellion and anger in the music, and sometimes try to imagine we are in London, but it's difficult. The sun is too bright and there is silence all around. Each night, I sit on the curb outside my parents' house and listen to the sound of cars passing in the distance. There is a growing panic inside me. I can't shake the thought that somewhere else there is something profound and exciting happening--and I'm missing it all."

Hoo boy.

A theatre kid who just made the varsity cut, shows up at a Kinks show in a tux for the last time. A closet Prince fan comes to worship blindly at the Elfin Temple in--of all places--Fargo. A college girl dodges bullets at a Funk show starring George Clinton, who, after James Brown (also profiled here), must have been "the hardest working man in show business". And Jerry Stahl, newly off junk and still jumpy, gets a congratulatory hug from David Bowie (I always knew he was cool). You'll find yourself there amongst the geeks and stoners, the disaffected and the conforming, the used-dental floss that's that wretched in-between time when being alive doesn't seem so fun anymore.

There aren't many shows later than Beck here, but that's because it takes a while for adulthood to process the neural storm that is the past. I found myself warmed all over by this book, and musical taste be damned.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
A few years ago I had an idea for a project/blog/zine thing that would involve getting friends of mine to write about their most memorable live music experiences. Since live music was a huge part of our lives from ages 12 on, it seemed like a cool way to reconnect with the past and each other. Of course, school, a baby girl, moving, and all those kinds of things got in the way and that project never got off the ground (yet). So it was a little disconcerting (in a cool way) to stumble across this book in the library, which is basically an anthology with the exact same premise.

Editor Sean Manning has assembled brief essays from fifty writers, covering shows ranging from 1955 (Miles Davis) to 2005 (Metric), by writers ranging from the relatively well known to the relatively obscure, with a few musicians (Thurston Moore being the most famous) added to the mix. Most of the pieces are about shows inside the U.S. (with one each in Belfast, Vancouver, and Madrid), with 19 from New York City alone! Despite the wide range, none of the bands covered are one's I've ever seen live myself, and only three of the shows were ones I really wish I could have been to (Black Flag in '79, The Pogues in '86, and The Beastie Boys in '87).

In any event, I dipped in and out of the book and found most of what I read exceedingly compelling. Writing about music is hard, and most people fail to capture the essence of what makes our favorite music so vitals. Here, most of the contributors focus on the event, capturing the full experience, rather than trying to lamely recount how masterful a particular performance was.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Bezerman on May 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book looking to hear about great concerts that happened before I was born ... the ones you always hear about in that Man-I-Wish-I-Was-There sort of way.

Out of the 50 concert-going experiences, there were probably only 5 that I did not enjoy reading. The rest was either good, really good or amazing re-readable material.

For the most part, it doesn't get into the concert itself, with the workings of the set lists or whatnot ... rather it gives the emotional and background aspects of the concert goer before during and after. There were quite a lot of ultimate nirvana moments -- that moment where nothing could feel better, and those feelings jump right off the page and hit you. You become absorbed into the writer's story, placing yourself with the other people places and emotions.

A great read. For anyone who knows about music, wants to know about music, enjoys collections of short writings from various authors ... this is a great book. That's another thing, you get so many different writing styles and voices, it's a great book.

anyone should buy it -- except for a couple of passages, nothing that should keep this away from young readers, either.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Unforgettable concert memories have been revealed in numerous sources, from magazine articles to biographies and the works of literary writers: here they're gathered under one cover to prove a powerful collection of insights from those who observed Patti Smith, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, Rush, and more in concert. The musical genres are diverse here and range from rock to classical, but these insightful, sometimes funny, thought-provoking essays have all been written especially for THE SHOW I'LL NEVER FORGET and are vivid recollections for both general-interest public libraries and specialty music collections alike.
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More About the Author

Sean Manning is the author of the memoir "The Things That Need Doing" and editor of five critically-acclaimed anthologies: "The Show I'll Never Forget: 50 Writers Relive Their Most Memorable Concertgoing Experience"; "Rock and Roll Cage Match: Music's Greatest Rivalries, Decided"; "Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All-Time"; "Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book"; and "Come Here Often?: 53 Writers Raise a Glass to Their Favorite Bar." He has contributed to Playboy, The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, Deadspin, New York Press, BlackBook, The Awl, The Millions and The Brooklyn Rail and is a frequent guest commentator on WNYC's "Soundcheck." He also edits the book jacket-design blog Talking Covers. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.