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.
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 TribbyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved