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Worst Concerts Ever

Sure we've all seen terrible, terrible concerts where you've felt stuck in your chair like Alex in "A Clockwork Orange" , fixated on the tragedy unfurling in front of you. I remember lasting half an hour at a Phish concert once. But, I admit, I am a child of punk, and consider jam bands not much more than mutual masturbation sessions.

That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about bands who, with every reason in the world to kill, completely sucked.

Ray Charles – I saw him twice. Once at Lincoln Center and, unable to believe my eyes, a couple of month s later at Radio City. Talk about coasting. At 10pm his band went on and jammed for 15 minutes, than his Raylettes went on and sang for 15 minute, and finally Charles came on for half an hour and played his hits without an ounce of inspiration.


Bob Dylan – In the 1990s, Bob Dylan caught first as a live act. People say it was Charlie Sexton, a fitting foil for Dylan the guitarist. Whatever the reason from around 1993 thru the end of the century, Dylan never played better on stage. And I can prove it. I have the bootlegs. His Roseland gig (Where Neil Young came out) was a special treat. And  in 1997 he released one of his greatest albums, Time Out Of Mine, and in 2001 followed it with another of his greatest album Love And Theft. Two works of pure genius and then… and then he decided to stop playing guitar on tour and his next album was not as good, and the one after that was even worse and the Christmas album was fun but irrelevant. And on tour? I was getting really sick of watching him growl behind a keyboard in semi-darkness. This is what I wrote at the time: "It was a pretty good set and better than that from time to time. But the band were like a baseball team hitting singles and doubles but never in clumps. It lacked traction with only the final two songs before the encore sustaining the sound" but I was being overly kind. The proof of my disdain for the set was that O haven't seen him on stage since. I had had enough.

Chuck Berry – We ll have our Berry nightmare stories. My friend Robert Nevin and I traveled by train and taxi to get to the Westbeth to see Chuck and Jerry Lee and Jerry Lee was great and Berry nearly got himself booed off stage with one truculent fan screaming "Play something you know" and an equally nasty Berry responding. "I can't hear you". The saving grace was a killer "Promised Land"

Beck – I had caught Beck at the opening of the Odelay in the tiny Supper Club and was suitably blown away. Six months later he was back at a sold out Roseland and, well, he was at a sold out Roseland and that should just about say it all. He hadn't quite figured out a bigger hall and the set was terrible

Pavement At Summer Stage. At the time I claimed it was pretty good but the thrill of the moment overtook me. It was a crappy, I'd caught em years earlier at the start of the Crooked Rain tour and they were much snappier, weirder and harder. I got the tix a year in advance and waited all that time for this?

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