1. The Jammys 2002 Roseland ballroom.
Ok I am going to admit something. I am a deadhead. So when I got booked for this show I was so psyched. My gig was setting up the mics for the bands. The thing about this was that the theme that year was 2 bands playing simultaneously. Here's the wiki because it was such intense work that I was in a bit of a daze.
2. Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall.
I mixed monitors. That means I did the stage sound for Aretha and her entire orchestra. She being the queen of the divas did not show up for soundcheck(which is normal). Her musical director walked me through the entire soundcheck for the big band and the 30 piece string section. There were 18 monitor mixes on stage. They are speakers that the individual musicians get so they can hear everything on the stage. It's a challenging job but it's my favorite gig.
So before the show one of my friends who was on the crew came up to me and gave me some pointers. He was well equipped since he had toured with her as her monitor engineer. He told me that there was only one thing I needed to know. I had to keep my eyes on her and never waver. She would check on me and if I wasn't looking I would get chewed out in front of the entire audience. So of course I stared and she did look. Over her shoulder real quick and made eye contact... So everything's going great and I'm feeling pretty good when she sits down by the piano and says " OOh this piano don't sound that great... But I can't blame the soundman because I didn't come to soundcheck." Which while it sucked she didn't like the piano sound I thought it was great that she showed me the respect of acknowledging her part in it. In the end it was one of my best experiences in the biz that I've had.
3. Amsterjam 2005 Randalls Island
I had the easy gig at this one. I was in charge of the VIP beer tent! This was a Heineken event so they had a special tent for their distributors. It was far from the stage so we had to set up speakers and a satellite feed so they could enjoy the show. So I proceeded to sneak about 10 of my friends in to the festival and beer tent. It was fantastic. They stored all the Heineken by where all my gear was and there was tons of it...I gave out so many damn 12 packs that day it was great. My wife and her friends got wasted and so did I... I also got to meet Michael Lang the promoter of Woodstock at that event. For me that was pretty awesome.
4. Ipecac records festival Irving Plaza NY
This was great because it was 3 of some of my favorite bands. Also I got to see a band for the first time that may have been the best set I have ever seen. I was mixing monitors. Ipecac records is Mike Patton of Faith No More's record label. I love Mike Patton and did most of his projects. For these three shows he played with Tomahawk all 3 nights and the Fantomas Melvins Big band. The Melvins also performed two of the three nights. Sick shows. During the set up day I saw this guy and he looked real familiar. So he asks me if I can help him load in his drums. It wasn't really my job but I knew he looked familiar and as I'm helping him unload his drums I realize HOLY SHIT this is Dave Lombardo the drummer from SLAYER!!!!!!!!! He had no roadie so I helped him set up his kit. Frickin cool. So the band I had never heard before was the fantomas melvins big band which is all of the members of the Melvins and all of the members of Fantomas playing each others songs together. I love metal and have seen most of the greats over the years. this was the heaviest sound I had ever heard. Totally unbelievable. The Melvins and Tomahawk were all great as well and it was definitely some of the best music I ever got to be a participant in.
5. Wilco and the Flaming Lips Madison Square Garden New Year's eve 2004-5
Working New Year's at the garden is a special treat. There is nothing quite like it. Especially when the Flaming Lips are playing! Man they put on an incredible show and they really turned it on for this show. I mixed monitors for the Lips. Wayne Coyne was an unbelievably gracious man. He was so happy to be playing the Garden he was beaming. I spoke to him for awhile and let him know how much I dug his music. I have been listening to them since 1993 when I saw them open for the Butthole Surfers. So here's the show that night. Onstage you have the band, 20 strippers from Scores,a bunch of people in bunny and alien costumes and also random mascot outfits. Their light show consisted of a giant projections screen with video clips that went along with the music. They only had 4 lights on ! the rest of the lighting was supplied by the menagerie who had those handheld deer spotting lights which are extremely bright. They were pointing them at individuals in the crowd and it was pretty crazy... Towards the end they took out about 50 giant beach ball type things so that was pretty crazy... The Lips put on the best stage show of any band going right now. If you don't know them start listening now!
Wilco came on at 11 30. At the time I was not that big a fan so I wasn't that into it. They entered the stage in their pajamas which was hilarious and then played until 2am or so. So shortly after that gig I got a tour with Wilco and about halfway through it I really started listening to in and fell in love with the music. They are one of the all time great bands and I consider Jeff Tweedy to be the modern Bob Dylan... His songwriting is absolutely superb. So I just wish I enjoyed them on New Year's because I"m sure it was a great show! The Garden is a great place to do a show... The crew worked double time on the loadout and I got to have a few beers with my wife and her friend so it was a great night...
I will probably post a 6-10 at some point. I really struggled with these choices...