Column

Best I've Ever Seen

Talking with artists about concerts they'll never forget

Gary Stoller is an award-winning editor, author, and journalist. He's written for USA TODAY and loves Bob Dylan and Blue Rodeo.

Best I've Ever Seen

Talking with artists about concerts they'll never forget

Gary Stoller is an award-winning editor, author, and journalist. He's written for USA TODAY and loves Bob Dylan and Blue Rodeo.

Jimmy LaFave Names Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Chuck Berry as Best Concerts Ever

One of my favorite artists is Jimmy LaFave, and your "kind of well known, but kind of obscure" observation is certainly appropos, though not for lack of effort on my part, most of my friends have had to endure my endless rambling on about him...the recent re-release of the original "Trail" (now called "Trail One") on Music Road Records is great news as well...double CD or Mp3, 30 tracks (one hidden, Jackson Browne's "Rosie"), 12 Dylan covers amonst the 30 tracks, a masterpiece live recording catching Jimmy at what he does best, which is wring everything out of a song, make every word count (if only Dave Marsh's wonderful liner notes from the original Trail were still part of the package)...certainly, a 1976 concert by Jackson may be at the top of my live show list..."Late For the Sky" tour, band was David Lindley on stringed instruments, Jai Winding on keyboards , Larry Zack on Drums, Doug Hayward on Bass, Jackson on guitar and piano, Rosemary Butler on backing vocals at the wonderful Murat theater in Indianpolis, amazing performance...we hung around after the show...Lindley came by and talked to us for a couple of minutes and then  Jackson came out and talked to us for half an hour...never forgot his humility and graciousness...I've never seen anyone look that tired in my life, but he hung around with us until they called him to go, the stage was empty when we left and it was the scene played out in "The Load-Out", "headed for another town"...one of those times when you meet someone you admire/revere and they exceed your expectations.   Doesn't happen often...

I saw one of those pick up concerts that Chuck Bery played once...came in to town, pocketed $10K, played with a pick up band...fortunately, the players (a couple of whom were friends) were good, Chuck even said so...so it was good, and it was CHUCK BERRY after all...but I have heard the stories about when the pick up band wasn't so good...saw a show like that once too...Chubby Checker...pick up band was not good...

Good call Jimmy...no doubt there are some people out there that would tell you a concert by Lafave himself is at the top of their "best" list.  Thanks Gary...great artist, great guy, fine article...