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100+ bands I've seen live

01 March 2007

On a discussion list I'm on, a few people were trying to compile a list of 100 bands they've seen live. I gave it a go as well. It brought back great memories. I recommend it to anyone. If you've not seen 100 bands yet, start your list now anyway. It's a real brainache doing it decades later.

I'm lucky to have seen my favourite bands so many times: My Life Story about fifteen times, Inspirals eight times, Jesus Jones five times, Black/CV about five times, Tanita Tikaram four times, Kenickie about five times, Prince four times, Pink Floyd twice (plus Gilmour twice, and Waters), Jean-Michel Jarre three times and Depeche Mode four times.

My list of bands runs to 132 now, and since I'm working from memory and whatever CDs I've got here, I'm probably missing loads of support acts. There's one that had the happiest drummer in the world, who completely outclassed everyone else on the stage. Never knew the band name, but I can still picture his smiley face.

My first gig was Jarre in Docklands in 1989, which was 18 years ago now. That means I've seen a new band (ie, one I hadn't previously seen) on average every seven weeks for the last 18 years.

Here's the list in alphabetical order, running down the screen in columns.

  • ABC
  • Afro DZ Ak
  • Aimee Mann
  • Alanis Morissette
  • Animals
  • Art of Noise
  • Australian Pink Floyd
  • Babybird
  • Back in the Day
  • Bananarama
  • Beastie Boys
  • Belinda Carlisle
  • Belle and Sebastian
  • Ben Folds
  • Bend the Triangle
  • Beverley Knight
  • Bikini Beach Band
  • Billy Bragg
  • Billy Ocean
  • Black/Colin Vearncombe
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Bloc Party
  • Blockheads and Phill Jupitus
  • Blur
  • Bootleg Beatles
  • Buggles
  • Cake
  • Captain Sensible
  • Catatonia
  • Chaka Khan
  • Charlatans
  • Chas'n'Dave
  • China Crisis
  • China Drum
  • Christians
  • Chumbawamba
  • Clannad
  • Cliff Richard
  • Clint Boon Experience
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Cranberries
  • Cranes
  • Crasdant
  • Credit to the Nation
  • Cure
  • Cutting Crew
  • Damian Rice
  • Dandy Warhols
  • Daniel O'Donnell
  • Dannii Minogue
  • Dan Shears Orchestra
  • David Bowie
  • David Devant and His Spirit Wife
  • David Gilmour
  • David Gray
  • Deerhoof
  • Depeche Mode
  • Dex Dexter
  • Diesel Park West
  • Dire Straits
  • Divine Comedy
  • Doctor and the Medics
  • Dollar
  • Dolly Rockers
  • Duran Duran
  • Earl Brutus
  • Eat
  • Echobelly
  • Eddi Reader
  • Elton John
  • Energy Orchard
  • Erasure
  • Eric Clapton
  • Eskimo Disco
  • Exile Inside
  • Family Go Town
  • The Fall
  • Fem2Fem
  • Five Floors Up
  • Florence and the Machine
  • Foam
  • Foo Fighters
  • Fosca
  • Frank and Walters
  • Frankie goes to Hollywood
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Frazier Chorus
  • Fun Lovin Criminals
  • Gallagher & Lyle
  • Gary Clark
  • Gary Numan
  • Genesis
  • Gina G
  • Glen Matlock
  • Go West
  • Grace Jones
  • Gretschen Hofner
  • Grosvenor
  • Harrold Juana
  • Heaven 17
  • The High
  • Hothouse Flowers
  • Howard Jones
  • Huw & Tony Williams
  • IAMX
  • Inspiral Carpets
  • Jason Feddy
  • Jean-Michel Jarre
  • Jesus Jones
  • Johnny Clegg
  • Kasabian
  • Kenickie
  • Kid Creole
  • Kim Wilde
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Larry Graham
  • Legendary Cuckoos
  • Liars Club
  • Lightning Seeds
  • Lily Allen
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Lovers
  • Lush
  • Madonna
  • Manic Street Preachers
  • Mannfred Mann
  • Maroon 5
  • Martyn Joseph
  • Metallica
  • Mica Paris
  • Midge Ure
  • Mike Oldfield
  • Miles Hunt
  • Mission
  • Mitch Benn
  • MJ Hibbett
  • Mogwai
  • Moxy Fruvous
  • Mustard
  • My Life Story
  • Neil Finn
  • Nick Harper
  • Nick Heyward
  • Nik Kershaw
  • Noa
  • Noel Gallagher
  • Oasis
  • Orlando
  • Paul McCartney
  • Paolo Nutini
  • Paul Roberts (Stranglers)
  • Paul Weller
  • Paul Young
Rules of the list: I had to see them playing music, but appearances at festivals or in-store counted. I didn't count performances in musicals, which would add in Jason Donovan.

If you produce your own list, or want to know more about what any of these acts are like live, then leave a comment below.

UPDATE (20 July 2007): I've added in a recent gig by Glen Matlock, the bands I saw at Live Earth and a few bands I previously forgot about. I'll add bands to my list as I see or remember them. Check out Julie's list too and let me know in the comments if you write your own list and I'll link it here.

UPDATE (3 September 2009): Just added the acts from the Henley Rewind Festival, a fantastic bill of acts who made it big in the 80s but who can still cut it live today. I've been updating the list regularly with new acts and it now stands at 219 bands.


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Please tell me Cliff Richard and Sparklehorse were on the same bill. That would make me very happy.
I'd love to tell you that, but sadly it wouldn't be true. I bet you'd be surprised at which one of those two acts puts on the better show, though. I'm sure Sparklehorse are great if you know their stuff, but they're a bit dull if you don't (and I don't, really). I saw them supporting David Gilmour.

I've seen Cliff twice (uh huh) - once at Knebworth 90 on a monster bill that included Floyd, Genesis and Paul McCartney. Oh, and Tears for Fears. And the second time on his own tour when I got free tickets through the student newspaper. He's got some great songs in his set, and he made an effort with the lights and everything. There was a lot more show to it than with Sparklehorse. But then I always liked the pre-microbeat rhythms of 'Some People' and the Young Ones version of 'Living Doll'.

I hope someone asks me something about one of the more credible acts on the list now. I'm not a Cliff fanatic, really I'm not.
Neat way of distancing yourself from Jason Donovan, Sean.

Inspired by you I've created a list of my own at http://juliehowelluk.blogspot.com/2007/07/100-bands-ive-seen-live.html
No need to distance myself from Jason Donovan - he was a fantastic Frank in the Rocky Horror Show. But it wasn't really a concert, as such. Besides, Julie, I think there's a saying that people who have seen Cilla Black in concert shouldn't throw stones..?

Thanks for picking up the idea. You've got some great names on your list, and I particularly envy you for Howard Jones and Human League.

Perhaps this is how memes start. I wonder if anyone else wants to pick up the challenge...
Hi, thanks for the comment on my (badly updated) blog, nice lot of bands on here too. And Earl Brutus were great, how could you say that!!
Thanks Paul. Earl Brutus gave me a headache. They were a tight band, but their live show just did my head in!
Prodigy? Where did you see them and how where they live??
The same for Bloc Party aswell.
A very impressive list may i add ^
Hey Anna

Thanks for your comment. The Prodigy were supporting Oasis at Knebworth and Bloc Party were at Live Earth in Wembley last summer. Both failed to connect with the massive crowd and would have been better in more intimate venues. The Prodigy would have been great in a club, but it didn't really work on such a big scale, particularly with the Oasis crowd (middle-of-the-road rock fans, mostly). Bloc Party didn't do much for me unfortunately, but I think they could have been great in a small venue where you could watch them properly and really get into the performance.

I live in Australia...so unfortunately it's very ulikely I would see any of these wonderful bands come here.

I'm particularly curious of what you thought of the cure and blur-being some of my FAVOURITE bands.
-and what year did you see them in?

Hi Elizabeth. Thank you for your comment.

I've seen both bands a number of times. I saw Blur in 1991, ca 1994 (supporting REM), ca 2001 (around Think Tank album), and in Hyde Park this year. They're a fantastic live band, particularly as they've been able to take bolder creative decisions after Parklife went big. The REM gig was around Parklife, so that was great fun. The Think Tank gig was one of my favourites - I much prefer the mellow stuff to the loud stuff. This year's Hyde Park gig was great, but a beered-up and aggressive crowd spoiled my enjoyment. Damon's a great showman, and there's great chemistry in the band.

The Cure I saw in 1992 (Wish tour), Shepherds Bush (small venue one-off gig, around Wrong Number), Wembley (greatest hits tour), and Wembley last year. The Wish tour was great, and was probably when their repertoire was at its strongest. The Shepherds Bush show was fantastic - small venue, and I was right down the front. When they opened with Plainsong I knew it was going to be a really special night. They played all the fan favourites, and ignored the Wild Mood Swings album (the latest at the time) entirely. The latest tour was a bit disappointing because there were virtually no keyboards, so the songs felt a bit bare. The band is great live and inspires real devotion from fans: it's fun to spot the Robert Smith lookalikes in the audience.

They're both fantastic bands, and I'm lucky to have seen them both so many times.

Hope they make it down under for you one day.
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