The Show I'll Never Forget

Sean Manning, Editor
Sean Manning, Editor . Da Capo $16.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-306-81508-9
Reviewed on: 12/18/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Open Ebook - 321 pages - 978-0-7867-3444-3
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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.)

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