Freddie Mercury in 1982.
Freddie Mercury in 1982. (Photo: gem_106/Flickr)

Spacehog drummer's top 5 concerts ... ever

As a jobbing musician, talent buyer, venue manager, etc., seeing live music is a frequent occupational pastime. It's easy to get jaded, but every now and again someone or something blows your mind.

The following is a list of five of some of my favorite ever concerts. I apologize in advance for the list ending abruptly in the mid 1990s. I guess those early formative music experiences had more of an impact than the later ones. And there are definitely notable recent shows like The Arcade Fire at Leeds Festival or Bjork at Radio City, for example. But with an anecdote or two attached, here's what I got:

1. Queen, Elland Road Football Ground, May 1982

I'm not sure what happened exactly at this gig. I guess I was transported … somewhere. The band was touring the distinctly dodgy "Hot Space" album which was basically Freddy Mercury hanging out in gay discos and the rest of the band begrudgingly going along with it. But that didn't detract from the band’s amazing repertoire, immense light show and supreme command of stagecraft.

I lost half my clothes, probably half my mind and walked home from my beloved Leeds United's home field, knowing I had seen the greatest ever stadium rock band. I was never the same since.

2. Prince, Wembley Arena, July 1988

At college in London? Huge Prince fan? Why did I only go to one of the seven legendary shows he gave to promote "Lovesexy"? I guess I'll never know, because up there in the stratosphere is Prince, and then there’s everyone else. By the time he got to "The Cross" there were tears of joy rolling off my face. This man outplays, outdances and outsings anyone I can think of, and hey, with Sheila E, Cat and Eric Leeds in tow, his band doesn't suck, either!

3. Black Uhuru, June 1981

My obsession with hard rock was knocked soundly off course when I started hanging out with the local "rude boys’" at school; they introducing me to the psychedelia of dub reggae.

It all made perfect sense when Black Uhuru rolled up to…