just watched Tribe member Steve Catarall's ubercool video of the Mott the Hoople reunion show:
One of the things you hear right off are people laughing. It's a sound I'm familiar with -- it doesn't mean "that's funny", it means "holy shit, I cannot believe what I'm witnessing!" It happens when things are so sublime, so freaking awesome that you can only shake your head and laugh.
I've had it happen a few times: when I first saw the reconsitituted NY Dolls and they kicked off the show with "Puss n Boots"....when I saw the ridiculously great Canadian band NoMeansNo and could only chuckle helplessly at how phenomenal they were...when the current version of the MC5 took the stage and Wayne Kramer broke into "Ramblin Rose"...and when the 60+ year old Iggy Pop exploded onto the stage for a Stooges reunion show I'll never forget.
It occurs to me that pretty much the highest compliemnt I can pay a band is just to laugh out loud and say "wow!" it's my shorthand for saying -- "this is a moment I'll always remember. thanks...."
I remember at a Jeff Buckley show, after this song, "Grace", me and my friend looked at each other in a way like I've since described "as if we just saw a UFO". PS The vocal fireworks come at the end. The performance we saw was more ferocious if you can believe it.
I'm with you Jon, especially since we share some of the same sentimental perfomances (MC5, The Stooges). I would add the first time I saw X to that list, as well as Paul Westerberg at a small club in KC a few years back.
The one that really stands out was seeing former Television guitarist Richard Lloyd at a small club in Toronto about five years ago.
There are perhaps 20-25 people in the audience when he comes out - barefoot and appearing completely smacked out - and opens with some kind of weird version of what seems to the Lord's Prayer. Every once in a while, he strikes this little bell he's holding. As you can imagine, this creates significant unrest among the people expecting to hear "See No Evil" and "Marquee Moon."
We're not expecting much by the time he finally picks up his instrument – and treats us to one of the greatest displays of guitar prowess I've ever seen. My friend and I are gobsmacked. Such a distinctive style and tone. He doesn't play a single Television song, instead focusing mainly on material from his upcoming CD Radiant Monkey and his 1985 album Field of Fire (which has just been re-issued), but it's all stupendously good. Great night.