Monday, September 28, 2015

A Personal History of Live Music in Southern California (and Beyond)

Here's a comprehensive list of all the concerts I've seen in my life, most of them in Southern California. This constitutes nearly 40 years of shows, starting when I was one month shy of three-years-old. (This doesn't include countless small venue/bar shows, of which there are too many to remember.) I made this list as a starting point for a lengthier writing project. I envision short personal essays, including photos and ticket stubs. Perhaps it will be a coffee table book, as one friend suggested. Or maybe something bigger: another full-length essay collection. I'm not sure yet. It's a mystery. That's the beauty of writing and part of the reason I don't outline. I don't know what I know until I type it. I'm looking forward to mining my memory to uncover what I remember about one of the most fundamental aspects of my life: live music. 

Danny Elfman (Oingo Boingo) danced barefoot on Halloween every year and rocked for three hours every time. Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) called out, "Good evening, Pasadena" and proceeded to put on an iconic show at The Rose Bowl. I danced with my best friend on the dugout at Dodger Stadium during The Cure and got in trouble. I wore black and white striped tights at PIL and was called "Pippi"; at that same show, someone threw a bottle at Johnny Lydon's head, and he screamed, "That's not fucking funny." The first time I saw Gwen Stefani when she was 19, I thought, "That girl's going to be famous." Bouncers dragged Courtney Love offstage kicking and screaming. Jack Black made me laugh so hard I tripped up a flight of stairs. I had mosh pit grit in my teeth during Bad Religion, and Beck played spoons on glassware at a dinner table. Vaden Todd Lewis (Toadies) said, "We didn't even want to come to Los Angeles, and you guys turned out to be the best crowd." John McCrea (Cake) made audience members do push-ups to win an orange tree and asked the winner to promise to post photos when the fruit was ripe. Fiona Apple pulled her long sleeves off and tied them around her chest; then she laughed at me when I couldn't back out of my parking spot. Backstage, Peter Murphy put his arm around me and said, "I like her," and one trip to the Chairman's Room at the Staples Center during NIN ruined me for all non-VIP experiences from now on. Finally, when I sat in the Descendents trailer and "babysat" Milo's kids while my friend interviewed the band, I thought, "It doesn't get any better than this."

For me, experiencing live music is akin to eating food, having shelter, or breathing oxygen. I won't stop going to shows until I physically can't. For now, I'll endure the middle-aged back pain, tweaked neck, sleep deprivation, and temporary tinnitus. Music keeps me young(ish) and makes me happy, and not a lot of things make me happy these days. 

Note about the list: If I haven't listed a seat number, it means the show was general admission, or I can't remember where I was sitting. In this case, I was either front row center, in the back of the bus, or somewhere in between.

Also, if the show was a festival, I only listed the bands I'm fairly certain I saw (or heard), not the entire side stage set list.

If you've been to a show with me, and you remember when and where it was, and I've gotten this wrong, let me know. Thank you!

Fleetwood Mac
Campus Stadium - UCSB
May 2, 1976

Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
June 16, 1984

Cyndi Lauper
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
September 22, 1984

Oingo Boingo
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
October 30, 1987
Lawn – GA
(first show without parents)

Depeche Mode, OMD, Thomas Dolby, and Wire
Rose Bowl Stadium
June 18, 1988

Oingo Boingo
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
October 29, 1988
Orch 2 Row S Seat 233

New Order, Public Image Ltd., and The Sugar Cubes
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
June 16, 1989

Love and Rockets
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
July 21, 1989
Loge 5 Row PP Seat 519

The Cure, Love and Rockets, Pixies
Dodger Stadium
September 8, 1989
Right behind the dugout, center
(Will never get over missing the Pixies while sitting in traffic.)

Public Image Ltd. and Flesh for Lulu
November 10, 1989
Crawford Hall basketball court – UCI

Peter Murphy
The Wiltern Theatre
March 10, 1990
Orchestra Aisle 2 Row G Seat 7

Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
June 15, 1990
Orchestra 1 Row D Seat 114

A Gathering of the Tribes
Crash Vegas, Charlatans UK, Michelle Shocked, London Quireboys, Queen Latifah, Indigo Girls, Soundgarden, Mission UK, American Indian Dance Theatre, The Cramps, Ice-T, Steve Jones, Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy, and Iggy Pop
Pacific Amphitheatre
October 7, 1990

Hollywood Palladium
December 30, 1990

Charlatans UK
February 15, 1991
Ackerman Grand Ballroom – UCLA
(won tickets on KROQ)

The Clash of the Titans
Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Alice in Chains
May 25, 1991
(first date with first real boyfriend)

Anthrax, Public Enemy, and Primus
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
October 19, 1991
Terrace 12 Row DDD Seat 32

Peter Murphy
The Greek Theatre
July 3, 1992
Front Right Center Row A Seat 106

Cadillac Tramps
Rhythm Café
December 26, 1992

Porno for Pyros and The Flaming Lips
Olympic Velodrome – CSUDH
June 5, 1993

The Coach House
July 6, 1993

Cadillac Tramps
The Palace
June 3, 1994

Lollapalooza 94
The Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, George Clinton & the P. Funk All Stars, The Breeders, A Tribe Called Quest, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, L7, Green Day
Velodrome Field – CSUDH
September 4, 1994

Belly and Superchunk
Montezuma Hall – SDSU
April 28, 1995

Board in the South Bay
The Muffs, Samiam, No Use for a Name, Skankin’ Pickle, Sick of It All, Face to Face, L7, Bad Religion
Olympic Velodrome - CSUDH
May 7, 1995

Oingo Boingo
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
October 26, 1995

Cadillac Tramps
Club 369
March 29, 1996

Love and Rockets
The Galaxy Theatre
August 28, 1996

Rule 62
The Foothill
April 26, 1997

Vans Warped Tour
Bad Religion, Save Ferris, Incubus, NOFX, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies,  Deftones, MxPX, No Use for a Name, Godsmack, Rancid, Reverend Horton Heat, Swingin’ Utters, Unwritten Law, The Vandals
Sarfari Field at Irvine
July 2, 1998

Golden Hall – San Diego
3rd & B
August 20, 1998
Section 100 Row P Seat 58

Bren Events Center – UCI
September 25, 1998

Love and Rockets
The Block of Orange
December 16, 1998
(Followed by a signing at the Virgin Megastore. I've never seen so many happy goth boys in my life.)

House of Blues Los Angeles
June 26, 1999

Peter Murphy
House of Blues Los Angeles
April 4, 2000

John Taylor Terroristen
The Coach House
April 29, 2000

The Cure
The Greek Theatre
May 30, 2000
Terrace Row A Seat 29

KROQ Weenie Roast
Korn, Ozzy Osbourne with Black Sabbath, Limp Bizkit, The Offspring, Creed (yuck), Moby, Stone Temple Pilots, No Doubt, Third Eye Blind, Godsmack, Cypress Hill, Everclear, Lit, Incubus
Anaheim Stadium
June 17, 2000
GA – floor

311 and Incubus
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
July 1, 2000
Loge 4 Row UU Seat 430

Peter Murphy
The Galaxy Theatre
November 27, 2000

DiaPiazza Lava Lounge at Java Lanes
April 20, 2001

The Vans Warped Tour 01
311, Rancid, Less than Jake, Bouncing Souls
Los Angeles Coliseum parking lot
June 29, 2001

David J
The Coach House
July 20, 2001

Depeche Mode
Staples Center
August 14, 2001
Section 109 Row 2 Set 4

Inland Invasion
Long Beach Dub Allstars, Weezer, Pennywise, Social Distortion, Incubus, and Mike D & Mix Master Mike
Blockbuster Pavilion
August 25, 2001
GA - Lawn

Street Scene
Jack Johnson, Cake, Social Distortion
Gaslamp Quarter
September 7, 2001

The Fenians
House of Blues Anaheim
September 28, 2001

Jane’s Addiction and Courtney Love
Hollywood Bowl
October 27, 2001
Sec F3 Row 18 Seat 26

Wild Child
The Coach House
November 3, 2001

Weezer and Tenacious D
Long Beach Arena
November 23, 2001
Sec. 222 Row T Seat 3

Cadillac Tramps
Galaxy Concert Theatre
December 15, 2001

Social Distortion
House of Blues Los Angeles
December 23, 2001

Social Distortion and Death on Wednesday
House of Blues Los Angeles
December 26, 2001

The Coach House
February 21, 2002

Daniel Ash
The Galaxy Theater
March 1, 2002

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
Bjork, The Chemical Brothers, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cake, Queens of the Stone Age, The Beta Band, G Love and Special Sauce
Empire Polo Field, Indio
April 27, 2002

Long Beach Arena
May 17, 2002
Sec 120 Row E Seat 9

Weezer and Dashboard Confessional
August 9, 2002
Verizon Amphitheater
August 9, 2002
Lawn – GA

Inland Invasion 2
GBH, X, TSOL, Buzzcocks, Blink 182, Adolescents, Bad Religion, Circle Jerks, The Vandals, New Found Glory, The Damned, Unwritten Law, Social Distortion
Blockbuster Pavilion
September 14, 2002
GA – Lawn

Punk Rock for Recovery
Pennywise, US Bombs, and DI
The Grove of Anaheim
February 8, 2003

House of Blues Anaheim
September 10, 2003

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Radiohead, Pixies, Kraftwerk, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead, Q & Not U, Beck
May 1, 2004

Peter Murphy
House of Blues Anaheim
May 28, 2005

Beck and The Decemberists
Pacific Amphitheatre
July 21, 2005

The Damned
House of Blues Anaheim
October 30, 2008

Beck and Jenny Lewis
Club Nokia at LA Live
November 9, 2008
(Opening night of the venue. I peed in one of the toilets first.)

The Echo
March 11, 2009
(A "benefit" I later learned was for Scientology. Sigh.)

Jenny Lewis
The Glass House
April 13, 2009

Duran Duran
The Pacific Amphitheatre
July 11, 2009
Sec 5 Row U Seat 5

El Rey Theatre
July 17, 2009

The Music Box at the Fonda
August 26, 2009

Nine Inch Nails
Wave Goodbye 2009
The Wiltern
September 5, 2009

Fiona Apple, Jon Brion, and friends (The Watson Twins (?))
Largo at the Coronet
January 23, 2010

Bad Religion
House of Blues Los Angeles
March 24, 2010
(30th anniversary show)

The Bronx, X, Stiff Little Fingers
The Queen Mary
June 2010

Nokia Theatre at LA Live
July 19, 2010
Orchestra Row N Seat 103

Billy Idol
Hollywood Palladium
August 14, 2010

The Blow
January 27, 2011

Meat Beat Manifesto
El Rey Theatre
February 9, 2011

Grove of Anaheim
February 21, 2011

Stone Temple Pilots
Fox Theater Pomona
February 26, 2011

Peter Murphy
Galaxy Theater
March 13, 2011

City and Colour
El Rey Theatre
March 22, 2011

Arcade Fire and Local Natives
The Joint at the Hard Rock
April 14, 2011
GA - Floor

Chris Cornell and William Elliott Whitmore
John Anson Ford Amphitheatre
May 5, 2011

Prince and Mary J. Blige
The Forum
May 28, 2011
Col 14 Row 20 Seat 12

Doheny Days Music Festival
Weezer, Cake, Ziggy Marley, Neon Trees, Black Uhuru, Micah Brown
Doheny State Beach
September 10, 2011

The Damned and Manic Hispanic
House of Blues Anaheim
October 31, 2011

Peter Murphy and She Wants Revenge
The Coach House
December 8, 2011

Jenny and Johnny and Cults
The Standard - West Hollywood - pool area
New Year's Eve 2012
(My first Instagram post. You never forget your first time.)

Peter Murphy
March 16, 2012
The Observatory

Jack White
The Wiltern
May 31, 2012

My Morning Jacket
The Wiltern
September 13, 2012
GA - Pit

Ben Gibbard
The Largo at the Coronet
September 22, 2012

The Black Keys
The Staples Center
October 5, 2012
GA - Floor

Peter Murphy performing an all Bauhaus set
Constellation Room
December 30, 2012

El Rey Theatre
September 11, 2013

Depeche Mode
Staples Center
October 2, 2013
Floor 1 Row 14 Seat 2

Gogol Bordello
The Fonda Theatre
October 9, 2013
GA - Floor

Cat Power
The Observatory
January 22, 2013

The Wiltern
February 17, 2013
(Filmed for Live from the Artists Den)

Modest Mouse
Fox Theater Pomona
April 16, 2013
GA - Floor

The Evens
The Vex Arts
April 17, 2013

Jim James
The Fonda Theatre
May 11, 2013

The Reflektors (Arcade Fire)
Hollywood Palladium
October 31, 2013

Nine Inch Nails
Staples Center
November 8, 2013
Section 112, Row 2, Seat 14
Chairman’s Room Pass

Musink 2014
The Descendents and The Vandals
OC Fair & Event Center
March 21, 2014

March 22, 2014

House of Blues Anaheim
March 22, 2014

Jonny Two Bags
April 1, 2014

Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, Failure
May 11, 2014
Terrace A Row A Seat 1

The Damned, Buzzcocks, Fear
The Queen Mary
June 7, 2014

Arcade Fire
The Forum
August 1, 2014
Section 130 Row 1 Seat 1

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
The Observatory
August 5, 2014

The 2014 Sunset Strip Music Festival
Failure, Cold War Kids, Jane’s Addiction, The Beta Machine
September 20, 2014

Primus and the Chocolate Factory
Orpheum Theatre
November 21, 2014
Orchestra Row M Seat 27

Andrew Bird
Largo at the Coronet
December 9, 2014

Tune-Yards and Cibo Matto
The Wiltern
December 10, 2014

Cage the Elephant
The Observatory
February 4, 2015

Jenny Lewis
The Glass House
April 7, 2015

X performing Wild Gift in its entirety
The Observatory
July 10, 2015

The Helio Sequence
The Roxy Theatre
July 15, 2015

Echo & the Bunnymen and Berlin
Pacific Amphitheatre
August 7, 2015
Section 5 Row R Seat 43

Future Islands
The Fox Theatre Pomona
September 24, 2015


It's Not Dead Fest
7 Seconds, CJ Ramone, Bad Religion, Descendents, Less Than Jake, Fishbone, Manic Hispanic, NOFX, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, Riverboat Gamblers, Swingin' Utters, The Adolescents, The Bouncing Souls, The Dickies, The Vandals, TSOL, etc.
San Manuel Amphitheater
October 10, 2015

My Morning Jacket
Shrine Auditorium
October 13, 2015

Coach House
November 21, 2015

Out of Town Experiences

Liz Phair
The Fillmore – SF
July 21, 2003

Kenny Chesney
Hifi Buys Amphitheatre
September 2007
Corporate suite

My Morning Jacket
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
August 14, 2015
Third row

Dates Unknown

The Dead Milkmen
Club Postnuclear
1989 or 1990
(Free show live on KROQ)

Mary’s Danish (No Doubt opened)
Crawford Hall basketball court - UCI
1989 or 1990

Rule 62
Long Beach Chili Cook Off
April 1994 (?)
Cadillac Tramps, 7 Seconds, and Youth Brigade
Old World
1994 or 1995 (?)

Rule 62
Holiday Inn (?)
1996 (?)
(Some guy’s birthday party)

No Doubt
Wayzgoose Festival (twice)
UCI – Aldrich Park

Save Ferris
UCI – near student center

Cadillac Tramps (with surprise guest John Maurer on guitar)
Linda’s Doll Hut
August 2001

The Roxy

Some random festival show involving giant pot plants on the stage
Social Distortion with other bands. Metal Mulisha demos.
Inland Empire
(left early)

Dropkick Murphys
I swear I saw this band. I don’t know where or when, but the guys in front of me were holding a sign that said, “The gang’s all here.” Did I dream that?

Manic Hispanic
Newport Beach
(The opening band had "too many pedals" to be good, my cousin said.)

Death on Wednesday and the Golords
Huntington Beach
(a club that's now closed on PCH and Goldenwest?)

Missed Opportunities
Jesus & Mary Chain (High school. I had a ticket in the 13th row. I gave it up because of severe menstrual cramps. Fuck.)

The original lineup of The Vandals, the "real" Vandals (I was supposed to go to Country Club in high school. I got locked out of my house beforehand and missed my friend's phone call to get a ride. There were no cellphones back then.)


  1. I think you might have a couple of dates mixed up here. You have listed that you went to the Fennians concert on Septmber 28, 2001 and then went to the Janes Addiction and Courtney Love on October 27, 2001. That can't be right because I went to both of those concerts also and as I recall I asked you to our first date at the Janes Addiction show--which we went on later and to no avail--but I'm positive that we had a better time at the Fennians show later and that show is what actually got us to start really dating. Hahaaaaa! Isn't it crazy what we remember. I know I went to a bunch of these shows--especially the Pennywise shows. Oh, and you did see the Dropkick Murpheys. It was at the Warped Tour after the Janes Addiction and Fennians shows, because I was at that show also and I remember those guys with the big "Gangs all Here" poster because it blocked a lot of our view. We went to the show to see Pennywise--again. And yes, I remember the bouncers carrying Courtney Love off stage after they had already turned out the lights on her and changed the stage around completely. She sat there drunk on the stage until some bouncer threw her over his shoulder and carried her off. Everyone cheered. Apparently she wanted to keep singing? Anyway, good to see you writing so much Chelsey. Looks like you found your place. I haven't been to nearly as many concerts as you, but I do remember some of the concerts you have listed here. I actually got a chance to discuss some of the Pennywise shows because my neighbor's best friend is the lead singer, Jim Lindbergh, and Manny was as at a couple of the shows we went to, either on stage or backstage. Also, it was interesting to read your teaching story. I've got a million and one of my own, but I do remember some of yours. So, good to see you doing well. Best wishes.

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