Top 10 Live Shows of 2011 | Mary Beth Hascall

live u2-1The boys from Dublin are always worth it.

1. U2 | 07.17.11
Busch Stadium, St. Louis

This was my first time with general admission tickets and third time seeing U2’s insane 360 tour. It was an amazing night for U2 out of doors in the Gateway City. Opening with “Even Better Than the Real Thing” was awesome, and first encore of “One” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” are crowd favorites. The only downside was the crazy heat, but my boys from Dublin are always worth it.

2. U2 | 07.05.11
Soldier Field, Chicago

It was a crazy hot night in Chi-town. This was the rescheduled show from July 2010 due to Bono having emergency back surgery in Munich. The unbelievable moment was hearing “One Tree Hill” as their final song; I was seriously losing it. This is a personal favorite and to hear it live to close the show was thrilling.

3. Erasure | 07.21.11
The Pageant, St. Louis

Terrific night for music and dancing. The Pageant was seriously one big dance floor, with Andy Bell in fine musical and visual form.

4. Carbon Leaf | 07.31.11
Old Rock House, St. Louis

This Virginia band kicked it up a few rock notches at the Old Rock House. Usually St. Louisans catch Carbon Leaf at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, so seeing them in this space was a nice change of venue. A neat moment occurred when The Giving Tree joined Carbon Leaf on stage for “Let Your troubles Go By.” Cramming 10 jamming-like-crazy musicians on that stage was tight—literally and musically.

5. Gooding | 04.12.11
Ciceros, St. Louis

I first saw an acoustic set of this ex-pat Kansas group at PLAY:stl last fall. An amazing trio, Gooding, Billy Driver, and Jessie Rich are a rock group to not miss hearing live. A feather in their St. Louis cap came when they opened for legendary Chuck Berry at the Duck Room.

6. My Morning Jacket | 08.02.11
The Pageant, St. Louis

“Circuital” and “Golden” were favorites of mine. I would like to see these guys again live in the near future. The crowd seemed to be a blissful state the whole night.

7. Cameron McGill and What Army | 04.15.11
Old Rock House, St. Louis

I have been a fan/writer of Cameron McGill’s for about seven years now, and it is amazing to see how much this gifted singer/songwriter has grown as a talent. This evening’s performance did not disappoint. (McGill is also now playing keyboards with the group Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s.)

8. Bravefellow | 04.02.11
Cicero’s, St. Louis

This band hails from Kansas City. Brad Allen Johnson’s voice soared to crazy levels in this space, and Andy Fox’s guitar playing had the styling of U2’s The Edge. “You Will Never Know” is the song to check out.

9. Dawes | 06.06.11
The Pageant, St. Louis
(opening for Bright Eyes)

I enjoyed Bright Eyes’ performance, but I was drawn more to the opener Dawes who delivered a really tight, smart set. “If I Wanted Someone” is a well-written/Wilco-esque song that gets stuck in your brain in a good way.

10. Steve Tyrell | 05.15.11
The Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis

The acoustics at The Sheldon always blow me away. Steve Tyrell is a great American jazz performer, perhaps best known for the version of “The Way You Look Tonight” from the film The Father of the Bride. His version is popular at many weddings. Tyrell has worked with so many greats, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, Mary J Blige, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Burt Bacharach, and Stevie Wonder among them. It was a great space to hear Tyrell’s vocals shine in front of a talented mix of musicians.

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