As 2014 comes to a close, we here at GATRS will be doing some special posts so share our personal music highlights of this past year. For my first post, here is a countdown of my best concert experiences of 2014. Unfortunately, my location and profession are not very conducive to seeing many gigs each year (living in the middle of nowhere with not much flexibility on vacation days is an unfortunate combination!). So though my list may be a bit shorter than some of the others, I hope you still enjoy this brief look back at some of my fondest 2014 gig memories.
3. Arctic Monkeys at White River State Park, Indianapolis IN (6/24/14)
Coming in at #3 is a really awesome and memorable gig (and queuing experience).was my first time seeing a band at a non-festival outdoor venue, my first time visiting Indiana, my first experience with a tornado warning (talk about a stressful queue!), and my first time meeting my fellow GATRS!
The gig itself also offered some firsts — in the form of My Propeller and Suck It and See (two songs I had never heard live before!). Those were certainly highlights for me (that Knee Socks transition… woah!), but the gig, from the setlist staples to the newer songs, was really fun and energetic. The boys were totally on-point, and I had such an amazing time! (And, as the icing on the cake, my fellow GATR Naomi helped me make a sign that earned me a drumstick from the one and only Matt Helders!). It was a fantastic day and night spent with some great friends (and some great entertainment 😉 ).
2. Queens of the Stone Age at Cross Insurance Center, Bangor ME (7/12/14)
It’s not often that any really good (or, let’s face it, even decent) bands come to Maine (see my introduction). So when my boyfriend and I discovered that a band we both love (mostly him, but QotSA have always been high on my list!) was coming to our home state, we jumped at the opportunity.
I had never seen QotSA live before (unless Josh singing on Knee Socks at ACL counts), and I was so excited. We had a great time in the queue (note: Your average Queens fan does not use that word. Us Brit-Rock fans are weird 😉 ), and it was so fun and refreshing to interact with a different fanbase than what I’m accustomed to.
The gig itself was insane. The guys were total perfection, even their banter with the crowd was awesome and oh-so fun. I was a personal fan of the setlist too, as they played the entirety of their newest album (minus Kalopsia, but we got to hear them soundcheck it!). …Like Clockwork is my favorite QotSA album, so hearing all of those songs live was incredibly special to me!
After the show, my already-amazing experience was made even better when we got to meet the band. Every one of them. To this day, I still can’t wrap my head around it…
1. Arctic Monkeys at The State Theatre, Portland ME (2/7/14)
And here we have it, my #1 favorite gig experience of 2014 — Arctic Monkeys playing more or less at my front door. I couldn’t believe it! The news of QotSA was a very pleasant surprise, but AM coming to Maine was a literal dream come true!
Despite the freezing queue conditions, there are so many reasons this gig earned the top spot on my list — It was my first time ever seeing one of my favorite bands in my hometown, and my first time seeing AM at their own gig (not a festival). The entire vibe was so different. We also got to briefly interact with the guys (plus Miles Kane!) as they said hello when they went in for their soundcheck, which was a very surreal moment (though actually “meeting” them would have been the ultimate surprise!).
Seeing AM at a small/intimate venue was a totally unique and wonderful experience. It was the most energetic and interactive I’ve ever seen the guys perform, and the close/intimate feel of the venue made it even better! The setlist was amazing as well, especially getting to hear 505 performed with Miles, and being treated to the first-ever live performance of the All My Loving cover (also featuring Miles!). Everything was perfect. And, to top the night off, a very kind security guard also helped me get one of Alex’s picks — the perfect keepsake to remember my favorite gig of 2014!