The super fantastic Hall & Oates just played a show in Boston over the weekend with the equally awesome band Tears For Fears. Great bill. Because of my past outspoken passion and support for the inclusion of Hall and Oates into the Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame; people all year have been asking me if I’m going to the show. Did I get good seats? How excited am I?
One by one I’d explain that I was taking a pass on this one. Eyes widened and a look of confusion crossed most faces, prompting me to give a reason for my absence. I told them all I’ve been lucky enough to see Hall & Oates three times in the past five years and at all three shows I was in the front ten rows. They were terrific seats and experiences not to be beaten. I actually saw Tears for Fears about six or seven years ago as well at a smaller venue. So essentially, I've gotten my fix.
Not to mention H&O’s set barely changed each time. Each show was different by one song, maybe two. So I was seeing the same show basically. Seeing them in a big arena wouldn’t haven been as great as those first few experiences. You’ve heard the expression, leave well enough alone. I didn’t want to spoil things.
But what makes us go back to see bands again and again? There are some acts we will go see religiously no matter the circumstances, venue, or ticket price. We don’t question, we just go. We know what we’re going to get and it’s fully approved.
People love live music so much around here, and I’m always blown away by a number of people who have seen artists multiple times. I’m guilty too — proud of it! I’ve seen bands like the Melvins, Faith No More, Van Halen, Joan Jett, The Roots, Clutch, Danko Jones, Nine Inch Nails, Monster Magnet, Against Me!, Mr. Bungle, Flaming Lips, Cage the Elephant, Superdrag, Ours, Secret Machines and And Your Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead at least four or five times each. I’ve seen Cheap Trick, Queens of the Stone Age and Fantomas at least eight or nine times each. I remember them well too! I saw QOTSA at Asylum in 1999 with barely 30 people. I saw them with Dave Grohl on drums at the Paradise in Boston. I saw Fantomas’ second, third, fourth and fifth shows ever in NYC. We remember the shows and certain moments of these repeat acts. They always stay with us because we know we might never see it again.
Sometimes, we tempt fate though. I recently asked some musicians and music folks which artists they've seen the most and why they go back again and again.
Tim Mercer (musician/songwriter)
Jane’s Addiction, five times.
"I’ve seen them more than any other band. They play different tunes in different settings. There is something about the energy exchange between the performer and the audience that can be quite personal.”
Melissa Anne Martin (music fan/collector)
Guster, six times.
“Their audience makes the experience enjoyable along with their music but the energy is way up.”
Tim Aballo (The Outsiders)
Reverend Horton Heat and The Amazing Royal Crowns, 50 times combined.
“Awesome acts. High energy. Why so many times? The feeling of being a part of a specific scene/culture subset would be a good answer. A comfortable familiarity where you know all the words and the next chord change. You're a part of it. Inclusion. Maybe the same reason we listen to the same albums over and over?”
Brzowski (rapper/hard worker)
The Body, 10 times.
“I've seen Rhode Island's sludgiest export ten times spanning as many years. I've caught them performing a set with a full choir, as well as sets performing with other bands doing all new collaborative material. They aren't a go-to band to, slap on the turntable at home very often, but I will always go see their new deafening iteration when they play within striking distance of Portland.”
Josiah Babcock (a wonderful father/Dead Head)
Strangefolk, 150 times. Grateful Dead with Jerry Garcia, 60 times, and Post-Jerry Dead related shows 120 time.
“All play a completely unique setlist from night to night. Huge repertoires of songs, never played the same way twice, in different orders and combinations, many different venues, crowd energies, indoor/outdoor, with different friends, guest artists and so on.”
Holly Nunan (DJ/Frank FM)
Tom Petty, six times.
”Thomas Earl Petty and his band of unbelievably talented musical merrymakers are a gift to rock and roll that we don't even deserve! Mike Campbell is still one of the most underrated guitarists out there. I have no shame in saying that I have regularly drained my savings account to see this band live and will do so as long as they continue to tour.”
Jumpy McGee (Maine Roller Derby)
Goldfinger, 10 times.
”They caught my attention on the radio, but kept my attention with the live shows because of the energy. It was always fun to see if Charlie's spins would eventually take out the drum set.”