The 10 Best Concerts of My Life

Yesterday I checked my Timehop and was reminded of a concert I attended three years ago. On a late February evening in Montana, I watched a show that was headlined by T-Pain and the Gym Class Heroes. The odd pairing led to an odd concert. Needless to say, I didn’t necessarily have fond memories when I was reminded about it yesterday morning.

Photos I took of Travie McCoy and T-Pain three years ago in Missoula...I was not impressed.

Photos I took of Travie McCoy and T-Pain three years ago in Missoula…I was not impressed.

I used to attend a lot of concerts. Some fell into the category of T-Pain/Gym Class Heroes but others were actually enjoyable. This evening I want to give you the top ten concerts I have attended.

10. Darius Rucker
Venue – HTC Center, Conway, SC
Date – August 2014

Although Darius Rucker didn’t use a lot of technology, pyros, and strobe lights in his show, it was cool watch him perform in his home state. The people at that concert were die-hard Darius fans and the passion was definitely there. Helping make the concert even better was that I got to appear in his music video for “Homegrown Honey” earlier that afternoon.

9. Brad Paisley (Jack Ingram, Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler)
Venue – Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA
Date – May 2007

You always remember your first concert! I went with my brother and sister to a Brad Paisley show that happened to have three opening acts. While Jack Ingram and Kellie Pickler are no slouches, who knew at the time that Taylor Swift would grow up to be the most famous entertainer on the planet? I still remember after the show she signed autographs on the concourse of the arena and I couldn’t help but think that not only did she look so young but she also looked really genuinely happy.

This is me in 2007 in the Spokane Arena concourse between sets of my first ever concert.

This is me in 2007 in the Spokane Arena concourse between sets of my first ever concert.

8. Keith Urban (Little Big Town)
Venue – Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA
Date – September 2009

My friend Nick and I drove after work from Missoula to Spokane to watch this one. We had great seats and even though I am not a Little Big Town fan, Urban flat out performed. His stage was insane and the way he played that guitar was incredible. I remember him taking out a tennis racket and hitting balls far up into the seats. It was a cool experience.

7. Brad Paisley (Rodney Atkins, Chuck Wicks)
Venue – Adams Center, Missoula, MT
Date – January 2008

I include this on my list for a few of reasons. To start off, it was the first concert that I ever went to where I had incredible seats. Before this, I watched shows from the third deck. To be on the floor and actually watch the performers on the stage instead of on the video board gave me a thrill. I was also a huge Rodney Atkins fan at the time (“These Are My People” was my anthem). Lastly, my brother had come to visit me and let’s just say we had a really good time before and during the concert!

T-6. Dierks Bentley
Venue – Osprey Field, Missoula, MT
Date – July 4, 2008

I have seen Dierks Bentley three times in concert but the first time was definitely the best. My friend Dan and I saw him on Independence Day in a Minor League baseball stadium. The crowd was fun and the setting perfect. I imagine Dierks would have liked to be anywhere but that ballpark on July 4 but he gave a great effort. The fireworks show afterwards was a nice touch.

I have seen Dierks in concert a couple times and even met him. However, the first time was the best.

I have seen Dierks in concert a couple times and even met him. However, the first time was the best.

T-6. Gary Allan (Jack Ingram)
Venue – Adams Center, Missoula, MT
Date – April 2010

I had to include the two concerts Dan and I saw together in one spot on the countdown. Almost two years after seeing Dierks in the stadium, we watched Gary Allan and Jack Ingram in the Adams Center. This show was special because it completed a progression. I went from nosebleeds in 2007 to stage level in 2008 to front row in 2010. This was my first concert up front and the energy was incredible. Dan and I had a great time slapping hands with the performers and I could tell you that I never wanted to be anywhere else but front row after that.

The left photo shows how close we were. This was taken by my camera without zoom. The right image is Dan and I.

The left photo shows how close we were. This was taken by my camera without zoom. The right image is Dan and I.

5. Tim McGraw (Lady Antebellum)
Venue – Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA
Date – May 2010

Tim McGraw is a country music superstar that is known for terrific shows. At this time, Lady Antebellum had already established themselves as one of the genre’s best groups. I was seated on the floor right near the stage. Lady A did great and then Tim McGraw had one of the coolest entrances I have ever seen at a concert. During one song he went into the crowd and I managed to shake his hand.

I wish Hillary Scott was looking when I took this photo! As for the other image, this was right before Tim McGraw shook my hand.

I wish Hillary Scott was looking when I took this photo! As for the other image, this was right before Tim McGraw shook my hand.

4. Toby Keith (Eric Church)
Venue – Northern Quest outdoor venue, Airway Heights, WA
Date – August 2011

If there was one country performer I needed to see in concert to fulfill a bucket list item, it was Toby Keith. To be honest, I really started liking country because of Keith. His concerts are legendary and the fact that this one was outdoors made it an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. My boss at the time and I were in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for a Spirit Squad camp (our University of Montana cheer squad and dance team were competing). When the day’s events concluded, my brother came across state borders and picked us up. The concert was great and Toby was as good as advertised. Afterwards we met him in the casino!

Rather grainy photo of Toby but I did my best.

Rather grainy photo of Toby but I did my best.

3. American Country Awards
Venue – Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV
Date – December 2012

What is better than watching a couple of your favorite country stars perform? Seeing a whole bunch of your favorite country stars perform! Such was the opportunity my brother and I had a few years ago when we were vacationing in Vegas. It just so happened that the American Country Awards were taking place during the duration of our stay. The night of the show, I made an impulsive decision and purchased tickets. Of course I wanted to watch the best in country music perform and get recognized but I also really wanted to see how an awards show works when you aren’t watching it on TV! We had a great time in the pristine Mandalay Bay arena watching Trace Adkins host, stars perform, and celebrities present awards. An awards show like the ACAs is something everybody should treat themselves to at least once.

We were up high but we had a great time. Brothers!!

We were up high but we had a great time. Brothers!!

2. Elton John
Venue – Adams Center, Missoula, MT
Date – September 2007

I am an extreme Elton John fan. Name one of his songs and I can recite every lyric for you…seriously. The fact that a superstar like him would come play a concert in Montana of all places was absolutely crazy. After standing in line forever on a couple different occasions, I scored tickets. I watched him from bleachers behind the stage but it didn’t matter…I was in the presence of greatness. To this day, I haven’t watched a live show of anyone of greater stature than Sir Elton.

This is all I  can give you....a dark, grainy, far away shot. Despite the bad seats and my terrible camera it was an awesome show.

This is all I can give you….a dark, grainy, far away shot. Despite the bad seats and my terrible camera it was an awesome show.

1. Blake Shelton
Venue – Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA
Date – March 2012 (Justin Moore, Dia Frampton)

If you read my blog, you know I am a major Blake Shelton fan. His songs consistently appear on my “Brent’s Top Songs of ________ (whatever year)” and I praise him often. I had the privilege of watching him from the very front row in a sold out arena in 2012. One word: entertainer. He was funny, he was talented, he was involved. He put on the best show I have ever seen from a musical artist and I got to see it all up close. It was an honor and I will never forget it.

A photo I took of Blake Shelton where the zoom function wasn't necessary.

A photo I took of Blake Shelton where the zoom function wasn’t necessary.

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As you can see, I have witnessed some great shows. However, I have seen many other concerts such as the one mentioned at the start of this blog post. When it all comes down to it, I would still say I have enjoyed more of the good than the bad. I don’t go to many concerts anymore but if the opportunity ever presents itself in the future you can bet that I am down. Don’t Blink.

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