Chrystal’s Top 10 Concerts of 2009

Chrystal Dec 29th, 2009 | By
Category: Billy Joel, Brad Paisley, Cannery Ballroom, Elton John, Exit/In, Gavin Degraw, Katy Perry, Miranda Lambert, Nashville, Ryman Auditorium, Slipknot, Sommet Center, Taylor Swift

I’m not sure how many shows I’ve been to this year, but my total has to be around 80. It was a fun year transitioning to the Nashville lifestyle. This is a small big city packed with talent, venues, and hella cool people.

It’s almost like a secret treasure for the music lover. All the great hangouts are close to each other, living is affordable, there’s something for everyone musically, and you can’t beat a 7 minute commute to work. Plus, being the home for a lot of labels, Nashville gets a strong dose of industry events too.

Just by observing, reading local blogs, going to shows and simply breathing in this city – I’ve learned so much about the industry and music in general. Although I miss Los Angeles, I’m glad I’m here. Everyone should visit Music City.

Now for my favorite concerts of 2009 – you’ll notice, just because I moved to this “little big town,” it doesn’t mean I’ve lost my love for the big touring productions as most of my favs were at the Sommet Center.

#10 – Slipknot @ Sommet Center – I can’t believe I’m picking Slipknot over Celine Dion, but I am. This show was insane. I loved the intensity. I left the show feeling like I could take on the world, and all the people we talked to outside were “fucking awesome.”

#9 – Gavin Degraw @ Exit/In –I’ve seen Gavin in multiple settings from award show performances to small venues, and he never fails in making any size room feel like a piano bar. He cajoles the audience with his impassioned style, winning them over immediately, and resulting in repeat visitors the next time he comes through town.

#8 – Ghostland Observatory @ Cannery Ballroom – On the spreadsheet of coolness, Ghostland Observatory falls into the same column as Beastie Boys. Everyone loves the Beastie Boys because they are fun, unique, and have a little something for all types of music lovers. Ghostland is a hodgepodge of electro, pop, and rock with eerie lambent goth tones and even some hip-hop bass – they all collude under a chromatic light show for an inimitable concert experience.

#7 – Katy Perry @ Cannery Ballroom – With a handful of guy friends who are rockers, and don’t listen to “pop sh*t,” I was surprised when they were all interested in coming with me to see Katy Perry. She is a doll! I had seen her at an arena show, and this was a thousand times better. Not only because it was more intimate, but also because the venue’s environment and the stage props were a perfect fit for her burlesque image. With this smaller venue show, Perry’s talent was far more apparent. I was able to see that she really can sing and play guitar, and is more than just a hot chick. Bonus Points: Desmond Child was in attendance, and my old church band was Perry’s opening act (The Daylights).

#6 – Miranda Lambert @ Ryman Auditorium – This concert was more of an industry event – lots of record company executives, Lambert’s family members, even Taylor Swift was in the audience. Lambert performed a live sneak peak of her 2009 release, Revolution, in full. Every song was great, and it’s one of my favorite albums of the year. I hadn’t known much about Lambert before this concert, so it was refreshing to see a young female country artist that wasn’t leaning pop. I love Country/Pop, but she made the difference clear. She’s a tiny fiery blonde with a lot of style and sass, and she puts on one heck of a show.

#5 – Taylor Swift @ Sommet Center – Even if you are not in love with Taylor Swift’s music, you have to appreciate her hard work and applaud her success this year. If you don’t, you’re probably a puppy killer. Her “Fearless” tour was beautifully designed. There were backdrops, staging, clinquant dresses, and special effects that I have never seen before. She put everything she had into that performance, and I’m anxious to see what she comes out with next. Besides, being a wonderful show – I got to hang in her VIP tent and meet her backstage…so nah-nah-nah.

#4 – Brad Paisley @ Sommet Center – I didn’t know one Brad Paisley song going into this show, and I left the venue a big fan. This guy is a bad ass guitar player, and his show is full of great video that just amplifies the excitement of the show. The backing band was on, and everything sounded perfect. Everyone on stage was having the time of their lives, so naturally the crowd reciprocated. There are a lot of emotional ups and downs in Country concerts, and I felt Paisley moved from one moment to the next flawlessly – without losing one ounce of the emotion. I think this was the first arena concert where I cried.

#3 – Green Day @ Sommet Center – My sister was in town, so I was stoked that she could join me in the Green Day experience. This was the second time Mike Dirnt and I have had interaction during a show. This time he bent down and gave me a guitar pick. Those are the moments that make me the happiest girl in the world.  Looking at the audience, it was an event that families went to together; moms and dads rocking out just as hard as the kids. The guys of Green Day are symphonic masterminds – able to maintain their older fans while transforming their sound to fit the new generations. I hope they keep it up.

#2 – Bonnaroo (Manchester, TN) – Does this count? There were about 140 bands that performed at Bonnaroo. Oh well, I’m doing it. Bonnaroo was my first festival experience, and will be a tradition for as long as I can swing it. C’mon, 2009’s lineup had Beastie Boys, Phish, NIN, Snoop Dogg, Ani Difranco, and so many more. Big names, small names, local Nashville names, Lebowski Fest, Silent Disco, Ferris Wheel, comedy, camping…ahhh – it’s all so overwhelming. I can’t wait for next year.

#1 – Elton John and Billy Joel @ Sommet Center – Elton John and Billy Joel is currently my favorite concert of all time…of all time. Imagine an hour or so of Elton solo, then an hour or so of Billy, and then another hour of them both together – dueling each other with their super hits, and sprinkling in some Beatles covers. I wanted to see John’s “Red Piano” show in Vegas so bad, and I never got to. However, I like to think that the “Face 2 Face” tour was even better. I didn’t even realize how much I love Billy Joel until this concert. If you get a chance to see this tour, don’t miss it. It’s a golden good time.

In closing this super long 2009 recap post, I’d like to thank all those who hooked me up with tickets to shows (May good karma be with you.), those artists who were willing to do interviews, those who helped set up the press passes/interviews/etc, those who reposted and supported the site and our events (Nashville Cream, Mercy Lounge, Exit/In, 3rd and Lindsley,, Mr. Guy Heidemann for being the best camera man and friend a girl can have, Lorn and Bryan for letting me be a part of the coolest blog on the internet, my family for watching every damn episode, and most importantly – the folks that talked to my crazy ass outside the venues and gave a review (because when you tell concerts…it’s cooler).

Wishing you a wicked fun New Year’s Eve and a blessed 2010,*Chrystal

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