Best Concerts of 2010

The National at the Marquee Theatre 10142010There were some OUTSTANDING shows this year my friends. I had the opportunity to see great concerts at small bars, medium-sized halls and large venues. I saw performances from a variety of artists and genres. Thanks to, Stinkweeds, Psyko Steve and Stateside Presents for making this a truly special year of live music for me.

If I did a review of any show listed already, I’ll simplify things and just hyperlink it for you. Here you go, my picks for Best Concerts of 2010. Enjoy!

The Other 49 at the Rhythm Room 4-29-201010. The Other 49 at the Rhythm Room – April 29, 2010.

Source Victoria at the Yucca Tap Room 1-30-20109. Source Victoria at the Yucca Tap Room – January 30, 2010.

8. Band of Horses at the Ogden Theatre – March 16, 2010.

We Were Promised Jetpacks at the Rhythm Room 2-23-107. We Were Promised Jetpacks at the Rhythm Room – February 23, 2010.

Limbeck live at the Hard Rock Cafe Phoenix - March 20, 20106. Limbeck at the Hard Rock Cafe – March 20, 2010.

A Place to Bury Strangers at the Rhythm Room April 14, 20105. A Place to Bury Strangers at the Rhythm Room – April 14, 2010.

4. CAKE at the Marquee Theatre – June 18, 2010.

3. The Pixies at Mesa Amphitheatre – September 24, 2010. Up until this show I had ignored every Pixies reunion concert because they were so horrible when I saw them in Tucson during the Trompe Le Monde tour. They played an uninspired, lifeless set that evening. I was pissed, so when they played a couple of sold-out shows at Dodge Theatre (2004 I think) I blew it off, as well as going to see them headline Coachella.
Well, for this tour The Pixies were playing their watershed second album Doolittle in its entirety, plus the B-sides from that album, so I figured what the hell? I was not expecting the unbelievable show the band delivered!
Leading off with a few of the B-sides, The Pixies eventually launched into “Debaser” and the crowd went nuts. Understandably so, because other than a few hiccups all fifteen tracks from Doolittle were played with a monster precision and power. I felt like I was in college again listening to The Pixies play this album live!
Two encores were delivered, the first consisting of more Doolittle B-sides, the second set featuring fan favorites such as “Velouria” and perhaps their most beloved track, “Where is my Mind?” When 10:00pm hit (Really? Still that early on a Friday Mesa?) and the band walked off the stage for the last time, I could tell everyone in that packed Mesa Amphitheatre crowd was thinking the same thing. “We just witnessed true greatness!”

Climax of The Two Towers live at Radio City, Gandalf rides in with Eomer2. The Two Towers performed live at Radio City Music Hall – October 8, 2010. It was really tough not making this my #1 pick. I did not grow up a fan of The Lord of the Rings from J.R.R. Tolkien. In fact, when I saw The Fellowship of the Ring in the theaters, I had no idea the entire story would take place over three movies. Needless to say I was pissed when the movie ended, much to the delight of the three friends I was with as I cursed up a storm while the credits were rolling.
Once I saw The Two Towers a year later I picked up the book and became an instant LOTR geek, without shame mind you. I fell in love with the book, the movies and the phenomenal score created by Howard Shore.
Therefore, when I was surfing online the spring of 2009 and saw the score for The Two Towers was going to be performed live to the movie at Radio City Music Hall, I picked up tickets that day. I did not worry about plane and hotel reservations, I simply secured the tickets first to ensure I would be there!
First of all, Radio City Music Hall is more incredible in person than on TV. What a spectacular venue! I had chills just walking up to the place, then walked around with my jaw hanging open once I was inside. Second, the sight lines and acoustics of Radio City are magnificent. Third, the screen The Two Towers was played on is immense. It was like being at the Cine Capri here in Arizona.
The show itself was beyond belief. The entire movie was shown in two parts, with intermission occurring after Frodo and Sam were captured by Faramir and his men (told you I’m a LOTR geek). The dialogue from the movie was still played, but the music was filtered out so the orchestra and choir onstage at Radio City Music Hall could deliver it live. The effect was unbelievable, more spectacular than I anticipated.
The end of the movie with the Battle at Helm’s Deep was so intense, so powerful … my goodness, just thinking about it brings chills! The orchestra and choir were in prime form all evening, but I cannot say enough about the conclusion of the performance. Simply outstanding!
I will be back October 2011, I already saw online that The Return of the King will be performed this year!

The National at the Marquee Theatre 101420101. The National at the Marquee Theatre – October 24, 2010.

This was a tougher list to compile than my picks for Best Albums of 2010. Live music is so much better than listening to a studio disc, and all of you know how much I love investing in CD’s. However, the experience of seeing an artist live is probably my favorite way to spend any social time I have.

2011 is already shaping up to be a great year, including some killer out-of-town shows I plan to attend. Check out this line-up already on the agenda:

  • January 7 – Source Victoria at Teakwoods
  • January 15 – Concrete Blonde at the Compound Grill
  • January 29 – The Father Figures CD release party at Rips
  • February 5 – Interpol at the Marquee Theatre
  • February 12 – Gang of Four at the First Avenue (Minneapolis, MN)
  • February 22 – Sebadoh at the Rhythm Room
  • March 13 – Asobi Seksu at the Rhythm Room
  • March 21 – Film School at the Sail Inn
  • March 23 – Girl Talk at the Marquee Theatre

Good god, that is just through March! If you live in the Valley of the Sun, be sure to go to for the latest concert updates, and nationally is the way to stay on top of things. Hope you enjoyed this list, I saw enough of you at some of these shows to know I picked some good ones.




  1. Brad Wiatr · January 4, 2011

    Ha… Frank, you’re too kind to us. Lots of good shows in there though. I don’t think I saw Source at that particular event, but I’m always down to see them; they are excellent.

  2. Seth · January 4, 2011

    Um, Muse?

  3. tfronky · January 4, 2011

    This list wasn’t for the Best Cover Bands of 2010, and we all know Muse is a poor man’s Radiohead … plus I didn’t see enough of the opener Silversun Pickups for that show to make my list.

    • Brad Wiatr · January 11, 2011

      Whoa, whoa, whoa… whoa… now I’m not as big a fan of the most recent Muse compared to “Origin of Symmetry” era Muse, but they are in no way any man’s version of Radiohead. Tom Yorke and Matt Bellamy sharing the same accent in no way make them the same band. Now, without making judgement on which band is better, go listen to “Stockholm Syndrome”, “New Born”, “Plug In Baby”, or “Hyper Music” and tell me if Radiohead has ever played anything that rockin’ or heavy… they haven’t, by the way. 😛

      • tfronky · January 11, 2011

        I’ve tried to like those guys and find them to be utterly worthless. I will give them props for putting on a spectacular show, but I can’t give them any credit for creating good music. But that’s the wonderful thing about music, a variety of opinions!

      • Brad Wiatr · January 12, 2011

        Oh man, you’re breaking my heart. 😦 Really, they do nothing for you? The older band Aaron and I were in, The Evidence Manual, did a cover of Muse’s “Deadstar”, and I’m pretty sure one of the songs we wrote with that band was a total Muse rip off, lol.

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