Thomas Conner here — recovering music critic, UCSD Ph.D. student in communication, Taoist, teaist.

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50 concerts from 20 years: Intro

Throughout my 20 years in music journalism, the question I’ve been asked most often is, “What’s the best concert you’ve seen?” Variation: “Seen any cool shows lately?” (The second most often Q: “What was your first concert?” A: Journey, with Bryan Adams opening, July 20, 1983, at Norman’s Lloyd Noble Arena.)

I’m terrible about answering this because (a) I have good memory but terrible on-the-spot recall, and (b) like any critic the answer changes week to week. But on the occasion of winding down this portion of my career, I thought it was time for a definitive retrospective.

This begins a running list of my favorite concerts. That doesn’t mean these were the critical best, though personal and professional thrills usually coincide. But this list comes from the personal — the shows that were a thrill, often because of who it was, where we were, sometimes why and who I was with (maybe you!) — from my misspent youth to my upcoming final days as a full-time critic. A lot of ticket stubs and laminates under the bridge.

Ten per post: 50-4140-3130-2120-1110-1