In The Show I’ll Never Forget, editor Sean Manning collects fifty recollections of various writers’ and musicians’ most memorable concert-going experiences.
In many cases, the concert itself serves as a launching point for the author to talk about a certain time period, an old friend, or being beat up and left bruise-free by Madison Square Garden’s security staff. The only essay that stood out to me as being focused on the music was by Thurston Moore, whose primary occupation is that of music-maker.
The collection is arranged in chronological order (save the introduction), with concert dates spanning fifty years from 1955 to 2005. Almost every essay was enjoyable to read, regardless of my knowledge of either the author or the band. The only flub was Rick Moody’s sterile and overly long account of a show put on by The Lounge Lizards in 1992.
Among the best were those with a resonating personal story (David Ritz/Jimmy Reed, Jennifer Egan/Patti Smith, Dani Shapiro/Bruce Springsteen, John Albert/Black Flag, Thomas Beller/The Kinks), the attempted brush with fame (Tracy Chevalier/Queen, Max Allan Collins/Kevin Spacey), and downright enjoyable writing (Marc Bojanowksi/Beck, Chuck Klosterman/Prince, Jerry Stahl/David Bowie, Daniel Handler & Andrew Sean Greer/Metric).
If you are at all a music geek, or a fan of excellent writing, you can pick up a copy of The Show I’ll Never Forget here.