Top ten concerts of 2005

Late as usual, my year end round up.

10. Barenaked Ladies at Meyerhoff Hall on November 28th.
My first BNL XMas show, and hopefully not my last. The guys always put on a great show, but they took it to another level that night.

9. Arrogant Worms at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival on July 21st.
There’s always good new bands at Falcon Ridge, but this band earwormed me good – I still have “Rocks And Trees” and “Carrot Juice Is Murder” in my head. Funny stuff, and catchy, with a good stage show (lots of banter).

8. Dar Williams at the Birchmere on November 14th.
As much as I enjoy her at Falcon Ridge, this show was my favorite of the four times I saw her last year. Girlyman came up multiple times to add harmonies, and it didn’t hurt that we had reserved seats and didn’t need to hurry through traffic to enjoy the show. Excellent set list as well.

7. Tori Amos at Pier Six Pavilion on August 24th.
Didn’t enjoy the show that much the first time we saw her last year, but this night was just right. Getting to Baltimore at the beginning of rush hour and a nice steak dinner helped, as did the nice breeze over the water, but Tori was just on fire that night, and the show was sweet.

6. Mike Clem’s Traveling Harmony Revue at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival on July 23rd.
My favorite Falcon Ridge moment yet – Mike Clem hosting a song circle in our camping area in the middle of the night. Things like this are why it’s evolved into one of our can’t miss events.

5. Dave Matthews Band at Nissan Pavilion on June 26th.
Even in a show tilted heavily towards new (or not as popular songs), a nice reminder from the guys that they can still tear it up, even if they were helped immeasurably by a guest appearance by slide guitarist Robert Randolph.

4. Keane at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 8th.
Ok, I just love their CD, and suspected they could reproduce their sound live thanks to their SNL appearance, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I enjoyed them live. They brought the rock, even though they weren’t the headliners that night (why are the Killers more popular?).

3. Eddie From Ohio at Gordon Center on October 22nd.
A number of good shows from these guys this year, but this was the first show after Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the anticipation was very high. But she put on an amazing show – nice way to spend a birthday.

2. Jayhawks (Gary & Mark) at Rams Head Tavern on March 5th.
I’ve been a long time fan of the Jayhawks, and my favorite period has always been when Gary & Mark joined their voices together. I’d only gotten to see them together once, in 1995, so this tour was a blessing. And they hadn’t lost a step, belting out classics like “Waiting For The Sun”, “Take Me With You” and of course “Blue”.

1. Queen + Paul Rodgers at Continental Airlines Arena on October 16th.
I’ve gone on at length about this show, so I’ll simply say if you don’t catch these guys on their current tour, you’ll miss rock legends at the top of their game. No, Paul Rodgers isn’t Freddie Mercury, but he doesn’t try to be, and doesn’t need to be – the songs are strong no matter who sings them, and Brian May and Roger Taylor make them even stonger.

Honorable mentions:
Coldplay at M & T Bank Stadium for the HFStival on May 14th
Jim Boggia at Herndon Town Green for the Herndon Festival on June 5th
Rick Springfield at Fairfax County Government Center for Celebrate Fairfax on June 11th
Liz Phair at the Birchmere on August 4th
B.B. King at Wolf Trap on September 11th
Paul McCartney at MCI Center on October 8th