The Greatest Song I Ever Saw Performed Live In Concert

Once upon a time, I was playing DJ at a beach house on the Fire Island town of Kismet.  As the evening wore on, girls got drunker and wanted to dance.  I shifted the mix from party rock to disco.  They loved it.

Around that time, a disgruntled hard-rocker named Joe came up to me and said "Hey, 40 Watt, you know the expression Disco Sucks?  There is a reason for it."

To this day, such peer pressure keeps my appreciation for the perpetual dance groove below the radar.  There is nothing worse than being ridiculed as a disco lover.  I would rather be called a pussy or a faggot.

A few weeks ago, I was listening to the latest records by Black Mountain and Thee Oh Sees with one of my funky friends.  He posed the question "What is the greatest song you ever saw performed live in concert?"

Although I immediately knew the answer, I decided to reply with a few rocker-friendly alternatives: Bob Dylan covering Alabama Getaway at the Fox Theater in Atlanta a few days after Jerry Garcia passed away, The Who performing See Me Feel Me at Madison Square Garden with the power of Roger Daltrey's voice electrifying the arena, Paul McCartney singing a tender version of Fool On The Hill at Giants Stadium.

I have been angry with myself ever since.  How can I still succumb to peer pressure?  Isn't my entire brand about celebrating great music regardless of genre?  Shame on me.

The greatest song I ever saw performed in a live concert was Too Much Heaven by The Bee Gees.

The scene was the Jones Beach Amphitheater on Long Island sometime many moons ago.  I was trying to impress a girl from the office who idolized Barry Gibb and bought two tickets in the center of the fourth row.  The scene was maddening.  A mob of coked-up women ready to throw their panties at Barry, escorted by italian guys from Brooklyn and Queens decked out in tight pants and gold chains.

Fearing I might be recognized at such an event, I was wearing very dark sunglasses and trying not to be so tall.

The show started and I was floored.  The music and performances were impeccable.  Stayin' Alive, Jive Talkin',  Nights On Broadway.  One song better than the next.  The crowd and the band were one.  This was a happening.

As the concert entered its chill down before the big finale, the brothers gathered behind a single microphone directly above us.  Robin, Barry, Maurice - left to right.  They began singing a soft version of Too Much Heaven.

Nobody gets too much heaven no more
Its much harder to come by,  I'm waiting in line

Never in my life have I heard three voices come together with such precision.  Aside from the pitch and harmonies, there were the dynamics.  Each one intently listening to the other, leaning in, leaning out.  Three men creating one perfect sound into that single microphone.

I was mesmerized.  It was beautiful.

As the song ran through the second verse and chorus, Barry's voice begins to soar and he lets go with breathtaking falsetto runs that gave me goose bumps.  At the end of the run Robin and Maurice lean in and sing:

Loving's such a beautiful thing

To which Barry lowers his voice and follows:

You make my world a summer day
Are you just a dream that fades away?

It was perfection.  As they head back into the opening verse, they look at each other with Robin nodding in appreciation.  I have never witnessed a better performance and probably never will.

So there it is, the greatest concert performance I've ever seen.  Go ahead, call me names.  Molly Hatchet could never sing like that.

Click Here to watch The Bee Gees perform Too Much Heaven.

Comments

  1. 68.1 million views can't be wrong, can they Gig? Great post! I share the same shame of really enjoying well crafted, select, electrifying songs for what they represent. And I have a funny story of getting called out at a Village People show (no pun intended) I snuck into while in high school, where the club's house photographer was my A.V. teacher...busted! Thanks for being righteous to EVERY groove!

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    1. Thanks Mr. Beans !!!

      Watch out for that Indian, he is really a devil !!!

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  2. There is no such thing as shame. Not when you're writing to someone whose 2nd best moment was this year at Flo-Rida's show....

    It was topped by Ryan Adams singing to me at Red Rocks, my most favorite of his songs ever "Everybody Knows". Ahhhhh....

    So, shouldn't we all just consider ourselves lucky when we can see and appreciate these moments when they visit?

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    1. Theresa, Flo Rida wouldn't be a bad show. My biggest fear would be walking around singing Welcome To My House every time I am in my domicile.

      Relative to Ryan Adams, you have a new favorite song !?! I needed to check the lyrics out and I think I get it.

      Either way, seeing him at Red Rocks must have been magical. I listen to his Carnegie Hall recordings all the time. He is too good.

      My next show are The Specials up in NYC next weekend. Should be a blast.

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  3. The Specials should be just that! They're great.

    Re: Ryan Adams--magical is one way to describe a perfect summer evening with a full moon at Red Rocks with Ryan Adams. Simply doesn't get any better.

    I neglected to mention he did play my other favorite of his which was a moment I didn't expect nor will ever forget. Wasn't expecting it AT all. Check your email as I can't attach it here.

    Suffice it to say, it was mind blowing, and memory provoking at its very best. :)

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    1. PS - next up is Jason Isbell, same magical venue. Will keep you posted.

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  4. Wow, Ryan Adams then Jason Isbell. Jason Isbell should be fantastic. I can guess that SSSITS or anything else off of Southeasterner will be great. For me, the song I am hoping to catch him play is Alabama Pines. To get off the beaten track and drive along an Alabama Highway is a form of freedom.

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    1. BTW, my next concert (after The Specials) are The Pet Shop Boys.

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  5. I do like Alabama Pines, ever since you had me check it out. I really hope he plays Children of Children. He so amazing with his lyrics.

    Love Comes Quickly- favorite Pet Shop Boys song!!!!

    Oh, I am seeing Foreigner tonight- there is a venue by my house called Hudson Gardens- an outdoor grassy field and every summer they have concerts on Sunday nights and they are always older bands. Have seen so many there: B-52s (they really need to be seen inside), Los Lonely Boys- awesome guitarist and and singing, War-had no idea many were their songs, last year saw George Thoroughgood there, Brian Setzer, - you get the idea.

    At another venue a few weeks ago I saw Peter Frampton and Lynyrd Skynyrd! Surprising amazing! Very fun, engaging...LOUD!! Did you know that Peter Frampton's Do You Feel Like We Do was recorded at SUNY Plattsburgh for the live album?

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  6. Somebody I know recently named their child Journey. This has led to lots of 70s band name-jokes, like Foreigner.

    Personally, I would like to see them play anything off the 1st album, Hot Blooded, Double Vision, and Jukebox Hero.

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