Last week, as an online component with the article "A Day in the Life of First Avenue," we asked readers to name their favorite concerts of all time (or at least 37 years) at the famed Minneapolis nightclub. The responses were swift and plentiful. More impressive, they reflected the diversity that makes First Ave what it is.
Here are some highlights. You can view the rest online at www.startribune.com/poplife.
Back in '83 or '84, a friend gave me her real ID that got me through the doors to some of the best memories of my life. The Red Hot Chili Peppers playing an awesome show (wearing only tube socks). Jane's Addiction in the Entry (Perry Farrell swinging from the pipes). Going to see Peter Murphy, with some warmup band no one had ever heard of: Nine Inch Nails.
MARY CORCORAN, NEW YORK CITY
This will show my age, but my favorite was Johnny Winter back in the early '70s. Al Kooper was also great. The biggest disappointment was the fact that the Allman Brothers Band were booked into First Avenue in . Just a couple of weeks before the show, Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident.
BRUCE GAARDER, DES MOINES
Lucinda Williams in October 2003. I've never seen an artist connect with the audience and feed off that connection like she did.
JON ANDERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
James Brown, '84 or '85. I think the night before was Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and what a difference a day makes. He was fantastic. He wore the cape and he did the splits. True showman.
LYNN HOGANSON, TUJUNGA, CALIF.
Jayhawks in summer of 1995. My first time in First Ave as a 16-year-old.
Korn in fall 1996. First time they played there, the day after their second and last good CD came out. A little band named Limp Bizkit opened for them 8 months before their first CD came out and blew everyone away. Three short years later they turned into the worst band in America.
CHRIS TRAUTMAN, MAPLE GROVE
Tool 1993; Nirvana 1991 (I still have the $6 ticket stub); Lenny Kravitz 1991; Nine Inch Nails 1990.
CHRIS MILLER, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
Nirvana on 10/14/91. It was packed, the house was shaking. [Kurt Cobain] smashed his guitar. The crowd was just wowed. Perfect night, perfect show, except for the Minneapolis cop that stole Kurt's jacket.
JOHN ANDERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
Mike Watt touring for his album "Ball Hog and Tugboat," '94 or '95. Eddie Vedder on vocals and Dave Grohl on drums. Dave was so sick he was throwing up after almost every song.
RYAN CRUM, BIGFORK, MONT.
Pearl Jam, March 1992. The band was on the verge of hitting it big. Watching Eddie Vedder wander around the balcony during the set, and holding onto him while he was hanging over the crowd.
TOM STEMAN, ST. CLOUD, MINN.
Beastie Boys with Firehose, 1992 or 1993. MCA walked out into the audience, held vertical by peoples' hands.
That Prince show this past summer was getting there, and then it was over.
JOE MELAND, NEW YORK CITY
Any Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the early '80s for the "all ages" hard-core shows. I distinctly remember lining up outside the entrance, sparring back and forth with the crazy drunk guys who frequented the liquor store across the street. Ah, what a time and place! Hüsker Dü, Black Flag, Loud Fast Rules ...
PARKER HAEG, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.
Ween and First Avenue is like peanut butter and jelly.
DAVE (INFO UNKNOWN)
Hüsker Dü, Trip Shakespeare, Run Westy Run, Charlatans U.K. The Jesus and Mary Chain in the '90s with their fog and lights. The Descendents in 1987 when they recorded a live album.
I never saw a good Replacements show at First Ave.
GETTINGJIGGY (INFO UNKNOWN)
From 1989-90: The The, with Johnny Marr practically hiding behind his guitar, was the best sound ever! One afternoon as I made my purchases from Northern Lights, I walked by to see the doors were open. I walked in to the 'Mats "practicing" tracks from "Don't Tell a Soul." A free show for 15 minutes, before I was told to leave.
MARTIN JACOBSON, OTSEGO, MINN.
The Pretenders in the early '80s. I shot a few games of pool during the opening band's set. The guy holding the table was a tall guy with blond hair and a British accent. When I sunk the 8-ball somebody said, "You just beat a pretender." Then I realized he meant a "Pretender" -- specifically, founding member and lead guitarist, the late James Honeyman-Scott.
STEPHEN MONSON, GOLDEN VALLEY
Adam and the Ants! Early '80s. My parents chaperoned. Adam ran onstage and I started crying. Cried through the whole show. Never got to see him again (sigh).
GEORGIANNA DAVIES, EAGAN
OutKast in December of 1998. They came right when their third album first got serious mainstream airplay. A sold-out crowd. It was 70 degrees in December (in MN!), and cats was sweating and dancing their asses off.
JOHN LABREE, MINNEAPOLIS
The Rock for Choice benefit concert in 1992. How can you beat seeing Soul Asylum, Jayhawks, Run Westy Run, Trip Shakespeare, Soundgarden and the Cows all in one night?
SCOTT FAVREAU, ST. LOUIS PARK
I have seen many great shows, but the best band I have ever seen there is Soul Asylum. For a plethora of reasons, their most recent show (Dec. 21) is my favorite. They changed up their set list, played with an enormous amount of energy and still "peeled the paint" off the ceiling.
JAMES WISHART, CHASKA
A recent favorite: Gogol Bordello. I remember the bartender, my husband and I all trying to figure out what was burning in the garbage, dousing it with water from a pickle jar, when in reality there's a nearly raging fire blocking the doorway. What a night. God bless First Ave. It's one of the things that makes Minneapolis so great.
JOY SUMMERS, ST. PAUL