It’s that time of the week again when our resident blogger drops his latest thoughts on the world of rock.

And today Self Made Man compares and contrasts the hopes and expectations of rock fans and footy fanatics. 

 

Five Live Breakfast show was running a competition the other day asking listeners to name their best-ever live gig.
Within minutes, the entries came flooding in _ The Who at The Valley, Rolling Stones at Knepworth in 1976, Led Zeppelin at the same venue three years later, Pink Floyd at Earls Court.
The list went on and on and on and……until presenter Nicky Campbell came to the sensible conclusion that there is no such thing as the definitive best-ever gig.
I can probably name the ten best football matches I’ve been to, my ten favourite European cities or the ten best real ales I’ve quaffed but gigs?
I’ve lost count of how many I’ve been to in the past four decades but there must be at least 20 in contention for No. 1. In fact, make that 30 or even 40.
The big difference between football matches and rock concerts is that I head to the former hoping to be entertained but head to the latter expecting to be.
Perhaps one in ten matches are classics, another three or four are exciting but it’s a fair bet that two or three are pretty dull and one or two are real stinkers..
As for concerts, I can probably count on one hand the number I’ve not enjoyed _ and even then, personal judgements are fairly subjective
I remember been quite bored during a Wishbone Ash gig in the early-80s but that was more to do with the fact that at the time, I knew little of their material. The mate I went with swears to this day, it’s one of the best live events he’s ever attended.
The Darkness were a big disappointment when I saw them at Newcastle Arena at the peak of their powers but my two elder sons who were around 11 and 13 at the time absolutely loved it.
There have been other concerts which have not lived up to expectations for reasons that have had nothing to do with the quality of the music.
For example, it’s far more likely you’re going to enjoy a gig more if you are sitting dead centre, four or five rows from the front than if you are at the back of an auditorium with an obstructed view.
So what makes the perfect gig? High class musicianship of course, perfect sound, a familiar set-list with perhaps one or two surprises thrown into the mix and a gig lasting at least 90 minutes.
For me, they are all pre-requisites. But then other factors can enter the equation too. Dazzling effects, lighting, lasers, spectacular openings, special guests.
And that’s not all. A favourite gig might have as much to do with who you go with _ a loved one, a large group of pals, even your kids.
How much you’ve had to drink or indeed what you’ve smoked are also ingredients.
I’ve deliberately delayed giving my choices because it’s almost impossible to narrow it down to a handful.
But going back to my youth, I loved Lindisfarne concerts for their unique atmosphere, seeing bands like UFO and Rainbow in the flesh for the first time were memorable experiences.
I’ll never forget the first-ever Castle Donington nor seeing AC/DC during their Ballbreaker tour in 1997, my first live gig for almost a decade and one which rekindled my passion for concerts.
More recently, Fleetwood Mac ticked almost every box when I saw them in 2003. After going over 20 years without seeing Rush live, I’ve seen them on their last three UK tours and they have improved every time.
For pure musicianship, Joe Bonamassa and Mark Knopfler take some beating, Paul Rogers, whether singing with Bad Company, Queen or as a solo artist,  remains the greatest singer I’ve ever heard.
Deep Purple and The Scorpions were pleasant surprises in that they sounded as fresh, vibrant and classy on their most recent tours as they did in their prime.
The same goes for AC/DC and Aerosmith, who still possess that same ability to hold an audience of over 50,000 in the palm of their hands as they ever did.
There will be significantly less than 50,000 at the Gatehead Sage tomorrow night when I see 10CC in concert so perhaps it won’t get on any shortlist for atmosphere.
But hopefully, it will tick most of the boxes and join the other 30 or 40 contenders for best concert I’ve ever been to!
Ian Murtagh