Me picking a favorite band or musician feels like me picking a favorite book or author – impossible! But I have always loved live music and I’ve been fortunate enough to see some really awesome artists live and in person around the Midwest. This includes my very first concert which included seeing my beloved N*SYNC at the SoDak State Fair (how?!) in the late 90’s, but my tastes and shows have gotten a lot less pop-y since then.
In college I got a little more jam-band minded and managed to check Dave Matthews Band off my list during grad school. Some girlfriends and I drove to Kansas City to see them perform, which had been my dream for years at that point, and the show was super fun even if it made for an awfully long week of classes to follow all that there-and-back travel over the weekend. There was also a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in there somewhere, a trip to see Spoon at First Ave. in Minneapolis, MN, and a free Five for Fighting show at a friend’s college in Omaha, too.
Since then I’ve let my musical tastes wander where they’d like, and while I still have a lot of bucket list artists, just like DMB was, my list of “Already Seen”s is pretty fantastic.
It’s a toss up between Guster and Nahko on who I’ve seen more times live, but Guster has definitely been my longest love that’s gone the distance of both time and miles traveled to see. I saw them first in my early 20s both in Minne where they opened for John Mayer (meh; I was there for Guster, all the way) and somewhere in NE or IA shortly before we got married in 2006. Then it was seeing them with both the Omaha Symphony and then the Denver Symphony (in each respective city) with Ben, which happened to be his first concert experience and then his first Red Rocks trip, and with both shows being absolutely stellar. Guster never disappoints!
In more recent years, yoga brought me many a live music interest, including MC Yogi, Xavier Rudd, Trevor Hall (multiple shows), and eventually, for my first post-COVID concert, Rising Appalachia with LVDY as the opener in Denver. I probably would have cried anyway just to be at a live show again, but wow, both groups were incredible and I was so grateful to be in those open air spaces with such gorgeous music all around me.
Of course I don’t always have to travel very far to see my favorite musicians – sometimes they come right to me in good old Hastings, via The Listening Room at The Lark or the Flatwater Musical Festival at Prairie Loft. And of course I’m talking about The Talbott Brothers who are much loved by much of Hastings and thankfully they love us back by coming quite often to perform at both venues. While I love the outdoor vibe at Flatwater, there’s something really amazing about being at The Lark where you’re just right there next to the stage and everyone’s literally listening and being quiet while the music envelops the whole space and night. Plus Nick and Tyler are fun humans and good sports with their fans, including posing for pictures and also taking birthday requests which Ben did for me in March 2020 right as we were starting out with COVID lockdowns. The Talbott Brothers did an online show and he got them to sing “Happy Birthday” to me, “Jenni from Hastings” in the middle of it and I tell you what, even though a lot of life was hard at that time, that did not suck.
In writing this, I realize I’ve been to a lot of concerts and it excites me to think about just who I might see next; there are so many incredible choices out there!