I was there!!! Funny, I remember it being quite good, but then I was 15 and we were up on the grass at the back where all the fun was going on. (Blur actually congratulated us from the stage, I remember that.)
The performance of the 3 bands was great, and security did relax when Blur came on. But the experience at the Amphitheater was terrible. Though after the show, we had a group of girls flash us, so that was pretty cool.
Worst: every tragically hip concert I ever saw (about 4-5 times). They were always out of tune and so stoned and drunk they barely knew they were on stage. Their soundman was horrid and needed to have his ears checked.
Best: probably a toss up of 3 ... none were "concerts" in the pure sense of the term but they were live shows. But I had the pleasure of mixing them all (monitors for 2, FOH for one).
One was Larry Gowan, doing a small promo tour (about 6 dates) for one of his last solo albums ... band was Larry (of course) on keys and vocals, Paul Delong on drums, Peter Fredette on Bass, and Terry (Tony?) Grier (from red rider) on guitar. Incredible energy, amazing playing, and the sound was incredible! I ended up doing all 6 dates with them mixing monitors because the monitor guy that was supposed to do the run with them bailed at the last minute and they were very happy with what I did as the house guy at the first show. It was a great run!
Another was in a small club in North Bay, ON (Wylders, where I used to be the soundman for a couple years), and I did monitors there for a Xydeco performer called Chubby Carrier. His band was _amazing_ .. I've seen and mixed a lot of bands and these guys just blew my mind. I knew I was in for a treat when Cubby .. the lead singer and accordian player walked up to me and introduced himself. He said "Hi, 'm Chubby and everyone says I'm the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion." And he was. Distortion/Overdrive, wah-wah and a whammy pedal (which he borrowed for the evening from my room mate) were all used very well. The drummer was amazing, reminded me a lot of Dave Weckyl, and the bassist could have been Sam Kinnison's twin brother (but he was bigger than Sam in all aspects) and he could really lay it down!
Lastly, it would have to be something I had the pleasure of mixing FOH (front of house) for, and that was violin virtuoso Mark Wood. At the time he has just released the Voodoo Violence album and was touring around with some session guys from the NY underground scene playing all kinds of fairly heavy guitar oriented rock, both covers and originals. Incredible band, awesome sound, super nice guys. That man made sounds out of a violin that I didn't know where possible (they had no guitarist, he did all the heavy stuff on violin). For those that don't know who Mark Wood is, you may have heard his music before and not realized it. He's also the brain (and violinist) behind the Trans Siberian Orchestra, and he also wrote the theme for the Saraevo Olympics!
Worst, hands down... The Cult. They sounded terrible, they had a bad attitude and whined throughout the show. I was really into the cult at the time and this just ended it right then and there. Saw them at the Coliseum in Edmonton.
Best, hands down... Lenny Kravitz, opening for the Cult on the same night. He was spellbinding. Just played from the heart and communicated with the audience who was totally into it. When the cult came on we listened to two songs and walked out. We were exhausted after Lenny, it was that good.
Best, second place... The Hip, great sound (excellent production), great songs, very interactive, very improvisational at times. I dont go to a concert to just hear an album version of a song. Gordie was awesome. Surprisingly this was at the Saddledome where i have seen many sub-par concerts, or concerts where the often lame crowd refuses to get into the music at all.
Worst-Last time Kiss played the Saddledome, 'bout 4? years ago. Sound levels so loud (and I like my music loud...) and Saddledome acoustics so crappy you couldn't tell what was being played. Sometimes they were 10 or 12 bars into a song before I recognized it. Situation exacerbated by the drunk and stoned idiot standing, jumping, waving, next to me. After the third elbow to my temple, I explained to him in clear, precise terms what would occur should it happen again. Then, he became the annoying, apologetic, stoned, drunk idiot. It was almost worse than the shots to the head...
Best-hands down, Pink Floyd, BC Place, December 1987, right after university finals. What should have been an eleven hour road trip turned into 18 after we encountered blizzard conditions on the Trans-Canada approaching Banff. The highway was being closed behind us as we passed through Roger's pass. Helluva trip! Acoustics were so-so, the mere size of the venue was a rush in itself. Effects outstanding for their time. Besides, it was Pink Floyd!
Tied for second (both events were dreams come true) would be the Guess Who reunion concert a couple of years ago and Lighthouse, who played the outdoor amphitheatre at the Calgary Stampede probably 10 years ago. Had a chance to sit down with Skip and the boys afterwards and blow the froth off a few. Very interesting evening.
I had a similar experience as you although thankfully not as bad. At the time I was so annoyed I wrote to a local newspaper and my letter is on the web for posterity... much to the annoyance of my wife who says I sound like a real old fogey.
The worst person I ever saw in concert was Bob Dylan in the mid 80's. The best were Brian Ferry (mid 80's) and Crowded House (late 80's). I've also seen The Sattelites many times in Toronto and they're always fantastic.
My Buddy: Hey you wanna see Gwar tonight?
Me: Who's Gwar?
My Buddy: Oh, we're going
Oh, dear! Gwar is not a good band to see unprepared... That's like taking a person to "Rocky Horror Picture Show" without any warning.
Worst: No Doubt in Singapore, 1997. It was the last stop of the tour, and Gwen Stefani was completely out of it. Great lines of the night included: "So, you guys are from Singapore? Does that mean you SING POORLY?" (she laughed for about a minute at her own joke, and the audience of several thousand fans was dead silent. Embarrassing.) At 17, I had pretty much outgrown my love of No Doubt already, but the concert clinched it for me.
Best: I'm going to say Pearl Jam because they leapt on stage with no opening band, and played three encores. Almost no banter, either, just music. The way a concert should be!
"If you want something done right, kill Baldrick before you start." -Blackadder
Best - Rush at CNE stadium in 1976. They were a trio of kids in their early 20s who had just started to really break. They had something to prove, and did a great job of it that night.
Runner up - Yes in the round at Maple Leaf Gardens. This was the original line-up, Squire Anderson, Wakeman, White and Howe. I had to make a choice between 1st row floors for Yes and tickets to see a young ACDC playing Massey Hall with the late Bon Scott. Sorry I missed that one, but Yes didn't disappoint.
Worst - Neil Yonge Tron tour. The album sucked and Neil made it clear as soon as he walked on the stage that he wouldn't be playing any of his good tunes that night.
Runner up - Alice Cooper riot at CNE stadium. We wasted a whole day getting down there, sitting through the opening act (Zon) and waiting, waiting, waiting. They announced he was on his way, and later in the building, but as it turns out he never even made it into the country. 20,000 pissed off kids wen nuts when at about 10:00 they called off the show.
Bob Dylan this year in Victoria, Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
Mr Dylan doing re-melodied and completely unintelligible versions of some songs that might have been his in front of the original Noisy Nashville bar band. Terrible sound, HF distorted all to heck. Ushers still letting people in and shining flashlights in our eyes three songs into the set. Complete waste of $160.00. Nobody in the box office when we left early, no staff to help. Emailed asking for a refund (from home, while the show was still on), they said nope, shoulda gone to the box office (the closed one, remember), besides you have to contact House of Blues. HOB never replied of course.