My Musical Bucket List

Living on the East Coast of Canada, can make for one hell of a time when trying to knock bands off of your musical bucket list. Sure we get the odd act roll into town from time to time, but its usually a band who were popular back in the 70’s or 80’s. Band A who had a bunch of hits in the 80’s is now hurting to put three thousand people into a little theater in New York City, so they decide that they might as well grace the more “off the beaten path” type areas. Which is exactly where we East Coasters come in. To be honest, if it wasn’t for some good luck and good friends I’d still be sitting here staring at my top five bands to see live, but instead I am now able to create an entire new list.

My original top 5 were (in no particular order)

1 – Billy Joel – June 1st, 2009 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont.

A good friend of mine spontaneously bought tickets for this show months in advance. After family members said that they were unable to go, I was next on the list. Billy Joel has been a constant main stay in my musical collection from the very beginning. I couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t say no to this. And it did not disappoint. Start to finish he rocked the stage musically and personally. Amazing artist, amazing show and I’m glad that I caught him before he had to start tuning his instruments down two whole steps to sing his songs.

2 – U2 – July 30th, 2011 on Magnetic Hill, Moncton, NB.

One day shy of my birthday, and what better way to spend it than camping out for a few nights with a great group of friends and finishing it off with the most epic concert I’ve ever witnessed. It had rained for two days prior, and the morning of, this show, but about an hour before hand, the rain stopped. The musical gods knew that there were 60 thousand people waiting to hear, arguably, one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Although Bono didn’t have the range he once did, there was zero disappointment in this show. As I stated earlier, the entire production was epic. The sound was massive, the stage was gigantic and the spectacle of it all was breath taking. It will be tough to see another show like that one.

3 – Muse – Oct. 21, 2010 at Colisee Pepsi, Quebec City, QC.

Who’s up for a road trip? Another ticket purchase which was spur of the moment, which was once again headed up by some good friends. I didn’t get into Muse until later on in their career (Black Holes and Revelations, 2006) but after dipping into their earlier collection I was hooked. I would even go as far as to say that I prefer the earlier albums to their later ones. (but still enjoy the entire library) The crowd at the Colisee was pumped up, and absolutely ate up every single falsetto note that Bellamy threw at them. Bringing a fantastic light show, along with moveable risers for each band member, Muse started the show off loud and intense and kept that moving for almost two hours. I had some trouble with my hearing afterwards, but that was the only complaint.

4 – Matchbox 20 – Oct. 3rd, 2003 at The Halifax Metro Center, Halifax, NS

Guilty as charged. I spent some years listening to Third Eye Blind, The Goo Goo Dolls, Spin Doctors and Matchbox 20. And yes I’ve had the chance to catch 3 out of those 4 acts live, but Matchbox 20 were at the top of their game when they blew threw Halifax in 2003. A fantastic performance from a band who were still at their peak. Not to sure I would go out of the way to see them live now, but at the time they were super high on my list.

5 – Bloc Party – Sept. 15th, 2008 at The Marquee Club, Halifax NS

Quite possibly my favorite band. Silent Alarm is still regularly played on my iTunes, and I remember saying, just prior to this show being announced, that if I could only see one band live at any specific time during their careers that it would be Bloc Party right there and then. Two weeks later the show is announced (and followed by a 2nd sold out night) and my life is complete. If I were to guess, I’d say that the Marquee had a capacity of roughly 700 people, so the show was small and intimate, yet the band still tore the place down. Opening with Song For Clay (Disappear Here), and finishing with the techno dance track, Flux, Bloc Party, over the course of and hour and a half, had established that they were not a band one would sit back and take in. They were exciting, loud, had good stage presence, were musically tight, and played everything that everyone wanted to hear. Even though I’ve scratched them off of my list, I would absolutely go out of my way to see this band again.

And so you have it. Five bands that I needed to see before the inability to see live music ever reared it’s ugly head in my life. I’ve begun the process of starting a new list, but haven’t quite perfected it, so that will have to wait for another day.

About the author


Jeff is one-fourth of the group that makes up HAFILAX. His usual ramblings can be read right here on the website. If reading isn't your thing, he also hosts the Basement Tapes podcast.