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I see them in concert every time I can

Here at Radio Milwaukee, we’re all about new music. But … everyone probably has a favorite band/artist that are a “Can’t Miss” -- who we see every time they come to town, or we’d even travel to another city to see.

For me it’s not just one. It’s like a dozen. But I’ll limit it to three.

Me, daughter Abby and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick

Simply one of the greatest live bands, ever. Forty years in, they still do 100+ dates a year, often way more than that. I’ve lost count, but I’ve seen them well north of 75 times, and never a bad show.

I’ve acquired lots of Cheap Trick artifacts over the years: dozens of Rick Nielsen’s guitar picks, set lists, backstage passes, you name it. My daughter’s second show was Cheap Trick at the Waukesha County Fair. She got to meet Rick (see the photo) and she loved it. If you like live music and haven’t seen CT live, rectify that. You won’t regret it.

The Rolling Stones

A no-brainer. What’s amazing about the Stones is that 50 years in, they’ve still got it. Sure, Keith isn’t as spry as he used to be but Mick sure is. I almost missed their Summerfest appearance this summer but got a last minute “miracle” ticket (from a listener!).

That would’ve been the first “miss” of the Stones playing in a city I was living in. But the streak’s intact, going all the way back to 1989. Another bucket list you’d be wise to check off sooner than later, if you haven’t yet.

Photo by Danny Clinch

The Hold Steady

Lest my list all my bands in my parents’ age range, I’m actually a year older than The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. I first saw them at House of Blues in Chicago New Year’s Day 2005 and they killed me.

In an era when a fair amount of Indie Rock bands wouldn’t dare show that they’re enjoying themselves, The Hold Steady proclaim it, every show.

Any Hold Steady fan knows Craig’s on-stage spiel “There is so much joy in what we do” by heart. And it’s heartfelt. They’ve had some personnel changes that affected their live sound (I still miss Franz Nicolay, sorry) but their shows are, pardon any perceived blasphemy, a religious experience.

Of the 25+ times I’ve seen them in the last decade -- in four states — a personal highlight was when I had the thrill of hosting their Studio Milwaukee session in July 2014.

So, what band or artist do you see every time you can? Why? What makes them so special to you?


Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee