In continuation of my top 10 concerts post from last night, I now present rankings 5-1.
#5: Coldplay, Red Rocks (CO) 
This was previously # 3 on my 2005 list, but was a really strong contender. This was a last-minute opportunity to go see Red Rocks for the first time, to see a band that I had heard little about at the time (“Didn’t they sing that ‘Yellow’ song on the ABC commercials?” This show took my Red Rocks virginity away, and thus has a special place in my heart. It rained the entire time we were there, and not a drizzle, but it poured throughout the concert, but Coldplay’s intensity and passion made it worth it. An image from that night burned itself into my memory, that I still remember vividly: during “Clocks” they flashed a wide green laser across the sky over the crowd, which is cool enough on it’s own, but the pouring rain broke up all of the particles of light. I also loved that the band was courteous of their rain-drenched fans and basically had no pause before the encore.
#4: Better Than Ezra, UNC Ballroom, Greeley, CO 
We had conflicting plans for this night: either go see 311 for the 3rd time at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, or go check out Better Than Ezra – the guys who sang that “Good” song, and a bunch that I heard on the radio over the years. Bethany and I took a chance and went with Matt to see Better Than Ezra, and it almost topped my “Best Concert” list. There must not have been more than 300 people there, but Better Than Ezra played as if they were in front of a crowd of 10,000. I’ve been to a lot of “shows” put on by bands, but these guys put on a concert. The combination of great music, a band that had a fantastic stage presence, and the company of good friends – how could we not fall in love with every song?
#3: Five For Fighting – Acoustic Show, Bluebird Theater, Denver 
I fell in love with Five for Fighting when he opened up for the Goo Goo Dolls concert in 2002. The sincerity conveyed by John Ondrasik – in both the music and performance – really spoke to my heart as a fellow musician. I wasn’t originally big on acoustic shows, but this Five For Fighting show taught me to love acoustic shows. The Bluebird Theater is an incredibly intimate venue, and my buddy Fred and I got to sit in the 2nd row, basically 8 feet away from John. Every song was a story, and John told it in both words and song. The best part was that we left the show with my friends thinking that I must have known someone to get these ticks – to such an intimate show.
#2: Dave Matthews Band – Night 4, Red Rocks, CO 
I had a raw nerve when it came to my favorite band. They jipped Denver in 2004 when the skipped the city. I guess you couldn’t blame them, considering that a knife hit the stage when they played the Pepsi Center in 2003, but I was quick to forgive when they offered the olive branch of 4 nights at Red Rocks, and the $35 I spent on a Warehouse membership that enabled me to go not one but all 4 nights was the best money I had ever spent. From Friday through Monday, I made the nightly commute from Fort Collins down to Red Rocks, and experienced my favorite band in my favorite venue. The first night and the last night were with my sister, while the second and third nights were with my relatively new girlfriend (who is now my wife). The 4th night was a late-addition show, due in part to the demand, but also became a tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which occurred the week before.
My sister and I managed to get 3rd row seats, right of the center of Red Rocks. The setlist was killer, especially playing an awesome cover of Bob Marley’s Exodus, as well as an awesome edition of Louisiana Bayou, which had become an anthem in tribute to the Hurricane Katrina victims. This show was amazing, one of the two most amazing shows that I have been to.
(Still) #1: Dave Matthews Band, Mile High Stadium, Denver 
My wife wondered if Red Rocks would usurp this show’s ranking, and I thought long and hard about it, but decided ultimately that this was the best concert I had ever been to – in large part because the stars aligned for this concert. This was the first concert that I had ever been to, the third time I tried to get tickets to Dave Matthews Band (after being my favorite band for 5 years), and the fact that I was gifted with seats in Section A-1, Row 1, Seats 3 & 4.
48 hours earlier, I was coming home from doing mission work on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and had some life-changing experiences while I was there. I was still processing it all, but one thing that suck with me was being in a place of wilderness and peacefulness earlier in the weekend, only to be in a sea of people 2 days later.
Looking back at the set list, they played a lot of songs that they hadn’t yet recorded at the time, but ones that I have grown to love over the next 14 times I’ve seen them. To top the night of, DMB played All Along The Watchtower (which in itself was not unusual), but with opener Be Harper playing the solo on slide guitar (which was unusual an awesome). When Dave Matthews was playing his guitar riff before the solo, he came over to our side of the stage – and I swear – looked me right in the eyes. Awkward bro-mance/man-crush moment? Yes, but awesome nonetheless.
Oh, and I discovered the music of Ozomatli at this show, so all the more reason to make this my #1 concert of all-time.
So with that you now have my top 10 concerts – I would love to hear yours, and what made them awesome!