Top five concerts of all times

I have never really thought about lining them up like that, but here they are, my favourite 5 concerts of all times, as asked by Daily Rock Report. I don’t choose by absolute quality but rather how they felt at those specific moments.

1. Suicidal Tendencies, Vienna, 1994: this one caught me (and others) by surprise and we still haven’t quite recovered. This is their concert from Madrid a year earlier:

2. House of Pain, Vienna, 1994 (?): I was on the stage with them! (Pulled out from the pit for suffering, but still!)

3. Rock in Riem, Germany, 1994, two-day festival with Clawfinger, Rage against the Machine, Therapy?, Aerosmith & Peter Gabriel (the first three bands I saw repeatedly over the years and they always more than delivered, and during the last two we were resting in the beer tent). This line-up of all the line-ups included Extreme (!), The Breeders, Manic Street Preachers, Soul Asylum, Nina Hagen, Crowded House, the Cranberries, Bonnie Raitt, Richie Havens, Paradise Lost, and ok also Smashing Pumpkins – so that we weren’t TOO angry that we missed Radiohead since they played first and our bus driver got lost.)

4. Pearl Jam (I saw them 8 times, each one was special, narrowing them down to three: Budapest 1996 – because it was the first, Ljubljana 2000 – because it was at home, Prague 2012 – because it was the happiest).

5. Urban Species, Paris, 90’s: Another unexpected perfect one

(Honorary mention: Plavi orkestar, Ljubljana, 1984; Dire Straits, Ljubljana, 1985; Michelle Shocked, Vienna, 90’s; Guns ‘n Roses + Faith No More + Soundgarden, Vienna, 1992; Ice-T & Body Count, Vienna, 1993)

These are just the very best, the other hundreds were merely good (ok, there were a few bad ones too, but really just a few).

It is obvious that all these dates are a bit removed, but I’m not done yet, just a bit more picky. Last year I heard Pearl Jam in Trieste as well as Caparezza and Paolo Nutini in Roma, this year possibly Manu Chao in Slovenia. And below is how I like to look at concerts. It’s interesting that nowadays I think my chest is examined for other reasons. In Italy nobody reads.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

From Iggy Pop and The Stooges gig in Tivoli, Ljubljana, 2008. Photo: Zedd

100 words for D.

And quietly, without a sound, some dear people are heading somewhere else. 
That's what it said on the desk.
Ugly dream.
Past friends, future friends, another song of the same band says.
I know your handwriting. I know you to the depths of your signature, I once wrote, for you. You never read it, it was between past and future.
We never know when we shall meet again. I spurred it on a little and invited you to see the reunion show. For a past birthday.
Today it’s here again. Have two songs, one dog and me who is staying.

Capa party

One of the biggest surprises during my initial online communication with you came in the shape of your favourite singer. There is SO much one can tell about a person from their favourites. And in your case it is this crazy man. I’m very happy that we got to hear him live together.

His latest album is called Museica and he is a bit of a curator, taking us to Van Gogh, Dada, Giotto Beat and fake Modigliani heads, planted about 30 years ago near Firenze and messing with experts’ heads for several months until the real artists proved the joke with a film of their work, and now got invited to join him on stage for his concert in Rock in Roma where we saw him last week (Would the real Modigliani heads please stand up?):


His concert is a classroom of i-don’t-give-a-fuck, of things as they used to be, of things that really matter. Whole families arrive, with little children in tow, as if to a picnic. They sing and jump and dance and yell. There is hope for Italy.

One song is about his native Puglia and how all problems are swept under the sand for the sake of tourism (with ciao, Phil, Anselmo thrown in):


In one song he compares Van Gogh to a youth of today, with the jumping Van Gogh joining him on stage:


London, Paris, Anverse, 


megastore, iper, multiplex.

(an interpretation and lyrics here)


He is not a persona gratta in Italian media therefore I was quite astonished by the interest (and by the smoothness of over 20,000 people dispersing after the concert). What I especially appreciate is that he is humble, happy, hilarious and never aggressive just justifiably angry where required.

Let me finish with a song that was not played at the concert but I wish to have it here. At the beginning he says not to hate him for his politics or his squeaky voice, if we have to hate him we should hate him for this song. And then he goes and spoils the endings of several movies, not just the ones with Kevin Spacey (even though there are enough of his to go around), and so we learn that Marley the Dog dies in the end, that Bruce Willis is dead in Sixth Sense, that Sid kills Nancy and that in the Others it is them who are the ghosts (what the fuck did you expect after the Sixth Sense?). He doesn’t forget Darth Vader either. But, the winner is, and remains, Kevin Spacey.

Robba di Capa

The concert approaching! Glad to see an artist acknowledge his influences. Also I love the video and the multiple meanings of the word cover. Take it away, crazy man.

Caparezza: Cover

In principio era il verbo, gerundio, Innuendo
Il giocoliere dei pianeti in pieno allenamento
creò la terra fragile come quella degli Yes
Leggenda come Bob nel very best
Poi l’uomo e la donna nudi, two virgins
nove mesi, l’ostetrica “su spingi”
dal piacere sconosciuto e condiviso
il mio cuore pulsa come la pulsar dei Joy Division
Il parto nella piscina è andato bene, sai
ci ho trovato pure il dollaro di Nevermind
Per i fumetti il primo dei tragitti
signora Janis mi dia le strips di Cheap Thrills
In classe mangio una banana che mi dà
quindici minuti di notorietà
underground, Velvet
foto di gruppo ma non vedrai il rapper
la mia scuola si chiama Sergeant Pepper’s

I was born and I will rap
I was dead until the cover
I raise my head and I realize
that all my life was on a cover

Crescere diventa una tortura come vodoo
ho gli occhi del ragazzino di War U2
Meno sognanti, più disillusi, più tristi
il mondo mi dà le spalle come Bruce Springsteen
Paura del buio che non cede
Demoni sugli alberi come gli Iron Maiden
Nella dannata adolescenza che ora mi dipinge
come un cazzone con i jeans, Sticky Fingers
tutto ciò che so
è che bramo il microfono dell’Eminem Show
suonare musica per le masse
da casse rosse come quelle dei Depeche Mode
fare concerti così fighi che li rivedrei
tra rock e circo Doors Strange Days
Hot Rats, capelli ricci, da dove sbuchi?
non lo so ma sono esploso, Green Day Dookie

I was born and I will rap
I was dead until the cover
I raise my head and I realize
that all my life was on a cover
Cover over me

Gli adulti sono grassi e malinconici
spesso prendono granchi più dei Prodigy
ma io mi spezzerei la schiena in ogni kermesse
pur di fare un passo avanti come i Madness
ho un bel sound, ma poi lo perdo
e passo l’estate a dar da mangiare alle capre Pet Sounds
infelice mi imbarco in uno di questi boeing
che si schianterà pilotato dai Beastie Boys
e infatti perde quota e qui rischio
l’espressione è il primo disco dei King Crimson
mi metto a pregare
ma dall’84 il mio angelo è fuori a fumare con i Van Halen
casomai mi cercaste
sono tra le carcasse di Master Of Puppets
come uno spettro veglierò su di voi
dalla faccia oscura della luna dei Pink Floyd

I was born and I will rap
I was dead until the cover
I raise my head and I realize
that all my life was on a cover
Cover over me

Pearl Jam drabble (100 words)

An extra ticket waits for somebody to complete the expected 30,000 people. Sis told her facebook, put an ad online, nothing.

I tell her to go wider, call long lost people. I can hear her thinking over the phone. She will.

Later, a message: “Done, the ticket goes to the best possible candidate”. Do I want to be told or prefer a surprise?

It only takes a second.

“Sašo Jovanovič.”

“Come on, Manja,” in mock disappointment.

And only she knows that no, I wasn’t cheating. Her gallant prom date didn’t inform me of her call.

She did say best possible.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈


Another time after another PJ concert: Prague, 2012, leaving here. Photo: MM


Prvega nikoli ne pozabiš. / You never forget the first.

—Maja / —May


R+F in Capalbio. Photo: MM

We’re not talking uncles here (I have two and they came into my life at the same time – or better I came into theirs). We’re talking concerts.

And when I was 13, you took me to my first. It was Uriah Heep in Ljubljana Tivoli Hall. It was exactly on my birthday. And two years later, almost on my birthday, you took me to my second big one, Dire Straits, again in Tivoli. This time we were in the standing area and it made all the difference.

In between and later came Bajaga and Plavi orkestar, Spandau Ballet, Zabranjeno pušenje, and when I was 17, again almost on my birthday, Duran Duran in Munich, my biggest concert wish since I discovered this feeling. (And only now I see that they released an – unofficial – live album from this concert.)

I saw, or rather heard, Duran Duran again two years ago when they came to Ljubljana. It was pre-glasses, and I was devastated: my eye-sight was too poor to see on stage, so all I was left to do was listen to their polished playback break down after a few notes into Save a prayer so they had to reboot. And check out John later, at home, online, when uploads started to come in. (Nah, I’m mean, it was not only bad.)

Sometimes you took me to the cinema too. I remember how, after seeing Pink Floyd’s The Wall at quite an early age, you turned to me and asked: “But did you understand anything of it at all?” (A few years later, my Poljane secondary school sent all its students to watch just this film in the cinema on the day of culture or some such, which I found incredibly cool of them.)

I can see that it was you who have instilled the love of concerts in me. And you have shown me that sometimes wishes do come true. If you’re lucky in geography, and uncles.

Happy birthday, tiček Lako, and come back so that we can go somewhere SKP (together) again.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Since all the concerts where we were together are pre-internet, here is a song by Mark Knopfler from his Belgrade concert last year. Some people and things just never get old.