1. Best concert of 2013 is hands-down The Cure at Foro Sol in Mexico City on Robert Smith's 54th birthday and moments after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. First time seeing one of the greatest alternative bands of all-time and it was glorious, a true spiritual awakening. The setlist was more than any fan could ever wish for.
From Slicing Up Eyeballs:
The Cure’s Robert Smith celebrates birthday with 4-hour, 50-song concert in Mexico City, 22 April 2013
We’ve been marveling at the length of The Cure’s sets on the band’s just-completed Latin American tour, but last night’s concert in Mexico City took the (birthday) cake: Celebrating his 54th birthday, Robert Smith led the band through a 50-song set that lasted 4 hours and 16 minutes — all after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake rattled the Foro Sol stadium.
According to Chain of Flowers, the band played a 25-song main set, then came back for four encores totaling another 25 songs — including variations of the Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me-, Disintegration- and Pornography-themed encores the band has been rotating in and out of its shows, and a 12-song final encore that included a pair of extremely rare Smith solo performances (“Three Imaginary Boys,” “Fire in Cairo”).
Marvel at the epic setlist below.
3. “The End of the World”
6. “In Between Days”
7. “Just Like Heaven”
8. “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”
9. “Prayers for Rain”
10. “Pictures of You”
12. “Sleep When I’m Dead”
13. “Play for Today”
14. “A Forest”
16. “The Walk”
17. “Mint Car”
18. “Friday I’m in Love”
19. “Doing the Unstuck”
22. “The Hungry Ghost”
23. “Wrong Number”
24. “One Hundred Years”
26. “The Kiss”
27. “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep”
30. “The Same Deep Water as You”
32. “Shake Dog Shake”
34. “A Strange Day”
35. “The Hanging Garden”
36. “Fascination Street”
37. “Charlotte Sometimes”
39. “Dressing Up”
40. “The Lovecats”
41. “The Caterpillar”
42. “Close to Me”
43. “Hot Hot Hot!!!”
44. “Let’s Go to Bed”
45. “Why Can’t I Be You?”
46. “Three Imaginary Boys” (Robert Smith solo)
47. “Fire in Cairo” (Robert Smith solo)
48. “Boys Don’t Cry”
49. “10:15 Saturday Night”
50. “Killing an Arab”
Honorable mentions to Morrissey, Portugal. The Man, Sleigh Bells, Nine Inch Nails and The Joy Formidable.
2. Morrissey at Hollywood High School. I've seen Morrissey many, many times before - he's been in better form and in worse. But this is precisely the type of venue he was born to perform in. And seeing him barely get through the set because of health reasons in this oh so intimate setting with such a checkered albeit glamorous past was life affirming and life altering. He eventually canceled his tour a show or two later - and all of this during the Duck Dynasty-Kimmel debacle, which was a portent of things to come. Morrissey is the poet laureate of GenXers, and this show only proves that. It now is an official DVD/digital download release (you can see me and my friend fleetingly a couple times). One for the annals of music history, for sure.
3. Portugal. The Man at Wiltern. Finally understood what face melting really meant. Never saw a light show quite as amazing as the one at a full P.TM show in a proper indoor venue (see: not festival setting). It opened my eyes to this band's true innovation and genius. "Evil Friends" is great but "In the Mountain In the Cloud" is one of the best albums of the last 10 years. They also were great at Coachella, even though they conflicted with Violent Femmes, who almost made this list.
4. Sleigh Bells at El Rey. No band jams harder live than Sleigh Bells. Sure, their "Bitter Rivals" was more like a half hour experimental transitional EP, but it also is the first where Alexis had full say in every number. They are already collaborating hard on album No. 4, which will shut all you mother-fucking naysayers up once and for all.
5. Nine Inch Nails at Lollapalooza, Made In America and Jimmy Kimmel. Didn't catch the full Tension Tour set but the videos were enough to make me hate myself for missing them at Staples. But great consolations at Lolla, MIA and Kimmel. Trent is a true music visionary and god, evidenced by the fantastic Hesitation Marks and 2013 tour. Please bring this to Coachella, Paul. There are oral favors in it for you if you do. P.S. I swallow.
6. The Joy Formidable at Life Is Beautiful Festival, Las Vegas. Had to break away from my grindr and SCRUFF apps obligations to catch this set, and am sure glad I did. Second time seeing them and this set only solidified their ranking as one of the best art rock bands making music today. Ritzy is the new Siouxsie Sioux and having the drummer right at the edge of the stage (see: Budgie) is just a brilliant move. Cannot wait for the follow up to Wolf's Law next year.
And finishing off the Top 10 Live Shows of 2013:
7. New Order at Lollapalooza then Coachella - 1st time seeing one of my favorite bands (Lolla set had more energy and less dust)
8. Muse at Staples - fan waaaay before Twilight ruined them
9. FIDLAR/Wavves at The Echo - get topless, mosh, slam, stage dive (repeat as necessary)
10. The Orwells at Lollapalooza - cannot wait for their Coachella '14 set
- also a shout out to Queens of the Stone Age at Lollapalooza and Made In America and Crystal Castles at Lollapalooza and Foals at Park West (official Lollapalooza after show) and Sound City Players at Palladium (not really my thing but a cool show to see if for nothing else than the bragging rights).