Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Concerts of 2010: Were you there?

 Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds performs at the Maha Music Festival. (Photo by Chris Machian/The World-Herald)
In a given year, I see at least a couple hundred bands perform. I’ve never counted (maybe I should), but I know it’s a lot. Some shows I see for my job and others I hit up just for fun.

It’s hard to pick the very best, but I whittled down the list from 2010 into something a little more manageable: Eight.

I'd love to know your favorite shows of 2010. Post them in the comments.

Shows are listed in the order they happened.

South by Southwest in Austin, Texas – March 17-21

One of the largest music festivals in the world, where I made tons of discoveries and saw lots of bands that never came to Omaha. Favorites were Frightened Rabbit, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Free Energy and Titus Andronicus.

Maha Music Festival at Lewis & Clark Landing, Omaha – July 24

Maha delighted with a  lineup that included Superchunk, Spoon, Ben Kweller and The Faint, a solid indie-leaning fest. We were graced with great weather and some fantastic performances, which put the fest solidly on the map in its second year.

Concert for Equality in downtown Benson, Omaha – July 31

While the day was about protesting an immigration law (remember that?), for me, the music was the highlight. Cursive put on a powerful performance, Bright Eyes played some of my favorites and a reunited Desaparecidos would have blown the roof off the joint if it weren’t an outdoor show.

Rush at Qwest Center Omaha – Aug. 25

I never really understood those people who rave about Rush until I saw this show (and sat next to Rush fans who would make raving lunatics look like sane people). Wonderful musicians, fun show.

Lollapalooza at Grant Park in Chicago – Aug. 6-8

Who played at this show? Seemed like everybody. The three-day festival had some of my favorite groups (Green Day, Soundgarden) as well as some new discoveries (Jukebox the Ghost, Mumford & Sons). I had a great time, even if I did want to saw off my own feet after standing and walking for three days straight.

The Pixies at the Orpheum Theater, Omaha – Sept. 16

I never had the pleasure of seeing the Pixies the first time around. One of modern rock’s seminal bands, the group decided to play the entire album “Doolittle” in Omaha. I was impressed.

Roger Waters performs “The Wall” at Qwest Center Omaha – Oct. 26

You see footage of some legendary concerts but realize that they’ll never happen again. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” was one of those events. But former Floyd bassist/singer/songwriter Roger Waters decided to bring it back and bring it to Omaha. It was everything I wanted it to be, but even cooler because it was happening in front of me. I’ve never seen a more epic, theatrical music performance.

Jeff Daniels at the Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha – Nov. 4

The “Dumb & Dumber” guy is more than just a few laughs. He’s a songwriter, too, and a brilliant one. He mixed funny tunes with heartfelt ones, and his everyman nature made you feel like you were watching a buddy fool around with a guitar in your living room. I’ll be first in line for tickets the next time he comes back.


  1. The Black Keys at the Anchor Inn was my favorite show by far this year. I had seen them before, but they blew my socks off this time. I had debated even going because Primus was the same night, but boy am I glad I chose the keys. Highlights included "I'll Be Your Man" and "10 a.m. Automatic"

    Other concerts at the top of my list would be Tom Petty at the Qwest and The Hold Steady and Whigs at the Slowdown (The Whigs rocked that one!)

  2. I went to Bonnaroo is Manchester, TN, and it absolutely blew my mind. Jay-Z killed it and Michael Franti's performance was one of the most pure forms of music-fun I've ever had. Overall great concerts. Deadmau5 in KC was another gem, although Skrillex ultimatly became that opener that stole the show. Also Pretty Lights in Lincoln and Omaha became my favorite local shows. Your music expectations will change after a Pretty Lights concert. Epicness.

  3. My faves this year were definitely The Walkmen/Japandroids at Waiting Room, Maha and the Concert for Equality, Matador at 21 (in Vegas), and Mission of Burma w/ Surfer Blood (in Wisconsin)


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