Final post of the year and the decade. Another list that was easy to put together. A big "Well, duh!" for the top spot. See you all in 2010.
(what I said then) -- While her music comes from the land of forests, fairies and woodland creatures, her stage show isn't some arty concoction. It's a loose affair, with Khan joking and responding to crowd shouts. It's not super serious, but meant to be a fun time. I certainly enjoyed every moment and what I came away with is how engaging a person she is. Obviously, she's is quite the looker. Besides her physical beauty, she seems to be a generally pleasant person. She smiled often and slinked around on stage -- getting into the music. Some of the best live acts are the ones that take their music and give them a grander feeling. While her albums are not full out rave-ups, she managed to take songs like Two Planets and Horse and I and make them danceable.
4. Florence and the Machine @ Hop Farm Festival (July 4)
(what I said then) When I saw her opening set for Blur, I took to the music that is steeped in classical fantasy. She can paint pictures where she blends and bends musical styles that would make Kate Bush and Bat for Lashes jealous. Each song has a full, lush feeling that has a steady beat flowing through. Even though I was hearing songs like "Drumming" and "My Boy Builds Coffins" for the first time, I instantly knew that Florence has something to say, and she's going to do it by enchanting you.
Then when I saw her on Saturday at Hop Farm, where she's standing five feet from me, I noticed how she moves around the stage, as if the music is commanding her. It's not necessarily performance art, because between songs she cracks jokes and makes observations. She climbs on speakers, dances barefoot around in her flowing dress and strikes poses as if she's a work of art.
(what I said then) -- I am amazed how they bring the party every time they play. Tonight was no exception. They haven't changed much, but our reaction to them has changed. The crowd is more into them. The band comes out to some intro music, then delve into Listzomania covered in minimal stage lighting. When the big chorus breaks out, the lights blind everybody. That when you knew it was on like Wraith of Khan. Seventy-minutes later, my hair is messed up and my sweaty t-shirt is sticking to my back. Now, that's a show.
2. Jay-Z @ All Points West (July 31):
(what I said then) -- For a man who is the greatest deserves a stage show that's equal to his talent. The visual and audio backing for his headlining gig on Friday's APW is nothing short of the best. As I said in my recap of Friday's line-up, it's Daft Punk meets Jay-Z. With Jay-Z's image hovering over himself, it made him look like the hip hop version of Charles Foster Kane.
1. Blur @ London Hyde Park (July 3)
(what I said then) -- It was the most energetic, crazy, berserk show I ever attended. It was sensory overload. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect sight -- seeing the four members do their thing in their native country. For the self-anointed biggest Blur fan in the U.S. (or maybe just New Jersey), this was the last piece of the puzzle for me.
In all, Blur's performance solidifies them as one of the icons of British music. It's not the scene they created, it's the music they've crafted that puts them in the class with The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Smiths and Joy Division/New Order. It's music that defined their time and a certain anti-establishment ideology. The debate will rage on with Blur's legacy. For me, it's just music that speaks to me. Seeing them again with all the pomp and circumstance in London is something that won't be equaled with any other band.