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Livewire's Top 10

Here are the top 10 concerts of 2011 as seen
through Livewire's bloodshot eyes
Lady Gaga10) Lady Gaga
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN, April 19

As the night came to close Lady Gaga showcased her biggest hits, including "Paparazzi," in the midst of the "monster" from the Monster Ball, a terrifying deep-sea fish with large tentacles and glowing eyes appeared. In a spectacular end to the show she treated the crowd to not only her biggest hit "Bad Romance," but also the radio version of "Born This Way." The entire arena erupted into a giant dance party, with everyone losing themselves in the music, just the way Lady Gaga intended... read more
Alison Krauss & Union Station9) Alison Krauss & Union Station
Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL, September 9

In some cases, the poignant stories were just as captivating as the songs themselves, from the heartbreaking and harrowing "Ghost In This House" to the ultimate road tripper's companion "Miles To Go." Even though there was plenty of sentiment to spread, Krauss & Union Station made sure to kick up plenty of dust as well, from the fiddle-flanked hoedown "Rain Please Go Away" to the down and dirty jam "Wild Bill Jones."... read more
Roger Daltrey8) Roger Daltrey
The Venue at Horseshoe Casino, Hammond, IN, October 7

The thematic grandeur may have simmered during the second half, but the momentum didn't dip a single second thanks to an exhaustive treatment of both major Who hits and rarely performed album cuts. On the familiar front, "I Can See For Miles," "The Kids Are Alright" and "Behind Blue Eyes" helped paint a picture of the band's seminal role in the British Invasion, while "Who Are You" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" illustrated the legends' classic rock evolution... read more
Rachael Yamagata7) Rachael Yamagata
Turner Hall, Milwaukee, WI, November 10

Although, Yamagata had expressed concerns about whether her fans would still be there for her, there was no need to worry. Her honest personality along with her beautifully sung music was welcomed with open arms in Milwaukee this night... read more
Sonia Leigh6) Sonia Leigh
(Country Thunder 2011) Shadow Hill Ranch, Twin Lakes, WI, July 21 - 24

Leigh's gritty vocals and boozy barroom guitar licks were a fresh and most welcome surprise to the otherwise predictable musical confines of Country more
Hank35) Hank 3
Barrymore Theatre, Madisone, WI, December 1

can't say I'm a fan of the darker side of his recent releases but I love that this is one artist who follows his own artistic vision to create and experiment. Some of the experimentation may not result in greatness but you have to respect his willingness to take chances in a time when Nashville has managed to reduce the country genre to nothing but pop drivel. Whether one is a fan of Williams' country or punk or maybe both, as hard as that is to imagine, they were treated to a high energy experience unlike any other... read more
Le Butcherettes4) Le Butcherettes
(Lollapalooza 2011) Grant Park, Chicago, IL, Aug. 5 - 7

While Teri's bloodied smock seemed a bit hokey, her larger-than-life onstage personality more than made up for it. Sure, it's the big name acts that draw the majority of the crowds into fests like this, but it's also the newer surprise acts such as Le Butcherettes, with their spastic, sloppy and fun performance incarnating the likes of Iggy Pop and, especially, Alice Cooper's weird and creeped-out early '70s live sets, that injects a youthful, wide-eyed sense of optimism and even rebellion into the fest. After all, it is rock & roll we're talking about here, more
Billy Joe Shaver3) Billy Joe Shaver
Knuckleheads, Kansas City, MO, August 12

Shaver started out his set with "Wacko From Waco", a new song he recorded with his pal Willie Nelson about his recent legal troubles involving Shaver shooting a man outside of a bar in Lorena, TX. He was acquitted on the charges after a trial in April 2010. Famous friends Willie Nelson and Robert Duvall attended the trial giving moral support... read more
U22) U2
Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN, July 2

Other song highlights included "Elevation," "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and an electrified jam version of "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight." Throughout all the songs the band were constantly moving around the circular stage and walkway, making sure to connect with every area of the stadium. The ever morphing 360-degree video screen above the stage gave even the farthest away fans a chance to feel front row... read more
Paul McCartney1) Paul McCartney
Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL, July 31

While there's no doubt that tickets to this event were pricey (to say the least, with field tickets costing $250 apiece), this music legend delivered in spades with a sprawling three-hour set featuring 39 songs, and two lengthy encores, the second aptly closing the show with a fantastic redention of The Beatles' "The End" from their own swan song album Abbey Road. "And in the end," McCartney sweetly sang," the love you take is equal to the love you make," which seemed to perfectly sum up the glowing affection that evening between both performer and audience... read more

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