4. The Beastie Boys at the Fourth Lollapalooza: Downing Stadium, NY, 1994. The Beasties did tunes from Check Ya Head, Paul's Boutique, etc playing their own instruments on the most funktastic tunes, including Adam Yauch on stand-up bass. Pure heaven to see it happen. Didn't hurt that Green Day and the Breeders played. The Smashing Pumpkins played as well, but I'm sad to say they usually sucked live -- their fast songs got away from them, totally not in sync with each other. I've seen them 3 times, and this was no exception. Hole also played that day, which was the only time I ever thought Courtney Love might not actually be Satan for five minutes straight. But then of course I regained my sanity.
5. Lauryn Hill: Great Woods Pavilion, MA, 1998. My first hip-hop show ever, and Lolly shook my ass. Busta Rhymes opened with machine-gunfire rap attack that was amazing to behold.
6. Ben Folds: Warner Theater, DC, 2002. Just Ben at a piano showcasing his incredible songwriting. His patter was hilarious, too. How rare is it that you actually want a musician's between-song patter to keep going?!