Best of 2022: Mark Hudson’s Five Favorite Gigs of the Year

So, I attended a baker’s dozen of concerts in the capital region in 2022, representing Nippertown as a writer. Many thanks to Jim, Laura, Mike, and all of the team – it is a privilege I do not take lightly.

Looking back, I have a problem with the term “best.” It is just my opinion, after all, coming through my purple (or at least lilac) prose, and another concertgoer at the same show may have had an exactly opposite and equally valid viewpoint.

Therefore, I prefer the designation “favorite.” Happily my five favorite live shows of the year also highlight my three favorite Nippertown area venues.

Adrian Belew (r) @ The Egg, Aug. 19, 2022 (photo by Rudy Lu)

5. Adrian Belew @ The Egg, Aug. 19

Acoustic gentleness, metallic skronk, Belew proved himself a master of all techniques. His power trio (Julie Slick, Johnnie Luca) followed him all the way to guitar nirvana.

4. Jon Anderson @ The Egg, Aug. 6 

Sentimental choice here – I just love this guy. I first heard “Yours Is No Disgrace” when I was 14 and I was hooked. This was a show that was at times goofy (not many prog grey hairs were expecting an Eminem cover by a bunch of kids), and the Paul Green Rock Academy sometimes overreached somewhat, BUT…they negotiated the wibbly wobbly timey wimey (signatures that is) of “Heart of the Sunrise” admirably, and Anderson, amazingly, at 75, can still hit those high notes.

Super 400 with Sean Matthew Whiteford @ Cohoes Music Hall, Oct. 8, 2022 (photo by Leif Zurmuhlen)

3. Super 400 @ Cohoes Music Hall, Oct. 8

Don’t know whose idea it was to have one of our legendary local bands play Led Zeppelin 1 in its entirety and then follow up with a set of other Zep favorites, but kudos to them. Super 400, with guest vocalist Sean Matthew Whiteford, just tore it up, reducing the Cohoes Music Hall to rubble. This cannot be a one-off. My suggestion is to next do “Physical Graffiti.” If you need any help with the vocals, I do a mean “Houses of the Holy.”

Steve Hackett @ The Egg, April 10, 2022 (photo by Joe Putrock)

2. Steve Hackett @ The Egg, April 10

Steve Hackett left Genesis in 1977, apparently displeased with the mix of their live album “Seconds Out” and the lack of consideration for his own material. Of course, his bandmates went on to increasing commercial success with more accessible material, but Hackett kept the prog flag flying. 45 years later, he is touring with a crack band, recreating that same live album. Catnip for the prog nerd, part of my review was actually retweeted by the man himself.

Tony Levin of Stick Men @ The Linda, April 8, 2022 (photo by Rudy Lu)

1. Stick Men @ The Linda, April 8

Well, who’d a thunk it. My favorite show of the year was Stick Men – Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reiter, hammering the Linda audience into submission with a blistering set of (mostly) instrumental jazz-rock fusion intensity. As I said in my review “three of a perfect trio.”

Happy new year to all.

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