the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Book Review – I Was There: Gigs That Changed The World

By Mark Paytress


That's me; 52 rows back, 18 from the left...

This seemed a great read to start with, but then I started getting confused about what a “good gig” was. I really think this book could have been one of the great coffee table almanacs if it had been more in-depth on the gigs noted, and call me old, but some of those listed, especially form the 90s onwards, seemed like fillers.

While it was great to see that Woodstock (both ’69 and ’99), Monterey, the original WOMAD, Live Aid, and other gatherings were included, they seemed very sparse on actual information about them which is not telling anyone who wasn’t there anything about them or their historical significance. Same goes with a lot of the band concerts – while the punk era seemed to get some detail added to them (especially around everyone’s anti-heroes The Sex Pistols), some had little or nothing to say. There were some interesting insights from everyday people who attended, and more of this would have been great.

I was bemused that the Eighties was represented only by a few bands including Jesus and the Mary Chain, Prince, and Public Enemy, but as the decade really belonged to big-hair and new-age-romantics they were conspicuously missing. And the 90s onwards (other than that written about Nirvana and Jeff Buckley) lost me completely and I just read through hoping for the end.

This does have some great pictures in it of some of the biggest names in pop and rock, but this book was let down by its choices and writing.


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