Japanese Breakfast at Neumos and Kathy Foster in Roseblood at The Vera Project • Photo by: Imaginary David

Imaginary David’s Favorite Show Photos of 2018

I like the rock and roll. I go to a lot of shows — 137 this year. I stand up front because it’s fun and have no shame because I’m old. I take pictures with a cell phone or point and shoot camera so I don’t forget the feeling.

Live music is important in normal times and absolutely critical in these extraordinary times. It’s no stretch to say that almost every show I went to in 2018 was a political rally and celebration of sensibility. I am incredibly grateful for being taken away from the trash fire that is the world, three minutes at a time.

I have no idea how to respond when people ask me “what’s the best show you’ve ever seen?” I look in their eyes and try to divine what it is they’re asking. I visualize them saying:

  • What show totally blew your mind?
  • What’s the closest you’ve ever gotten to a real rock star?
  • Who is the ultimate guitar hero?
  • What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen happen on stage?
  • Go ahead, talk about reunion tours for five minutes and I’ll look interested.
  • I’m just trying to make conversation and don’t really care.
  • I have this mosh pit story; talk quickly so I can get to it.
  • It was Guns and Roses in 1989, and if that’s not your answer you’re wrong.
  • My favorite show was some random band but I was on molly and OMG it was awesome.
  • I’ve worked with you for 7 years and maybe now I’ll get some insight into who you are?

What they should be asking, and what I in turn ask them is something different. I’ve included my answers for 2018:

  • Have you ever just completely fallen for a band then seen them live? Because that’s the best.

Tancred at Neumos

Tancred at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

Tancred at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

Charly Bliss at The Showbox

Charly Bliss at The Showbox • Photo by: Imaginary David

Charly Bliss at The Showbox • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • What was the most life-affirming moment you’ve had at a show?

Mitski at Showbox SODO

Mitski at Showbox SODO • Photo by: Imaginary David

Mitski at Showbox SODO • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • What show made you involuntary weep openly and repeatedly?

Waxahatchee at Traveler’s Rest

Waxahatchee at Traveler's Rest • Photo by: Imaginary David

Waxahatchee at Traveler’s Rest • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

 

  • Have you ever been gutted by a line about bread makers?

Alvvays at Neumos

Alvvays at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

Alvvays at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Have you ever seen your musical heroes redefine themselves into something wonderful?

Kathy Foster in Roseblood at The Vera Project

Kathy Foster in Roseblood at The Vera Project • Photo by: Imaginary David

Kathy Foster in Roseblood at The Vera Project • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Who played the best set of unreleased songs and rocked you to your core?

Summer Cannibals at Neumos

Summer Cannibals at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

Summer Cannibals at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Who caught you off guard with unbridled rock energy?

Skating Polly at Bumbershoot

Skating Polly at Bumbershoot • Photo by: Imaginary David

Skating Polly at Bumbershoot • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Who completely surpassed expectations and filled your heart with joy?

Japanese Breakfast at Neumos

Japanese Breakfast at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

Japanese Breakfast at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

(Then again!) Japanese Breakfast at Sasquatch

JapaneseBreakfast-Sasquatch-ImaginaryDavid-2018

JapaneseBreakfast-Sasquatch-ImaginaryDavid-2018

 

  • Who did you (it’s OK, you can tell me) fall in love with during a set?

Now, Now at The Crocodile

Now, Now at The Crocodile • Photo by: Imaginary David

Now, Now at The Crocodile • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • What show brought you closer to someone you love?

Jeremy Messersmith at Neumos

Jeremy Messersmith at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

Jeremy Messersmith at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • What show brought you closer to the random strangers standing near to you?

Florence & the Machine at Key Arena

Florence & the Machine at Key Arena • Photo by: Imaginary David

Florence & the Machine at Key Arena • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Have you seen a band command its fans to collide in a terrifying wall of death?

The Regrettes at Bumbershoot

The Regrettes at Bumbershoot • Photo by: Imaginary David

The Regrettes at Bumbershoot • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Have you ever felt the power of rock compel you?

Car Seat Headrest at The Showbox

Car Seat Headrest at The Showbox • Photo by: Imaginary David

Car Seat Headrest at The Showbox • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Have you ever realized mid-song that someone just gets you?

Speedy Ortiz at The Showbox

Speedy Ortiz at The Showbox • Photo by: Imaginary David

Speedy Ortiz at The Showbox • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Have you ever been in a crowd of people all singing “Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time” because that’s dang cathartic?

Phoebe Bridgers at The Crocodile

Phoebe Bridgers at The Crocodile • Photo by: Imaginary David

Phoebe Bridgers at The Crocodile • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Have you witnessed a song transcend from sounds to a reason to be alive?

Julien Baker at Sasquatch

Julien Baker at Sasquatch • Photo by: Imaginary David

Julien Baker at Sasquatch • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

OK, fine. I’ll answer your questions.

  • What’s the closest I got to a real rock star in 2018?

Courtney Barnett at Neumos

Courtney Barnett at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

Courtney Barnett at Neumos • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

  • Who is the ultimate guitar hero?

Peter Buck at The Crocodile

Peter Buck at The Crocodile • Photo by: Imaginary David

Peter Buck at The Crocodile • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

Wait, no. St. Vincent at Key Arena

St. Vincent at Key Arena • Photo by: Imaginary David

St. Vincent at Key Arena • Photo by: Imaginary David

 

You can see more of Imaginary David’s photos on his instragam. Follow him for frequent  doses of show-going zen.

 

Top photo: Japanese Breakfast at Neumos and Kathy Foster in Roseblood at The Vera Project • Photo by: Imaginary David 

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