Think you have been to more concerts than anyone you know? Meet Ryan Williams, aka R-Dub. He probably has you beat.
His passion was born in 1994 at his first concert, 104 Fest at Riverside Park in New York. Since that day, he has seen 708 different bands, 215 of which he has seen more than once. His list spans all genres, including musicians like Aerosmith, Alanis Morrisette, Blake Shelton, Eminem, Fuel, Kayne West and The Verve Pipe. The two bands he has seen the most are Pearl Jam (11 times) and Korn (nine times).
Believe him? He has every single concert ticket and backstage pass (stored in chronological order) saved to prove it. And “yes, I have a spreadsheet of every band I have ever seen and how many times I have seen them,” he says.
It probably comes as no surprise then that R-Dub made his passion for music into a job. JHE’s senior production coordinator/concert producer narrowed down his top-10 concert experiences (and no it was not easy!):
Top-Five JHE Concerts:
1. Keith Urban at Daytona International Speedway (2009)
Most memorable moment: Prior to the main show, there was a media-only acoustic performance.
Most challenging production moment: It was the first performance where we did one song prior to TV taking it live, and there were some issues. The pre-show song saved the big show.
Most memorable AND challenging production moment: A tropical storm hit the city on the day the band was scheduled to land. Everything at the track was suspended for the day. We worked with management, the band and our client to reschedule everything and do a stripped down version of the show Sunday morning before the race.
3. Kid Rock at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2012)
Most memorable AND challenging production moment: Kid Rock travels with a large band so we had a lot more gear on the stage than we normally do for any performance. When Kid Rock and the Twisted Brown Trucker Band came out for the sound check, it all came together immediately and sounded perfect.
4. Orianthi at Daytona International Speedway (2012)
Most memorable moment: The production of this concert wasn’t hard; instead it was just really interesting to see someone with her credits playing at a race track. The night following opening ceremonies, she played an electric set in the fan zone. One of my personal favorite highlights was the “VooDoo Child” solo she played one-handed.
Most memorable moment: A late night jam session with the band.
Most challenging production moment: The band was scheduled to play two songs from the new album, “Stadium Arcadium,” in between segments at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Unfortunately, NASCAR schedules and band schedules rarely coincide with each other. When the race was starting back up, the band was midway through a third song they had decided to play on the fly.
Top-Five Personal Concerts:
1. Pearl Jam – Tweeter Center, Mansfield, Mass. (2003)
Pearl Jam booked three nights at the same venue and only repeated two songs over the course of three days. I happened to be at the show that featured an hourlong acoustic performance that opened the show. To date, it is still one of the longest “PJ” shows ever and a fan-favorite. When we go to see them, people are always surprised to hear I went to the “Mansfield 3.”
2. Bruce Springsteen – Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y. (2002)
I was asked by a co-worker at lunch if I was interested in going to the show. It was an easy choice to make on my end. Bruce was doing 10 days at MSG as part of the 2002 tour. It was great seeing an “evening with” such a big name at a historical venue.
3. Roger Waters – Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C. (2013)
Seeing Roger Waters perform one of my favorite albums from start to finish was amazing, although the best moment was when he played “Comfortably Numb.” The level of production was like nothing I had ever seen before.
4. U2 – Atlanta Dome, Atlanta, Ga. (2009)
When U2 went out on the 360 Tour, there was a huge amount of media buzz about the stage and what the tour would be like. It still holds the record as the largest touring stage ever, the second time U2 has held that title. The fact that they had three replicas of the stage made it even more amazing. The most memorable moment was walking in and seeing “The Spaceship” stage. I was lucky enough to catch the show in Chicago in 2011 as well. U2 never puts on a bad show, and they didn’t disappoint with this tour.
5. Beastie Boys – Amos Southend, Charlotte, N.C. (2008)
In 2008, the Beastie Boys, Sheryl Crow and Santigold teamed up for a “Rock the Vote” Tour. Most of the shows were in theaters or arenas but Charlotte landed a club show. The venue sold out in less than five minutes. To see them on one of their final tours, up-close on a small stage, was something I will remember forever.
This list was almost impossible to make. Here are my five honorable mentions:
- Metallica – Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass. (2003)
- Guns N’ Roses – Hartford, Conn. (2002)
- Eminem and Jay Z – Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y. (2010)
- Bob Dylan – University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, N.C. (2011)
- Foo Fighters – Atlanta, Ga. (2012)
Want to know what’s happening in the concert world? Find R-Dub on Twitter at @R_Dub81.