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50 of the Best Concerts in Cleveland


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A Look Back at 50 of the Best Concerts in Cleveland From the Past 50 Years

Posted By Scene Staff on Wed, Oct 20, 2021

Founded 50+ years ago as a music magazine, Scene — along with the commercial radio station WMMS and heavyweight promoter Belkin Productions — helped contribute to Cleveland’s emergence as a hotbed for rock ’n’ roll in the ’70s, a reputation that still carries significant weight to this day. 

In honor of the paper’s 40th anniversary in 2010, we looked back at some of the most memorable concerts from the last four decades. Now, to mark the paper’s 50th anniversary and to celebrate the Rock Hall’s upcoming inductions in Cleveland, we’ve reprinted some of that article and dug into the archives to add a few other reviews that didn’t appear the first time around. We’ve also added concerts that Scene has reviewed in the past ten years too. Is it subjective? Damn straight it is. For all the shows we saw, there were plenty we missed, and critics don’t always agree amongst themselves or with fans. But it’s still a mammoth Mount Rushmore of Cleveland shows. 

Scene staffers past and present, particularly Anastasia Pantsios, Michael Gallucci and Jeff Niesel, contributed to this list. 

The Raspberries
House of Blues

Nov. 26, 2004 

The first live appearance of all four original Raspberries in more than three decades was one of the biggest local music events of the year, with an estimated half of the tickets plucked by out-of-towners from as far away as Japan. The crowd burst into Beatlemania screams — and that was even during the pre-show video montage depicting vintage TV and Super-8 film footage. The band opened with the masterpiece "I Wanna Be With You," which, along with Eric Carmen compositions like "Go All the Way" and "Tonight," typified what made the Raspberries so legendary. Augmenting Carmen's pop genius, the set also showcased the fine songwriting contributions of other Raspberries Dave Smalley and Wally Bryson. Surprises included two songs by pre-Raspberries band the Choir and covers of Who and Beatles tunes. The evening could have been potentially soured by Carmen's ego — notorious for 30 years running. But he actually seemed somehow humbled by the occasion, and his stage presence was rather endearing.


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