Music Monday: Who I’ve Seen Live The Most

As an avid concert goer, I often get asked what band I’ve seen the most.

With the show last night, I’ve now seen my favorite band Rise Against seven times. However, I’ve seen my other favorite band Senses Fail six times and by the end of the month, I will have seen Enter Shikari seven times as well. But I’ve been seeing Rise Against since 2011 and have many awesome stories about their gigs.

08/04/11 | UCSD Rimac Arena, San Diego, California: My very first gig was Senses Fail about a week before this show, but this one was extra special as it was my (16th) birthday present.

Like a lot of bands at the time, Rise Against was protesting SB1070 anti-immigration legislation by not touring in Arizona. When a tour with two other bands I like a lot, Bad Religion and Four Year Strong, was announced, I was devastated they were passing us by. Luckily, after a lot of pleading, my parents agreed that this show and a weekend in San Diego will be my big birthday present.

The morning of the show, my parents drove me and my best friend Sydney to San Diego, where we had dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house before heading to the venue at the university. Once we entered, Sydney and I went to the floor and my dad stayed in the stands. We had a great time watching the opening bands, especially when the lead singer of Four Year Strong made a shoutout to everyone who came to the show with their best friend before one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Wasting Time.”

I don’t remember too many specifics about the Rise Against set as it was so long ago, but I remember being really overwhelmed by all the movement in the crowd and deafening music. I was just trying to stay on my own two feet so I can take as many pictures as possible! All in all, it was a great concert and fun weekend.

28/09/12 | Mesa Amphitheatre, Phoenix, Arizona: Me and Sydney couldn’t believe it when they announced a tour coming to Arizona! Additionally, my brother Ryan had gotten into them. My dad drove the three of us up to Phoenix for the concert early in the morning. There, we met my friends who were waiting in the queue. Rise Against announced a signing at a local record store, which we were all planning to go to, until they moved the time up to half an hour before the doors to the venue opened. Not wanting to risk it, my friends stayed behind to secure a spot in the front for the show, by Sydney, Ryan and I took our chances, hoping our friends would still be outside the venue holding our spots once we got back from the signing.

We waited in the heat all afternoon until the signing where my friend Matt met us. To keep things moving, the store limited the items that band could sign to one. Although I brought several CDs, I chose to get their second album, Revolutions Per Minute signed. When it was my turn, I shakily handed my CD to them, gave them each a gift of a painting of themselves, shook their hand and was hurried along. Although our encounter was brief, I was on cloud nine!

Luckily, we got back to the venue in time to reunite with our friends. Inside the venue, we assumed our positions in the front and center of the crowd and enjoyed an amazing show from the front row. I particularly enjoyed the opening song, “Survivor Guilt.” At the end, they were handing out setlists (bands print out pages of the songs they will be playing so they don’t forget) and picks. From watching Rise Against documentaries, I knew the name of the manager who was dishing out the setlists and caught his attention by yelling his name and Sydney got a pick. We ended up swapping and I made a necklace from the pick.

11/04/15 | Quail Run Park, Phoenix, Arizona: After a dry spell, I was excited to see Rise Against again with Sydney, Ryan and Matt. This was UFest, an annual festival hosted by the alternative music radio station in Phoenix.

I made another painting for Rise Against, which was a watercolor painting of their first album, “The Unraveling” and taped a letter to the back of the painting (talking about how much they changed my life and how much I appreciate what they’re putting out there) hoping they would read it. I was also hoping the painting would be leverage for them to sign all my CDs rather than just the one allowed by the same record store that hosted the first signing. As expected, they were really receptive to the painting and were thrilled to sign all my CDs! Also, Zach (the guitarist) complimented my Anti-Flag shirt and I’ve been wearing it to their concerts ever since. I was even more thrilled I now had all their music to date autographed.

I rode the high into their show, where I crowd surfed and moshed like no other. It was so much fun! After I was passed through the crowd, I would always find my way back to Sydney and I even put her on my shoulders for one of the last songs. The hour we spent in traffic after the show was well worth it.

30/09/15 | Alcatraz, Milan, Italy: This was the first Rise Against show I documented on this blog! Here is the text from the post:

My roommate Ben and I were dying to see Rise Against, but their Europe tour wasn’t coming to the U.K., so after comparing and contrasting travel logistics to other locations on the tour, we settled for Milan.

We arrived just in time to grab a bite to eat before heading over to the venue. When Rise Against came on, the room exploded and the next hour was an awesome mess of pushing (and being pushed), crowd surfing and singing. I lost Ben for a while, but found him just in time for my favorite song of the set: “Black Masks and Gasoline”. It was a great show and I appreciate them carrying on with the tour even when their front man (Tim) broke his wrist.

Afterwards, we waited outside to meet them and sure enough, they came out. First, Brandon (the drummer) appeared alone, but we didn’t get a chance to talk to him until the other three came out and he retired. I first talked to Zach (the guitarist) and once I told him I’m from Arizona, he recognized me from when I met them in April and gave them a painting. After that, I got to talk to Joe (the bassist) and Tim before we had to head back to the hostel. I’m upset I didn’t get to meet Brandon again, but meeting the three of them and getting my ticket signed was awesome.


26/04/17 | Troubadour, Los Angeles, California: Not only my favorite Rise Against show, but my favorite gig of all time! The minute they announced limited shows to debut their new album, I immediately bought a ticket to see them in Los Angeles as a birthday present to myself without thinking of my other obligations. But, after sorting my academics and buying a Greyhound ticket, I was on my way! Here’s the text from my April In Review post:

At the venue (Troubadour) in West Hollywood, I met up with my online friend, Maria, local to the area who had been waiting the queue since early in the afternoon. The venue was really small, with no barricade and a capacity of only several hundred. Being one of the first in the queue, Maria and I secured a place in the front row! We couldn’t get over how close we were and how small the venue was.

The moment finally came when Rise Against took the stage. They played a good mix of really old songs (including one of my favorite songs I thought I’d never see live, “Blood-Red White and Blue”), songs typical to their live performances and brand new songs. It was such an awesome experience to see them in a small venue and have (or what seemed to be) personal moments with the members during their performance, especially the lead singer, Tim (at one point, he was literally in my face as we sang together). After the set, both Maria and I got a setlist and picks and I also got a signed flyer the band was handing out promoting their new album. We really hit the jackpot being in the front!

After the show, we all went back to Maria’s car to freshen up only to find she got a parking ticket! Maria and I waited outside the venue for the band while chowing down on some pizza. They= band came out at about 1AM and we got to meet them briefly. Maria got the band to sign her parking ticket correspondence envelope (Tim even wrote “Sorry…!”), setlist and magazine cover of Tim and I got the band to sign my setlist. They even recognized us from being in the front! They seemed a bit in a hurry so although I would have liked to talk to them, I let them go. Luckily, I came prepared with a letter to give them so they can read it at any time. Once we got our pictures with them, they went on their way. Needless to say, Maria and I were on cloud nine.

09/07/17 | Ak-Chin Pavilion, Phoenix, Arizona: After me being abroad and going to the Los Angeles show by myself, this was the first Rise Against show Sydney and I went to together in years. We splurged on general admission tickets and had a blast! Here’s the text from my July In Review post:

Sydney picked me up and we drove to Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix to arrive just in time for the Thrice (another band I really like) set.

Rise Against played an amazing set and it was so much fun to share it with Sydney. We have been seeing them together (with the exception of my year abroad) since 2011. We drove back home and I laid my head down at about 12:30AM, getting just a few good hours of sleep before work the next morning, but I’d do it again tomorrow.

05/11/17 | O2 Brixton Academy, London: For a while, I was on the fence about going to this show. While tickets were affordable, getting to London and back takes some time and can be expensive. My friend Michael offered me his spare ticket and I was over the moon!

After some train delays, I met Michael at the venue in time to go inside with the priority queue that came with his tickets. Inside the venue, we met up with our other friend Adam and his girlfriend Ellie. But we didn’t stick together once Rise Against came on and things got crazy…

They played an amazing set with a few usual songs, a few new songs and a few random songs I’ve never seen live before. You never know what you’re going to get at a Rise Against show! The floor was crazy, I was fighting just to stand for most of the night, but it was so fun. Rise Against always put on a great show and can make you feel like a valued fan in the largest of venues.


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