Given the absurd number of concerts I took in (many because I was working them) in 2007, I knew that this year would feature a reduction in my attendance figures. But as the year wraps up, I realize that 2008 has found me taking in concerts less than any other year in recent memory.

Why? It’s a sheer time thing. With all of my other work (and work) and play this year, something had to take a spot on the bench. Shows seemed logical, given that I was also fearing concert burnout post-2007. Why not give myself time to breathe and recharge the concert batteries at the same time?

Rather than my typical Concert Top Ten, I’m going to go with a Top Five for 2008. And I will (for once!) actually rank them – links will be to things I wrote at the time about each performance. So let’s start with Number 5 and work our way up to Number 1, a show that I never would have expected to take home the top spot.

Honorable Mention: Marilyn Manson, Orpheum, January 26: This merits a mention not only because I actually had a surprisingly fun time at this show, but because I was delighted to run into a concert friend prior to the show. “What are YOU doing here?” Peoplewatching on a grand scale commenced. So fun.

5. Matt Nathanson, Berklee Performance Center, October 10: Every Matt Nathanson show is a special treat, but this was the first where I felt as if I had witnessed Matt transition into a rock star of sorts. Sure, the crowd freaking out over him looked a bit like the extra pool for a CW show, but hey. I was proud of the guy and he delivered a strong set with an especially feisty sense of humor.

4. Howie Day, Paradise Lounge, February 24: Longtime readers will understand the Howie thing, but here’s the quick take: Howie was my gateway musician, the one who set me on a path that’s led me to today. As such, it was lousy to watch everything go downhill for the guy and to watch the hopeful, talented boy turn into…well, the guy he became. Seeing Howie perform at the Lounge, realizing that he was making a real effort to recover and return to form, made me feel a sense of pride. And hearing “After You” with the looped outro? I’d honestly never expected to hear that live again. It felt good.

3. Letters to Cleo, Paradise, December 8: So you like a band, you wish you could have seen the band live, but realize it’s not in the cards. You resign yourself to imagining what it would have been like to see the band play. And then, one magical day, you learn that you’ll finally get your chance. Best of all, when the night arrives, the band’s performance is as fun as you’d hoped it would be and you start thinking about how, now that you can check this band off your wishlist, Remy Zero should really just go on one more little tiny tour already (please, please, please?).

2. Editors, Orpheum, January 19: I finally saw Editors this year, and they were worth the wait. The glam elements of the band’s work was complemented beautifully by a gorgeous light display. I still get goosebumps thinking about the sharp blue beams shooting up to the catwalks while the band strutted and rocked the place.

1. Foo Fighters, DCU Center, February 18: Here’s the deal: I was looking forward to the show. I thought it would be pretty cool to see the band and enjoy a real large-scale rock show. But what I didn’t anticipate was the way I would start jumping up and down in utter fangirl glee at the end of opener “Let It Die.” I remember leaving that show thinking for the first time, “Dave Grohl is a GOD!” I remain convinced that he is, months later. That show was simply AWESOME.

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