The sights and sounds of the world’s most famous arena are incomprehensible to those who have never attended. It is the home of the Knicks and Rangers, and has been the stage for some of the greatest performances over the last four decades. From Muhammad Ali and Walt Frazier’s “Fight of the Century” in 1971 to the incredible lineup of artists for the benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the garden attracts the biggest artists and the most memorable performances. Ask anyone who has been there a few times and you will learnit is one of those places that people just never forget. Whether you were sitting in the nose bleeds or standing feet from the stage, everyone has their MSG moment.
For my dad, it was after Ali vs. Frazier II in 1974 (when he ended up in the hospital for a broken nose after sparring with his brother in the line outside of the arena); for my mom, it came during the Grateful Dead’s performance of “Candyman” 87’ (the first concert sheand my dad attended after my brother was born); and for me, it was January 27th 2007. Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” was on top of the charts; Justin Timberlake was bringing sexy back; the Knicks were awful; and a band called O.A.R was about to perform what would later be one of their greatest sets.
I had gotten tickets only a few days before, and at the time, thought I had overpaid. We got to the arena a little early and pushed our way about midway through the mob. Within minutes we were greeted by the opening bars of “Love and Memories” followed closely by “Untitled” and “Hey Girl.” The moment for me didn’t come however, until about an hour in. The band opened with a 5 minute intro, with lyrics no one had ever heard before. People were trying to sing, but even the diehards had no idea what was going on. But then, the guitarist broke into the well-known opening guitar rift to “That was a Crazy Game of Poker,” and the crowd went nuts. My moment lasted for every single second of the rendition. 14 minutes of pure unadulterated MSG ecstasy.
The audience sang every lyric in perfect harmony, and it didn’t stop there. Even after the song ended, the band kept playing, and finished the concert with two ten minute renditions of “52-50” and “City on Down.” As I left the theater though, I was sure it was over. But sometimes, when you are treated to a great performance, the gift just keeps on giving. The band decided to release a recording of that night a few months late which I quickly purchased. To this day, the CD remains my most played album (a place that will probably last for eternity.)
So there is my favorite moment from the world’s most famous arena. I will be returning to MSG on Tuesday for The Killers, and while I do not anticipate I will have a second moment, hopefully I will be able to see someone around me having theirs. Please take a moment to write in the comment section with your favorite concert moment, whether or not it was at MSG.