were the years of 2005 & 2006. My "Triad of Guitar Ascendancy" (that's copyrighted, but feel free to quote it) includes Eric Johnson, Tommy Emmanuel, and Pat Metheny; in these two years I was able to see all three of them. Over one weekend I saw Tommy play twice and also attended a four hour workshop where it was Tommy and about fifteen of his truly dedicated fans in a small jazz lab. He started the workshop off by saying "Let's bless the room" and launched into Amazing Grace, and I was overwhelmed. I can't describe what it's like to be sitting about 3 feet away from Tommy when he starts playing in a room so quiet you could hear a mouse breathing.
The Pat Metheny Group show was the best I have attended out of the five times I've seen him. He started the show by playing "The Way Up" which is an entire album in one song. That song is among the most important American compositions of the last ten years and it's truly meant to be heard live. In a time of ever shortening attention spans, a single composition that lasts nearly an hour (and not by trick or gimmick, it's a fully developed piece that should be that long) is a criticism of the current culture and a perfect response to the hit single mentality of the music business. I think the song has relevance outside of music as well, since anything worthwhile in life takes time and attention. Not one to short change the audience, the group commenced to perform for an additional two hours featuring songs from every era, including tunes like "Lone Jack", "Song for Bilbao", and "Are You Going With Me". It was a very satisfying experience and I was lucky enough to talk with and get an autograph from Antonio Sanchez (drummer), Gregoire Maret (harmonica, vocals, percussion), and Nando Lauria (guitar, percussion, vocals) after the show.
Billy Idol is much better in a smaller venue as compared to when I saw him in 1986 at Reunion Arena. Having just released what I think is his best studio album thus far, his set list was quite good as well. It was general admission but we got there in time to have spots right against the stage on Steve Stevens side. Aeyong had her first near-groupie experience as she seemed to spark a little interest from Steve and he smiled at her several times during the show. I managed fist bump from Billy during "Dancing with Myself" and was content with that :).
Finally, in 2006 we got to see a full length Eric Johnson set at Juanita's in Little Rock. I have previously posted a detailed review of the 2007 show, and the 2006 set was similar. The sound levels were a little bass heavy and loud overall, but it was still great to see Eric live (from 5 feet away). As Eric was walking offstage, I was able to get him to sign a Guitar Player from 1986 that I had kept all these years (see honey, sometimes being a fanboy packrat pays off) (ok, it was just the one time).