RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Corbin Reiff – Lighters In The Sky: The All-Time Greatest
Concerts 1960-2016 (Book)

Lesser Gods

Rating: A

The very definition of a great artist or band is primarily measured on the quality or lasting impact of their recorded output, and yet that only paints a part of the picture. The other, and some would argue, more important piece of the equation is how well these celebrated artists came or come across in a live setting. The live arena is an exhilarating experience where for an all too brief period of time it can all come together in a surging rush of adrenaline, wrapped up in an “in the moment”  form of spontaneous magic connection between artist and fan. When these stars align, the true greats deliver the goods and elevate their craft to such exalted levels that it ultimately becomes one for the ages or in this case one for the books. Esteemed music writer Corbin Reiff has penned a first-rate tribute to such moments entitled Lighters In The Sky that brings together the all-time greatest concerts of the past sixty years!  

Laid out chronologically beginning in 1960 and bringing us right up to the present, Lighters In The Sky picks one stand-out concert (and one Honorable Mention) from each year and covers it in such meticulous detail that it feels like the next best thing to actually being there. It’s pretty apparent from the onset that Reiff has put in a considerable amount of time and research into this project and by drawing from a plethora of various different sources he makes sure he gets it right. Each year is broken down to provide the artist and location of the concert or event, a synopsis of the show itself (and applicable setlists) which includes snippets of interviews and recollections from the musicians themselves. While some of Reiff’s selections seem like no brainers (at least to this writer), for example the original Woodstock Festival in 1969, Bowie’s farewell to Ziggy Stardust in 1973 or The Band’s Last Waltz in 1976, there is always the subjective factor when compiling a list of anything, and yet that is a big part of the appeal here. There is literally something for fans of almost every genre, be it rock, pop, r&b, jazz or rap and I can almost envision the debates playing out by music nerds everywhere over the office water cooler, the family campfire or over beers at the local watering hole.

Lighters In The Sky succeeds on all levels. Whether you read it all the way through from beginning to end or pick it up somewhere in the middle, it’s a splendid escapist, time travel trip through the greatest live concerts in history. Those who weren’t able to experience it in person will feel like they did and for those who were fortunate enough to witness such an event, theycan fondly look back and say “Hey, I was there”.

By: Ryan Sparks