Monterey Rocks Counting down the 25 greatest rock 'n' roll performances ever staged on the Central Coast


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A live rock show creates instant community. Whether listening to a baleful folkie in a coffeehouse back-room or to the mega-rockstar in a huge arena, instant fellowship develops over the shared experience. Jason Isbell, the Americana star, says his favorite thing about rock concerts is “looking around and thinking that there’s a lot of people in here that are very much like me, a lot of people in here I could have a full conversation with.”

The Central Coast boasts a rich history of live performance — from Joan Baez and Bob Dylan noodling in a Cannery Row coffee house to Passion Pit blowing a hole through the sky above the Monterey Fairgrounds to Camper Van Beethoven freaking killing it in the parking lot behind a Santa Cruz record store to Jimi and Janis and The Who.

Voices of Monterey Bay described what we think are the 25 greatest live performances ever staged in on the Central Coast. Obviously, this is a very subjective exercise. Music is, like beauty, in the heart of the beholder but it’s a fun conversation to have. “You create a community with music,” David Byrne once said, “not just at concerts but by talking about it with your friends.

The Countdown: