John Kenney knows what it takes to make a good concert. As the owner of popular downtown venue the Royal American, 

Kenney has been instrumental in putting great artists on the stage for almost a decade. So, we asked him: What are the top five best concerts you’ve ever been to? He’s seen a lot of live music, so he responded with 10.

U2 – The Joshua Tree Tour – RFK Stadium, Washington DC – 1987
“I was 13 and we snuck all the way up to the front row in the rain. Bono slipped on the wet stage and dislocated his shoulder, but finished the show anyway. I was blown away. That was rock and roll.”

Guns ‘n’ Roses and Metallica w/ Faith No More – RFK Stadium, Washington DC – 1992
“Kick-off night to a wild and crazy tour. Metallica blew Guns ‘n’ Roses off the stage. And Axl was over an hour late, as usual.”

Blind Melon – Old 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 1992
Shannon Hoon was so drunk he peed on the stage.

Woodstock ’94 – Saugerties, NY – 1994
Lots of mud and moshing. 500,000 people helping Joe Cocker sing “With A Little Help From My Friends” was a kumbaya moment for a lifetime.

Social Distortion – The Black Cat, Washington, DC – 1995
This show changed my life. It was loud, fast, and dangerous, and real.

George Clinton & P-Funk – Constitution Hall, Washington DC – 1996
I had never seen such effortless funk, groove, soul, swagger, and style. These guys were funk.

Beastie Boys – 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 2004
The band was late arriving from NYC due to weather, so they ordered 500 pizzas for the crowd. They ended up going on stage at 1 a.m. and played for three hours.

Joe Perry Band – Irving Plaza, NYC – 2009
Steven Tyler surprised Joe and jumped onstage after the duo had been estranged for a few years. Joe looked like he was seeing a ghost. They did “Walk This Way,” and Aerosmith got back together right in front of us.

Brave Baby w/ Heyrocco – The Royal American, Charleston, SC – 2013
The first time we really (over) sold the place out. The energy was so amazing. I remember looking around the room at the swinging lights and the smiling faces and wondering if I was dreaming.

Bruce Springsteen on Broadway – Walter Kerr Theater, NYC – 2018
The most intimate, revealing, and moving concert I have seen.