The 500 Club Redux

Quite a few of you submitted your choices for your own personal 500 Club, so I guess it’s only fair that I pass on the original list. You can click on the link to see the full rules, but essentially, the 500 Club is an artist or band you would pay $500 at a moment’s notice to see in a 500-capacity club.

Now, before I get to the list, I should point out that what you’re about to see is not mine alone (mine would be uncharacteristically longer). It’s actually a list that I could agree on with two other music fanatic friends. One of them (G-Rob) is a jam band aficionado who also tends toward jazz. The other (T) is a straight rock and roller who tends toward blues. By now, you should know I am a singer/song writer nut who tends toward acoustic, jam-oriented hippie music. You should also know we were lubricated by a couple of beers and a guy’s night out, so we might have been a little more willing than normal to drop the $500.

All of that understood, here’s the list upon which we agreed.

  • Paul Simon
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Paul McCartney
  • Elton John
  • Billy Joel
  • Chris Rock
  • Willie Nelson
  • *Full disclosure: Also appended to the list was Ozzy Osbourne, which now seems like a ridiculous idea and since I no longer agree with it, it’s off the list.

    Among the others under serious consideration but unable to achieve unanimity: Robin Williams, Motley Crue, Bill Clinton, The Police, James Taylor, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Bruce Springsteen. In retrospect, I think I might go back and substitute The Boss for Willie Nelson because I’ve seen Willie before (loved every second of it from my seat on the edge of the stage). However, present day, Springsteen has a new album, a fresh outlook, and some important things to say. Oh, and Willie’s latest offerings have sort of sucked. There I said it and may Hank Williams strike me down for the blasphemy.

    I was more than a little interested in all the comments from the original post. Absinthe, who is no slouch when it comes to music knowledge, was finding it hard to pull the trigger on any band in a 500-person club, saying it was not intimate enough for him. Sure, 500 people isn’t romantic, but in the day and age when the legends can pull in $150 a seat for big arenas (think 18,000 seats), 500 is a reasonable level of intimacy as far as I am concerned. We all can’t be as lucky as KenP who could just pop down the street and see Lenny Bruce in a small club. Of course, to be so lucky would confer upon us a certain…experience…that would preclude wanting to pay $5 for soup, let alone $500 to see a legend up close and personal (just joshin’, Ken…sort of). I also tended to agree with a few of the other comments, including Van Morrison, Clapton, and J.J. Cale. For those who are sure to wonder, I left Bob Dylan off the list because I’ve not heard a single good thing about his recent live performances. Go back 30-35 years, though, and I’d pay a lot more than $500.

    So, take your best shot at the list. To let you know how seriously we take ourselves, we also made another list. These are things we’d also pay at least a little money to see.

  • A juggling bear
  • A cat that can ride a unicycle
  • A monkey riding a dog
  • A skydiving dog
  • A monkey reading a teleprompter (or running a teleprompter–the list isn’t clear)
  • A horse kicking a field goal
  • That’s right. A horse kicking a damned field goal. I’d pay to see it right now.

    Brad Willis

    Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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    15 Responses

    1. Chilly says:

      Buddy Guy
      BB King
      Clapton is a no-brainer.
      Page,Plant and Jones (rule bender, but they did reunite a year ago)
      Cream (rule bender, but they did reunite a while ago)
      David Bowie
      The Police (rule bender, but they did reunite a while ago)
      Neil Young
      Jeff Beck

      I can see Chuck Berry play in St. Louis in a club about this size for $25. I don’t know why I haven’t and I am sure that I will regret it if I miss him. Also the Bottle Rockets are playing in STL on 12/27 for $15.

    2. KenP says:

      OK, I am old and cheap. Not really/totally cheap. I just have trouble translating my dollars into today’s dollars. Even if I had a $10 program on a $400 I-phone, I couldn’t make a reasoned calculation of the conversion rate seem sane.

      But, there is a part in that capable of scaring you to death. I recognized all your choices and can pretty much agree with them — recognizing you don’t know who the Kingston Trio was.

    3. KenP says:


      “A monkey reading a teleprompter (or running a teleprompter–the list isn’t clear)”

      As a card carrying member of that esteemed estate, you can deny you didn’t see that on a regular basis? With a straight face? At 6 and 10?

    4. StB says:

      I would pay $500 to see a poker writer eat 4 keno crayons.

    5. Astin says:

      Led Zeppelin if Plant decides to tour

      Not Dylan, saw him in a small stadium (< 10k) and was unimpressed until the encore

      Simon & Garfunkel, saw them in a bigger stadium (19k or so) and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen

      Stevie Wonder, as long as he does the old funky stuff

      And while breaking the rules, I’d have seen James Brown in a heartbeat when he was alive.

      No doubt there are others. Neil Young comes to mind. So does Leonard Cohen, who was awesome from 12 rows back in concert hall.

    6. Jen says:

      I would pay $500 in a pinch to see Prince in a small venue. I’ve seen him in major concerts and once in a small auditorium in Illinois, and I would jump at the chance to see him again – almost any price.

    7. Bam-Bam says:

      Something I’d pay money to see right now huh?

      OK… Michael Phelps swimming with the Dolphins.
      No! Not in some Aqua-caged environment.
      I would like to see him cruising with them at the bow of a boat on the water. Just to see if he could.

      Oh and if a Monkey was the place-holder, I’d go for the Horse kicking a Field Goal too.

    8. pokerpeaker says:

      Zep with Plant
      Iron Maiden
      Jamiroquai (extreme guilty pleasure, don’t ask)
      Stevie Wonder
      Steely Dan
      Herbie Hancock playing his Maiden Voyage stuff
      Brand New Heavies, though that is fading, last album wasn’t that great
      Dream Theater
      Coldplay, maybe
      I do think Motley Crue, the last album this summer’s was pretty kick ass

      I’m probably leaving some out.

    9. Drizztdj says:

      I’d pay $500 to see two cats play tetherball with a live mouse.

      Cruel, yet funny.

    10. T says:

      C’mon, I didn’t agree to the monkey reading a teleprompter, did I? That’s just downright foolish. I see that every frickin’ morning, free no less.

    11. change100 says:

      A horse kicking a field goal above all else. Or maybe Pauly eating a plate of steamed cauliflower.

    12. Da Goddess says:

      Still not a single band I’d pay $500 to see in a club that crowded. But I would happily pay $500 to stand in a room with That Guy and a minister and get hitched.

    13. CC says:

      I’d have to agree that The Police should replace Willie, and U2 seems like a no-brainer. That said, I’ve now paid a cumulative $4,500 over the last 18 years on Indigo Girls tickets. If you’d tell me I could pay another $2k not to have to see them again, it would be a quick decision (unless it meant sleeping on the sofa the rest of my life…).

    14. Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

    15. otis says:


      Thanks….and no.