Wishlist | Five Full Album Concerts We Want to See Before We Die

Photo: Frank Micelotta (Getty Images)

In a streaming-music market, full album concerts are the latest thing to tap into our thirst for nostalgia, while giving musicians a new way to pay the bills.

Although there’s nothing new about the concept (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Weezer have done it in the past) U2’s recent announcement about their upcoming 30th Anniversary of the Joshua Tree tour stoked new life into the largely untapped market.

While critics will say that artists looking towards their past instead of focusing on the future is a pure money grab, do we really need to hear another Songs of Innocence? U2 even tried to give it away on our iPhones and we said “Níl, go raibh maith agat” which means “no thank you” in Irish Gaelic.

Also: U2 Celebrate 30th Anniversary of “The Joshua Tree” With Worldwide Tour

Most of us go to concerts for bands that we’ve seen for the hits anyway. Since we’ve most likely been there and done that, why not go to shows to relive the albums as we heard them, B-sides and all?

Here are my Five Full Album Concerts We Want to See Before We Die. The only caveat to this dream scenario is that the band cannot replace a dead member with a son (sorry, Jason Bonham), sidekick or drum machine. If a member left over differences there is always a chance to get the old band together, at least for one night, right?

The Chronic – Dr. Dre (full album on iTunes)

The Backstory

Dr. Dre helped break ground on gangsta rap with NWA, but it’s his seminal solo debut, The Chronic, that set the standard for West Coast hip hop that can still be heard in Compton’s own Kendrick Lamar 25 years later.

The Album

Dr. Dre was the Quincy Jones, Phil Spector, and Rick Rubin of his day. A godfather of the West Coast genre, establishing a lush, funky, G-thang sound that was raw and hard, yet essentially hip-pop music. Suburban frat boys and South Central gang members could connect to its tales of smoking weed, chasing bad girls and living the life of a “G.” Although he’s always been the master of ceremonies on his projects, Dr. Dre is front and center on his solo debut, rapping like a man inspired after his fallout with Death Row Records

So, You’re Saying There’s a Chance

Although Nate Dogg is gone to heaven, Dr. Dre’s right-hand man on the album, Snoop Dogg, is still puffing. The two even had a well-received reunion show back in 2012. We know unsung heroes Kurrupt and Daz would be down so the only real problem would be the Doctor himself, who has only dabbled in making music since his 2001 album way back in 1999. Instead of being gun shy about making music that might not live up to The Chronic why not just give the people what you know they want. Odds: 25%

Self-Titled – Rage Against the Machine

The Backstory

To quote Rage Against The Machine themselves, What better place than here, what better time than now? Yes, I know those lyrics are from the band’s 1999 album, The Battle of Los Angeles, but the call to arms basically sums up why we need hear to RATM’s self-titled debut album now more than ever. 

The Album

Released in 1992, the debut is like stepping into an MMA ring. It’s brutal and exhilarating. A visceral assault on the senses that makes you want to hit back. HARD. Often copied, but never duplicated, RATM’s stunning debut established (for better or worse), the rap-metal genre that would define a decade. From the opening guitar strums on “Bombtrack” to the the fist in the air, call to arms of de la Rocha on “Killing in the Name”, you get the sense that this is revolutionary in more ways than one.

So, You’re Saying There’s a Chance

Growing tensions within the band led to a break-up in 2000. Although guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk have stuck together, forming Audioslave (with Chris Cornell) and a Rage-like cover band, Prophets of Rage, with Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Public Enemy’s Chuck D, the trio are clearly missing their dynamic frontman. Meanwhile, de la Rocha has gone underground for nearly two decades, only recently resurfacing as a de facto third member of Run the Jewels. He’s reportedly putting the finishing touches on a much-delayed solo album produced by El-P. The good news is that RATM have aged well, both physically and musically, as their before their time music with its fight the power anthems seem like the perfect soundtrack to the anti-Trump era of today. Having reunited in the past for social causes, it’s probably not too far off to see the them raging together again. Odds: 40% 

The Score – Fugees

The Backstory

The Fugees (Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Pras) were the sports equivalent of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden circa 2009 to 2012. Both threesomes were fun, cocky, outspoken phenoms with tons of talent. They achieved greatness early on and their future looked bright until they flamed out faster than you can sing “Ooh La La La”.

The Album

It’s hard to believe that the Fugees never recorded another album after The Score, which won two Grammys and Rolling Stone named as one of the “500 Greatest Albums of All-Time”.  The Score is packed with hot singles which set the template for the rap-r&B blend. No one did that better than Lauryn Hill on classics like “Ready Or Not”, switching on a dime, spitting duck and cover rhymes and soul-songstress choruses all in the same breath. It was straight fire and is still inspiring the likes of Drake, Chance the Rapper and YG. Although Wyclef may have been pulling the strings  L-Boogie was “DA REAL MVP.”

So, You’re Saying There’s a Chance

Ego, hubris and a scandal (an affair between Hill and Jean has been rumored) split them apart and just like the OKC trio, each of the Fugees found success as solo artists, albeit some more so than others. Lauryn Hill shot to to superstardom with her iconic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill before serving time for tax fraud; Wyclef Jean is still making music, but is best known for being accused of misappropriating funds from his Haiti Earthquake Charity Relief; while Pras is now a filmmaker/actor who had a one-hit wonder with “Ghetto Supastar”. With two out of the three former Fugees in financial debt, it’s not too hard to picture them reuniting to cash some checks. Odds: 25% and going up. 

Blood Sugar Sex Magik – The Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Backstory

For nineties kids, Blood Sugar Sex Magic is their Pet Sounds or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heartclub Band. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ fifth studio album was their breakthrough hit after years as a cult band, making household names out of Anthony Keidis and Flea, who until then were best known as guys who wore socks on their dicks while performing. 

The Album

Produced by Rick Rubin and recorded in the haunted mansion of Harry Houdini, Blood Sugar Sex Magic is the kind of work where everyone is at peak form, from John Frusciante’s Hendrix guitar on “I Could’ve Lied” to the thumping rhythm section of Flea and drummer Chad Smith on “Funky Monks” to Keidis’ rap-scatting about sex and drugs, and digging deeper for their career-defining hit, “Under the Bridge”. 

So, You’re Saying There’s a Chance

The Chili Peppers’ biggest album on a nearly four decade career cost them the enigmatic and uber-talented Frusciante, who has had an on-going love-hate affair with the band and their success. Although the band has forged on with multiple guitarists, it’s no coincidence that RHCP’s best work has been with him. Although current axeman (and Frusciante protege) Josh Klinghoffer would be a viable fill-in, it would be special to see Frusciante back with the trio, only if for one night/tour. And with bands like U2 doing the whole nostalgic thing, this is a good bet as any Odds: 50%

The Blueprint Vol.1 – Jay-Z

The Backstory

Jay-Z scored Beyonce, which would be enough on anyone’s resume to say nothing of establishing himself as hip-hop’s GOAT.

The Album

Everyone has three things: an opinion, an asshole and a favorite Jay-Z album. Purists will argue Reasonable Doubt, while the masses will choose The Black Album. I will offer up The Blueprint Vol. 1, which has the best of both worlds (no, not the undervalued collabo with R. Kelly). There’s radio sing-alongs draped in drug tales “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”, rap power ballads “Song Cry”, and ghetto poetry “Renegade” with Eminem.

So, You’re Saying There’s a Chance

Hip-hop overtook rock ‘n roll as the music of this generation so we’ve already seen iconic rappers like Nas, Kanye West, and Jay-Z himself doing nostalgic tours to celebrate past glories. The question will not be when he does it, but which album he chooses. Odds: 75%.