Bennett Cooper

Say you had the ability to close your eyes, picture any location in the world—at any time between the day you were born and today—and arrive there at the speed of thought. Where and when would you go? Who would you take along with you? Would you be tempted to change the past or right your wrongs? Would you do things over?

Those are hypothetical questions for most people, but not for me. I can travel anywhere between my birthday—March 6, 1995—and today. My sister’s fun, and probably the only one who really understands me, so I usually take her along. But I’m purely an observer. Even though it’s tempting, when it comes to changing the past, I tend to think that’s a pretty bad idea.

Maybe that’s why I travel back for good music, seeking out the best rock concerts I can find. Whether I’m watching a favorite band play one of their first gigs in a tiny club, or at an epic show in one of the world’s most beautiful venues, when I’m there, watching that stage, everything is exactly the way it should be. It might be the only time I travel back in time and never feel the urge to alter a single moment.


My list of epic shows.
487 ticket stubs and counting.

May 27 1995

Green Day | Setlist
Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium, Oakland, CA, USA

Mar 28 1996

Radiohead | Setlist
The Edge, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Aug 06 1996

Ramones | Setlist
The Palace, Hollywood, CA, USA

May 22 1998

Modest Mouse | Setlist
The Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA, USA

Sep 02 1998

Beastie Boys | Setlist
Lakewood Amphitheatre, Atlanta, GA, USA

Jun 16 2000

White Stripes | Setlist
Sit N’ Spin, Seattle, WA, USA

Jan 22 2001

Coldplay | Setlist
The Metro Theatre, Sydney, Australia

Mar 09 2001

The Strokes | Setlist
Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, WA, USA

Sept 21 2002

Spoon | Setlist
Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY, USA

Apr 29 2004

The Pixies | Setlist
Freeborn Hall, Davis, CA, USA

Jun 15 2004

Linkin Park | Setlist
Manila, Manila, Philippines

Jan 11 2005

The Hives | Setlist
Circo Volador, Mexico City, Mexico

Apr 02 2005

The Bravery | Setlist
El Corazón, Seattle, WA, USA

Nov 15 2005

Black Keys | Setlist
Toad’s Place, New Haven, CT, USA

Jan 28 2006

Foo Fighters | Setlist
Le Zénith, Paris, France

Aug 13 2006

Silversun Pickups | Setlist
Schubas Tavern, Chicago, IL, USA

Apr 27 2007

Arctic Monkeys | Setlist
Coachella Festival, Indio, CA, USA

Oct 01 2007

Vampire Weekend | Setlist
Webster Hall, New York, NY, USA

Mar 15 2008

The Breeders | Setlist
Waterloo Park, Austin, TX, USA

Mar 05 2008

Incubus | Setlist
Tennis Indoor Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia

Dec 06 2011

The Boxer Rebellion | Setlist
Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands

Apr 14 2012

Red Hot Chili Peppers | Setlist
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony #27


If you could do what I can do, which concert would you travel back in time to see? Check out—that’s a great place to start.


  1. I’m going to cheat and pick two:

    I’d go back to see Green Day playing an early show on Gilman Street. (How is “409 In Your Coffeemaker” not a huge hit?)

    And I’d go back to see Foo Fighters play at Berkeley High School. This was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and I’d happily watch it all over again, without changing a single thing.

  2. Simon & Garfunkel in Central Park – September 1981.
    I did get a chance to see them on their reunion tour, but I would have loved to be able to see this historic show!

  3. I would go see The Get Up Kids at the Black Cat in DC. Small Venue, great band. They had broken up for a bit but then were back!

  4. Oh Bennett, you have such fabulous taste in music. <3

    The Maine in Manchester, England, on their co-headlining tour with Mayday Parade. Two bands I absolutely adore. I haven't had the chance to see either of them in concert yet, but I *will*.

  5. Oh wow, what an awesome idea! There are so many concerts I would have loved to see. I didn’t get to see many when I was younger, because my parents were pretty strict. I got to see NKOTB during their reunion tour a few years ago, but I would have loved to see them when they first started. I also wish I could see some of Michelle Branch’s early shows, but I can’t name one in particular.

    However, my ultimate dream if I could travel back in time, would be to go to NYC and see the original cast of Wicked on Broadway. I know it’s not a concert, but it’s music related!

  6. The Mountain Goats in Zilker Park 2010:
    Love Austin and love the setlist (Your Belgian Things! never heard this live).
    Oh, and I’ve been to Nijmegen too! Sadly, not to see The Boxer Rebellion.

  7. I would have to say the last one on your list: Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony #27 because I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Orrr go to one of the first Goo Goo Dolls concerts. they are SO good.

  8. Oh man, I would so be at any of those Green Day or RHCP shows – that was the time I really loved all their music and they could do no wrong! And this is cheesy, but I would also go to any of the *NSYNC tour dates from their very first tour – I was a total fangirl for them (I say ‘was’ like I wouldn’t be at that reunion tour in a heartbeat…) and that’s the only tour of theirs I missed since I wasn’t in the US at the time. It would make my *NSYNC fandom complete!

  9. Ahh, didn’t even have to think about this one! Muse’s HAARP tour in London’s Wembley Stadium, Summer 2007. It looked AMAZING! I also would love to see some of Eminem’s earlier shows. Bennett’s Beastie Boys concert is also very tempting!

  10. Wow, tough question.I can’t narrow it down to one, so I’d go with any MTV Unplugged concert So many great musicians to choose from.

  11. I would go back to November 10 1997 to see Ben Folds Five in my hometown of Richmond, VA. I didn’t get to go to the show at the time because my parents wouldn’t let me go to shows on a weeknight. AND TRAVIS OPENED FOR THEM. Man, I bet that was so, so good…

  12. I’d have to say Indigo Girls when they played at Red Rocks in Colorado long ago! I love their old stuff!

  13. Any of Johnny Cash’s final shows. He’s such a legend, and I’m so disappointed that I’ll never have the opportunity to see him perform live. I do love Bennett’s list above… He’s got some pretty amazing musical taste!

  14. I’ll go back not so far from today.. last February 2011, I was unlucky (not to mention broke) haha, when Taylor Swift came in my country.. the tickets were sold out like the minute they were out, and they were extremely expensive :/

  15. Bennett has been to some AMAZING concerts. I would so go to them too, if I could. BUT if I could I would probably go to one of Florence & the Machine’s concerts, probably to the one at the Radio City Music Hall in NY. I just love how her music makes me feel raw & emotional. lol.

  16. I’d go back to the time I said that mean thing to the person I care about and have a do-over.

  17. Green Day for sure. They might not be my favorite from the list; I’m not sure. However, they are a band I really like and one that I doubt I could afford ordinarily. Such concerns go out of the window when you can time travel there!

    I would totally bring my friend Jordan with me bc they’re her favorite band of ALL TIME.

  18. Oh wait. I misunderstood! I thought we were choosing from Bennett’s concerts! If I could go to any concert from MY lifetime, I would go to the Simon & Garfunkel reunion concert!

  19. I agree with Jessica. I’d go back to Simon and Garfunkel’s concert in Central Park.

  20. I was a huge fan of the band Bush as a teen. I did get to go to a concert, my first without a parent, with a friend and her brother and had so much fun! I was so excited to be there and I would love to live that again. 🙂

  21. So fun! I would see U2 again at Soldier Field! As a Chicagoan, I am just loving your character descriptions and places etc. I CANNOT wait to read this!!!!

  22. Gosh, so many! But the most recent one is the Adele concert at O2 Academy Glasgow, in Glasgow, Scotland. On my 21rst Birthday.

    I <3 Adele.

    All the ones people have listed are awesome as well! Nothing beats listening to live music…*sigh*

  23. Bennett’s idea of going back to see rock concerts sounds fun.
    I’d love to go back to 2006 (november 25-26) to see the 15th anniversary concert of L’arc~en~ciel in Tokyo.

  24. I have loved Dave Matthews Band for a long time (is that cliche?). Bennett needs to visit The Gorge in Gorge, WA. It’s pretty legendary!

    Any David Bowie concert.

    I had a great time watching Weezer (one of my all time favorite bands) at Bumbershoot in 2012, although I missed Tired of Sex on this setlist, it was the best performance I’d seen of theirs, and I’ve seen them 4 times:

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