Ceremony, Lizzo, and Perfume Genius
(Ceremony and Perfume Genius: Estefany Gonzalez. Lizzo: Ian Young.)

As chroniclers of the Bay Area’s live music scene, we are obviously so, so excited for concerts to come back.

Well, kind of — some of us have some trepidation about the speed at which live events are announcing their return, considering that, though case numbers have fallen dramatically, we’re still in an active pandemic. But that doesn’t mean a number of us haven’t been daydreaming about what the perfect first concert to see after this is all over (or at least mostly over) would be.

So we asked the staff: If it were possible to choose, what would you want your First Concert After to be?

Jon Bauer, Photographer:


I want:

Monday: SF Symphony
Tuesday: Matt Berninger doing his new album “Serpentine Prison”
Wednesday: The Parcels at The Independent
Thursday: Nightlife EDM show at Academy Of Sciences
Friday: OSL with Lizzo
Saturday: Jazz Mafia at Swedish American Hall
Sunday: Ben Gibbard at August Hall (finally!)

Then, the next week — I want to do. it. again.

Am I asking too much?!”

Derek Nielsen, Contributing Editor:

AFI with local support from Ceremony. It’s at the Phoenix Theater, up in Petaluma. It has to be — that’s where my stupidly enduring love affair with live music all began.

I don’t want this show to just rock — this night needs to be fucking incendiary. Kids flying everywhere. Fools acting like fools. I want to see Davey Havok standing tall in all his glory, the flames of youth raging in his eyes. And for the encore, AFI closes the curtains with “Days of the Phoenix.””

Kristin Cofer, Photographer:

“The last show I saw pre-pandemic was Patti Smith at the Fillmore on March 9, 2020. I remember the show was sold out and there was one lone couple (in my memory) standing in the middle of the crowd wearing masks. I remember at the time thinking how strange it looked.

I’ve watched three of Patti’s livestreams during this past year and all of them have been so inspiring. She sings songs, reads poetry and always leaves me feeling positive. I look forward to seeing her in real life again someday (hopefully soon).”

William Wayland, Photographer and Writer:

“National Band: I embraced Big Thief in an unexpected way over the pandemic and admire how prolific they’ve been during lockdown with an album rumored to be dropping soon and three solo projects from Buck Meek and Adrienne Lenker releasing in the last year. Though I’d prefer a more intimate venue, if there’s a band I want to see live when all of this is over, it’s Big Thief at Outside Lands. I don’t even know who else is playing.

Local Band: The last LP I bought was the Remus pressing of Fake Fruit’s eponymous debut album. It starts out perfect and then it gets better. Now I want to hear Hannah D’Amato sing what I’ve been spinning for the last two weeks.”

Ashley Bulayo, Staff Writer:

“In a perfect world, my go-to concert post-COVID would be Billie Eilish. I remember when her concert tickets were first on sale pre-COVID shutdown, and I was on the fence. This past year allowed me to reevaluate my life choices and no longer sit back at excellent opportunities. Plus, with her recent Apple+ movie, I’m in major awe of her even more.”

JD Bray, Playlist Editor:

“In a more just world, Starline Social Club would have survived this last year instead of disappearing without a swan song. One of the last shows I saw there before the world went on hiatus was Mutual Benefit, where Jordan Lee’s tranquil, restorative tunes felt like tender offerings for a better world. Hearing Lee’s voice again would feel like a proper (albeit somber) goodbye to a period we’d all like to forget.

Goodbye, Starline. You’ll be missed.”

Jody Amable, Content Director:

“I’ve had two albums that I’ve been listening to almost continuously since March of last year, which have influenced my choices:

Perfume Genius, because the first thing I thought when I heard Set My Heart on Fire Immediately last spring was how good it would sound in a festival setting. It hits that middle ground between my previous interests in rock and roll and recent explorations of non-guitar sounds. It is at different turns anguished, exuberant, and supremely sexy; laced with baroque flourishes that align with my former status as a theater kid.

Then, just this February, Aaron Lee Tasjan entered the rotation. I have to admit, I’ve been daydreaming about standing in the dim light somewhere like the Independent, the between-band playlist fading out, and Aaron and his band walking out on stage and wasting no time — no introduction, no banter, no nothing because they know how long we’ve been waiting for this — launching into album opener “Sunday Women.””