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Top Ten Transcendent Moments At LA Rock Gigs In 2010

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Photo by Simon Cardoza for LAist.
1. Calexico - Hollywood Bowl
When the band finished their version of Love’s “Along Again Or” aided by a mariachi horn section, I was pretty sure we’d seen the highlight of an already strong show. Then, front man Joey Burns called out “Here’s one for D. Boon!,” and burst into the Minutemen classic “Corona.” taking a gringo punk rock imagining of Mexican music and sending it straight back to Mexico with a straight face. It was perhaps the finest only-in-LA moment of the year.2. Roger Waters’ The Wall - Staples Center
While the album’s big set pieces were suitably grandiose, the heaviest moment came with the mass sing-along of “Bring The Boys Back Home,” as the bricks in the wall were replaced by images of soldiers killed in combat. Waters’ underlying anti-war message, less overt in the original LP, was brought suddenly, unavoidably into focus.

3. Ornette Coleman Quartet - Royce Hall
The eighty-year old saxophonist remains a force of nature, and his two-bass quartet was devastating at Royce, never more so than on their version of “Jordan,” during which the four musicians seemed to be communicating by telepathy.

4. Stevie Wonder - Nokia Theater
This year’s annual House Full Of Toys holiday pageant suffered somewhat from an overly long guest list, and an apparent deregulation of extended speechmaking, resulting in the headlining Wonder having to cut his own set short and medley-ize most of the songs he did play. But early in the night, he cut loose on a glorious reading of “Ave Maria” that was bright and pure enough to lift the unevenly paced program out of its doldrums and make this list.