Long before catching video on cell phones, it was REALLY difficult to catch a live concert on video using a VHS camera. You would have to somehow hide it (since most were relatively large), sneak it past security and then - assuming you wanted to catch the whole concert - hold it up to record it for maybe two hours or more. All that time, hoping not to be spotted by security. Bootlegs, although not the greatest quality, would be sold on the black market, with no royalties going to the artists.

Today, even though you may see signs telling fans 'unauthorized recording is prohibited', it's rarely enforced. Cell phones capture everything.

Anyway, back to the days when you had to be sneaky to capture live video or audio from a show, a few concert goers were successful getting the ENTIRE sets of some of the biggest bands when they came to Albany's Knickerbocker Arena (aka Pepsi Arena, aka Times Union Center) or today's MVP Arena. Thanks to VHS and now thanks to YouTube, you can check out quite a few shows that once rocked Albany in the 90s.

1. The Grateful Dead

The Dead were no stranger to Albany. After the arena was built, they were in town almost annually. This is one of the earliest recorded shows from the Knickerbocker Arena from March 26, 1990 - about two months after it officially opened.

2. Phish

Much like The Dead, Phish were a staple on the Capital Region concert scene in the 90's and 2000's. This video was taken December 9, 1995.

3. REM

June 20, 1995. I remember being there. REM was at its most popular point in their history. Gotta love the reaction when they open with 'What's the Frequency Kenneth'. Ironically, The Dead were playing the following night and scores of Dead Heads showed up early to catch REM.

4. U2

One of the biggest bands on the planet then and still one of the biggest bands on the planet now. Albany was a stop on the band's 'Zoo TV' tour on March 21, 1992.

5. Bon Jovi

This was the band's famous 'Keep the Faith' tour that ran from late 1992 into early 1993. This video was taken on February 16th in 1993. The band would return that August to SPAC for their 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead' tour.

Bonus Mention


As mentioned earlier, the Grateful Dead were no strangers to the Capital Region. When they came to town, it wasn't a just a concert, it was an event. This video was taken June 22, 1995 on what would be the band's final tour with Jerry Garcia. Less than two months after this performance he passed away.

7 Beloved Music Venues We Miss in the Capital Region

The Capital Region has always had a very rich music scene. Whether its punk, hardcore, hip hop, folk or straight up rock, there were a number of venues in the area that hosted some pretty big names over the years. Here are a few you may have frequented growing up in the area.

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