I was thinking about all the live music I've had the opportunity to see over the years. Moving to central New Jersey from upstate New York got me close enough to New York City. It's hard to remember complete details, but I believe I started seeing live bands in Madison Square Garden, Giants stadium, and similar venues. Here is a list, as complete as my memory, and old ticket stubs, program guides, etc. will allow.
1979-80 Stevie Wonder at Madison Square Garden
1979 The Crusaders at Carnegie Hall
1979 Narada Michael Walden, Rufus and Shaka Kahn, the Brothers Johnson at Carnegie Hall
1980 Bob Marley and the Wailers and the Commodores at Madison Square Garden
1980 The Isley Brothers at Madison Square Garden
1980 Cameo, Teddy Pendergrass, The Barkays, Rick James, GQ, Peabo Bryson, Teena Marie, and others I can't recall at Various Summer fests
1980 Earth Wind & Fire
1982 The Kinks, Foreigner, and several others I can't recall at a summer fest in the Brendan Byrne arena in New Jersey.
1986 Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers in New Brunswick
1987 Dizzie Gillespie and the United World orchestra, featuring James Moody, Jon Faddis, Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Dandoval, and others, and Wynton Marsalis at the Jersey Shore
1988 Prince at the Rutgers auditorium
1988 Tito Puente Bethlehem, Pa
1994 Doc Cheatam at Sweet Basil
It wasn't until the late 90's that I started seeing more jazz. There was a winter program at the Monmouth County library system, and they brought some impressive musicians, including
Milt Jackson, Mike LeDonne, Kenny Washington, and others.
1999 The Duke Ellington Orchestra with Paul Mercer Ellington, Duke's grandson leading.
2000 Retumba Perth Amboy, N.J.
2001 Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter New Brunswick
2003 Jackson Browne Fort Myers, Fl.
2003-04 Bob Marley festivals in Miami, Fl
2006 Toots and the Maytals, Little Feat and Twobob Crew at the Orange Peel Asheville, N.C.
2007 Brick Downtown Asheville, N.C.
2007 David Byrne Asheville, N.C.
2007 Eddie Palmieri in Hendersonville, N.C.
2008 Chick Corea Boone, N.C.
I've also seen many other local bands who are great musicians. If you get a chance go out and see live music, there is nothing like it. Some of the above named bands are still active, and you may be able to see them in your area.