A few years back, i attended the McMillan London international magic convention. After a long day of watching magic competitors and the occasional lecture, we reached an end at 11 o clock at night, where most of the attendees were tired from having been there the whole day.
Most people were leaving or about to leave and so was i, til i turned to my right and saw Bob Read chatting to someone. He said then that no he wasn't competing but that he'd just do a few bits.
He went on momentarily and i think his appearance was not on the schedule so there were only about 15 people or so left.
His few bits rocked! From his coins and silk to the bottle production and then the newspaper hat act to the card trick about the soldiers prayerbook and the chop cup with the newspaper wrapped cups.
He was just so funny with the non-sequitors and the magic hit me hard, even though i had read 'Thank for Pepys'.
To be honest, most magic competitors are bad, and having to sit through a lot of them to watch a good one can be very tiring. Watching Bob Read after that was like watching a legend after amateur nite.
Easily this was probably the best live performance of magic i got to see.