What Was Your First Concert?
Mine was the Rolling Stones. October 28, 1989, Shea stadium. The band, they're still kicking. Shea Stadium, sadly, is gone. My little cousin Johnny's second concert was AC/DC and I was lucky enough to be along on a recent beautiful New Jersey evening for that show (not to be outdone by Van Halen, who he saw just a few weeks earlier). It made me think back to my second concert, New Kids On The Block. While I have no regrets, there certainly was a decline in the "cool factor" that hardly stacks up against Van Halen / AC/DC. My track record has admittedly improved substantially since then. Live music, though, in any and all of its form is about as good as it gets. I’ve seen shows in everything from a basement to your local megadome, and everything in-between and in those moments there’s nowhere on Earth I’d rather be. It’s a religious conversion every time.
First concerts are a significant rite of passage. One that will be discussed, reminisced about and romanticized for many years to come. It’s very often (as it was for me) a gateway to your next and then your next and then even yet another show. Many of the rituals have changed. The price for parking is bordering on ludicrous and securing tickets isn’t as fun or easy as it once had been but when you get through all of that and you’re in a room with your favorite band and that first chord rings out, that first crack of the snare drum resonates, you’re in it and the hair on the back of your neck isn’t coming back down for another few hours.
Spinning the records of your favorite band is crucial and the most accessible avenue to your most beloved rock gods, but seeing them do their thing live is what it’s all about. Whether your belly is up against the stage and Keith Morris is sweating directly on you or you’re sharing airspace with Newark Airport as you rock to AC/DC from the nosebleeds (as I recently did), there is nothing quite as intoxicating, quite as adrenaline inducing or, simply put, quite as much fun as being witness to the beauty and spectacle that is live music.
The moment the lights go down and just before the band begins is often unbearable for me. I just can’t take it anymore and I need the ride to begin. My eyes are wide, goosebumps are formed and my stomach’s in knots. It happens every time…and I hope it never stops!