Do you remember your first concert? How old were you and what did you see? Was it lame or an awesome experience? Some of the staff of ReadJunk.com decided to think all the way back to our first concerts. Some are quite pathetic, and some are really cool concerts (ahem…mine!). If you want to tell us your first concert, please respond in the comments section or e-mail me at [email protected] and if its good enough; we’ll add it to the article.
Adam Coozer’s First Concert: Kiss
KISS was my first concert and still reigns as one of the best. It was in 1992 and they toured in support of Revenge, a wildly overlooked album that is chock full of catchy-if-sexist rock tunes that largely avoid the cheesiness of their 80s output (at least it seemed so in 1992). While this was between their makeup eras, and I actually preferred them au naturale. They seemed to be more about the music than being a cartoon or mockery of themselves.
The show was amazing. They must have played about 300 songs, spanning their career, and the lasers, explosions, fire, and – yes – STRIPPERS, set the bar for what I assumed was the live rock n’ roll experience. My tastes have since matured and I’d now rather listen to a colicky baby on a long flight than to revisit KISS, but my enjoyment of that show remains a vivid memory and it shaped my standard of live expectations.
Bryan’s First Concert: Guns N Roses and Aerosmith
Back in 1988, I was a huge Guns N Roses fan. I had a decent size mullet and was a heavy metal fan that loved Guns N Roses, Megadeth, Metallica, Ozzy and other bands like that. I was only in 4th grade; I was 10 at the time so whatever grade you’re in at that time. Guns N Roses was opening for Aerosmith in Middletown at the Orange County Fairgrounds. It used to be the place to see big time concerts in Orange County, NY. Every summer there would be big concerts to see like Bon Jovi, Metallica, crap like that. But now the fairgrounds is an inbred infested speedway that I have to hear from my apartment every weekend. But at least I get to see fireworks from my balcony 5 times a summer. The last concert I remember seeing there was the Smoking Grooves tour in 96/97 with Busta Rhymes , A Tribe Called Quest, Cypress Hill, The Fugees and Ziggy Marley. I was there for Ziggy obviously but the other bands were cool too.
But back to my first concert. So since I was only 10, my Dad agreed to take my twin brother Matt and I to the concert. After all, we couldn’t go by ourselves and we loved the band. Serves my Dad right for playing the classic rock station, where we heard the commercial that GNR were going to be playing here. We actually had our Dad with us at concerts until we were around 2o-22. He just enjoyed going to the ska shows with us so that was really cool of him. I hope to bring my kids to cool shows when I have them. Hopefully it’s not shit like the Jonas Brothers but knowing my luck, it will be.
So we got our tickets in the trailer outside the fairgrounds and we were off to see Slash, Axl and the other members in Guns N Roses. I was really obsessed with Slash and used to draw him all the time. I drew a Slash head picture that my older brother put on a big banner. They were going to have that in the crowd; I’d hate to be the people behind the banner. We had seats all the way up in the stands but could see the stage fine. It was a little fair to see, especially for a 10 year old. Guns N Roses opened up the concert and I loved every minute of it. I don’t remember what they played (sounds like my other concert reviews) but it was mostly from the Appetite from Destruction album since that came out the year before. Aerosmith was really impressive and Steve Tyler was a mad man. Prancing and dancing all around the stage, singing classic songs and new tunes as well. We left the concert early because we were really there for GNR and we were little. As we were leaving we saw people smoking marijuana and we asked our Dad what that smell was. He told us it was cigarettes. The next year I saw Ozzy at the Fairgrounds and that was even better concert! But that’s another article for another time.
Creature of War’s First Concert: Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Before my first ever real concert I had attended a handful of terrible bar bands playing to drunken crowds at many a festival. I was pretty much there just for something to do. My first concert came about as I was getting into the third wave ska movement on the 90s. I had amassed quite a collection of ska and punk albums but I had yet to experience the sound live and direct.
The year was 1997. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones had just released Lets Face It. I had heard of the band before and my friend had even played Question the Answers for me at one point or another but, I can remember my soundtrack of that summerNo Doubts Tragic Kingdom, Sublimes self-titled album, Mustard Plugs Evildoers Beware and Reel Big Fishs Turn the Radio Off. But when Lets Face It came out, something about the Bosstones just hit me in a way that no other band had done before. There was punk rock, there was ska, there were serious issues, there were fun songsthere were so many things about them that I had never heard before, and then came their live show.
In October of that year the Bosstones played at the Tussey Mountain Ampitheatre in State College, PA, which is about an hour from where I live. Three friends and I took the short trip for a show that was comprised of The Amazing Royal Crowns, Bim Skala Bim, the Dropkick Murphys and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. To this day, only the Warped Tour 2000 line up has been better. 11 years later I can still remember details of that show as if it were yesterday. I can remember instantly falling in love with Bim Skala Bim and the Dropkick Murphys. I can remember Dicky hanging out unnoticed in the crowd during Bim Skala Bim and I can remember him signing my ticket and chatting with us. I can remember my first ever skank pit on a muddy-sloped hill. I can remember the cloud of smoke rising as soon as the Bosstones took the stage and I can remember saying to myself, I will go and see this band every single chance that I can. And I did, and I still do. I credit the Mighty Mighty Bosstones performance that night as one of the biggest turning points in my life. I had found something unique that I could be a part of, something that would teach me respect for and acceptance of others and something that would provide me with the window of opportunity to meet the kind of people that I really wanted to meet. For anyone out there that doesnt think that music can change a persons life, boy are you ever wrong.
eMily’s First Concert: New Kids on the Block
Sitting up in one of the last sections of Nassau Coliseum, I donned my New Kids On The Block sweater (yes, sweater not sweatshirt) and help the binoculars up to my eyes to get a glimpse of the stage. I sat sandwiched between my mother and my sister, clutching my ticket in my hand, listening to the glorious sounds of Danny, Donnie, Jon, Jordan, and my heartthrob Joey. It was the moment I had been waiting for, to be in the same room as the New Kids. It didn’t matter that I shared that room with a few thousand other little girls. In my eyes, it was just me and them… a good half mile away.
I might have only been eight years old at the time, but I have the most vivid memory of hearing them preform Hangin’ Tough; probably because of what followed. The other Kids apparently needed to take a break, and allowed Donnie to have some solo time. This precursor allowed for a seamless segue into his rap career. I recall being absolutely horrified as he slowly lifted his wife beater, and his low-slung pants got increasingly lower and he rapped and showed me his suggestive dance moves. It then occurred to me that my mother was sitting there right next to me and I was mortified. This was too PG-13 for my sheltered eight years.
I waited for the part of the show where the New Kids go into the audience and sing to you one on one, but to no avail. Though I played the scenario over and over in my head for weeks prior, I guess they didn’t see me sitting up there, because they didn’t even pull me on stage to serenade me. Sometime before the encore, I dozed off in my seat. I was hoping to convince my mother to follow their tour bus after the show, but my groupie dreams were shaken awake with my mother’s opposing tug at my sweater.
Lauren’s First Concert: Metallica
I believe I was in 11th grade when I finally went to my first concert. Luckily my Aunt and Uncle were huge metal heads and were the ones who took me to see Metallica at Giants Stadium. Sure, we were sitting way up on the upper tier; but still, it was amazing.
I was unbelievably excited! Metallica?! My favorite band, ever…and I get to see them?! Unfortunately we had to sit through Days of the New and Jerry Cantrell, and time just seemed to drag until Metallica took the stage.But once they did take the stage, it was unbelievable. Every song I knew was even heavier sounding, the crowd singing along, it was amazing. Simply amazing. Metallica’s stage show had it all. Fire, lights flashing, and even the full long gun fire intro to ONE was indeed playing.
I left the concert with even more of a love for the band. Even the crap off of Load and Reload sounded amazing. Years later I got to see them again with Slayer and Slipknot, but it still didn’t compare to my first time. First concert, and first Metallica concert.
Mike’s First Concert: Beach Boys with John Stamos
I do not remember the show as much as other memorable shows, but I do know this. I was in 6th grade and I saw The Beach Boys at the Garden State Art Center. This was pre-PNC, back when it was great. I was a old friend of mine and we rocked out with his parents while Uncle Jessie played those drums like a rockstar. John Stamos and The Beach Boys. It was just like that Full House episode.
Ray’s First Concert: K-Rock Dysfunctional Family Picnic
My first show was an action packed one, full of many popular bands of the 90s.
It was the first annual K-Rock Dysfunctional Family Picnic, a series of alternative rock concerts that continued for years and was sponsored by New Yorks K-Rock radio. The concert featured Bush, Foo Fighters, Echo and the Bunnymen, Blur, Soul Coughing, and Luscious Jackson. Looking back, these bands certainly screamed 90s excluding Echo of course which at this time was definitely long after they hit their peak. This show was also one of their first live performances after several years of being disbanded. The rest were certainly at the peak of their music careers. I never cared for the London band, Bush. They always struck me as bland and boring much like most post grunge bands of the time. In fact, I recall thinking that during the show. The Foo Fighters were just making their descent into pop rock with the release of their second album, a departure from their much harder sounding debut album. UK band, Blur, was also immensely popular thanks in part for their scratchy guitar and “noisy” single, Song 2. Then you had Luscious Jackson and Soul Coughing, bands now only read about in the footnotes of 90s mainstream music history. I have a vague recollection of people constantly throwing garbage at Luscious Jackson during their set and a piece of trash smacking the lead singer’s guitar prompting her to tell the audience to be nice or they will leave the stage.
This was still the era of music videos, a time in which bands heavily relied on videos for excessive promotion. The show was in Forest Hills New York where the US Open was previously held. What I remember the most about the show was that it was outdoors, hot, and I had a good view of the front stage. Not to mention there were lots of cute girls in attendance. For me, in retrospect, this show was a prelude of what was to come. The shows that would follow would get much more intimate and cramped later that year. I went to my second show 2 or 3 weeks later when I caught The Offspring, Shift, and D Generation at the Roxy in Midtown Manhattan. That fall I started my senior year in high school, began regularly attending shows in the city almost every week and explored the city including its music scene. It was the beginning of a very fun time of my youth most especially music-wise.