A big part of being a music fan and especially a rock fan is seeing your favorite bands play live. Anyone who has ever been to a concert has a story. Maybe getting caught in traffic and being late, or having your favorite band playing your favorite song, or even seeing Adam Rich from the TV show Eight is Enough bogarting the biggest joint you’ve ever seen. All of which happened to me. Most people have very vivid memories of their first show.
My first concert was Journey, Blue Oyster Cult, Triumph, and Aldo Nova at the Rose Bowl. July 2, 1982. I was a teenager that loved my rock music and it was time to take the next step and experience my heroes doing what they do live. I dropped hints and bugged my dad about how much I wanted to go. He finally broke down, and bought me a ticket, and paid one of his employees, Raymond to take me to the show.
We entered the stadium and I saw the biggest crowd I had ever seen (til then). Because of how many people were on the football field we ended up on one side of the field with stage being on the other side. The Rose Bowl is mostly known for football, you’ve seen it every New Year’s day for the Rose Bowl. They put the stage in one end zone. We had put our blanket down in the opposite end zone, about 100 yards away. It was a great spot for me to get acclimated to being at my first show.
Raymond brought along two friends, as soon as we got there they proceeded to get WASTED! It was the first time I had ever been around anyone smoking pot. I remembered one of them getting beer from the concession stand. I was not just getting a total contact high, but it was the music that really grabbed me!! The bass drum was so loud I could feel it in my chest; the guitars were making the hair on my arms stand up. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced! I liked this feeling. Aldo Nova was onstage, it was unreal. The music was so loud it felt like it was coursing through my veins.
The second band on was canadian band Triumph. I had just bought their Allied Forces record and was playing the crap out of it. I was floored by how much sound was coming out of just three musicians. They did all my favorite songs from that album. I remembered just getting lost in the sights and sounds of what was happening. One of Raymond’s buddy’s had left to go on another beer run in the middle of the Aldo Nova set and still hadn’t made it back by the time Triumph was done. With close to a hundred thousand people there the only line longer than the beer line was the line for the restroom.
Next up was Blue Oyster Cult. I hadn’t heard too much BOC, other than Godzilla and Don’t Fear the Reaper. I recalled that their set progressively picked up steam and I got into the waves pretty quickly. They did Reaper and Godzilla and finished up with a cover of Born To Be Wild and the crowd went crazy. So the band came back on stage for an encore. They then introduced Robbie Krieger from The Doors and played Roadhouse Blues. The place went bananas!! The cheers were so loud I couldn’t hear myself think! The sun was beginning to set, the music was jamming and I was right where I wanted to be. The only negative I recalled asking myself? I couldn’t comprehend how the crowd could be any louder for Journey. I remembered being worried about that.
Journey finally came on, and I realized then I had nothing to worry about. The noise the people made for the band was so deafening. I was not only drawn to the stage but felt like I was beamed up on the stage. I started to work my way through the crowd, I wasn’t going to finally see Journey from 100 yards away, I had to be right there! By the time they launched into their second song I was 15 yards away dead center! It was a life changing to say the least and a big reason why we are here. I knew right there and then, screaming my head off and singing at the top of my lungs that the music had me and was not going to let go, nor did I want it to. Journey played 19 songs, including a new song they had just finished writing called Separate Ways. After it was all over I met up with my people including the beer run guy who was still drinking that same beer it took him close to 90 minutes to get. It took forever to get out of there, but man, what a night. I decided then and there that I wanted to experience that energy as often as I could.
Power Chord is all about the conversation and being a fan of music. Share with me your experience of what your first show was like and how it affect you? We have so much to talk about. I’m always here to talk about music and I’m looking forward to talking with you about it. What’s your concert story? Come on and get on our tour bus, this is going to be fun.