My last Music Makes Me article was about my dilemma in picking my top favorite songs. If you are curious how I was able to narrow it down after much deliberation check it out. This week’s article was spawned by a night out with friends. The discussion turned to music and all the concerts we attended. It also had me pondering this morning what was my favorite concert.
I have easily seen over 1000 bands perform over the years but a good portion of them was a regional artist. When it comes to artists on a national level, I am guessing that list drops down to between 50 and 100. I always thought I have seen a lot of acts over the years, but talking last night made me wonder how many shows an average person goes to in their lifetime.
One person that I was with was going to see Dylan perform this week for what she thought would be the 10th time. I was sitting there thinking I haven’t even seen him play once, let alone 10 times. I do love hearing people talk about their concert experiences though and seeing their expressions when they relive their moments at the shows. Let me tell you about a couple of moments in time with some shows I have seen over the years. If I am repeating myself with any of these stories, bear with me.
My first concert experience was in Pittsburgh as a high school kid. The show was at the old civic arena and it was my first time driving there. I should remind you this was before there was were GPSs or cellphones. The concert was Kansas with Nazareth as the opener. The show was great and it was an appetizer for a lifetime of craving live music.
At another point in time I went to a small bar in Greensburg to see the Edgar Winter Group perform. I grew up as a fan of their music and it was so crazy seeing them in my local hometown. Thinking back now I have no idea what would have brought him to such a small venue as they were still recording music. But I am glad it happened. Then around the same time another band from the same era came to town.
When I heard the Rolling Stones were doing the Steel Wheel tour in 1989 I knew I had to go. After all, the people in the band were approaching 50 (which I thought was old then) and it was “probably their last hurrah” before retirement. On “pre-ticket eve” I drove to the mall parking lot to party with all the other music lovers and stand in line to get my tickets. Those of you that remember those days, that’s the way we did it. Part of the fun of going to concerts then was the party waiting to get tickets. Then on the day of the show we drove down to Three River Stadium to party before what would be an amazing show. As you know now, it was nowhere near their last performance. There were also a couple surprises in my music life.
One of those surprises was going to a small club in Pittsburgh to watch the headliner P.O.D. I had seen them a couple times on larger stages and was excited that they were playing a smaller venue. The twist here is not that they were playing a smaller venue. There were actually two memorable moments. Their opener was a band that I hadn’t heard of (but was famous), Linkin Park. The second memorable moment gave me a new respect for P.O.D. As with a lot of shows with this genre of music, there was a mosh pit with some crowd surfing. As a young lady was doing her surfing, apparently someone did something inappropriate. Sonny Sandoval, P.O.Ds lead singer, stopped the show, called out the offender, and said that if anyone did something like that again they were done. So where is all this going?
I have shared just a few big named artists I have seen in my lifetime. As I mentioned at the start of this article, I wanted to determine my favorite show of all time if I was put on the spot. After giving it a lot of thought, I can honestly say it would not be one of the dozens of big names I have seen. They were all great and have given me memories I will never forget. But the performances that touch my heart more are those artists that have not yet made it really big. They are the ones that like the high school football player, are doing it because they love what they are doing. To be fair to my Southwest PA artists, I removed them when narrowing down my choices. Just like a parent, I will say I love you all equally. Drum roll please…
One of my favorite shows was by a singer named Jen Chapin. Most people I mention her to have never heard of her. She is an American singer songwriter that may no longer be performing. Chapin is the daughter of Harry Chapin, who I am always surprised when people haven’t heard of him. The show was an intimate acoustic show at a cafe type venue in Pittsburgh with a small band including a stand up bass player. After the show I had an opportunity to briefly talk to her and express my love for her show and her father’s music.
So while I will never pass an opportunity to see more well known bands perform, I will always see as many of my first loves on the local stages near my home. I would love to hear your concert stories and have you tell me your favorite concert memory ever. Until next week, if you’re a music lover, you can hear, see or learn about something new every day on my Facebook group, Spotify playlist or YouTube playlist. And as always, feel free to reach out and let me know about your favorite new musical discovery.