•Do you get sentimental when you hear “that” song, the one that immediately transports you back to your very first live concert?
•Do you cherish your extensive collection of concert tees and ticket stubs?
•Is your very first concert experience a complete blur – the only memories you have are via your equally hazy polaroids?
Foreigner’s debut single “Feels Like the First Time” was released back in 1977 and it feels like it’s been that long since we’ve seen a live concert that wasn’t televised from an artist’s backyard or basement studio. Now, as some of our favorites are preparing to get the band back together, it had us reminiscing about our first time.
Brooke (60-Something Baby Boomer)
Since hitting adulthood, I’ve not really been a fan of concerts. I was recently invited to see Little River Band. I declined. There’s something inherently depressing about superannuated rockers, clinging desperately to the vestiges of their former glory. No longer filling arenas, they are now reduced to working the corndog circuit. A bit of online research yielded the following:
•ZZ Top – those beards cover a multitude of sins but they are, all 3 of them, 72 years old and playing the Rock City Campgrounds this summer so get your tickets now!
•REO Speedwagon will be wowing them at the DuQuoin State Fair (DuQuoin, IL: pop. 5,761)
•Styx – Come sail away with Styx on July 3rd at 5 Flags Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Apparently no longer enough of a draw to warrant 6 flags.
So, no – I don’t do concerts now but was a willing, even frenzied attendee at my first concert. I’m a boomer cliché but yes, my first concert was The Beatles. Also my second concert. 11 years old, I stood on my seat, screaming and crying, swept up in mass hysteria to rival the Salem Witch Trials. They played for 30 minutes. The tickets cost $5.50. I couldn’t see a thing. But with the same cachet exhibited by the Woodstock revelers, I was there, damn it. I was there.
Karen (F’ing Fifties)
My first concert was purely accidental. The year was 1977, the concert? The KISS Alive! Tour. The details of how it all came to be are a little fuzzy (probably still lingering effects from the second hand “smoke” that was ingested that night).
The evening started out as an ordinary sleepover at a friend’s house, her older sister charged with keeping tabs on us. I’m not sure how it all transpired, apparently, she couldn’t pawn us off on anybody else when she was offered the last minute concert tickets, so she and her boyfriend dragged us along. Of course, our little 10-year-old brains exploded, it was, without a doubt, the coolest thing we had ever seen. We immediately applied for our lifetime membership in the Kiss! Army (I may still have my badge) and knew, from that point on, that we wanted to Rock & Roll All Night and party every day! Which, of course, at 10-years old, meant getting to stay up until midnight and have dance parties utilizing the “You Should Be Dancing” bonus dance-step mat (with directions!) that came with the Bee Gees Live album.
Looking back (through haze-filled arena eyes), that KISS! concert shaped my entire future. I can’t imagine my life without concerts, and in the words of Willie Nelson, “I can’t wait (for my favorite artists) to get on the road again.” At the risk of alienating Brooke, I’m going to dig deep in the closet, pull out the very first concert t-shirt I ever purchased (Reo Speedwagon, 1981), log on to Ticketmaster, prepare to hit refresh a thousand (or maybe three) times and hit the road. #DuQuoinOrBust
Lindsay (Fabulous 40’s)
I wish I had some tremendous and hilarious story about being googly eyed at some boy band concert as a teen, but that is not at all my story. My story is actually pretty cool. My first concert, I was 12 and my Dad and I went to see Heart. I was, and still am, a little (lotta) bit of rock n’ roll. I loved that my Dad wanted to take me. We had a blast. Later in life we went to see other bands together. So, I’m nostalgic, right after Father’s Day weekend, missing my dad, and cherishing those moments.
I will “Never” be “Alone” since I had a “Magic Man” in my life who I can hear sing “Barracuda” with me any time.
Amanda (30-Something Millennial)
My concert attendance can be summed up in two words: Boy Bands. First real concert: N Sync. Last big concert: Backstreet Boys. In Vegas. Past their prime. Then I thought about some other concerts I’ve attended, and I may need a boy band intervention: I don’t think you could make it out of your 20s in the 2000s without seeing Dave Matthews Band – bonus points for getting in a fight with my boyfriend and spilling a $9 beer.
You’ve not had a Millennial Summer until you’ve been barefoot on an amphitheater lawn swaying to the Zac Brown Band. AND how could I forget the Summer (that I can admit wasn’t too too long ago) when New Kids on the Block did their revival tour during which they all kept their hats on because they are now mostly bald.
Before I lose all credibility, I do have to say that I have been lucky to see many amazing concerts: Billy Joel, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Lady Gaga…and it’s clear I need to get out there and see more women artists!
What was your first concert?
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13 thoughts on “Feels Like The First Time”
First Concert: Elton John and Quarterflash, with our teen asses parked way up in the nose-bleed section because that’s all my friend and I could afford. (And honestly, I don’t know how we managed the funds, because we didn’t have any. The details are fuzzy, and I’m going to assume that something illicit was done in order to procure the tickets.) The concert was fantastic and memorable.
And the experience tainted many of the concerts that were to follow, because it was THAT good.
Quarterflash did an admirable job, peaking as they were at the time, full of confidence. They sang a surprising number of songs, but I didn’t realize it was surprising until future concerts, wherein the opening act MIGHT sing five songs before they were shunted offstage so the headliner could take over the goings on.
And Elton? Holy cow. The bitch (and I mean that lovingly and referencingly) performed for THREE HOURS, belting out every single song I wanted to hear, and then some. (It would be decades before I watched a headliner command the stage for such a length of time, and that singer was Melissa Etheridge, mere months after her cancer treatments.) And since this Elton concert was not that long after the John Lennon tragedy, he did an extended, powerful tribute to John with a rendition of “Empty Garden”. It was an emotional, profound, redemptive experience.
Part of me wants to catch Elton’s tour when he comes through Dallas next year, but I’ll probably pass. The memory of The First Time is perfect, and I don’t want to risk diluting that…
I spent my early 20’s in the nose bleed section and wouldn’t have it any other way! I highly recommend that you go see Elton again if given the opportunity, but splurge for the good seats this time, you won’t regret it. Don’t let your heart harden because, with or without Quarterflash, The Bitch Is Back!
My first concert was The Damned 2003. I was living in York, UK back then and was going through my Gothic Punk stage and wanted to see the undead themed (the first of them, at least in the UK, I believe) band that gave us “Eloise”. I rocked up in my leather jeans and purple velvet shirt and was absolutely dripping with sweat by the end. It wasn’t a crowd of 1000s, but there was at least 800 goths, punks and rockers there chanting “Sensible’s a Wanker! Sensibuuullll’z a wannnker!” at Captain Sensible when he played ‘Happy Talk’. What really made it for me was the aging punk rockers who had been let out for the night by their wives and were loving their short lived rebellious freedom. When leaving the concert hall, one of them kept throwing something at me and I was about to say something until I picked one of the things up. He was throwing £1 coins. “You want these back, mate?” I asked. “Nah,” he said, “keep ‘em”. I think he gave me about £5 in all! A great night, got the glow up t-shirt (no longer with us, sadly) and even got free money from a complete stranger. 🤘🏻
This sounds like an epic first concert experience. You’ve got Eloise, leather jeans, purple velvet, Captain Sensible and an extra £5? Talk about happy talk, sounds like you had a dream come true!
Thank you! 😎
Doesn’t seem like anyone is super passionate about concerts which is probably good because getting tickets is a nightmare. Scalpers control the computer systems more often than not these days …. After many, many redials tickets to the the great concerts are often gone! Do have tickets to Elton John final tour (postponed from 2020) in 2022. Not sure either of us will be alive, but I have tickets!
The scalpers do take the initial joy out of the entire process, I Guess That’s Why They Call It Blues . . .
While I don’t recall who played at my first concert, I loved going to Ravinia—most memorable was the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald. Also Rick’s Cafe on Lake Shore Drive, especially when Roy Eldridge and Anita O’day would appear. But the night we saw Iron Butterfly at the Kinetic Playground takes the cake—it was the night the building caught fire and we had to exit in a haze of smoke (some of which came from the huge amount of marijuana usage that evening…).
Wow, all of Chicago’s classics! Apparently, the Kinetic Playground was THE PLACE to be in the late sixties and early seventies. I bet the stories you have from that infamous night are legendary! l’ll tell you what, I’ll pack up my portable lawn chandelier, put together an over-the-top charcuterie board and meet you on the lawn at Ravina. Can’t wait to hear all about it!
Yep, I too have fond memories of Kinetic Playground. It was the winter of ‘69. Putting our cigarettes out on the cement floor upon which we sat and listening to a new group called Led Zeppelin. Those were the days,,,
And to think, we had A Whole Lotta Love for you before we even knew this fun fact. We’re not worthy!
My first concert (that I remember) was Chicago…in New Haven. I also had to drag along my little brother. It was his first concert and started his lifelong love of music. It might even have started his playing the guitar for many years. What a good sister!
I bet “You’re The Inspiration” in his eyes. Or, you’ve traumatized him, in which case, it’s always “Hard To Say I’m Sorry”