I went to my first concert when I was sixteen. I’ll never forget the rush I felt the first time the lights went out and the anticipation grew as the crowd waited for the band to take the stage. I still get goosebumps thinking about it! When I joined the newspaper in college, I was able to turn my hobby into a job. I couldn’t believe that I actually got paid to go to concerts, listen to music, and write about my love of them! Even though ticket prices and adult responsibilities have changed the way I go about my hobby now, my husband and I still find ways to enjoy shows throughout the year.
My taste in music is eclectic, as you’ll soon find out. I pretty much listen to anything except for country music, and I can’t even say that with authority. My husband worked at a tractor dealer and got sucked into the country world. We saw half a dozen country artists during his tenure.
With the surge of recent technology, event venues have allowed amateur cameras and cell phone cameras in. My husband and I have taken advantage of this and have documented our experiences using digital photography. We recently moved and had visions of bands dancing in our dining room. We enlarged our favorite photos and created a Hard Rock-style dining room. We put our concert ticket stubs under the glass on our dining room table. Our friends have dubbed it Hard Rock Shaia. Each time we share a meal with friends, we have great memories and conversation pieces to talk about.
Take a tour with me as I highlight a few gems that you can add to your mp3 player:
Stone Temple Pilots (CD ALTERNATIVE STO) Scott Weiland is an amazing performer. When he takes the stage, he commands the audience. He rocks the megaphone to hits such as “Crackerman” and “Dead and Bloated” and gets the crowd moving in unison. His energy and talent show through on the studio albums that I blast through my iPod dock.
Pearl Jam (CD ALTERNATIVE PEA) The ultimate grunge band hasn’t really changed in the face of fame and fortune. Their stage production is the same now as it was in the ’90s when they looked like a college garage band. Even though Eddie Vedder still rocks the flannel shirt, their music, along with their political rants, have softened with age.
KISS (CD ROCK KIS) They’ve been around since 1974 and haven’t really stopped rocking since. They’ve kept up with the ages experimenting with a taste of disco in the ’70s, hair metal in the ’80s, grunge in the ’90s, and pop in the new millennium. Even though there’s been a lot of movement in the lead guitar and drum positions, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley continue to lead the band with one-of-a-kind live shows. There’s more pyrotechnics in one KISS show than an average July 4th fireworks display! I think if you listen carefully, you can even hear a faint click of the platform boots under the music.
Jack Johnson (CD FOLK-ROCK JOH) I went to see Jack Johnson with a girlfriend. I have to admit, I was skeptical. Jam bands like Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews really aren’t my forte. I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd’s energy level. It was like a big sing-a-long party. Johnson’s happiness emulates through his studio recordings and just makes me smile.
New Kids on the Block (CD DANCE NEW) Laugh all you want, but my twelve-year-old self died and went to heaven last year when I finally saw THE boy band. I sang my heart out until I lost my voice–and I was proud of it! “Hanging Tough” and “The Right Stuff” don’t sound dated to my ears, but these outfits scream ’80s. Where do you think I can find a pair of high tops like this?
Sammy Hagar (CD ROCK HAG) You can argue with me about David Lee Roth being the superior singer of Van Halen, but if you haven’t seen Sammy and the Waboritas live you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s like a big party and you’re the star of the show. Hagar sings oldies and goodies in his Bermuda shorts and flip-flops and he signs beach balls and t-shirts during the guitar solos. His happy-go-lucky presence is evident in Livin’ It Up. I get transported to Mexico every time I listen to this album.
Alice in Chains (CD ALTERNATIVE ALI) This band took a hiatus after their lead singer, Layne Staley, died of a heroin overdose. William DuVall replaced him and keeps to AIC’s roots while taking the band in a slightly different direction. I was happily surprised by my husband earlier this year when he told me he won a radio contest to meet the band. Each time I hear “Check My Brain” I think of the meet and greet.