I’ve always found music to be my solace and my refuge, and it’s odd because I don’t listen to quiet or calming music. Music soothes my soul even if I do like it loud. I prefer screaming guitars, pounding drums and lyrics I can scream or yell along with. I like to call it my scream therapy. When I feel stressed or unhappy, I crank the music up. My musical tastes are all over the place, but mostly I like it loud.
My first concert was a disaster. My cousin and I were both young and foolish, and apparently my parents were pretty naive, too. We tried to go see Rod Stewart and Blue Oyster Cult. It was the early 1970’s. What my parents were thinking, I have no idea, but they dropped us off at the arena and headed back home, assuming we were safe and we’d have a great time. They’d just gotten home when we called and asked them to come get us. We were so far in over our heads, we were terrified, and we’d walked out of the arena. When the lights went down, we were sitting in our reserved seats down on the floor in front of the stage, and there was this horrendous rumbling noise. The man next to us yelled at us to pick up our seats and “RUN!” We had no idea what was happening. The crowds in the nosebleed seats were rushing the stage. We had to pick up our seats and move them forward or they were going to stand in front of us. We had no clue that that kind of thing happened at big concerts. Blue Oyster Cult hit the stage. It was loud, it was scary, and the arena was suddenly awash in marijuana smoke. We got the hell out of Dodge. We walked down the street to a 24-hour diner and called my folks for a ride back home.
Needless to say, we didn’t try again for a while. Our next show was much smaller (a different arena) and much blander and safer. We saw Gilbert O’Sullivan, an Irish singer, right after he’d had a hit with “Alone Again (Naturally)”. There was nothing scary about his concert. It was cheesy but fun.
We eventually worked our way back up again to rock bands. In the 1980’s we were all about metal, and I went to many concerts. I’ve seen Judas Priest (several times), Yes (several times), Trace Adkins (several times), Ozzy Osbourne (twice), Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Phil Collins, Meatloaf, the Moody Blues, the Fixx, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, VanHalen, Kiss, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Eddie Money, Billy Idol, Huey Lewis & the News, the Scorpions, Journey, the Police, Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, Gilbert O’Sullivan, REO Speedwagon, Def Leppard, and Tesla. I’m sure I’m missing a few (it’s difficult to remember some of the opening acts – especially if they never hit it big), but you get the idea. We went to a lot of shows.
I also went through a country music phase. I took my hubby and two sons to see Trace Adkins (three times). I did a meet and greet with him. I was the first one in line, and when he came in, I told him I’d seen him three times that year. His response? “Man, you must be getting bored.” Not really. He puts on a good show.
I saw Huey Lewis when he was just starting out. No one knew who he was. He played a tiny bar in town (the Penny Arcade), and my cousin and I were close enough to touch him. I sent him a fan letter, and I got a personally signed postcard back!
The loudest show I ever saw was the Scorpions. We stood right down on the floor, in front of the speakers for that one. My ears rang for days afterwards. It was awesome.
One of the best stage sets I ever saw was Ozzy Osbourne’s Ultimate Sin tour in 1986. My cousin had moved to Texas so I went with my brother. I was 27, and he was 35. Ozzy’s stage set was a huge sweeping staircase with huge statuary at the base of the stairs. It was shortly after the Ozzy/bat incident. To open the show, he came walking down the stairs, and when he reached the bottom, the statues came “alive”. They were giant bats with glowing red eyes, and they opened their huge, sweeping wings. So cool. Of course, the opening band was a mystery to my brother and me. It was Metallica! We weren’t fans. When the teenagers around us began to bang their heads to the music, we just looked at one another in confusion. My brother said, “I feel so old.”
I recently saw Def Leppard for the first time (in June). They were great. In another couple of weeks for our anniversary trip, hubby and I will see Keith Urban in Ohio. My hubby is good to me. He listens to lots of different music (he used to be a radio DJ), but he’s not the metalhead that I am. He likes jazz and oldies. I don’t. He’s more tolerant of my choices than I am of his. You’d think it would be the other way around.
I leave you with another favorite of mine. I have the lyrics ‘Just open your eyes and see that life is beautiful‘ tattooed on my forearm.