In this First Concert Ever segment, Matt Foote, from the alternative rock band, Amateur Hockey Club, talks about the story of his first experience with live music. You can check out the story, after the break.
If I’m being 100% truthful, the first concert I ever went to was the A-Teens at the local amphitheater when I was 6, but for the sake of my credibility, I’m going to say as little about that show as I can. The first concert I ever *asked* my parents to bring me to was Fall Out Boy’s run on the Honda Civic Tour in spring 2007 when I was 13. Fall Out Boy holds a special place in my heart to this day. While I had enjoyed other artists before, those were all hand-me-downs from my sister or my parents. Fall Out Boy was my first “favorite band,” and the first band I ever picked for myself. The “Sugar, We’re Going Down” music video can still transport my mind and soul back to 2005 at a moment’s notice, and “Dance, Dance” remains one of my favorite guitar warm-up riffs.
We were miles from the stage for the show. A four-pack of lawn tickets for my mom, my sister & her boyfriend, and I cost less than a single ticket under the canopy would have, so that’s where we stood. We got me my first band t-shirt without realizing that the 100% cotton, unisex small was definitely going to shrink and become too tight to wear comfortably after its very first wash, a ritual that I still rehearse with every new band shirt I buy 15 years later. I fully bought into the opening sets by Cobra Starship, The Academy Is…, & +44. The story Cobra Starship told about being told to put their hands down on our local hyper roller coaster Superman: Ride of Steel set the bar for on-stage banter that I measure myself against now. I annoyed my parents into getting me a CD copy of Santi by The Academy Is… within a month of the show. (I never downloaded a single song from file-sharing sites because I was 100% certain the government was keeping track of every delinquent that did and was just working on building up cases to throw those pirates in prison for the rest of their lives.)
Fall Out Boy’s set was everything to me; A+ song selection, incredible pyrotechnics you could feel from the lawn and a mid-set break that put Joe and Pete in the middle of the crowd, leading to a sound mixing nightmare and a really engaging visual. More so than the production, though, I was impressed by the acrobatics of Joe & Pete on stage. I’m still too terrified for my health and the health of my instruments to attempt the spin moves and guitar tosses they were pulling, but getting to watch them put their all into their performance created an expectation for me for all arena, amphitheater, club & dive bar shows I’ve seen since.
With 17 years of hindsight, though, I know now that the most important “first” this show gave me was the first time I felt like part of a musical community. Being a middle school kid who listened to capital-E “Emo” music, I was used to being made fun of for everything I showed any enthusiasm for. When I saw bigger kids absolutely losing it in the pit during “Thriller,” I felt free. And when a handful of bigger guys cleared a path for me to post up on the rail for a better view of the stage, it made me believe in the power of live music as a group experience.