Join us as The Toxhards tell you their first concert stories.


In this First Concert Ever segment, the rock band, The Toxhards, talks about the stories of their first experiences with live music. You can check out the story below:

Apologies for the length, I got carried away writing this up. August 12, 2002 is a red-letter date: Rush, live in Detroit at Pine Knob Amphitheater (or as it was heinously named at the time “DTE Energy Music Theatre” - vom in mouth). They were on their triumphant reunion Vapor Trails Tour.

Their drummer and Drum-God-Incarnate Neil Peart had suffered intense tragedies in the late 1990s, losing both his daughter and his wife within just ten months - and it seemed as if Rush may never play again. He admirably healed by traveling across North America on a motorcycle for several years, and by the end of his journey he was ready to write and play with Rush again.

The result was the incredible album Vapor Trails and this tour celebrating their entire history as one of the best fuckin’ bands there ever did done was. Now I didn’t actually know any of this context on August 12, 2002, as I was 7 years old. My dad, a bassist who as a youngster worshipped Bass-God-Incarnate Geddy Lee, had gotten tickets and brought me along. I really only knew Rush as the band “where the singer was a guy but sounded like a girl,” not knowing the palpable impact this show was going to have on the actual rest of my actual living life.

My dad was so excited when we rolled up to the venue that he accidentally locked the car keys inside the car. We had to get some cop to come by and open the damn thing with some crazy rig that took a really long time... once we finally got the keys back it was 7pm on the dot - showtime. Still outside the venue, I asked if we were going to miss the beginning of the show. “No way,” my Dad said. “Bands always start late. And besides, it’s not like they’re gonna open with Tom Sawyer!”


That sawtooth opening synth, that tight groove, the roar of the crowd elated by the return of Rush, and we were still in the parking lot.


But we eventually made our way to our seats by the time their banger New World Man started, and for the next couple hours (plus intermission) I was just entranced. Geddy’s voice was fucking killer. Guitar-God-Incarnate Alex Lifeson’s guitar solo on The Trees was like opening the Ark of the Covenant to my face. But especially Neil Peart’s... everything - his giant spinning drumkit, his 8 limbs but actually only 2, somehow... knowing what he’d gone through to get back to that, and be better than literally he ever was. And the theatrics of the show were cool as fuck, too. The opening of the second set, One Little Victory, was flanked by a giant wall of fire behind the band, and I could feel the heat from the back of the theater.

And finally, Neil’s 10-minute drum solo. Look up “O Baterista” on YouTube as a document of the drum solo for this tour. When it was finished, I turned to my dad and asked if I could have a drum kit.

Even though I’m not even the (main) drummer of The Toxhards, drums were the first instrument I ever learned and it was because of this show, which eventually led to me following in my dad’s footsteps and picking up the bass and later the guitar. The rest is history, and I celebrate this show by re-listening to the setlist every year on August 12.

When I was a young lad, my mother came home from work spreading the good word of FREE TICKETS available through her employer to a litany of cool events around town. She mentioned basketball and baseball games and even concerts, including American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson at the Indiana State Fair. Being the uncultured little boy I was, I rolled my eyes to my brother and said, “Yeah, we should TOTALLY go see Kelly Clarkson lololol,” only for my mother to return home the next day with the coveted Kelly Clarkson tickets that her son had suggested.

So, off to the fairgrounds we went to see the LAME TV singer. But, as any good Clarkson fan knows, she was no mere contest winner. She was (and still is) the voice of a generation! Miss Independent, Since U Been Gone, Behind These Hazel Eyes, banger after banger after banger. Ms. Clarkson brought down the fairgrounds that night and I couldn’t have been more thankful for my sarcasm being misinterpreted by my mom because THAT was a hell of a show and a killer introduction to the magic of live music.

The first concert I ever remember going to was a Beatles cover band with my parents, I was probably 5 or 6 years old. It was loud, I didn’t know what was happening and I wanted to go home. Besides that I remember seeing Jamie Cullum live at the McCallum theatre in my hometown. I must’ve been like 10? 11? 12? First show I ever went to because I loved the artist and wanted to see them. Still don’t have a ton of clear memories of it but he did great, I went up to the front which was exciting and a first for my scared-of-everything self. Them jammin’ tunes pulled me a bit out of my shell that day. Get Your Way is a bop and a half.

My dad raised me on every kind of music under the sun, but Metallica has been the universal constant as our favorite band to share together. Upon turning fourteen, I leapt with joy when my dad presented tickets to my first ever major concert experience: Metallica live at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. December 20th, 2008.

Few shows have ever captured the same magic of that night. The setlist was filled with the band’s staples, as well as tracks from their recent album, Death Magnetic - the first new Metallica release I had the joy of exploring. Black balloons fell from the ceiling as the encore “Seek And Destroy” roared upon the crowd. Metallica drummer, Lars Ulrich, was pied at the tail end of the show, the entire audience singing “Happy Birthday” for his upcoming birthday. My dad held me tight, as if they sang for me.

Keep up with The Toxhards on their website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.