In this First Concert Ever segment, the country band, The Woods, talks about the stories of their first experiences with live music. You can check out the story, after the break.
First concerts are pretty funny in a way. We were all chatting with each other about our individual experiences and it’s so funny how unique and different they all were. But I think they all made the same impression on us. Or at least they planted the seed that we would each sow in our own time.
My first concert was brought to me by way of a girl. Cuz there’s always a girl involved. We were in high school, I liked her and she liked this artist named Manu Chao. I had never heard of him but he had one song I guess I had heard by way of friends and what not and I didn’t hate it. So a couple of friends and I went with her and a couple of her friends and had a night out in Philadelphia. (where I was living at the time)
To be honest, even though it was my first show, most of my memory goes back to the nervousness of being around a girl I liked during the show. However, when the show was “over” I remember turning to my friends and saying “Well that was awesome, I guess it’s time to head home.” And they’re like, “No there’s an encore.” They had been to concerts before and because this was my first one I had never heard of an encore before. So naturally, Manu Chao and his band came back out with so much electricity I would’ve thought it was the start of a whole new show. They played two songs and then left the stage. To which even my friends assumed it was actually the appropriate time to leave. But, to our surprise, they came back out for another encore. They repeated this process three more times for a total of 5 encores, each time somehow coming out with more and more energy than the last. And this last time I had to inquire from my friends, “Is this a normal amount of encores?” Naturally, they said that something like that never happened. It was pretty wild and there was this real frenzy every single time they came back on stage.
Anyway, that was quite a concert, and even though I had only known one of his songs prior to the show, it was a real testament to their ability to captivate an audience through their performance on stage. And while things never worked out with the girl I liked, that concert was sort of my gateway concert. Because within a few weeks my friends and I had gone and seen Dave Matthews Band in concert and had purchased tickets for a couple of music festivals that summer, Rothbury (which no longer exists) and the infamous Bonnaroo. I had clearly caught the bug.
The first real big concert I went to was to see Nelly Furtado. I couldn’t have been more than 8 years old and was already singing solos at church and was somewhat of a little karaoke star. When my Dad told me he wanted to take me to a Nelly Furtado concert I don’t think I even knew who she was. But I think he was wanting to take me to a professional concert so I could experience it. Now, remember this was before she came out with her songs, “Promiscuous Girl” and “Maneater.” Her big songs at the time were the classics, “I’m Like A Bird” and “Turn Off the Light” and she was selling shows at hockey arenas in Canada. Let’s just say, I was in awe. It had this larger-than-life-ness and energy that I think some part of my little girl self knew I was going to find a way to chase it. My first concert obviously offered the inspiration I needed because since then I’ve never really looked back.
My first concert was at Pine Knob, a historic amphitheater outside of Detroit built into the side of a small ski hill. I was invited to see Foreigner with my friend and her very kind, well-mannered family. We played in a rock trio together in early middle school, and her well-mannered parents thought it would be good for us to see our first big rock act.
I was in awe of the venue when we got there, my first real rock concert! It was my first time seeing the lot culture, all the interesting people, and their offerings, while her parents rushed us through more counter-culture than we’d ever seen before in our lives. We make our way into the venue and find a place on the lawn. It was a beautiful summer evening in Michigan.
After a stand-up comedian delivered a very adult, expletive-ridden 30 min set, it was time for Foreigner to take the stage. The techs came out and checked instruments, they pulled the covers off of the drum set. It was John Bonham’s green translucent drum set, complete with his tri-circle logo on the front. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Jason Bonham was playing for Foreigner on this tour!
The show was rock solid, and I was enchanted. You could still hear Bonham’s sound cut through against Foreigner, and the guitar work throughout the evening was fantastic. I was taken aback by the wall of sound, hearing a packed crowd in the palm of a frontman’s hand, and whatever that weird smell everywhere was.
I’m so grateful for my friend’s family who took me to my first concert, and more importantly, for always nurturing our talents. Since my youth, I’ve had the opportunity to play so many wonderful places. In those moments I always try to remember that 13-year-old boy, who would’ve given anything to grow up and be the one on that stage.