A Collection of Firsts

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Ah September. It used to be one of my least favorite months as I, unlike some of my colleagues, did not want to trade in my bathing suit for a notebook. But now, I would be hard pressed to name a month I loved more (except maybe December because it’s my birthday and it’s Christmas and it’s New Year’s Eve and such). So this September, as I settle in to watch football and enjoy the changing season I have yet another reason to be excited… the Barclay’s Center in my very own neighborhood of Fort Greene, Brooklyn will officially open, bringing a full-scale concert venue to within walking distance of my house. Now some people could find a lot wrong with this scenario; the traffic’s going to be bad, parking will be a nightmare, rents will increase, mom and pop stores will go out of business… but I’d prefer to look at it with a glass half-full kind of attitude. I mean, I am going to be able to go to concerts, hockey games and basketball games and then walk home in a matter of minutes. How cool is that!? Talking about my new-found accessibility to a concert arena has started me on a trip down memory lane of my first concerts. Join me, will you?

I attended my first concert in 1992. I was 11 and in my country music phase. It lasted a few years and my heroes were Reba McEntire and Clint Black. My best friend and I were also obsessed at the time with a little known band called Blackhawk. So we grabbed her dad and our cameras and went to some town in upstate New York (damned if I can remember the name of the town or the venue) to see them play. I don’t really remember the songs, but I do remember getting on chairs and dancing, completely in love with the “live-ness” of it all. Then we waited on line to meet the band, have our picture taken and have them sign some memorabilia. I still have my Blackhawk signed bandana and it makes me smile every time my knuckles gently brush against it in my sock drawer. I figure that’s as good a place to keep it as any.

Switching genres, in high school, I went to my first hip-hop concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. My friends and I got all dolled up after school on Friday and our whole crew (I’d say we were rolling about 20 deep) went to see Slick Rick. He had a couple well established hits – “Mona Lisa” being my favorite – and we bobbed and bounced through the night while drinking our gin and juice. The base was intense, the lighting effects were very cool and overall, as you can imagine, it was a very different experience from Blackhawk.

Also in high school, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 30th anniversary of Woodstock concert in Rome, NY. Well, technically, I had graduated high school in June and the concert was in July but I was still only 17 and clearly should have been told to stay home. The 3 day concert event was quite an experience and I could write a whole blog about it (hmmm… write that down) but the reason I speak about it now is to say it was my first time seeing one of my all time favorite bands – The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Californication had just been released so Anthony Keidis was in his short blond hair phase but that didn’t stop me from jamming out to “Suck My Kiss,” “Give it Away” and “Under the Bridge”. I’ve seen a lot of RHCP concerts since but this one, being my first, was pretty special to me. Oh yeah, and Flea was naked for the entire set.

So let’s see, I’ve detailed my first country, hip-hop and rock music concerts for you… what else is there? I’ve been to my fair share of operas at The Met (dad’s a fan) and tons of classic receitals at Lincoln Center (mom is a professional floatist) but to be honest, they all kind of blend together for me. I don’t think I’ve been to any pop artist shows except for Rihanna last year thanks to some free tickets handed down from a work colleague. She was actually really good and I enjoyed the show, much to my surprise. That music isn’t really my cup of tea but she was a darn good performer and I was dancing along with the rest of them during “Umbrella” and such. So, that was my journey. Tell me, which music genre that I’ve discussed above is your favorite.


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