The Florida Georgia Line concert went on-sale weeks ago, yet people are STILL buzzing about it and I can’t help but get excited too. I don’t know what it is that makes me romanticize going to concerts and everything about it. For me, it’s an experience like no other. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. Never have. Music and concerts have always given me a high that could never be matched.
I remember being a kid and listening to old 45s with my Mom all the time. She had the coolest record collection, too. Everyone from The Beatles to Kenny Rogers to The Eagles to Crystal Gayle to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. We’d sit on the floor with her record collection spread out everywhere and sing along for hours. It’s one of my most favorite memories growing up.
I must have asked a thousand questions about the artists, the lyrics, the album cover art…and she answered every single one of them. I got to hear stories about all the great concerts she went to when she was younger. I remember looking at old Polaroids she took at a Moody Blues concert where she was right up front. So close she could touch the band members. I think this was where my concert obsession started. I was crushed the couple times she went to WGAR’s Country Fest and didn’t take me because I was too little.
Starting at around age 3, I would put on these little concerts for my family. Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa (and sometimes Uncle Dave!) would be in attendance as I ran through the 1979 hit “Gold” by folk/alt country singer John Stewart, then followed it up with an encore of “Jesus Is Just Alright” by the Doobie Brothers while strumming my plastic Mickey Mouse guitar (which I later upgraded to a Dukes of Hazzard guitar).
The first real band I ever got to see play live was in 1992. First, let me clarify something. When I say “real” band, I don’t mean my Mom’s buddies in The Cleveland Beat that played in bars and at the County Fair. I’m talking the Oak Ridge Boys. It was during that year’s Presidential campaign. George H.W. Bush had a public rally on October 28th. Bruce Willis and the Oak Ridge Boys were there. My high school marching band was one of several that were invited to play as well and I got to see the Oak Ridge Boys perform a couple of songs. Not an actual concert, but it was still a pretty cool experience.
My first real concert was July 18th, 1995. Van Halen came to Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH with Skid Row and Our Lady Peace. I was absolutely blown away. The power and energy. The drums and bass thumping in my chest. The roar of the crowd and the sight of 20,000+ with their fists in the air singing along with every single word. To that point, it was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced and I wanted more.
I became a concert-going junkie. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve seen hundreds of shows in many different cities and states (and Canada!) and made many priceless memories. I’ve waited in line at 5am for tickets to go on-sale. I’ve gone to shows by myself, knowing that I’d run into 1 or 12 friends before the end of the night. The lights would go out and I’d hit the crowd and just get lost until the lights came back up again.
I finally got to see a concert with my Mom! Billy Joel and Elton John’s Face to Face tour came to Cleveland on April 15, 2003. The joy on her face that night took me right back to the living room floor with all of her records. I think that might be my favorite all-time concert.
The farthest I’ve ever traveled for a show was to see Pearl Jam in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. The date was September 11th, 2005 and I skipped out on my 10-year high school reunion to go.
The best seat I’ve ever had was for Sammy Hagar in Columbus, OH on June 25th, 2006. I was ON THE STAGE. It was the most I’ve ever paid for a ticket and it was worth every penny.
It’s been a few years since I actively attended concerts. I’ve mellowed out a bit in my old age, but I do miss it sometimes. Thankfully, my job has given me a chance to make some cool new memories.
Being a lifelong radio fan and now a DJ, finally experiencing the Grand Ole Opry was something I’d dreamed about for a long time. It’s the show that made Country Music famous! I got to take my girlfriend for her first Opry show on her birthday this year and it made me happy to see her smile. Old Crow Medicine Show absolutely tore the house down.
Last weekend, I also got to take my son to his first concert when we went to the Big O Music Fest in Owensboro. Parking and walking through the field at Reid’s Orchard to the front gate reminded me of my first long walk to the front gate at Blossom almost 20 years ago. It was kinda like coming full circle, I suppose.
So…yeah, I’m excited for FGL on October 10th!! I hope you are too and I hope you’re able to make some memories like I’ve been lucky enough to do over the years. Heck, we’ll be making them together that night, won’t we? I may even get lost in the crowd one more time.