Back In The Day…Attending Concerts

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Among the memories from my childhood, teenhood, and early adulthood are all the incredible concerts I had the good fortune to attend.  I grew up in the 1970’s – 1980’s, and was exposed to all kinds of music during that time.  I was able to see most of my favorite artists perform live, some in front of massive coliseum-sized audiences, and others in cozy local venues like the Troubador.  Little did I know that when I was cheering Poison and Ratt that those bands were about to hit it big on the music scene.

Here is a partial list of some of the artists I was able to see live between 1976 and 1989:

Elton John (Dodger Stadium, 1976)

Rolling Stones (1981, 1989)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1980, 1981)

Pink Floyd

Mötley Crüe

Talking Heads

David Bowie

I thoroughly enjoyed being in the audience, rocking with the music, lighting my lighter (who remembers doing this?), and singing along when the lead singer would prompt the crowd to join in.  There was always a palpable energy at concerts, a buzz, and I’m not talking about the burning weed which circulated through the air.  The audiences were always so pumped, so excited to hear a favorite band play live.

I also remember wanting so badly to attend the US Festival on Labor Day weekend in 1982, but my mother staunchly refused.  Then there was another US Festival which I desperately wanted to attend on Memorial Day weekend in 1983, but my mother once again refused, pointing out that I had final exams the following week.  Some of the girls in my class threw caution to the wind and attended the festival, so I was able to live vicariously through them when they described the experience.  An estimated 570,000 people attended the 1983 Labor Day weekend US Festival, which is no surprise since tickets were a mere $20 for each day of the event.

Here’s a video of the full concert which Van Halen performed during the 1983 US Festival:

Other festivals have come to the forefront in popularity in, recent years, but now that we have spent the bulk of the year in lockdown, avoiding COVID, live concerts, with the audience standing in front of the band members, are nearly extinct.  We now rely on livestreams and virtual concerts, which don’t even come close to creating the same magic that a live concert in front of a packed audience can do.

Ventura County Fairgrounds recently hosted a drive-in setting for a live concert which apparently went pretty well.  The audience was limited to 500 cars, I wonder if this will be the new norm for concerts?  At any rate, I am thankful that I was able to see so many incredible artists live, when concerts were still fun.

 

Quit Taking My Musical Icons

Michael Jackson’s death in June of 2009 was so shocking and painful for me that I still feel profound sadness over his passing. I grew up listening to his music, so his voice and artistic vision helped to define my entire life from childhood. David Bowie had a similar impact on my growing years, and I was so passionately moved by his musical genius that he remained a favorite artist from the time I was very little through today. Though Bowie was ill from cancer, his death was shocking as well, and my heart has been heavy from it.

When I heard that Prince was dealing with poor health, I began to worry. Surely this 57 year old multitalented musical god wasn’t near death’s door? Alarm bells went off in my head when I heard about the emergency plane landing on April 15th. Then on the morning of Thursday, April 21st, I flipped to Sirius XM’s Z100NY and thought it was very odd that a Prince song from 1984, “When Doves Cry”, was playing, since the station runs current hits. I pulled into a gas station and turned off the ignition to pump my gas. When I started up the car, “Purple Rain” was playing on Z100NY. I groaned and thought, “Oh no…”, grabbed my phone and looked up Prince. Sure enough, news of his death had hit the world.

prince

It’s been seventeen days since Prince’s death, and I still feel like I was punched in the solar plexus. I have been listening to The Groove to soak up Prince’s music, and my iPod runs Prince tunes while I am training at the gym. Admittedly, though, I already had a collection of Prince songs loaded onto my iPod for many years, so jamming to something like “Sexy M.F.” was a regular occurrence. There is no doubt that I am one of the many millions of Prince fans who are in mourning, who appreciate the enormous talent this man had. Prince was daring, controversial, brilliant, innovative, original, and charismatic, and had a profound influence on my teen years and early adulthood.

R.I.P. Prince.