June. 1990. Sacramento. Football stadium in the guise of a concert venue. My first live show.
“Where are our seats?” I asked my two friends—J and T—who were flanking me as we walked across the green grass of the field.
“Up…there.” J pointed approximately two thousand rows up. We turned from there toward the stage, gauging the distance. Then moaned. Billy Joel’s greatest hits was playing over the loud speaker, beckoning us toward the stage like a siren’s song, where a hundred people sat on the grass in sporadic groups.
“Let’s just wander over there,” T suggested. “When they check our tickets, we’ll leave and find our seats.” Yeah. Seemed logical. So we joined the crowd on the five yard line just as the opening act took the stage. No one checked our tickets, and the empty spots on the grass around us quickly began filling with fans. As we swayed and attempted to sing along to the weird British band no one’s ever heard of, our trio smiled at each other, none of us willing to do the right thing and give up our spots, while individually wondering if we could be thrown in Juvenile Hall for our actions. After a while, however, it was pretty evident that we were safe. As Bros made their lackluster exit…the teenaged shrieking began. I guarantee I was one of the loudest.
|sing it, Deb!
When she took the stage—the girl who, for years, had molded and inspired everything from the way I wore my hair in a high, seemingly-sloppy pony tail, to the little faces I drew on my knees through the rip in my jeans, to her trademark black fedora I simply had to have—it felt like I was in a dream. I never knew you could be so close to a celebrity. And it was love at first sight. She opened with this, and two hours later (after a few thousand signature hops, fists, finger points and jazz fingers), ended with this. (PS: I still know the dance.) As promised by Deb, there truly was electricity in the air that night. And, as far as live music…I was hooked.
Twenty years later, I haven’t looked back.
Here’s a little sampling of who I’ve seen live on stage:
Debbie Gibson (twice), No Doubt. Backstreet Boys (twice), Marie Osmond, The Eagles, Great White, Air Supply, REO Speedwagon, Nickleback, Panic at the Disco, Gavin DeGraw, Don Henley, Barry Manilow (twice), Marilyn Manson, Dasboard Confessional, Ingrid Michaelson, Stained, Harry Connick, Jr., Mandy Moore, Lyle Lovett, Bret Michaels, Sara Bareilles (twice), Maroon 5 (twice), Paramore, Lonestar Attitude, CCR, OneRepublic, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Train, and too many cover bands and Beatles tribute bands to name, although I do have my favorites.
Who I still want to see:
Debbie Gibson (again), Alanis Morissette, McFly, The Spice Girls (don’t judge me!), Lionel Richie, The Corrs, Sara Bareilles (every time she rolls through town, please), Eliza Doolittle, James Taylor
Bonus list of who-I-still-want-to-sees:
The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Michael Jackson