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Wednesday, September 07, 2005


My niece Julia attended her first rock concert last night. She went to the Garden to see Coldplay. It took me back to my first concert experiences.

I grew up at the United States Military Academy at West point, and West Point, at the time, boasted the nations largest indoor theater, Eisenhower Hall. Like many of my friends from that time, I saw my first show there. Atlanta Rhythm Section. Steppenwolf was supposed to play as well, but on that spring day in 1979 Steppenwolf finally gave up their long awaited ghost, and thusly I saw The Mushroom Band open for Atlanta Rhythm Section. My fourteen-year-old self was convinced that I was witnessing nothing short of Rock Divinity. Even The Mushroom Band, whom I never heard of again, impressed my impressionable soul.

Of course my true rock Deities at the time were four New Yorkers by the name of KISS, and later in the fall of that year I would glimpse the glory of the Gods of Thunder, but first, during the summer, I got to go to my first real rock concert.

After my family dumped the pitiful soul that was my eldest brother at The Citadel for what would truly be the weirdest vacation of his life, my brother Fred and I snatched up the opportunity to see Nazareth and Frank Marino/Mahogany Rush at the Capitol Center in Maryland. We were visiting some friends of my folks, and we somehow managed to score tickets.

There are moments in your life when your eyes are truly opened for the first time. This concert was my awakening to what the promise of Rock really had in store. I remember Frank Marino doing Purple Haze with purple smoke and strobe lights. I remember Dan McCafferty of Nazareth leaning all the way back, Nigel Tufnel style, unleashing the most powerful vocals I had ever heard, and when he got the entire Capitol Center to clap and wave their hands over their heads on May The Sun Shine, I witnessed the power that music has. Five years in that very venue I saw Bono so completely captivate tens of thousands of people, transfixing us in a moment of unity, it became something bigger, something spiritual.

In the fall of 1979 my best friend's uncle took us to see Kiss at Madison Square Garden. It was the first of many Garden concerts over the years, and probably the most memorable. Kiss in the seventies was something people today just can't comprehend. Admittedly, by 1979, they were fast becoming a self parody, but to witness the BIG SHOW, to be fourteen, and to be in The City, well, you can't beat it. Ever.

I hope Julia's experience last night can compare. I hope Coldplay did for her what 1979 did for me.

I too hope she had a great show.

My first was The Who in Veterans Memorial Col. in Phx, AZ.

The show was great, there was a power outtage during the show, I thought it was part of the show.

Kiss was my second show, much better for I was more of a kiss fan at the time.
Robin Trower, Hampton Rhodes Coliseum, 1977. Next, Starz and J. Geils Band (Monkey Island Tour) Ike Hall West Point 1978. Closely after that was the burning bush concert event of my life which was UFO and REO Speedwagon.

Great post.

BTW Hue,

Been out of pocket in NYC until yesterday. Will get you a article here shortly.
I guess this explains a lot, but my first real show was Hall & Oates at the New Haven Coliseum, with my parents, I was in sixth grade, I think, so I must have been around 11 or 12.

It was loud, bright, and unlike anything I'd ever seen or heard. A few years later I'd see my first Rush show, and that REALLY changed everything.
Bryan Adams..... no seriously. I was like 13 and I behaved like it was the Beatles at Shea Stadium. He called his backup band The Adams Family. I just thought that was adorable.
I forgot about that Nazareth concert.

I really like Nazareth.

That's a great memory Ted
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