Happy Thursday, BoD!
Today’s Question: What’s the best indy gimmick you’ve ever seen?
I’m expecting some amazing answers from this one, and I can’t wait. We’ll check back with that tomorrow. To get started discussing right away, scroll to the end of this piece or click the Comments button to jump right in.
Yesterday was off-topic Wednesdays, and I asked you to tell me about the first concert you ever saw. I’m going to highlight some of the more colorful responses of the day.
Chris Hirsch: Garth Brooks when I was 8 years old. Fell asleep for half the show, learned that I wasn't a country music fan, which was reinforced when some song about having sex with a tractor became popular.
parallax1978: Hootie and the Blowfish. They are semi local to the area so they played here a lot... I saw them on 12/30/1994... they played the Dick Clark New Years Eve Special... they went on to have a HUGE year in 1995 and have on of the highest grossing albums of all time so I can say that I (barely) saw them before they were famous.
Despite some of the 90’s hate you took here Parallax, I got your back. My iPhone is embarrassingly rich in a wealth of 90’s gold.
Petrock: A Goo Goo Dolls in the mid nineties when I was 13. First time seeing a shit faced band too. Band started playing Iris, singer started singing slide. After an uncomfortable minute and a half the band deliberated and restarted Slide. Weird to watch happen.
Ashlee Simpson feels no pain.
Kbwrestlingreviews: Breaking Benjamin and Staind opening for 3 Doors Down in Cincinnati. It was about 95 degrees and the concert was outside. After five songs, all of Cincinnati went into a brown out. The girl I was there with insisted we wait, so after about an hour, 3 Doors Down's singer came out with a microphone and a guy with a snare drum and did roughly ninety minutes of acoustic.
MikeyMike, King of Cleveland: Backstreet Boys when I was 10. LOL!
I appreciate the stones you’ve got, Mikey. I used to work in Radio and I can honestly say, the only males who EVER called me to win Backstreet Boys tickets were doing it for their girlfriends. But … with my impending answer, there is absolutely no way I can sit here and mock you. Stay tuned for that.
Dirty_Dave_Delaney: I know I'm going to get a load of flack for this... so here goes... My first concert I saw was Nickleback in Wembley Arena December 2002. In my defence I was 17 at the time... which if I'm honest isn't much of an excuse because I still enjoy their music to this day. Screw it... I like Coldplay too! Bring on the downvotes!
Dave, we don’t judge eachother on QOTD, we judge everyone else – so we’re good. I’ll still sing along with How You Remind Me, which is permanently etched in my skull after hearing it on the radio roughly 45,000 times in 2001.
Jason Andreas: The Beastie Boys' "Hello Nasty" in-the-round tour. Glasgow SECC. Supported by the Jungle Brothers. We only had seating tickets (urgh!) but I spotted someone I knew in the standing area and got him to slip us his and his mate's ticket so we could walk round and get into the standing area. Ended with Sabotage. Unbelievably good.
Extant1979: My first concert was a Blues Traveler show at the Orpheum theater in Boston. It was Halloween 1997, five days before my 18th birthday, and I was in my freshman year of college. It was there that I realized I never wanted to go see a jam band in concert again. A 20-minute performance of Hook and Runaround? No thank you. Plus, EVERYONE was toking up. A security guard came over to the guy in front of me, clearing smoking pot in the relatively-small audience. I thought he was going to kick the guy out. Nope, he asked for a hit. I'm not sure I made it through the whole thing. Johnny Lang opened for BT. That was a pretty good set.
I had a guy dressed like a skunk smoking from a crack pipe at a KISS show with kids in attendance (open field concert, 30,000 people), so I’d say you got off easy.
Hoss_of_BoD: Iron Maiden Powerslave tour, with Twisted Sister opening, at the San Diego Sports Arena. Would have been 1986 or 1987, and it was a damn fine show. Twisted Sister was riding the success of Stay Hungry, but as big as that album was, they never really reached a point where they could do headline tours in arenas that size on their own. That was an odd thing about MTV powered bands for awhile. They would get lots of exposure, sell multiplatinum albums, but it didn't translate to lasting success or being strong live draws.
Marv Cresto: Almost every concert I've been to was terrible, I really don't understand the appeal of music that doesn't sound at all like the record being blasted at such a high volume that it loses all quality. And then you're stuck watching it with 20,000 people that just want to sing along as loud as they can and push and shove and get all drugged up and beers are $11 or whatever, I'll just stay home. I went to the Up In Smoke tour in, I'm not even sure, maybe 99? That was by far the worst thing I'd ever seen, they wouldn't even finish half a song, Eminem would rap 3 lines from a hit, then it would go to some other guy that would rap a few lines that made no sense, then they'd move on to the next song. Stan kind of loses its power when the performer only sings the first verse and then some loser like Nate Dogg or some shit come out and raps about televisions where the hook was supposed to be.
I don’t see a lot of music live, for this reason. Absolutely agree with everything written above, but I think we’re in the vast majority Marv.
Devin Harris: I went to see R. Kelly a couple of months ago with this white girl that also happened to be a lesbian. The place was 99% black as you may have guessed. Didn't know this at the time but she's a sloppy drunk. She got hammered and started sexually harassing some of the female concert goers. The black women in attendance already didn't take to kindly to me being with an outsider, but that just made it 10x worse. Thought I may have to fight my way out of there. I will note that some of her antics were actually pretty funny.
Nick Piers: I've only ever been to two concerts by the same performer: Bryan Adams. Although the first time is actually a pretty good little story.
My girlfriend at the time (High School time, that is) got us tickets for the concert for our one-year anniversary. We even got great "seats": on the floor standing nearly front row, like maybe four rows away from the stage. And it was a grand 'ol time. Adams really knows how to put on a show, including about four or five encores, three of which were just him alone on the stage strumming on the guitar.
The highlight, though, was about halfway through the show, Adams wanted to give himself and the band a break. Instead of going right to intermission, he started calling up people from the audience. He asked for a singer, a drummer, a guitar player, etc. For one song, this thrown-together band would get to perform on stage.
Adams asked if anyone in the audience played bass guitar. My girlfriend did, in fact, so she raised her hand. Bryan got a good look at her - all five foot nothing of her - and said, "Oh come on now, you don't play bass guitar." She nodded excitedly and said she did. "All right, come on up."
So she goes up on stage and stands in front of him in front of a crowd of thousands. He looks her up and down and says again, "Now honey, be honest. You don't play bass guitar." She said, "Yes I do!" He said, "All right, go on over there."
So she - along with the rest of the thrown-together band - played Summer of 69. She said afterwards that it was the nicest, most expensive guitar she'd ever held in her entire lifetime.
Guys, no matter how hard you try, you’re not going to be able to top this guy’s story.
There were dozens of other replies, thanks to everyone who contributed today. As mentioned above, mine leans towards Ridiculously Embarrassing.
I started dating my first girlfriend in high school in 1997. At the time, Sarah McLaughlin launched a huge tour known as Lilith Fair, which was a celebration of women in music. There were big acts, local acts, it didn’t matter – it was all about female power. I didn’t know a lot about the tour, so when my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to go with her to see Sarah McLaughlin I said sure.
The audience was predominantly female, with a touch of gay men … and me. It was 10 long hours in the sun, watching the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Paula Cole, Melanie Doane, and countless others. I had to go to the bathroom at one point, and pushed past the hundred ladies in line for the women’s bathroom to get to the men’s … only to find it filled with women who weren’t waiting for their room. “Am I making you uncomfortable, sweetie? I’m sorry,” I was told, while I desperately tried to use the facilities in peace.
I didn’t know most of the artists; having named the bulk of the ones I recognized above. I was impressed with local artist, Tammy Raybould, a nobody who had a couple of local hits and nothing more, but has stayed with me to this day. McLaughlin brought the roof down with Sweet Surrender and Building a Mystery – at which point the heavens opened up to soak us, making us both sunburned and miserably wet.
If I had the chance to go again, I would and take the time to simply enjoy the music for what it is, rather than be uptight about my personal image concerns about being a straight male in such an unconventional place. But I was 15 years old, and I spent the day uncomfortable.
A few months later she bought tickets to another concert; Alanis Morrisette and I had a much better time with the queen of Ottawa.
BoD – I wish you a great day, and I’ll be back with you again tomorrow.