I've been to quite a few concerts in my time. The first concert was for Vanilla Fudge in 1968. They were playing at a local venue on Cape Cod and I was thrilled that I had been able to score two tickets.
I spent a lot of time at the beach that summer, and I had quite a thing for a girl I often saw there. Legs trembling, hands shaking, I walked up to her and asked if she'd like to go to the concert with me. When she said yes, I was over the moon. We made arrangements to meet in the parking lot and head in from there.
Well, I met her in the parking lot. She asked about the tickets, and I showed them to her. She took one of them, said thanks, and took off to meet her friends, leaving me standing there. Maybe concerts weren't going to be my thing.
After that disastrous start, I went to a lot of concerts in the early 70s. I can't remember all of them—no need to get into why; just suffice it to say that many of us have hazy memories of those days at best.
I do remember Stephen Stills at the Boston Garden in 1971. As we took our seats, the guy sitting next to me reached into his backpack and pulled out at least a pound of marijuana. He proceeded to roll a joint, take a toke, and pass it to his left. He did the same thing again and passed it behind him. When he’d finished, there were joints going in all directions. It was a great concert, and yes, I do remember it.
In 1973 I got to go to the Mari Sol Festival in Puerto Rico, where 60,000 hippies camped out in the middle of the jungle for three days of what everyone hoped would be another Woodstock. A major problem was that they had only set up 40 showers. No matter; everyone just got naked and waited en masse for their turn to get clean. At the time no one thought anything of it, and it wasn't sexual at all. Well, at least I prefer to think that no one had impure thoughts. We were all remarkably well behaved. (Okay, yes, I did do some peeking.)
Not much happened from about 1975 until the 1990s. I hated disco, I didn't understand punk, and big hair bands weren't really my thing. Then, in the 1990s, something remarkable happened. OLDIES BANDS! Bands that we had forgotten about started making comebacks. In short order, I saw America, Chicago, Frankie Valli, Jonathan Edwards (who?), the Moody Blues, Mitch Ryder, and dozens of others. I even saw the Rolling Stones at Foxborough Stadium. Now, that was special.
Interesting side about the Moody Blues. They played the Melody Tent on Cape Cod about 10 or 12 years ago. I went with my then-wife, and only recently discovered that the Lovely Louise was sitting about ten seats away from me with her then-husband. Coincidence? Maybe.
I saw a bumper sticker not long ago that said, “I may be old, but I saw all the good bands.” That's how I feel. I even saw Kanye West. No, I didn't buy a ticket for one of his shows; he was the opening act for the Rolling Stones … and the audience booed him off the stage. That was one of my finest concert moments. Sorry, Kanye.
My other big moment came with Gladys Knight and the Pips. From the time I first heard “Midnight Train to Georgia,” I wanted to be a Pip. I studied the moves and learned the back-up parts, and if they called and needed me, I was ready. Again, at the Melody Tent I had front-row seats. When they started “Midnight Train to Georgia,” I couldn't help myself. Right there in my seat, I did the moves and sang the harmony. The Melody Tent has a revolving stage, and the stage moved right in front of me, just in time for the chorus. With my best moves and loudest voice, I was right there with them. My night was perfect when one of the Pips (I don't remember which one) pointed at me, smiled, and winked. At that moment, it mattered not if I never saw another concert. I was a Pip!
I'm still waiting for the call to come join them. Gladys, when you need me, leave a comment on my blog and I'll head right out and catch the midnight train. I still know the moves.