I was 15 yrs old settled into our town’s hockey arena/concert venue. I was standing on the floor when the opener, Eddie Money and his band took the stage. Busting out his brand of blue collar rock it went over big time in our small town in eastern Canada.
It was the late 80s and Cheap Trick were supporting their Lap Of Luxury album. Deservedly so, they were the main act that night. The album had brought them back into prominence with their massive #1 ballad “The Flame” and a hit cover version of Elvis’s “Don’t Be Cruel.” I remember playing the Cheap Trick styled version at a high school talent show. To me the band epitomizes rock & roll. What swagger, what a voice on lead singer, Robin Zander. My older brothers introduced me to the band with the LP “At Budokan (Live).”
Many artists like Cheap Trick, that were on my radar during childhood have continued to tour, often still creating and releasing new music. Those in the ‘classic rock’ genre are still able to sell tickets and connect with their fans as they age.
Years later I’d end up living in metro Detroit. It just so happens that Detroit is known for having one of the top selling outdoor concert venues in the world, the legendary Pine Knob (since 2001 known as DTE Energy Music Theatre). I’ve been attending concerts there every summer since 2000. I’ve been able to catch so many iconic artists live and I’m grateful for those memories: Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton (with Billy Preston on organ), The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Jeff Beck, Santana, Chicago, The Black Crowes, and many more than once like, Billy Joel, Elton John, Bon Jovi, Journey and of course a string of more modern artists too.
It’s fitting and somewhat very Canadian of me to have attended my first big concert at a hockey arena. 🙂 But there’s something special about the outdoor show setting. The summer heat, walking around the venue, running into folks you know. When the sun goes down and the main act takes the stage it’s you and thousands of ‘friends’ under the stars. For those few hours our spirits are lifted and we’re connected, together as one. We’re all there to take in the music and enjoy the beautiful ride it takes us on for the evening.
The Eddie Money/Detroit Connection
Every May, the season of concerts at Detroit’s famous amphitheater was kicked off by none other than Eddie Money. He was always a big hit with the Detroit crowds. I used to hear him speak with great pride about opening the venue each year.
Up until his untimely death in 2019, Eddie had been filming a reality TV show on AXS TV about his life and family. He came across as grateful and lovable. The show was full of his self deprecating humor and tons of cheesy Dad jokes, which made me think to myself, ‘I’m gonna sound just like this guy when I’m 70’…some would say I already do! With a smile and a wink he’d say, “I’m Eddie Money, your mother’s a big fan!”
The sentiment of Eddie’s hit “I Wanna Go Back” always resonated with me. We all know we can’t go back, but every so often we hear a song and a flood of memories take us there. On my album, “Another Lucky Day,” there’s a song called “Young And Free” which has a similar lyrical theme. It’s a nostalgic ride back to younger, less complicated days. If you’d like you can listen to my latest album here.
I’d love to hear some memories about your first concert. Let me know in the comments.