What Was Your First Concert?

Comments: 6

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.

6 Comments

  • Nancy Roberts says:

    I remember going to see Alice Cooper at a very small venue in Saginaw, Mi., the town where I grew up. There were no security guards to keep you away from the stage. So, we walked right up and got very close. So close, in fact, we could touch the stage. As the concert proceeded in between dance bouts, we sat on the floor and just listened. As the last song was being performed, Alice cut open dozens of feather pillows and shook the feathers into the crowd. We left the concert covered in those feathers. It was a thrilling night! My first out of town concert was in the big city of Detroit at Cobo Hall. The band was Ten Years After. I was in high school so it was a big deal getting to drive to Detroit with my girlfriends and no parents. It was a taste of freedom and adventure! The opening band was the J. Geils Band. At that time, no one had ever heard of them. They blew the audience away! That day I became a huge fan. When Ten Years After took the stage and I caught my first sight of Alvin Lee (there were no big screens on the stage and even though we were so high up in the bleachers, he looked like an ant), I cried. I loved this man and to actually see him in person was a dream come true. This was the start of my concert going days and they still continue even in my old age! Music brings me happiness!!!

    • Nancy, your love for live music was ignited and hasn’t stopped. That’s a fantastic thing. It’s great to hear your stories about some cool artists and venues. Imagine seeing J. Geils before they were big, wow! I’m so appreciative of your support for my music, thanks and keep on rockin’!

  • Kevin Ryan says:

    Growing up just across the water from you in Prince Edward Island, Canada, I’m sure I saw a lot of the same tours as you Marc. There was a series of them and I don’t know if I can remeber which was first. Might have been the Spoons, with Sandi Horne on bass. (I had a crush for sure.) Honeymoon Suite, Platinum Blonde, and all the Canadian star bands filling the hockey arenas. We thought it was so huge they would come to Charlottetown! When they would play their hits, we felt like were a part of something historic. And we were!

    • Yes Kev, I remember seeing Platinum Blonde at the Coxheath Arena (also where our high school graduation was held by the way lol). Of course, I think I saw Haywire in another arena in Sydney at some point too. They made it quite big out of your native PEI. Now that I’ve been in the US for so long, I do treasure so much of that Canadian sound we grew up with. We had the best of both worlds, not only having access to all the hits around the world, but we heard all the Canadian talent that didn’t break into the states. I think of the songwriting of Barney Bentall, Blue Rodeo, or Kim Mitchell for example. Tom Cochrane and bands like Glass Tiger are seen as one hit wonders here in the US, whereas they had fairly massive careers in Canada. I imagine nowadays there’s nothing better than enjoying some live music on a summer night in PEI. I’ve always loved visiting the province. Thanks for sharing your memories pal!

  • Leisa Tilley says:

    My very first concert was in Phoenix Arizona the summer I was 14. I ran away ( by plane….parents don’t put your baby bonus money in an account with child’s name??‍♀️ ) from Ontario, Canada. Of course there was a boy involved but he had the coolest parents ever! Anyway the concert was at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in 1981. Foghat & Blue Oyster Cult. God I was so young!

    • Wow! That’s quite a story to tell! I imagine one you and your parents could laugh about years later…but one you’d hate for kids to try to get away with nowadays lol. We were all young once and that’s what makes those memories so sweet! I played in a band that opened up for Blue Oyster Cult back in 2007. More cowbell lol. Thanks for sharing your memory here!

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