Average Jane

Get Awesome: Lessons from Her First Concert

What was your first concert? How vividly do you remember it?

Mine was… wait for it… Martina McBride at Celebrate Rockville. I was in middle school. It was… magical.

While I hadn’t heard of her, when the crowd began to rise with excitement, I knew it would be great. I sat in the front row, face pressed up against the guard rail, enthralled that she was *right there*, and singing — seemingly, at times, to me.

Now, I should contrast that with the first concert I bought tickets for. The Cultural Contributor and I dragged my Dad to see Dave Matthews Band at Nissan Pavilion. I hasten to say it was the most awesome thing my dad ever did. CC and I were a giggly bunch: squirmy and boy-crazy. I don’t know how it happened, but our high school heartthrob was just a few rows from us and he actually came over to talk.

I hadn’t thought about that concert in a long time. Working in entertainment for the time that I did, concerts became work. Soundcheck signaled the start of a long night. The first kick of the bass drum meant I could finally relax and go down my list of things to do before all hell broke loose at the end. The encore meant my night would end later than expected. Lights coming up at the end of the show was a relief.

Since I left that world, soul barely in tact, I’ve been to a number of concerts. But I approach them with an air of “been there, done that,” constantly looking for what’s been done wrong, suboptimal egress procedures, ushers slacking off, spills left unmopped.

Saturday night I was asked to accompany CC and her 12 year old cousin to see Fall Out Boy, the 12 year old’s favorite band. It was more like, “OMG they are totally my favorite band.”  I like them for what they are — a great band to workout to and not think too much about. The show was 100% General Admission. If you got there early enough, you got a wristband to get into the pavilion — no assigned seats. If not, you were lawn bound, and this 12 year old had no interest in being more than spitting distance from these boys.

We got there early, very early, very very early, and were greeted by the 80’s, brought to you neon-and-all by 500 giggling 12-14 year old girls and their tight jeaned, plastic sunglassed, smooshed-haired boyfriends. Did you catch that? NEON is back. With a fucking vengance. Not ok. NOT OK.  Neon and tight and plastic and angry. May have been sad. Sad and angry look so similar on a pimpled countenance.

When the gates opened 2 hours after our arrival, it was a stampeded to the pavilion where we secured kick-ass seats for a show I only kind of cared about. There were 3 or 4 openers. All neon clad. All smooshed-haired. Hey Monday (chick singer…and that’s about it), Cobra Starship (GET AWESOME! Oh, and you don’t have to suck dick to get ahead in the world! But we wouldn’t be famous if not for Pete Wentz, and we did have to suck his dick a little)(Oh, and they did the theme song to Snakes on a Plane), All Time Low (We’re from Maryland So fucking good to be home! Holy shit! Fuck shit! Shit! Fuck fuck!), and 50 Cent (one of these things is not like the other).

It was torturous at times. Watching the screaming girls make decisions (fashion and otherwise) that I knew one day they’d forget (“I feel so bad for her. All her high school pictures are going to look that that). But right in the middle of the Hey Monday set I looked at the 12 year old we were with and realized… this is her first concert ever. This is a defining moment for her. I’m sitting here, jaded and awful, and she is in heaven. She is about to see her favorite band of all time ever, and all I can think about is how annoying it was that we were only on the first opening act and we wouldn’t be home til midnight.

After that, we danced and wiggled until my back hurt (because I actually am quite old), and then CC danced and wiggled for the both of us. Until her knee hurt. She’s old, too.

The only thing I regret is that CC’s cousin spent most of the night holding her camera up, recording the concert for… for what? I wished more than anything that she’d put the camera down and realize that unlike when she watched bands on TV or YouTube… the band was right there. Are kids really more comfortable watching life through a box? So impersonal. So removed. The one chance they have to be in the presence of something so real, they take pictures, record it on video. Video they may never watch again.

“Put the camera down!” I yelled in her general direction. “You’ll have in on video, but you won’t remember being here!”  She shrugged. Said ok. And kept rolling.

It was a good night. We taught one 12 year old how to be a good, courteous concert-goer. We were a part of a night she’ll never forget. We may have shaped a little part of her.

Plus – we were there when she got the biggest piece of advice she’ll ever get from a band: “Get Awesome.” Thanks. She will.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * aBove says:

    A. John Cougar Mellancamp… with my mom.
    B. Cobra Starship is a sweet band name
    C. Did 50 get on the wrong bus?

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  2. * Becky says:

    I heard about 50 doing some dates with them! I think he’s kinda fun! And of course I like Fall Out Boy since I have the taste of a 12-year-old girl. My first concert was Whitney Houston during the “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” era.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  3. * forgetthese says:

    I remember my first concert very vividly. You voiced my opinions on the ‘horribly pixelated recordings’ topic. I mean seriously!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  4. * jennifergeldard says:

    Wonderful Post! Thanks! Just went with my 14-year old to his first concert last night. Aerosmith… One of my favorites too, so we both had a blast! My first concert was Jackson Brown in 8th grade 🙂

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago

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