I really want to write something political and argue it but am one week behind in my Harvard class for credit and its very stressful. No I am not attending the school, but it does count a little towards my degree. However, be prepared those of you that “know” politics and feel Harvard is a “liberal’ college. The ideology taught is foundational, not subjective and leans more towards what I observe to be conservative values.
So I took a break for a minute and thought I would jot something down just to write this out at my children’s urging.
In general about Music over time/Concerts/Shows-
I was thinking about the bands I have seen, many of them from the time they hit a stage at a small show until they made it to large arenas. I prefer the shows, the bands are more interactive and less busy with other obligations. I collected drum sticks and had many signed sticks, some people you would know and others only famous to those who like punk or various metal bands (such as Slayer). But I met and chatted with them at the second Superbowl of Hardcore festival in DC and its how I got that, so on and so forth with many others.
I also randomly collect hats, weird but true, that started with a stand-up guy in Fells Point that had to coolest hat I have ever seen, kind of a top hat and I bargained for that hat. But then, I have a variety of hats from some very notable people. Usually they just gave them to me and sometimes, I really didn’t want their sweaty hats.
I had some signed guitar picks, but after the fire and so much missing and gone, I have not had the heart or stomach to look for those in the box returned. I did get some things back, but not a lot.
On a better note-
Here is a thing, until I was over 40, I rarely EVER paid for tickets. I either knew someone and was given a ticket, was bought a ticket by my brother or sister when I was younger, or in the old days made sure I was first or second in line for tickets. You could usually buy 6 to 8 seats and I usually only wanted two and rarely ever paid for even one of them because I would buy a person further back in line their seats and get mine free because of my place in line. Now I always gave others a shot so don’t get mad. Also I often traded tickets I had for ones I wanted.
There were some bands I don’t think I ever paid to see, Metallica was one of those bands. I saw them so many times from a time in Baltimore (don’t have my tickets in front of me) in a small venue, to Woodstock 94 with almost 1m ppl, which is a correction, I did pay to see them that time, but not just them. You cannot do that anymore, everything is online. Only some places have will call anymore and as I said before playing shows without major management is VERY difficult because Corporations own the clubs. Music runs in cycles..even in the background.
Do you remember the first band you ever heard? The first band you heard or even song that stuck with you? The day you fell in love with music of any kind. I remember all of these. Also I remember changes I have seen in music over the years, in promotion, production, recording specifically and ultimately how it affected the bands or musician and how you received your music.
Without looking does anyone know the very first video aired on MTV in 1981? It was a change in music but I don’t think it altered it too much, if anything it made it larger than life and concert attendance went up.
Napster and sites like napster hurt music, its arguable, but that is my opinion. Bands made less money. They toured more. Then came Apple and You tube, which minimized profits to the bands, making money for the labels. Concert ticket sales are down, but ticket prices are way up, I cant remember a show or concert with empty seats or room on the floor. I have seen that now, but I don’t go to rap shows anymore or to see teen performances like Ed Sheehan, 97.00 per ticket for a guy that had a hit and sang to Arya on Game of Thrones.
BUT… the more important part of this article is looking back at ALL of the shows from the first ones to the last time you saw those same bands. You know, the ones you cant see anymore with original lineup or at all. For example, The Ramones, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Nirvana, The Black Crowes, STP (if you don’t know don’t ask), Rage, Oasis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd (maybe in movies now), NWA, Run DMC, Faith No More (very cool guys), White Stripes, The Smiths, Pantera, GnR, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Blink 182, The Pixies, Journey, too many punk bands to name that you wont know, Too many metal bands to mention and on and on…
I spent my life around music and except for Skynyrd and Allman bros listed above, I tried to see original lineup along with hundreds more. It was not always fun and games, sometimes the road trips for concerts were more fun than the shows. Sometimes both were amazing and sometimes both the trip and the show were horrible. Aerosmith comes to mind here, I never saw them once where they did not have technical problems, not one time, even at Woodstock 94.
On another note, it was I believe The Owl that asked about girls being excited to see bands. I love music; it was a rush for me. But the people were always just talented people, sometimes not so much and I can’t think of a “screaming girl moment” over a band or guy in a band. But in thinking about it there were a few concerts I saw that I was in awe. I have always liked Genesis with Peter Gabriel as the lead singer so to see him doing “I know What I like in your Wardrobe”, was a moment for me, I think I did scream or yell over that.
The first Time I saw the Ramones for example, I was about 16 and it was my first “show” at CBGB’s, it was rough and stinky as I recall, and was sure I I would leave, until they played. I believe that was Jan/Feb 1977 (I would have to look it up) and I saw them every chance I got in NYC, Ohio, Baltimore and DC until their last tour in 1996. Their last tour was in small clubs just like they started, and it was fun. But I had seen them in huge arenas over the years. I did scream at the last tour as did many others, it was sad to say goodbye to a band I had loved for so long. It was one of the rare occurrences when they thanked the audience instead of being hard asses and just walking off. I met many people at their shows over the years and always had lots of great fun.
I have so many memories of things I did and concerts I have seen, the people I went with and crazy, random things that happened, including those concert ticket lines. Some are in crazy places like (if you live in Ohio) Nelson Ledges or in a variety of clubs and venues up and down Midwest, East Coast and other states on occasion, even a few times in Toronto. Especially open-air venues like Lollapalooza, Woodstock, Warped Tour, Ozzfest and so forth. I didn’t care for Ozzfest though, but that’s another story. A couple of times, I have headed to one concert and ended up at a better one somewhere else.
But my music isn’t only limited to rock and punk, my sister was a huge fan of jazz and the blues. I loved BB King, even when I was young, so much style and feeling. Also, I got to see some great comedians that you guys might know…Carlin and Williams were my two favorites but they were famous and I was young. I memorized the 7 words you can never say on television and my sister took me to see Carlin based solely on that, IF I promised never to repeat it again out loud. I still know the routine. Williams never stood still not for a second, its really all I remember, except the sperm thing which was hilarious even though I thought it was gross at the time. I also over time, saw a bunch of plays like Jesus Christ Superstar and many others either on or off Broadway.
Funk is also a fav, which was an entirely different genre along with soul. I loved various bands like Earth, Wind and Fire, Ohio Players, Parliament, Aretha for example. Earth, Wind and Fire was great live as was Prince who I never considered a pop star, nor would you had you seen him live. I knew when I saw him in the 80s that he was different and he was extremely talented. Mick Jagger was so taken with Prince in the early 80s, that Prince opened for the Stones, betcha didn’t know that one. Watch the second posted video at 7:48, it will surprise you. His guitar and piano solos alone, which bored the crowds then, were outstanding. If you see Black Kklansman, you will hear a Prince piano solo of “Mary Don’t You Weep” at the very end. It’s a good as his guitar… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-C7XYq6o7w (this song is from Purple rain)
He wrote so much music for so many artists, look it up, you would be surprised. Its fun to see over time talent like that develop.
Another artist like that I have watched is Dave Grohl, who like Prince plays almost everything and writes for everyone in almost every genre of music. I have seen him perform sitting directly above him, and he is extremely talented. From 1:27 forward you will recognize the style of this guy but here is he from a kid onward to present playing.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCO7GS8f2jw
Here he is recording synth in his music..you can see him listening and then playing. Gets super intense midway though. One of the most talented people of this time even in a recording studio, sometimes recording live. Very hard to do, btw. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3CDEe95ak8
This is just good historically, no its not Nirvana, SEF.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2kGNdE0b5Q Interesting trio here.
So when I look at my children and their experiences which are similar, some of which I have experienced with them, its cool they love music as well. I look forward to seeing what my Grandchildren get into. I know I passed more onto my family than a love of Art and Music, but if that is all they learned from me, Im fine with that.
So it is what it is…try the waters. Live music is fun whether you play it or watch others do so and I highly recommend it either way.