Before the internet took over our lives, we used to do things the old-fashioned way. Like when you ordered concert tickets. Remember when you and your friends would brag about braving snowstorms, rainstorms, intense heat and cold while camped (literally, with a tent and camping stove!) outside the ticket office of the nearest concert arena? Or when you had to call in by phone to Ticketmaster only to be placed on hold, waiting...waiting...waiting, sometimes for 8 hours just to buy tickets that you hoped were still available after being on hold for 8 hours!!!!!??????? (Thanks, Mom, for taking care of that while I went to work!!!)
I haven't been to many concerts, partly because of my aversion to people but mostly because I can't justify spending the same amount of money on Ticketmaster fees as the ticket itself. I am, however, willing to go all out for a band I absolutely love or have been following for a number of years.
1995: REM & Grant Lee Buffalo @ The Capital Center in Landover, Maryland
Can you say awesome? GLB was, of course, the opening act. And this was my first concert. Seriously! I paid $90 for two tickets to see the Greatest Band Evah! My friend Matt accompanied me to our nosebleed seats where we were immediately invited to move to an area on the left side of the stage where one would not be able to see a damn thing. After some consideration, Matt and I told the security guard, "Hella NO!". It turns out that those fans who did move got to hang with the band. Gaaah...dammit! My obsessive love/crush on Michael Stipe is still unhampered by rumors of his gayness. Listen up, people - I don't care. He's hot.
2003: Shinedown @ The Freebird in Jacksonville, Florida
I was new in town and working at the Holiday Inn when my Assistant Manager mentioned that his cousin was the bassist for a band that had just been signed. I'd never heard of them, but then again I was a new mom and totally unfamiliar with anything that wasn't a diaper, a jar of baby food, or that suction gadget that gets boogers out of a baby's nose. My brother was into this band and invited me to experience his first concert with him. I was happy to oblige, seeing as it was probably the first time I'd left the house socially in two years. It was actually really intense. The lead singer is about the size of, oh...a two-story house (give or take) and his voice is powerful. I distinctly remember their performances of Skynyrd's "Simple Man" and their own "Barrel of a .45". Then Brent Smith, the lead singer, climbed up to the balcony and threatened to dive into the crowd. In my mind, I could see his huge body landing on my 95-pound frame and leaving me flattened on the floor of Freebird. I quickly got out of the way.
2005: Def Leppard @ Jacksonville Veterans Memoral Arena in Jacksonville, Florida
One of my favorite life moments ever. My dear friend Carolina came with me and, though we enjoyed the concert immensely (we are both 80's girls at heart), I don't remember much about the music. Carolina was too busy making friends with the drunk assholes who were nice enough to get us a little closer to the floor. The DA's really enjoyed Carolina's spunk and her ability to drink them under the table. This was loudly declared by one of the DA's when Carolina left to get a beer and didn't return for nearly 45 minutes, leaving me with the unfortunate task of entertaining the DA's. Since I never flipped up my shirt, bumped bodies, or otherwise let them touch any part of my body with their sweaty, nasty, beer-dripped hands, the lead DA got fed up and asked me, "Damn, where's the fun girl?" Well, the fun girl was busy getting way too drunk, but she did give me ample warning before she puked outside. While her stomach was pouring out a few 40 oz. on the sidewalk for her homies, a little boy walked by with his dad and asked him, "Daddy, is she gonna be okay!?" Dad just looked at me, the puking girl's unattentive friend, and with memories of his own youth twinkling in his eyes, smiled and reassured his son, "Yep, she'll be just fine!"
2007: Morrissey @ Morocco Shrine Theater in Jacksonville, Florida
It was a very small venue, an intimate show. Maybe too intimate. For the first 30 minutes of Morrissey's 3-hour set, I was in a stunted state of shock at the thought of sharing the same air with this man. He put on a good show and shared a few bad jokes ("I wonder if my fans in Morocco have to see me perform in the Jacksonville Shrine Theater. Huh-huhhuhhuh-huhuhuh-huh" *crickets* *crickets*). Not too long into the show, Morrissey started to look pretty bad. He must have gone through a few bottles of water, at least, in the first hour alone. Then the shirt came off, covered in sweat. The little teeny-boppers in attendance (who only knew him as the guy whose song was the "Charmed" theme) went totally squirrelly and screamed themselves into a frenzy. I thought it couldn't get worse. I thought wrong. Morrissey threw his shirt into the crowd. His sweaty shirt. He did this like 5 or 6 times. I worried about getting smacked in the face with his body slop more than I remember being worried that Brent Smith would land on me after an unfortunate stage diving accident. Morrissey is a sweaty, sweaty man.