In this First Concert Ever segment, the folk band, Faultlines, talk about their first concerts ever. You can check out the feature, after the break.
The first concert I ever attended was Elton John my freshman year of high school… It was a small town arena venue – the capacity was maybe 5000, but it was the first time I ever saw an arena show.
Growing up a New Hampshire, it was a big deal for somebody like Elton John to tour to our little state. What’s more, I was raised on the breadth of his catalog, the immensity of his combined works. I didn’t realize it then, but while it’s one thing to see a new artist play a hot album… It’s another thing entirely to see a legend perform their laundry list of hits.
He rattled through the classics arriving at a song I never liked: “Candle In The Wind.” Don’t get me wrong, my sister had the Princess Diana Beanie Baby, I’d heard the George Michael duet, but for me, there was no connection. It wasn’t the best song on ‘GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD.’ Only this night was different. Earlier that day, the world lost George Harrison. Elton arrived in America on the coat-tail-success of the British Invasion, and in memory of that legacy, in honor of his lifetime idol, he dedicated the song to George. I’ll never forget the way he departed from script, took the microphone from its clip and addressed the audience from his piano bench.
To Elton, I’m sure the moment was wasted on a small northern city. In truth, I’d wager to say he wouldn’t even remember the occasion, but to a 13-year-old at his first ever concert, I experienced the magic of live music. I witnessed the love performers have for one another. No matter who you are, where you’ve arrived in your career, there are always legends you’ll look up to, admire, and mourn when the day comes, and in that way we all attended a “Funeral for a Friend.”
I’ve always been surprised at how long it took me to actually attend a live concert considering the musical family I grew up in. Did we sing in the living room, in front of the congregation? Sure! But the first big concert I ever attended was Mariah Carey. Except for songs I sang for my voice lessons, I was very limited in the music that I was allowed to listen to. I was the youngest, something to be protected, but I would sneak into my older brother’s room, put on Mariah’s ‘Daydream’ album, and sing at the top of my lungs whenever my parents were ‘t home. I knew every lyric, every adlib, and every riff!
Through some “clever” pre-adolescent persuasion (aka begging incessantly), with the help of my best friend, we convinced our moms to find tickets to the Concord Pavilion in the Bay Area. I don’t even think the venue is open anymore. It was tiny! Any seat was a great seat. I’m pretty sure we enjoyed it a lot more than our moms! We belted out every song and it was a blast! Getting to see a singer live that inspired me vocally and helped shape my voice was huge for me. It’s so much different than just popping in a CD. There’s a different kind of energy and excitement that transfers from stage to the audience. On top of that, you get to hear vocal inflections and arrangements that differ from the record. This fascinated me and gave me a new love for music. One of the things I remember most specifically was that she took time to introduce each of her background vocalists and had them sing a little number. I loved that! I left the concert in a midnight haze, and as the adrenaline buzz wore off in the backseat of my mother’s minivan, I drifted to sleep in the blissful dream of my future realized – maybe not fully – but in part because of a night, a voice under the witness of the Summer-night stars.