Thursday, August 23, 2012


(Guest Post)

 "Guest Writer" Michelle Wilson
reached out recently to several
pros on Florida's east coast
music scene and presented a
very simple question. Although
readers from around the world
likely won't recognize the
names of many of these
musicians they're quite
well-known on Michelle's home
turf. The answers they gave
are a heck of a lot of fun
I certainly got a kick out of
this one. I hope you will too.

Do you remember your first live concert experience? Mine was The Police Synchronicity tour in New Jersey at the Atlantic City Convention Center, three hours away from my Long Island, New York home. It was February 7, 1984, and I was 16. Some high school acquaintances had the tickets and I had the ride — my cool, much-older cousin took us. It was the dead of winter, and nobody told me not to wear my funky high-heeled boots. Little did I know that we would need to trek 14.37 miles across the Atlantic City Boardwalk, oceanfront wind whipping our skin raw. With frozen faces and aching feet we finally arrived, and it was worth the pain — I was there to see and hear my beloved Sting and The Police! It didn’t matter that it was impossible to stand on top of the seat in my stupid, clunky high-heeled boots. It didn’t matter that we got lost on the way home. It didn’t matter that we barely could function at school the next morning. All that mattered was that I got to see my favorite band in the world. And yes, I do have EVERY ticket stub from EVERY show I ever attended.

My first concert ticket stub - The Police 1984.

So I posed this question to some hometown folks connected to Florida's east coast music scene — do you remember YOUR first live concert experience? Here are some of the responses in no particular order — they may surprise you!

"Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and Faith No More — September 1992. Faith No More blew my mind, Metallica blew my ears, and GNR blew my eyes. To this day, it’s the best show I have ever seen. I was seven years old." -Justin Weir (Bullet Theory)

"Believe it or not, my very first concert was a Dead Serios show. D.L. Serios was my idol. I was 12 years old. Then my next concert was Metallica!" -Chris Cail (Sound Engineer)

"Freshman, so 1986. It was Dokken and Aerosmith at the Glens Fall Civic Center (upstate New York). People were smoking weed and hitting beach balls that looked like ghosts. It was a huge impression. Aerosmith is still one of my favorites." -Andrew Cartmell (The Supercats)

"The Doors at SUNY Stonybrook (Long Island, NY). I was a 19-year-old undergraduate there. Jim Morrison was wasted. Come to think of it, so was everybody else. I think it was 1967… the memory is a bit fuzzy." -Mike Davino (Chain Reaction / The Kore)

"My first real concert where you had to buy tickets and got to sit in cushy seats was in New Orleans. It was about 1977 and I really wasn’t happy about going. We were seeing an unknown singer named Al Jarreau at the Saenger Theater. I walked out of that experience enlightened. I have never been the same. I learned at that concert that the voice IS a mighty instrument." -Sybil Gage (Solo Artist)

"Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, and Ornette Coleman live in RomeItaly, 1985. Changed my life; it gave my life a direction and a purpose." -Giorgio Delli (Luna Pearl)

"KISSHollywood Sportatorium in Florida. 1978 — touring to promote Love Gun, though the latest release was KISS Alive II. Opened with 'I Stole Your Love' — just amazing — real explosions that were very dangerous — not the safe kind they use indoors now! My Dad took my brothers and I, and a bandmate, and my Dad quickly asked me if the entire concert was going to be that loud. Yup, it was. KISS at their prime with all four original members." -Greg Vadimsky (Greg and Brian Band)

"KISS (Dynasty tour), Father’s Day, 1979 at the Hollywood Sportatorium in Pembrook Pines, FL. Yes, my dad took me." -Michael Coe (Funpipe)

"I was seven years old and I was seeing KISS — it was 2000. It was so loud that I freaked out and hid under a vendor table. KISS’ manager, Doc McGhee, came out and gave me earplugs." -Jesse Long (Session Drummer)

"Def Leppard Pyromania tour with Jon Butcher Axis and Krokus — 1983. I remember going in by myself because my buddy had no ticket. He waited outside. It was badass. Met some girls dressed in lingerie. We smoked a bowl and had some fun. Totally missed John Butcher Axis but Def Leppard kicked ass. The great Lakeland Civic Center." -Ty Oglesby (Solo Artist)

"My mom dragged me with her to see Tom Jones at the Circle Star Theater in San Matron, California after her friend got sick and couldn’t make it. Needless to say, I had never seen so many women throw so many panties at one man in my young life!" -Lissa Galindo (Knight After Night)

"Medusa at the Bamboo Lounge in Eau Gallie, Florida. The year was 1972. I was only ten years old, but I remember it like yesterday. Even back then the band was playing “White Rabbit,” “Born to be Wild,” and “Satisfaction.” The singer bent over during the second verse of “Honky Tonk Woman” and I got to see her boobs — it was awesome. During their last break, the drummer took me out back and gave me shots of tequila. To this day, I still enjoy going to see and hear them perform at local clubs." -D.L. Serios (Dead Serios)

"My first concert experience was WHAM! — 1985 in Miami. I was working at Publix on Palm Bay Road and Babcock Street. There was a group of fellow employees who all hung out together. We did everything together and partied a lot (when Bartles & James wine coolers were still cool). The whole lot of us got luxury suites at the Hyatt Regency on the Bay in Miami. All in all we had a good time.' -Ana Kirby (Solo Artist)

"I was 16 in 1978 and saw The Rockets and Cheap Trick. It was my first concert and my first road trip with friends. People openly were smoking and selling pot and acid. It was a total free-for-all. I left Melbourne a boy, but returned a man (or so I thought anyway)." -Steve Quinlivan (Rock Shot)

"Def Leppard / Krokus (1983) at Rochester War Memorial (upstate New York). Once my favorite bands for a few months." -Joe DelCorvo (Dead Serios)

"When I was 19, I was lucky enough to catch a relatively new band called GWAR in a small club in CharlottesvilleVirginia. The level of energy, showmanship, and creativity that these guys displayed on such a painfully small stage was just short of amazing. To this day, I think about that every time I step on stage… play every venue as if it was a stadium." -C.G. Jenkins (Bullet Theory)

"I was 15 and I saw Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, and about 20 others at the Suwannee River Jam in Live Oak, Florida." -Julia Edwards (All About Nothing)

"My first concert was the AC/DC “Back in Black” tour — Kalamazoo, Michigan, Wings Stadium, September 26, 1980. Opening act was Ronnie Montrose’s Gamma (first album). I’ve been in love with both bands ever since!" -Eric Hotton (Rock Candy)

"Cream with Spirit opening — Orange County Convention Center — California. It was a life-changing experience. That’s what I want to do when I grow up." -Mike Gattiker (Spanks Band)

"I saw the Stray Cats at the Baltimore Civic Center in 1983. I was 15 and my older brother drove my friend and I down I-95 from Delaware in a Datsun 280Z two-seater. We had to take turns riding in the hatchback." -Greg Caputo (Pinch)

"Tiffany at the Palace Theatre, AlbanyNew York. Don’t judge… my next concert was Skid Row opening for White Lion at the same place!" -Erin Coe (Open Fire)


"This is very different, but my first concert experience was the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I was probably seven or eight years old. One of my music teachers was performing with the DSO and offered my parents tickets in exchange for tolerating me as a young, sassy jack-ass music student. When I experienced the sound of that orchestra, I was changed. Forever. It was so wonderfully loud and yet so beautifully clear!!! I loved it!!! I remember to this day that my first “crush” was from that concert. The hottie cello player in the freakin’ DSO!!! I wonder what she is up to these days?" -Glenn Hess (Medusa)

So, readers — what was your first concert experience? Feel free to share your personal story by posting a "Comment." Chris and I would love to hear from everybody on this one!

-Michelle Wilson
(August 2012)


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  1. My first concert was a show by drummer Chris Long and his band at Delaura Junior High School in Satellite Beach in 1978 for a pep rally. He was playing a red drum set with white trim, and I thought to myself, that is going to be me one day. He is still one of my idols. Believe it or not, this is a true story! Fred Bolden - Medusa

    1. Hilarious, Fred! I remember that show fondly and vividly. It was actually in May 1980 -- I was seventeen and I'd refinished that kit myself with contact paper and pinstripe tape. To a trained eye, it had to have looked horrendous -- but what did we know, back then? Thanks for the memories!

      Love ya man,

  2. My first concert was Bobby Vinton( I was 5)at the Calhoun County Fair, in Marshall Mi. My first Rock concert was the same as Eric Hotton, AC DC and Gamma at Wings stadium in Kalamazoo Michigan. They had some fantastic bands come through there.