Saturday, April 20, 2013

Are You Ready To Rock?

I am.  Pretty much always am, except for when the kiddos are around and the lyrics are unedited.  For a while before I posted it, I teased you all with my story of how I became a runner.  You should know that I have been teasing myself with the writing of this concert recollection post for longer than you would imagine.  It's a big part of the reason I started a blog, actually.  For years, the desire to share my experiences with music and french fries was almost irresistible.  Then, I had running stories and mothering stories and wife-ing stories to share, too, so here we are.  You may remember that I am obsessed with enjoy writing lists, and this will be easier on all of us if there is some sort of organization.  Without further ado, I present my live concert recap by the numbers.

Okay, a tiny bit more ado.  I don't think anyone will mind a bit of rocker baby to set it off, though.
Countless: The number of times I've wished I had the foresight to buy a souvenir from every show I attended.

Approximately 1 million: Calories consumed at Steak-n-Shake, which has been Husband's and my stop after almost every concert we've attended together.

Technically able to be counted, but I haven't bothered because the number boggles my mind: The number of bands I've watched.  Also, the number of painted bosoms I've seen at outdoor music festivals.  Side note- I determined that the women who choose to have their chests painted and walk around shirtless are actually not strippers or whores.  Strippers and whores don't crave attention being drawn to their assets when they're not working, I believe.  The painted women, rather, are everyday gals with low self-esteem, a need to please, no college degree, and, I would argue, an abusive boyfriend and a poor relationship with their father.  

Fiftyish: The number of concerts I've been to since December 29, 1999.  Before that, all the live music I saw was in a church.  It was good music, too, for the most part.  I listened to a lot of Petra.  The message was excellent, and the concerts rocked, inasmuch as folks can rock without actual rebellion and angst behind their music.  I don't know that it was because I had turned 21, but very shortly after my birthday, I became kinda obsessed with seeing Metallica in concert.  I had been listening to secular music for a few years, despite the warnings against it that some guy preached about so vehemently in a lecture at our church that my mom certain people might still believe that subliminal messages in rock music really will be the death of us all.  As a Christmas gift, the guy I was dating at the time bought me 2 tickets to see Metallica, Creed, Kid Rock and Sevendust at Tropicana Field in St. Pete.  Side note- The next time I would be at Tropicana Field would be at mile 11 of my first half marathon race.  It's the circle of life.  Or, it's a random fact, but I watched The Lion King with 6 y.o. recently.

~Thirty: The number of concerts (now) Husband and I attended together in 2003.  Yeah.  It was a very good live music year.  During the Summer, MTV recorded many concerts at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, near where we lived.  For $10/ticket, we were able to be a studio audience, of sorts, for several great shows that were later shown as part of a series when the music television station used to play music, on television.  The house lights were on while the bands were on stage, but that was one thing on a short list of cons when it came to attending those shows.  We saw Nickelback (before everyone, us included, grew tired of them), Godsmack (They did the most amazing wasn't a solo, because there wasn't just one person drumming, but it was in.cred.i.ble.  Both times, as it had to be re-recorded for the sake of the television show.), Staind, Cold, and our favorite, the Queens of the Stone Age (more on that show, later).

Thirty Seconds To Mars: The band I was most surprised to enjoy seeing.  I wanted to make fun of them, a lot.  Both Husband and I went into the show where they opened for Seether and Audioslave totally prepared to be all, "Oooo, I'm Jared Leto!  I'm a seeeenger!  Oooo!  Look at me!  I used to be on tv, but now I have black hair and I play muuuuusic."  But, they seriously rocked.  They rocked the sarcastic, not-even-well-thought-out comments right out of my mouth.

Fourteen: Venues at which I've had paid-for tickets to see musicians play.  Not all in Florida, but all in the U.S.  Anyone wanna fly me and Husband to Castle Donington, UK or to Chiba, Japan?  All the best bands are playing together there, these days.  :(

Thirteen, Eleven, Eight, or Seven: Number of celebrities I've met at concerts, depending on your definition of "met" and "celebrities".  Thirteen, if you count being within earshot, as that number would include Corey Taylor and Josh from Stone Sour.  Eleven, if you count definite eye contact at close range, as that would mean adding Elias Soriano and Rasheed Thomas from Nonpoint, and Raine Maide from Our Lady Peace.  Seven, if you think actual conversation and handshakes are all that count as a meeting.  My friend Jessica was engaged-but-thankfully-never-married-to a tour bus driver, and her connection got us on Goldfinger's tour bus.  They gave us vodka.  Lots.  A while later, after their performance, we were to meet back on their bus, but all the vodka led us onto the wrong bus, so we met the members of Eve 6 on their bus the same night.  Many years pre-Metallica '99, I got to hang out with an old friend of my parents' who happens to rock, Doug Pinnick from King's X.  If you consider local radio personalities to be celebrities, then the number goes back up, to eight.  Daniel Dennis was on Orlando's talk radio station when my sis and I met him at a concert in 2000.  We all stood outside of the arena, smoking like it was cool, and talking like we actually knew each other, in between Counting Crows and Live, and whatever other band opened for them.

We totally acted cooler than this.  I'm (almost) sure of it.

At least five: Bands whose music I've heard live, but by other bands.  My first date with Husband was to be a concert.  It actually ended up being a Buccaneers Superbowl win watching date (Woo Hoo!), soon followed by a concert.  Seether, at a tiny, wonderful venue in downtown Orlando called The Social.  They covered Nirvana's "You Know You're Right" that night, and it was magical.  Seether also covers Alice In Chains, sometimes, which is also a treat.  At our wedding we danced our first dance to 311's cover of The Cure's "Love Song", as we had seen 311 play it live shortly before our engagement.  Audioslave (technically) covered a couple of songs by Soundgarden, and Nonpoint's cover of "In the Air Tonight" was amazing, especially when we heard them play the acoustic version.  <3 <3 <3

Four: Times I've been in a mosh pit.  It's about like you would expect, only maybe a little stinkier.  If you have no idea what to expect in a mosh pit, then you should probably not join in one.

Three: Memorable moments at concerts about which I will tell my grandchildren (and they'll think I'm so cool- I just know it!).  1. When the Queens of the Stone Age played for the MTV show at Hard Rock Live, we were treated to great music, but it wasn't just their flawless playing and singing that made it awesome.  It was at the end of the show, when Nick Oliveri started bashing the giant AT&T guitar that was hanging by the stage for advertising with his guitar, that my heart started pounding.  "This is rock", I remember thinking, as the band continued to destroy all the pop-ey, branded, commercialized, materialistic instead of musicalistic stuff around them.  It gave me goosebumps then, and still does, now.  The fact that all of that awesomeness was edited out for the television show made it even more rocking to have witnessed it live.  2. We saw Snoop Lion nee Dogg open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2003.  When he came out on stage, we could see through the haze of smoke (barely) that he looked just like the cool rapper guy we'd seen on tv, and we could hear that he was covering Metallica's "Sad But True".  To recap:  coolest rapper, covering coolest rock group's song.  So cool.  3.  Back to Metallica, again.  I'll never forget the first time Husband heard/saw them take the stage.  I had seen them once before, remember, in '99, so I was able to sit back a bit and observe him experiencing the awesomeness for the first time.  We were holding hands, barely in like with each other, and I felt him start to tremble, just a little, at the same time that I started to feel their music in my belly, like you do at a rock show.

Three way tie for "best seats" at a concert.  In West Palm Beach, we had floor seats in row 12 (or close to it) for Incubus, Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age, and Jane's Addiction.  Awe. Some.  Just last month, we went to see the Deftones and had 2nd row center balcony seats.  Awe. Some.  At almost every other concert we saw together at Hard Rock Live, we stood off to one side, near a specific column, very close to the stage.  Once, we were paid $50 for that spot from the people directly behind us.  Apparently, everyone else eventually figured out that it is the best standing spot in that venue, because the last time we were there, they had it roped off and guarded, with only 2 people standing in it.  Probably the President and First Lady, or some other VIPs.

Three: Bands whose music I would not listen to again if I were paid to hear it in my own back yard.  If you like racism and child pornography, then Turbo Negro might be your favorite band!  If that's the case, please go ahead and click on "next blog" up top there, because this is not the one for you.  Just last weekend, Husband and I saw Steel Panther in concert, and were assaulted by the songs "Asian Hooker", "Gold-Digging Whore", and one about STDs.  Although, there were a lot of STD-related lyrics in all their songs, come to think of it...  The third band is kind-of a cheat, since I haven't seen them play live, but Dave Matthew's Band is, well, gross.  I believe there are two kinds of people in this world: those who like DMB (I like using that acronym for the band, too.  It looks like the word 'dumb'.  Ha!) and those who can hear properly.  Wanna make something of it?

Three: Bands I haven't seen live, that I want to, and will mention here- Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, and Tool.

Three: Concerts I've attended while pregnant.  It's totally safe, don't worry.  Loud music can't hurt a baby's ears until after they're born, according to my doctor.  Good thing, too, because Disturbed, Korn, and Bush are all pretty loud bands.

Three: Shows I was not looking forward to attending (a.k.a., Concerts from a music genre other than awesome rock): The Dixie Chicks (who put on a good show, despite all the country songs), Tim McGraw (or possibly, some other guy who sings with a twang- I really can't remember for sure) and Dashboard Confessional (I knew that one song of theirs!)

Two: Times the very best vocalist has postponed shows to which I held tickets.  Once, he (Chris Cornell-dur!) and Audioslave decided to keep heading south and play in Cuba on the night they were supposed to play in Orlando.  The second time, he had "laryngitis" that kept him from "singing" at "several shows." (Annoyed by the excessive quotes?  I would be.)

Let's be friends, Chris.  Can I call you Chris?

Two: Bands I really, really, really wish I had noticed earlier.  Twice during The Summer of Music and Like (that's what we'll call '03 from now on-we weren't in love, yet, that we knew), Husband and I went to see Metallica with Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne and sigh The Deftones.  We arrived late to the first show, and only caught a bit of the performance by The Deftones, and purposely went even later to the second show and missed it entirely.  We just had no idea what we were missing, unfortunately.  In the past 3 years, we've seen them play 3 times, and each time, we regret that we didn't notice how great they already were back in the Summer of Music and Like.  Very, very recently, Husband put some music by Thrice on my iPod.  I was cleaning the floor while listening to it, and as soon as I heard their second song, I stopped mid-mopping to send Husband the following text message:  "To think, all this time, I believed you loved me.  How could you keep this from me?"  He seemed confused, so I clarified.  Turns out, he had only recently discovered Thrice, also, and hadn't been keeping their music secret from me for years.  Even more disappointing than the fact that we missed so many years of great music is the fact that the band has now disbanded (do we just call them a disband?), and that they played without us at the Hard Rock Live during our Summer of Music and Like.
At my first Deftones show when I was actually listening to them.
Two: People who made me scan for the exits and plan an escape route or two, during a concert.  First was a guy who had been walking around, all normal seeming, until Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff" started. Then, he started punching the ground as if it had made one too many "yo momma" jokes to him. He pantomimed a chainsaw, which seemed to have a mind of its own, taking him around in circles until he went back to the ground.  Second was at the recent Deftones show we attended.  The guy was in front of us, a few seats to the right, and at first, I thought he was just a regular ol' drunk.  But he didn't sit down.  He didn't stop using his middle finger while yelling at the stage.  I actually saw him pull down his pants and moon the band.  Twice.  His apparent anger led me to believe that he was a ticket scalper who had gotten stuck with some good seats, and decided to get wasted and act as crazy as possible.  I was nervous that he was going to fall out of the balcony, and I was nervous that he was going to take out his anger on those around him at the slightest opportunity.  He didn't, though.  Woo!

Two: Concerts that make me feel sad to remember.  In 2002, I went to see Live, live, at Hard Rock Live (and said that catchy phrase over and over and over and over again) with my friend and co-worker, Doug.  5 years later, at the age of 33, he died of Lymphoma.  That concert was the first time he and I went anywhere outside of work together, and we became really close friends.  We lost touch a while after we stopped working together, but I always think of him with fondness and sadness that he's gone, and I always think of that concert nostalgically.  The other sad show was the one at which the Summer of Music and Like ended.  Fuel played the background music at House of Blues while then-Boyfriend broke up with me.  I will leave the rest of that story, and the "I told you so"s for another day.

One: and only one, man who is my perfect concert companion.  It isn't just that we share the same taste in music, we also share the same concert etiquette.  I've nothing against those who choose to make out at shows, or do that whole guy-behind-the-girl-with-his-arms-around-her-chest-but-not-exactly-groping-her-as-they-hold-hands-over-her-midsection, or the people who decide that it's important to drink all the alcohol, or those who bring signs, lift their shirts, get dehydrated and make disgusting sacrifices in order to stand in the front row, or those who wear earplugs.  Husband and I are concert soulmates.  We both know when to stand, and when to sit.  I "Wooo!" while he "Yeah!"s.  We hold hands on the way in and out of the crowds, but during the shows, we know our hands should be put to other uses.  We don't have to talk over the music to make jokes about the things happening around us, we can usually just make eye contact.  I don't have to stay awake on the way home, if it's past 11 p.m.  Even after he broke up with me, we remained friends and occasionally, went to concerts together.  While walking in to the House of Blues to see Disturbed in 2008, he put his hand on the small of my back, and that, as they say, was that.  (Since it wasn't technically during a concert, I didn't add it to the "memorable moments" part up there ^).

There was the whole, "can you see us back together" discussion that he started that night, the "I love you"s exchanged, and much later, the "will you marry me" thing, and now there's all kinds of made-up songs performed nightly by us and our kids (I'm particularly proud of my "No Babies In The Fridge" song).  Sometimes, we move furniture around to dance together as a family, and it's not a pretty sight (6 y.o. enjoys Mexican party music, Baby loves 80's ballads).  Husband puts songs on my iPod that he knows I'll like.  He finds the set list for the concerts we miss, and puts CDs in my car with the live versions of the songs, in the order they were performed.

You're here for advice, though, right?  No?  Well, too bad.  I'm here to give it, and it's good:  enjoy the soundtrack of your life.  Mine is epic, if I do say so myself.  Yours might have some jazz music or some DMB, and I won't judge you for that.  The important thing is to experience the everyday music and the extra-special music with those who appreciate it the same way you do.  I'm sure that there will come a time that all of our favorite bands have either stopped touring altogether, or are playing cringe-worthy reunion gigs when they're much too old to remember the lyrics to their own songs and their tattoos are all blurry on wrinkled skin.  I'll certainly miss going to concerts, then, but I'll still be able to rock with my rocking Husband.

Best concert you've attended?  You can choose more than one, it's okay.

p.s. My husband rocks.


  1. Ok, first off, I am apparently old as 90% of the bands and singers you listed up there in that book I have NEVER HEARD OF. (Ack!) Second, I STILL cannot picture YOU rocking out to Metallica. Third, my favorite concert Wait - I don't have to pick just one? Oh good! There was the Billy Joel concert that my sis and I slept out to get tickets for (we were still in the rafters, but we got the tickets!). There was the Indigo Girls concert John and I spontaneously decided to go see the year before we were married - and ended up with 10th row center seats! It was outside in Cleveland and it POURED, so they stopped the show, pushed all the electrical equipment back out of the way of the rain, and played acoustic - AWESOME. Of course, there are SO MANY amazing July 4th memories on Boston's Esplanade, where we arrive at noon on July 3rd for front row seats with 100 of our closest 7/4 friends (really) for front row seats on the 4th. Mormon Tabernacle with the Boston Pops was pretty fantastic. And I've SUNG in so many amazing concerts, too. Singing with Dave Brubeck for one and under the direction of famous choir conductor & composer John Rutter at Carnegie Hall is definitely another! Maybe I should make my own blog post about this question!

    1. I would love to read your concert blog post, when you write it! I would also love to have actual musical talent- so jealous of those that can sing and play and not sound, well, like I do. :)

      And don't worry about not being able to picture me rocking out. You're not the only one, apparently (see below).

  2. Who ARE you?!

    Kidding. I am kidding of course.

    1. Just in case you wondered, I can assure you that my excellent relationship with my dad means that I have never participated in the body painting, and that I didn't leave out any frightening details of the vodka/tour bus story up there. Jessica and I stayed in a hotel that night, so we didn't even have to drive home after the concert. Always(?) smart and responsible, THIS daughter of yours is. :)

  3. I. Love. This. Post.

    You are super awesome. I've seen a lot of great bands, but you've been to more concerts than I have.

    I uber envy your Snoop Lion experience. Wow!

    Here's a list of most of the bands I've seen.

    1. That's an impressive list, by anyone's standards! I should have done links. And I realize now that even with all my editing of this post, I completely neglected to mention some of my favorite shows- Nine Inch Nails and Offspring come to mind immediately. Authority Zero. The White Stripes.
      It's hard, sometimes, having had such a cool musical history, huh?