Concert Memories

There are few things I love more than seeing live music outdoors in the summer.  Correction, live LOUD rock music outside in the summer. Without further ado, here are my Top 6 summer concert memories (in no particular order):

Extreme/Cinderella/David Lee Roth (1991)

This is the first real rock concert I remember buying tickets for. As I look back at the dates, this appears to be the summer before my senior year of high school, though I seem to remember it being before that.  I’ll admit this upfront: even though I had been a big Van Halen fan, and fell squarely on the David Lee Roth led Van Halen side of the debate, I bought the tickets (through a ticket agency) because I really wanted to see Extreme. My mom, who was super over protective, would only agree to let me go if I brought Doug, a family friend who was 7 years older than me. It was a pretty sweet deal for him: all he had to do was take a train out to our house and he got a free ticket to the show, dinner my mom sent with us, and some great company in return for driving out there with me.

While I was mainly excited to see Extreme, Doug wanted to see David Lee Roth. I had always thought that Doug, as the older family friend, was cool, but none more so than when he showed me and my sister his electric guitar and David Lee Roth spandex pants. Doug was (and in fact, still is) in bands and was truly a cross between Eddie Van Halen and DLR: he played guitar but had DLR’s flair. Now, he’s cut his awesome long hair and is a stockbroker who lives in Florida and fronts an awesome Rush tribute band called Crush.

The two things I remember most about the concert were how great of a live act Cinderella was (I can hear some of you laughing, but they really put on a great show), and how, upon listening to Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt’s solo, I came to realize that the intro to Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” is done on guitar and not drums. After the show, for the next few weeks, I would wistfully listen to Cinderella’s big power ballad “Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone” and wistfully think about all the girls who weren’t dating me.

On a side note: Many years later, in the summer of 2006, I won tickets to see Poison and Cinderella and backstage passes to meet Cinderella. My cousin (who will appear later in this post) told me that I should tell Cinderella frontman Tom Kiefer that the “Nobody’s Fool” video was the worst video ever made. We got to go backstage after their set and before Poison took the stage. When I got to speak with him, I told him:

Me: Hey man, you guys were awesome. I saw you back when you toured with Extreme and David Lee Roth and you guys were just as good tonight.

Tom: Hey man, thanks, I really appreciate that.

Me: No problem. Hey, my cousin was being a real dick and said that the Nobody’s Fool video was one of the lamest ones ever made.

Tom: (laughs) Tell him I agree.

I then found myself talking to guitarist Jeff LaBar:

Me: You look like someone else famous but I can’t put my finger on it.

Jeff: A lot of people tell me I look like Robert Downey Jr.

Me: Ha, yeah, only not as coked up.

Jeff: (makes a goofy face) Anymore! Hey, this is my son (and he points to a kid that looks to be about 12).

Bon Jovi (1995)

I saw Bon Jovi at Jones Beach in the summer of ’95. While it’s perfectly cool and acceptable for everyone to admit to liking Bon Jovi now, that wasn’t always the case. It was always okay for girls to like Bon Jovi because they all thought he was hot, and those who DIDN’T think he was hot back in 1987 think he’s hot now. I just asked The Wife if she thinks he’s hot and she said “He’s sexy.” But as a seventh or eighth grade boy, it was NOT okay to admit liking Bon Jovi (even though we all had Slippery When Wet and knew the words to all of the hits). You still ran the risk of having your friends mercilessly mock you for admitting to liking Bon Jovi in 1995, so I told people that my friend’s girlfriend won tickets and I went reluctantly.

I don’t remember a whole lot about the actual concert other than the fact that Bon Jovi did NOT play whatever its big single was at the time. Seriously, I don’t remember what the song was, but we kept waiting for them to play it and they didn’t. I remember thinking that they put on a good show. However, what I remember most happened before the concert. We got there a few hours early and went to a part of the beach that was near the amphitheater. The day was warm but cloudy. My buddy Glenn and I were standing up near the water when a flock of seagulls started to fly over us (and no, I didn’t run, run so far away). I saw something flash by out of the corner of my eye. All of a sudden:

Glenn: (a tortured yell) Aaargh!

Me: What?

Glenn: (trying to look at his back) A seagull just shit on me. Did a lot get on me?

Me: (I take a look at his back and start laughing) Oh man, there’s shit all over your back.

Glenn grumbled something about seagulls and shit but luckily, he had an extra t-shirt in his backpack. No problem, he changed shirts, and we were moving on. However, a few minutes later, more seagulls start to fly by (or maybe they were the same ones, I’m not racist, they just all look alike to me). Once again, out of the corner of my eye, a flash. Could it really be happening again:

Glenn: AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

Me: No, not again.

Yup, again. A second seagull shat all over his back:

Glenn: (trumpeting the theory that it’s supposed to be good luck when a bird shits on your head) That’s it, forget the concert, let’s go to AC (Atlantic City).

Me: No way man. I’m sure that any luck you might have gained by having the first bird shit on you was completely negated by the second bird shitting on you.

And to top it all off, poor Glenn then had to pony up like $30 to buy a Bon Jovi concert shirt. (On a side note, Glenn went to see Guns N Roses with me at The Boston Garden on St. Patrick’s Day in 1993 and to this day, he still bitches about the fact that they didn’t play “Civil War.”)

Summerland Tour (2012)

Last summer, Everclear (one of my favorite bands) headlined the first annual Summerland Tour, a tour of pure 90’s awesomeness.  Marcy Playground (“Sex and Candy”) opened the show, and the crowd, which never got to be big at all, was tiny and quiet, so much so that when I yelled out “Play your hit!” everyone could hear it and The Wife told me not to be an asshole. Lit (“My Own Worst Enemy,” “Miserable,” “Ziplock,” and more”) was up next and really rocked. I had basically forgotten about them and it was cool to see them live. The Gin Blossoms then came out and put on a great show, though almost their whole set made me feel like I was in the penultimate scene in a chick flick. Sugar Ray, who was sort of the co-headliner, was lame. And then Everclear came on and rocked it.

What made this show so awesome for me was that I got the tickets for free and the soccer stadium in which it was held was almost empty. If I had to guesstimate, I’d say there were 300-400 people there. The Wife and I stood about 10 yards from the stage. There was no traffic going to or leaving the show and it was just a great night.

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About goodtimesdad

I'm a former sports-writer, current attorney and full-time dad to Axl, Slash, and The Rocket Queen. I'm also an unapologetic fan of the Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Islanders, 80's hair metal and stupid comedies. Come check me out at goodtimesdad.com.

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Comments

  1. I can’t say that I have been to any summer concerts other than The Killers back in the day when my wife and I were dating. Incredible concert but I gotta say “The Eagles” was the top concert I’ve been too even though it was in January.

  2. John Stillwell says:

    From Metallica to Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. I have seen them all. Dylan and Simon played 4 songs together at the end. My first live band was Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble. I was ten. I win.
    Some great times include Sammy Hagar handing ‘wabo-ritas’ out to all of us in front row, crowd surfing at Beastie Boys and Sound Garden shows and sneaking into better seats at the Pearl Jam show (we paid $7.50 to get in). Motley Crue was awesome when Tommy’s drum set went up in the air and spun around in circles. AWESOME! Scorpions, Def Leopard(2 armed and 1 armed), Kiss, Aerosmith, The Stones, Van Halen, Van Hagar, White Zombie, Alice in Chains, Megadeath, Rush, Dave Mathews, GnR, Joe Satriani, Korn, blues festival about 20 times and more.
    Oh yeah, can’t forget, I saw Winger and Warrant open up for Poison. I won the tickets and nobody would go. Lol. Awesome show. Poison was great!

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