Last week I published a story about musicians' first concerts, and we asked readers to submit their own. I was flabbergasted by the response, and here are a selected few that I received:
I attended my first concert on August 15, 1965 – the Beatles at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York. I received the tickets as an 11th birthday present from my parents. The whole family drove the three hours to New York that morning. My mother stayed with my little sister at our hotel in Manhattan, while my father took me, my older sister and a friend to the concert. The Beatles played out in midfield, past the pitcher’s mound, and we sat high up in the cheap seats. The distance, the 1965 era microphones and speakers, and the screaming, crying fans (including us) conspired to make it almost impossible to hear the band, but it didn’t matter, we were there. After the concert, instead of just going back to our hotel, my father drove us all over Manhattan looking for the fab four. We had heard that the Beatles were staying at the Warwick Hotel. We circled the Hotel for over an hour, just in case we could get a glimpse of the guys. We never did, although much later I learned that the Beatles really did stay there. That night remains one of the most memorable moments of my life. When Paul McCartney played at Rio Tinto Stadium last summer, I became again that crazy 11 year old fan, transported back to that magic evening of 1965. When Ringo Starr played at USANA this summer, my little sister finally got her chance to see at least one of the Beatles live.
Nanci Snow Bockelie
My first concert would have been The Doors @ the old Salt Palace arena in April 1970 when it was not quite a year old. But the Salt Palace GM pulled the plug and canceled the concert the morning of, after pre-viewing a Doors show in another city and not being impressed with Morrison's antics. We traded promptly traded our tickets in for another show a few weeks later, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. A thirty-year-old Tina Turner and the Ike-ettes--jackpot for a seventh grader! John Fogerty and the original CCR line-up were not too shabby either. Pretty great first concert experience--probably better than The Doors would have been. Some other interesting SLC concert vignettes from that era: Pink Floyd (yes, Pink Floyd--albeit pre Dark Side of the Moon) at the old Terrace Ballroom (a great, long-lamented SLC concert venue). It wasn't pretty. Roger Waters threw a half empty bottle of scotch at some drunken cowboy from Tooele who was baiting him for a homosexual. No wonder Floyd never returned to Utah. Here's another bizarre one: The Eagles, on the cusp of stardom, opening for Alvin Lee and Ten Years After at a less-than-full Salt Palace. A better memory, Eric Clapton and Derek and the Dominoes (without Duane Allman, he supposedly only toured the south with them) at the old "Dirt Palace" the Fairgrounds Colisieum. That was my third or fourth concert. By then I was hitting my stride!
Salt Lake City
my first concert was a pretty good one. It was 1977, I was 13, and my favorite band was Led Zeppelin. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area there were so many great concerts happening in the late 70's that I unfortunately missed because I couldn't get my parents to take me. So, when offered to buy a ticket for Zeppelin's 1977 Oakland concert from a friend at school, I just took a chance and bought it. And of course my parents response was a firm "there's no way are you going!" But my dad, bless his heart, must have felt bad, and bringing it up at work, a younger concert-going coworker offered to take me. So, I was picked up at 6am and brought to my first Day On The Green concert with openers Judas Priest (who were awful) and Rick Derringer (who was amazing) and what would end up being Zeppelin's last ever appearance in North America ... we got there so early I recall running across the huge grass field and getting our blanket down about 30 feet from the stage, dead center. Jimmy Page looked pale but sounded amazing. This show changed my life; There was no stopping me now! 100's of concerts later, I still see as many concerts as I can and try to bring my kids whenever I can. I also have a bootleg of this Zeppelin show. They're still one of my favorite 70's era bands.
I attended my first concert on Monday night, January 19, 1959 in the old George Nelson Fieldhouse in Logan at Utah State University. I was in the 8th Grade at Logan Junior High and my parents let me go alone. No one else my age knew who they were. The Kingston Trio were just up and coming, releasing Tom Dooley in 1958.
Following the concert I noticed a mob outside the dressing room. I wiggled my way to the front and was able to get all three, Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds to autograph my program. In 1992 the Trio did a show at Abravanel Hall and I attended.Following the concert I was able to get past security and went backstage to their dressing room. I showed the guard what I had (the 1959 program) and he let me in the dressing room. I showed it first to Bob Shane. He gleefully showed it to Nick, saying "Wouldn't Dave love to see this)."
As I left the dressing room a lady stopped me, saying she was a collector of Trio memorabelia and gave me her business card. She was from Maryland and followed them around the country. She sent me a Christmas card for several years. In 1998 I called her and said that the program I had would probaboly be of more value to her and offered it to her. She asked me what I wanted for it and I replied I had no idea what it was worth. She told me she would get back to me. Several weeks later she called me and said someone else wanted it more than she - BOB SHANE. She said Bob would be contacting me. Sure enough in a couple of weeks he called me from Phoenix, where he now lives. He too asked me what I wanted for it and I told him I had no idea what it was worth. He indicated they would be in Salt Lake in a couple of months for a Friday show at Abravanel on August 14 and at Deer Valley on August 15th. He invited me to a party they were having at the Wyndham Hotel prior to the Friday night concert and gave me the option for 4 tickets for either Fridays or Saturdays concert. I took the 4 tickets for Deer Valley. It was a great party to sit around the table with them and some of their Salt Lake friends. The lady from Maryland told me that Bob has the program mounted on the wall in his office.
Tears for Fears at Park West in 1985 was the first of many incredible summer concerts at Park West during my high school and college years. I remember the haunting sounds of the songs from The Hurting as the sky darkened and the warm summer breeze blew. My sister and I weren't old enough to drive yet so a neighbor friend drove us and we were so embarrassed leaving the parking lot in her car with country music blaring from her stereo. I just saw Band of Horses last night and even at 43 I still get thrilled at a live show of a band I love.
My first concert was the Bay City Rollers. They were a Scottish pop band in the '70s that wore tartan or plaid striped clothing. So I went all out as much as a sixth grade kid could. I got a red shirt with plaid accents, and sewed plaid ribbon onto my jeans (which had to be a little bell bottomed and flooded) , plaid socks and my tartan scarf. It was so fun waving my scarf in the air and screaming along with the songs. That was until someone spilled coke over my prized "Roller" concert magazine souvenir that I just bought. Oh well, listening to "Saturday Night" & "Money Honey" was worth it.
i saw new riders of the purple sage in '68 at the valley music hall...i didn't realize at the time gerry garcia was in the group...i was young  and dumb. i got smarter in '69 and saw led zepplin at the terrace ballroom...what a show! they opened for vanilla fudge...a few shows later, vanilla fudge opened for led zepplin!
My first concert was July 10, 1965. I was on the verge of my Sophomore year of high school. Rockford College, in my home town of Rockford Illinois, hosted the event in the field house. Since shoes were not allowed on the wood floor the concert was billed as a sock hop. Our shoes were rubber banded together and turned in to a coat check counter. My friend and I were dropped off by my father. As we approached the venue we saw hundreds of kids walking in wearing cutoffs and Madras shirts. We made my Dad drive us home so we could change out of our little dresses. The featured band was the Byrds. Eight Miles High was newly popular on the radio. The band's instruments didn't show up on time so Rick Nielsen, the future front man of Cheap Trick, arranged for instruments to be brought over from his father's music store. The other bands I remember that night were the Beau Brummels and Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters from Chicago which was 90 miles to the East. I remember feeling so free and grown-up and having the feeling that something great might happen any second. The concert must have been successful because shorty after that a defunct indoor ice skating rink hosted the Association and Peter and Gordon. We danced in the sand which used to be under the ice. Fun days. Thanks for giving me occasion to remember it.
The Beatles! August 21, 1964. Opened by Bill Black Combo, Exciters, Righteous Brothers, and Jackie de Shannon. I was thirteen and a huge Beatles fan. The screaming from the audience was intense, and I remember the stage being surrounded by uniformed officers to keep girls from throwing themselves on the stage. The tickets were $5, but it's still the best concert I've ever attended!! Forty-eight (yikes!!) years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
Seeing the picture of Shaun Cassidy immediatly took me back to my first concert which was seeing him with the Alysse Brothers at the Salt Palace. I was lucky enough to have a sister 8 years older than I, who was willing to take me and my best friend for the most memorable night of our 12th year of life. We went shopping that dat at Nordstroms were I bought my first pair of "dress" pants to go with my first pair of shoes with anytype of heel. It was a full day of "firsts". We bought a dozen roses to throw at him, this was back in the day when you could come up close enough to the stage to actually do such a thing. I purchased a Shaun Cassidy banner with his picture that hung on my wall for about a year after the concert untill my sister then introduced me to "real music" such as STYX, Boston and The Doobie Brothers, but it's true that you never forget your "first time" and I still have my original Shaun Cassidy album and know every word to Da Do Run Run.
My first concert was at the late great Terrace Ballroom. It was sometime in the late 60s. Taj Mahal opened for The Jefferson Airplane. Spencer Dryden the airplanes drummer broke 2 bass drum heads. He may have been self-medicated a lot of people at the concert were. A smoky haze hung over the venue. I do have some hazy memories of the 60s.
Don't know if this qualifies, but some guy named Bob Dylan performed at freshman orientarion at the U. of Mass. in 1966. But I know that Velvet Underground was the first band I actually bought tickets for in Boston in 1968. I think that's where my hearing problem began.
My first concert was Spanky And Our Gang, with comedian David Frye. It was a free concert during my freshman orientation at C. W. Post Center of Long Island University in September of 1968. The stage was set up in front of the Humanities building and we sat on the lawn, which had a gentle slope up and made a natural amphitheatre. Spanky And Our Gang had a number of Top 40 hits in the 1960s, the most well known being Sunday Will Never Be the Same. David Frye was famous for his Nixon impersonation.
Aharon D. Shulimson
Salt Lake City
Thanks for the “first concert” article, it made for fun reading this morning. My first concert took place at the Salt Palace on November 16th, 1974-----George Harrison!!! I was a 16 year-old junior at East High at the time and I was thrilled to be able to see one of the Beatles. This tour was a lavish affair, featuring many fine musicians, notably Ravi Shankar, the renowned sitar player (and father of Norah Jones). I remember that Harrison was battling laryngitis at the time, so his vocals were a bit ragged and hoarse. But that night was quite the event, in an era when SLC didn’t get that many major concerts. I enjoyed the whole show, especially Ravi’s long set in the middle, and all in all, it was a heady experience for me. Thanks much….
Iron Butterfly, Rapid Transit opened. Salt Palace 1969, I think. Second was Pink Floyd in the Terrace Ballroom, same year.
Pink Floyd October of 1970 at the old Terrace Ballroom in downtown Salt Lake. I was 14 at the time and didn’t know much about them but after the show I remember scrapping every penny I could together and buying all the albums they had released up to that time which was 5 or 6. 2nd concert was 1971, The Guess Who and Bloodrock and the Salt Palace
I was 13, I saw BREAD in Atlanta. It was about 1971 and their big hit was "Make it With You". I thought David Gates was the greatest!!!