My first concert I was allowed to go to was the band Rush. Before you get all excited and say cool, at that time, I think rush had just released “fly by night” or the “2112” album and few people even knew who they were. I think they hardly sold any ticket to a show in Binghamton, so like me giving the Elton john tickets away for tomorrows show in Switzerland, someone gave me tickets to see RUSH. I will have to call mom, but I think I had to beg, bargain to clean the windows and god knows whatever chores to go. But they allowed me to go.
What was odd is in those days it was general admission. Basically it meant first come first serve basis. the doors would open and the adventurous kids would bum rush the stage, ideally in the center, away from the FOH PA stacks that would leave you deaf for a few days. For this RUSH show, maybe 500-800 people total showed up. I found myself leaning on the stage and looking up at Geddy Lee and like most of the planet, when I saw Neil Peart play drums, I think i just stared at him on the drum kit, mesmerized at how good he was.
Odd, while I have a terrible memory, I can remember the house light going black, the crowd roaring (ok, it was a tiny crowd, but for a kid from a small town, it sounded loud) and then the show opened up with the first song I heard live and amplified through all the equipment i had seen loaded in. The song that opened the show, “Bastille day.” (found this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7yxA9vt2-c )
So there I was finally seeing the actual "show" part after so many load in's. I was a young kid who knew he sucked as a musician, but something inside me was fascinated by how the “show” went together. Then there was an energy coming off the stage that was amplified by the crowd. You didn’t get this listening to a record or the radio. You only get this with “live” shows, where the thrill of the deadlines and trying night after night for a “perfect” show is the goal, no matter how screwed up everything and anything that can happen or break – you simply didn’t let the audience know it wasn’t part of the show.
In a sense i am amazed that so few people went to see the band, rush when they started out. Today, i wonder what going to see them would be like. Perhaps it is best to keep the memories of how cool it was when they started, before all the slick and big stages and entourage.
i wonder what kid will get the tickets tomorrow?