You Never Forget Your First. It Changed You. There Is Nothing Like That First Concert.
There’s just something magical about music. A song can transport you to another time and place when you hear it on the radio. It can brighten your day. It stirs up deep emotional connections on the level of that first kiss or first love. And for many of us, that first concert experience is something that has made a big impact on a lot of us.
I loved music as a kid growing up in Minneapolis. But it wasn’t until a babysitter turned on the local rock station when I was 6 that I realized there was more music out there than the Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and Don Williams records my mom listened to.
I remember getting my first record player. Going to the store to buy my first 45 and my first albums. But none of that compares to my first concert.
August 1, 1978. Bloomington, Minnesota at the old Metropolitan Stadium. The day after my 15th birthday and a present from my mom was tickets to see The Eagles, The Steve Miller Band and Pablo Cruise. It turned out to be the biggest concert in Minnesota history as 65,000 of us filled the stadium. The ticket price? $10. No I didn’t miss a zero. Tickets were ten bucks. I remember sitting in the stands and actually jumping a little when Pablo Cruise opened with “World’s Away”. It was louder than anything I could remember hearing up to that point in my life. We immediately found our way down onto the field where we stayed through the rest of that set and through Steve Miller Band. It started to rain during that set and I vividly remember dancing with some college girl during “Jungle Love”.
As the Eagles opened with “Desperado” many people left (!) but we found a seat until the band ramped up their set. They were still on their “Hotel California” tour, so “Life In The Fast Lane” and “Victim of Love” were still on the way. And Joe Walsh was still a relative newcomer to the band and earlier that year had released his “But Seriously Folks” album which contained “Life’s Been Good”. We also got “Rocky Mountain Way” and a ton more from the Eagles catalog.
Yeah, 36 years ago this summer and I remember a lot of it like it was last weekend. I asked our Facebook fans to recall their first concert and not surprisingly, their memories are about as good as mine. In fact, two of them were also at the same concert in Bloomington, MN that night back in 1978!
But it was also cool to see a diverse list of firsts. From rockers like Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Dio, and Judas Priest to country shows like Kenny Rogers and Barbara Mandrell, to even Ray Charles, the shows left an indelible mark on all of us.
And by the looks of the responses, Sioux Falls played host to some pretty great shows through the 70s and 80s before I got here. Several people were at a BTO, Steppenwolf, Heart concert back in 1974. I saw a few for Cheap Trick at the Arena with a little band called AC/DC opening! Several people saw Ozzy at the Arena, plus .38 Special, Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top, Loverboy, The Guess Who with guests REO Speedwagon in 1977, Brownsville Station with Dr. Hook in 1973. We even had a young lady chime in with being at a Ted Nugent show while she was still ‘in utero’, which she said must have had an effect on her!
Back in 2011, I got to take my then 10-year old granddaughter to her first concert. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band at RibFest at the Arena. We have a picture of Hallie with Kenny hanging on the wall. I remember talking to my daughter after she had gone home and was told that she was walking around the house singing “Blue on Black”. Made grandpa proud!
With so many opportunities to take your kids (and grandkids) to shows in the area, it’s never too early to get them exposed to their first concert experience. It’s something they (and you) will remember forever. And with spring just getting here, we’ve got a full summer of RibFest, JazzFest, Hot Harley Nights, Saturday in the Park, Sioux Empire Fair, State Fair, RiverFest, and more to get your live music fix!
I’ve been fortunate to have been to hundreds (and honestly it may be over a thousand) concerts in my life. But it’s true what they say. You never forget your first.
What was YOUR first concert?