(originally dated Feb. 21st, 2011)
My ears are ringing with the aftermath of another amazing concert at Madison Square Garden, but of course is a small price to pay for one of the great joys I have in my life. I absolutely, positively LOVE going to concerts, and have been so grateful to all those I’ve ever been able to see perform!
Who did I go to see tonight? why, we went to see none other than Lady Gaga! And I will say, it was worth every Ticketmaster penny, online race for seats, and every month I counted down from last year until now (many thanks to my soon-to-be husband for giving them to me as a birthday present last year!) For the record, it was an AMAZING concert. Honestly, one of the best times I’d ever had at MSG. Costumed fans and major devotion was all-around (there was a boy who traveled all the way from Mexico sitting right by us, screaming and crying a-la Beatles in the 1960s). It was was just incredibly FUN, from beginning to end. The Scissor Sisters opened with a mighty push (I was so surprised they were opening, and was absolutely pumped), and then Gaga brought nothing short of a fantastic show. The music, the dancing, the diamond-shimmering energy, and her ever-present gratitude to her fans completely shone through. It was the complete experience, and I sincerely thank her for every second of my great evening.
As if that wasn’t enough, E and I will also see Bon Jovi at MSG in two weeks, and then very soon after, I will be attending my first Janet Jackson concert at Radio City Music Hall. The upcoming calendar is full of music, and I am fully geared up and ready!
The funny thing is, this love affair with concerts and performances goes back on quite the interesting timeline. It certainly didn’t start out this way, but perhaps deprivation combined with compulsive spending might be the (many) ticket(s) to one’s musical thrill in paradise.
By deprivation, perhaps I should clarify. When I was younger, my parents definitely weren’t advocates of rock concerts and pretty much any live concert experience was somewhat-limited to watching my father’s chamber orchestra perform or school/ youth symphony concerts for my brother and sister. I suppose perhaps I was expected to like it, considering I too was trained to be in the family dynamic of trained musicians. Piano & Violin took precedence for a good chunk of my adolescence, and thank goodness it did. Now of course, looking back this was not a terrible thing. Not to say that my parents were not lovers of pop music. I still marvel at the fact that my Dad still has Beatles albums on vinyl and knew who Sid Vicious was when I first mentioned his name during a car ride.
Now, you could say this was strict-overly-protective parenting or the regular blah-blah-blah. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely did SUCK not to have the leverage to explore the greatness of Madison Square Garden or Giants Stadium. However, my Mom did say quite many-a-time: “When you grow up, you can go to as MANY concerts as you want.”
And yep, I sure have.
In fact, following the Gaga concert in the cab ride home, I decided to go over all of the concerts I’d attended in the last 10 years. My first major concert was seeing Bon Jovi at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh during his Crush tour in 2000, and ever since, it’s been a string of one great one after another. Amongst them have been: They Might Be Giants, Rusted Root, N.E.R.D., Reel Big Fish, Jurassic 5, U2 (3 times!), Muse, Weezer, Arcade Fire, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Black Eyed Peas. However, the ones that stood above them all were somewhat magnetic to one another: Billy Joel’s Last Play at Shea, and Paul McCartney at CitiField. Both were the end, and the new beginning of an era. (and earned me officially a 2-up on my father, as I’d seen a Beatle perform live!) And of course, there will be many more to come.
Looking back, of course you have to see the silver lining to experiences past. In a way, focusing me in the direction of Classical music was what built an ultimate foundation for my senses. These performances often took me to places where only the best acoustic and visual experience one could ever have: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, amongst many others. You didn’t just hear music, but you could literally FEEL it in the air. Experiencing things first-hand is one thing teachers constantly try to get students to explore from an early age. Take it like looking at a painting: you won’t really know what it looks like until you see it up close. It’s not too different from the experiences I get from the concerts I attend now. There’s a reason why so many people will follow their favorite groups around the country! I will also give credit to the fact that these experiences only helped me build not just love in my life for music, but ultimately, respect for all kinds of music. I feel that’s really what keeps it all connected together, realizing the depth of just how much inspiration can come from going to concerts alone.
Before we went to see Gaga on Monday night, E and I went to see my friends at their new apartment in nearby Astoria. One of them asked me why I liked going to concerts so much. In a way, this is how it breaks down. Music = my constant indulgence. I will never find a reason not to splurge on it, and I get excited about walking down the street with my new mp3s in my iPod like some women get giddy to walk down the street in their new shoes. There will never be a price too high if I find that the experience will be worth it. For this of course, I find that besides purchasing my bed a few years ago, music has been the root of many of my expensive gifts and purchases in my adult life: my iPod, concert tickets, Ticketmaster certificates, many an iTunes card and in the pre-mp3 era, many an audio cassette & CD.
Funny enough though, here is the irony of the difference in what would be considered a materialistic splurge: Nothing really is as timeless, out of style, in-style, or precious all at the same time. The best hand-me-down you could ever give someone is an experience, a memory, and literally, music to their ears.
So here it is, plain and simple, folks. Music is great, but when you get the chance, get out there and hear it live to make it phenomenal. Whether small, big, or even down to the street performers around America, you will carry the experience with you when your hour is dark, your pockets empty, and and your soul needs a swift lift. And in that sense, let it literally light the way back home if you need it.
One more thing! Although cheesy, I hope the promise still stands.
Gaga promised her audience that in return for their devotion to her career, she would be in the back of the audience whenever one of her fans ever “took-stage”. Perhaps, one day, if my dreams certainly do come true, I for one, would certainly love it if she was!