The Feministing Crew’s First Concerts

One of the activities we did as an ice breaker at our recent retreat was to talk about our very first concert on our own. Hilarity, as you might imagine, ensued. We thought we’d share some of the stories with you all…
Miriam – Alan Jackson and Deanna Carter, c. 1996, Raleigh, North Carolina
It’s true, I grew up in the South! I went with a friend and her mom when I was in middle school. I can’t say I was an Alan Jackson fan, but when Deanna Carter sang Strawberry Wine I was into it.
Ann – Cornershop and Gus Gus, c. 1997, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I grew up in a small-ish town in Iowa where nationally known musical acts only play when their careers are long dead. Seeing live music meant driving several hours — something my mom and dad were loathe to let me do. When I was a freshman in high school, I told my parents I was going to watch Hamlet (the longest movie I could think of) at a friend’s house, and snuck off to Wisconsin to see the “Brimful of Asha” band (wow, um, yeah) and some random Icelandic act I had never heard of. I got in big trouble later.
Courtney-Smoking Groove Tour, 1998, Boulder, Colorado
As the Fugees were performing in a very small venue, a woman from the audience threw her bra up at the keyboard player. Lauryn Hill stopped singing and made everyone stop playing music, and then did a ridiculously amazing freestyle about how the girl needed to respect herself. I was stunned.
Lori-Musiq Soulchild/Mary J. Blige, c. 2002, Electric Factory, Philly, PA
At 16, my friend’s recently acquired learner’s permit enabled he and I to follow the neo-soul trail from S. Jersey to Philly Phil. Thoroughly wooed by the ridiculous r&b riffs, I’m pretty sure I cried tears of luv & joy at least twice between episodes of “Jusfriends” and “Soulstar”. Afterwards, armed with the audacity only starstruck teenagers can conjure, my friend and I invented a story about winning a radio station contest to bust backstage and take a pic w the soulchild himself. To this day, I spell “musiq” with a Q.
Vanessa-Debbie Gibson Concert, c. 1989, New York
Sue me, I was 9. My cousin brought me and I was rocking the Debbie Gibson hat, leggings with a long shirt tied in a knot at the side — the works. I begged my cousin to bring me to the front of the stage as hoards of girls my age and older were scrambling to get closer, my cousin lifted me up as Debbie reached down to greet her fans…and we touched hands. Electric Youth indeed.

Chloe: Avril Lavigne, February 2002, Sydney

I don’t think I’ll ever live this one down, music-wise. At the time, I was a huge Avril fan, convinced that, as the “anti-Britney,” she was the greatest thing to happen to Girl Power since the Spice Girls. I went to the concert with my older sister and we jumped up and down like maniacs and screamed out the lyrics to all the songs. Do I still know them all? Stop asking questions.
Samhita-Ween, c. 1993, NYC
I was 15 and I was a nerd (as you can tell by the first band I went to see) and it was really exciting to be in NYC with just my friends at the age of 15!
Jos-The Polyphonic Spree, 2004, Boston
I needed a transition from the live music of my Christian fundamentalist upbringing, and this cult-y show certainly fit the bill. Two nights in a row.
And for vintage amusement:

Join the Conversation

  • baddesignhurts

    ween are *still* one of my favorite bands. saw them once myself in ’00 in tucson.
    yes, i’m still a nerd.

  • s.

    Vanessa, I’m right there with you…New Kids on the Block, 1990. To which I wore my Debbie Gibson hat. At 10 I knew I was hawt.

  • JPlum

    I may have you all beat: Glass Tiger in 1987 or 1988. At a largely empty Centennial Hall in London, Ontario. Although you may have to be Canadian and in your thirties to understand just how embarrassing that is.

  • Evrybdy44

    my first show was the circle jerks. it was an intimidating and eye opening experience. i still think it’s a pretty cool first show story!

  • Comrade Kevin

    Mine was going to be Nirvana, but my parents nixed it, saying I was too young. Instead, a year later (age 13) a friend of mine dragged me to see Boston.
    Yes, Boston.

  • Phenicks

    OK I’ve just got to ask, Courtney, looking back on the experience how did you feel about what happened and Lauryn Hill’s reaction to it?

  • Cheena

    This is a great ice breaker idea!
    I think everyone makes fun of anyone who admits liking Avril L. once in their lifetime, but secretly everyone liked that song “Complicated”. Except for me, of course.

  • mandoir

    Gus Gus = “some random Icelandic act I had never heard of”?

  • AnnaBnana

    I LOVED Debbie Gibson…in fourth grade my friends and I had a Spy Club where we spied on people as exciting as the newspaper boy…in our spy notebooks, my code name was “Gibson.” Clearly in addition to loving Debbie Gibson too much, we also may have been a little too into Harriet the Spy.
    For the record, my first concert was Paula Abdul…opening act–Color Me Badd. Classic.

  • Toongrrl

    Y’all are fine, esp. you Vanessa. As a little kid I loved Alvin and the Chipmunks and Barney, end of story. How sad. Y’all are awesome

  • zpup

    I’m really dating myself here, but I had to laugh when I read the other comments. I guess I’m everyone’s granny on this site. Anyways, first concert was “Badfinger”, 1972; I was a 13 yo bad ass. Closest thing to the Beatles we could get in our little city in Texas.

  • heidi

    Deanna Carter FTW! “Did I shave my legs for this?” is probably the only reason I never did shave mine: just to see if any guy was worth it (turns out my spouse gets to keep his beard, I get to keep my leg fuzz, everyone is happy).