Music has been home to me for as long as I can remember. I spend a good chunk of my free time (and money) going to see live shows. But before concerts became a part of my life, there were a few moments worth mentioning, where everything shifted and came into focus. I like to call these “aha! moments.”
BANG BANG Maxwell
My earliest, and quite possibly most significant memory involves The Beatles. (Could it be more cliche?) I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but my little sisters and I were in the back seat of my stepdad’s burgundy Astrovan, windows down, singing “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” at the top of our lungs. Can you blame us? Such a fun song to sing. I mean, what other kids do you know who can say their parents let them listen to a song about a man who commits murder with a hammer? (Thanks, parentals! I mean it!) At the time, I didn’t understand the significance of that moment, but it’s still one of my favorite memories to date.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
This may have been the first time I ever experienced teenage angst. And who else to experience it with than Nirvana? I was in my 9th grade business technology class, which consisted of about 40 percent classwork, 60 percent surfing Yahoo music videos. That’s when I stumbled upon the music video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I had an older brother who always left his Nirvana cassette tapes laying around, so I had heard the song before, but hearing it that day, at that point in my life…it was different. I love how songs can resonate differently, depending on where you are in life and what you’re going through.
Shine On You Crazy Diamond
I like to call this day “the day Pink Floyd made sense.” Let’s face it, Pink Floyd isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. To many, it just sounds like a series of random noises thrown on a track. I grew up listening to Pink Floyd (have I mentioned my stepdad is a hippie?), and for a while, I think that’s what I heard too. But one day, when I was around 14 years old, my stepdad and I were riding around (we did a lot of riding and listening) and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” came on the radio. You know, the song with the nearly nine-minute intro? Up until then, my adolescent mind always wandered when Pink Floyd came on; I was more concerned with how long I was going to get to use the computer that night.
The Day We Lied to Our Parents in the Name of Mayday Parade
Don’t tell me I’m the only person who went through an emo phase? It helped me get through those teenage years, okay?! My senior year of high school, my friends and I decided to check ourselves out of school, unbeknownst to our parents (sorry Mom), and drive two and a half hours to a Mayday Parade concert. This probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was risky business at the time; I had pretty attentive parents. It was the first concert I ever went to without adult supervision, and the fact that we lied about it made it even more exciting/scary. Back then, Mayday Parade’s music was the constant of our friendship and the soundtrack of our youth.
Do I really have to explain why my first Bonnaroo was one of the most transcendent experiences of my musical life? In 2010, I ran into a college friend of mine in the parking lot of the library and that’s where we agreed Bonnaroo was most definitely happening. After months of preparation and planning, we loaded up my orange Honda Element and headed 3 hours north to Manchester. Four days of music, camping, sweating, dying, coming back to life, napping under trees, dancing…Bonnaroo is my sanctuary, my first festival, and filled with all of my favorite memories.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived through several “aha!” moments, not just the ones noted here. I can’t wait to continue to experience those moments and document my live music journey through Concert Hopper.