Well well. This time we decided to share with you… What? What did you say? Yes, that’s it. Our first gig/concert experience. Our stories, in different countries, different times, etc. They are unique and personal. Enjoy it.
MÖ’S FIRST TIME: KISS
Growing up like any typical kid in the 70’s I was blessed to have parents that were into rock ’n roll music which I was immediately introduced to and honestly my earliest memories of childhood are actually playing the drums on the back of Lincoln Logs containers or playing air guitar to sounds of the Beatles, CCR, Grand Funk Railroad, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd and the likes. At a very young age my aunt who was only 11 years older than me influenced my musical journey by giving me on my birthday some of her albums; Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult & Black Sabbath who quickly became my early obsessions aside from those great early 1970s Miami Dolphins teams. Over the course of the next few years my thirst for hard rock and heavy metal continued to develop and Black Sabbath really became my gateway to harder music. But if you were a kid in the mid to late 70’s in the United States you were a KISS fan, in fact your fanaticism was unavoidable. The second phase of my musical journey became all things KISS. The very first album I ever bought by myself was “Destroyer”; purchased at a Sears department store soon after its release. Besides the influence from my aunt which cant be overstated, my neighborhood was loaded with kids my age and most or all had older siblings, so the introduction to more and more music and rock ’n roll influences continued to grow. My next door neighbors older brother had been into KISS since the very beginning and was a good six or seven years older than us. He had an incredible vinyl collection and every KISS album which he allowed his younger brother and I to listen to ad nauseam, and we fully took advantage of this on a daily basis. It was in late 1977 that I distinctly remember the buzz at school and in the neighborhood that KISS was playing in early 1978 in South Florida. I was completely preoccupied with the notion that my favorite band was playing some thirty minutes away and most likely I wasn’t going. I was too young and by this time my mother wasn’t really a fan of my musical direction. Then it happened my neighbor and his friends got ten tickets to see the show and asked his parents and mine if his brother and I could go with them to the concert? This was met with heavy resistance by all parties until of all people my mother convinced everyone that it was ok for two nine year old kids to go to a KISS Concert with eight other teenagers. I don’t know what she was thinking, but times were different back then and I’m grateful they all agreed to it…
In America circa 1977 the Hottest Band in the Land was indeed KISS! We wore the make-up on Halloween or to just play around, we had the posters, lunchboxes and action figures. Hell everything was KISS MANIA and the KISS Army was alive and well, with new recruits joining by the hour. In the background “Destroyer”, “ALIVE”, “Rock and Roll Over” and the recent release of “Love Gun” dominated the airwaves and my neighborhood’s turntables. I couldn’t sleep at night so excited for the anticipation of seeing my idols KISS any day now. I’ll never forget climbing into my neighbors family truckster and heading to my first metal show! I was scared to death in all honesty, mainly because the others were so much older even though I knew them all, it was still so intimidating. The long hair, dessert boots, concert t’s and stench of incense and marijuana permeated my senses as we set up shop outside of the Hollywood Sportatorium or as we had dubbed it the Hollywood Smokatorium, where I would attend dozens and dozens of times over the coming years of my life. The older boys made us promise for fear of a royal ass beating to stay close, enjoy the concert and forget anything we hear, see or smelled when asked by parents. Our lips were sealed, because all we cared about was seeing KISS. How would they look on stage? Did Gene really have a huge tongue? Where they all 7 feet tall as it seemed to a young boy or would it be the ultimate let down of epic proportions? All of this and more rushed through my thoughts as we entered the concert hall. My parents gave some money to the guys and my first ever concert shirt was purchased, a KISS shirt are you kidding me I thought, life was so much easier then. By this point it was pure exhilaration, fear of the unknown and sheer terror that had my adrenaline at a fever pitch. I honestly don’t remember if there was an opening band or did we skip it? Was there music playing? I think so? No clue, but there I was following the guys up to our tenth row(ish) seats and ready to see KISS!
The lights dropped as I would experience so many times over the years with an explosion! My eyes quickly fixated on my favorite band member Ace Frehley; the weird spaceman who’s odd singing and killer guitar playing had always grabbed my attention most. Plus I loved his face paint best of all the members. I Stole Your Love was the first song they played that night and they ripped through classic track after classic track for what seemed like an eternity. I remember I was on sensory overdrive, so tired from standing forever and being so short having to constantly maneuver around the crowd to get a better glimpse. Occasionally the guys would lift us up to get a better view and they were awesome to us the entire experience. It was like having your own body guards because we knew they were also scared to death of something bad happening and the parents would literally kill them. Love Gun, Shock Me, Calling Dr. Love, God of Thunder, Detroit Rock City…They played them all! They ripped through nearly twenty KISS songs that night and I remember it like it was yesterday. Easily one of the better memories in my life! Plus I got to wear my Alive II Tour shirt to school which barely anyone my age had; insert shit eating grin! I think I wore it so much my teachers asked if I had any other clothes?
Soon thereafter Van Halen would be added to my KISS infatuation like most of us here in the United States at this time. But that would only las another year or two as the return of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest worship along with Motörhead and the upstart NWOBHM would then dominate our desperate search for all things hard rock and heavy metal. But nothing can take away those magical memories of when KISS reigned supreme and that very first metal concert that I was both lucky enough and old enough to have been able to experience.
Always Stay Loud…Mö!
KMAN’S FIRST TIME: AC/DC – 1975
If there is a pivotal ‘music’ moment in my life it occurred in 1975. The seeds of Rock were sown when my father took me to see AC/DC. Now, my memory is fuzzy on what came first, but when I stumbled across ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ on a compilation album called ‘Explosive Hits ‘75’ and then witnessed Bon Scott, smoking and in drag, perform the same track on a local (and later to become iconic) music TV show called ‘Countdown’ I knew then, even at the fledgling age of 7, that something connected with me. Then I witnessed AC/DC, on the same show, perform their famous Melbourne, Swanston Street, back-of-a-truck-tray run through of ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top”. What the fuck was this? I had to know more!
All of this either happened before my father decided that a Sunday arvo outing to a local football ground in Castlemaine (small country Victorian town where I lived until I was 12) to see some bands play would be a great family activity! Am I forever grateful? When people ask me how I came to love this stuff, I playfully suggest that ‘it’s all my father’s fault’. I still remind him that he is the reason why I have Riffs/Rock/Metal running through my veins.
As for my memory of this ‘gig’, well, father time has faded any long term recognition and I couldn’t even tell you the songs that were played (obviously it was the ’75 set list) – but I have a crystal clear, absolutely vivid memory of standing in the middle of a football ground watching AC/DC with Bon Scott do their thing! They played on the back of an open sided semi-trailer truck with Angus school uniform-less. This makes me think I saw them just before the aforementioned ‘Compilation/Countdown’ events I listed. Possibly one of the first gigs with Bon after they replaced Mark Evans out front.
The recollection of a heap of families with other same aged kids milling around the front of this truck is vivid, looking up at Bon Scott twist, gyrate and scream what were to me at the time, completely inaudible, undecipherable lyrics. Not a clue how long they played for and what even happened after that. I probably pissed off to some local swings and slides with the rest of the kids. But I do ask myself regularly in reflective moments – why did I even hang around and watch this band – the only band I remember of the day? Truth be known, my father was there to see them and I just tagged along – it wasn’t like it was any sort of deliberate initiation on his behalf. But subconsciously it was clearly monumental. I like to think that it was almost a calling, the event being the very birth, the embryonic development of a life-long love for heavy music.
From this point onward, I pretty much devoured anything and everything that appeared on ‘Countdown’ every Sunday at 6pm! Being a Melbourne based program, AC/DC were a regular staple on the show and they continued to worm their way into my psyche with everything I witnessed. Live versions of Jailbreak, Dog Eat Dog, High Voltage, and a wild insane head banging guitarist etc are clear memories for me. All of it stems back to that fateful Sunday afternoon where it all began – I’m pretty chuffed to say AC/DC with Bon Scott was my first gig! KMaN
TOM’S FIRST TIME: “YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST TOOL”
Tool – Glasgow Barrowlands, 8 June 2001
I should probably avoid ever again suggesting a Sunday Feature where I’ll be required to recollect an event from my early 20s. My memory of these times is not what it used to be (my memory in general is not what it used to be). I can confidently say that I saw Tool at The Glasgow Barrowlands on June 8th 2001 only because several years ago I got together all my old gig ticket stubs and made a list on rateyourmusic.com of all the gigs I’d attended. That the event occurred is established (and that I was there), but what do I actually remember…?
I remember a cool little music shop on Byres Road, Glasgow. No idea what the name was. You walked into the shop, one roughly square room, a counter along the left side where to pay, around the rest of the room a series of alphabetised trays of CDs and then all along the walls were CDs face out on display. I remember it being around the time of the May 1st parades that I’d discovered Rollins Band and soon after that Tool and A Perfect Circle. I guess this was 2000, but maybe it was 2001. This was one of those key moments when my music tastes were moving more towards appreciating Metal. I remember being very intrigued and excited by Tool. They seemed mysterious and enigmatic.
I know that altogether I’ve seen the band three times. By the second concert I was already losing interest. Tool are one of those bands that people get very fanatical about, and by this point the spell was kind of broken for me. Still, I remember taking mushrooms with my friends at the back bar. As they started to kick in, we descended down the two small flights of stairs towards the front. I remember reaching a point where I was somehow in line with the PA from both sides and feeling the power of the music like a wave. And somehow between the atmosphere, the music, the visuals and the mushrooms it was like some kind of demonic exhibition. The third time I saw the band I remember Mastodon were the support and I’d really lost interest in Tool.
So I’m circling around my recollections of my first Tool gig and to be honest I really don’t remember anything about the gig itself. I’m sure I enjoyed it. I do remember there being a part of the concert where Maynard and the drummer went behind a screen and simulated some shadow sex act. Oh and little Maynard was on some raised box. And he wasn’t in the centre of the stage. I remember thinking that was an interesting feature, not having the singer front and centre.
Well that’s the best I can do. My clearest memory from the night was that after the show I joined some friends at the flat one of them was staying at and we took microdots. Tiny little black dots of LSD, like if you took a lead pencil and broke off the very end. So there you have it, Glasgow 2001: Tool, LSD and me.
THE KEY KEEPER’S FIRST TIME:
My first Metal gig…
At the end of the ’80s and beginning of the ’90s in my country Metal was seen as the music of junkies, outlaws, trouble makers, criminals, etc etc. So every time a gig was announced the police always appears and the majority of the times the gigs were stopped in the middle. Many years passed since the political revolution (1974), freedom of speech was won by the people, but did not change a very important thing … The mentality of people.
So everything that was different was not accepted very well. But step by step everything was happening and Metal was growing and more and more persons were there, thirsty to see concerts.
Many bands start to appear from the north to the south but no good places to play live. There were pubs, small warehouses to play live but the conditions to play and sound technicians… Tchhhh…
In that time I had the first complete experience, I saw a complete gig. Well, if I remember correctly was around 1993 (I thought it was around 91 or 92) but I was wrong. In that gig, to be correct it was what we call today as a Fest. Just one day with 7 bands. Dementia Pre Cox (They were from my little town), Paranormal Waltz, Exomortis, Imunity (They were from my little town), Exiled, Decayed and Sarcastic Angel. From all these bands, just one still exist, Decayed. Paranormal Waltz and Exomortis made a return a few years ago but I didn’t hear anything more about them and I do not know if they still exist. And the name of the fest… Metal Mutilation…
Originally to start at 4 pm, it started several hours later. Ahahahah. The sound loud as “hell” in a little pavilion belonging to a recreational society. Eheheh. Lovely. I do not remember correctly the order of the bands, I remember a few things, lol. The first band was awful (I did know the guys at that time and I keep in contact with one them in nowadays), One of the bands (Imunity, Death Metal band) asking to everyone there if they want to listen to a Death Metal ballad, ahahahahahah (after this gig I met the guys), Everyone drinking beer (several underage there, in my country everyone is underage till 18), Everyone doing headbanging, some stage diving, etc. I should remember everything because it was my first complete gig. But I don’t. Damn. I’m getting old. Ahahah.
The last thing I remember. It ended too late, no public transports to anywhere, start walking several miles to home. lol
And this is a part of my Metal history. A time that everyone was doing pilgrimages to see something, because of the offer … It was little or none.
NOTE: The image of the ticket, is not mine (mine was not decent to take a picture, lol) and I do not believe that were there so many persons like it says on the ticket. The Key Keeper
COUNT VLAD’S FIRST TIME: KREATOR
Basically no real heavy metal bands from abroad were allowed in my country before 1989. When the iron curtain went up the expectations weren’t met and not much happened for almost decades. And I’m not talking about local bands. We had few big concerts per year which were the event of the life, and I’m literally meaning one band per year. The first big live show happened in September 1991, when my beloved SODOM played in front of fanatic 12000 crowd on a stadium in Sofia. Unfortunately I missed this gig, as my parents didn’t allow me to go. I was 13 by that time, and the metal brotherhood wasn’t a safe place to be…In 1992 Tankard came, but I missed this one too. In the spring 1993 ACCEPT performed, however i wasn’t there as well.
In the last days of October 1993 the mighty KREATOR were touring Renewal and announced two live shows in Bulgaria – one in Sofia and one in Varna. 29 October 1993 I was in the hall, almost front row, witnessing one of the biggest thrash bands ever. It was an experience of course. The National TV was there shooting the live performance. It was broadcasted a month later (on the National Television!).
The gigs and the community still weren’t a safe place to be. I went with pure black shirt because otherwise I risked to be beaten and to have my metal shirt taken off from me…The sound was OK-ish from the very front rows. I remember it was loud and I didn’t hear anything on the day after the show, but that didn’t matter. My neck was in big pain, my voice was in bad shape too. The fact that KREATOR were on stage was enough for the full hall. Seeing live tracks from Renewal, Extreme Aggression, Coma of Souls and Pleasure to Kill was pure joy for me. 26 years later, the memories are vague, but I’m proud that I was part of this history. On YouTube there is a 37 minutes video, stating it is the full show. Actually it is what the National TV broadcasted and it contains most of the songs, but I remember that the band played probably around an hour and few tracks were missing from the broadcast.
In short, that was my first real big live show, in a country just left a regime of darkness, where the music industry was in big piracy (and now it doesn’t exist). Yeah, back then there were no industry, food, stability and politics didn’t know what they were doing. The crime scene was thriving. All these are topics for another discussion though. Count Vlad
METAL YETI’S FIRST TIME: GWAR
In the first few years of establishing myself as a metalhead, my musical tastes were developing at lightspeed. Live shows in those early days played a massive role in introducing me to new sounds and bands. I was 13 when I attended my first metal show, a fairly standard experience with my older bro letting me tag along with him to see Metallica headline at a local stadium. Seeing Metallica live was definitely a pivotal moment in turbocharging my metal trajectory. But it was my first multi-band festival style tour in particular that I would say had an even larger impact on my metal health at the time, with the Sounds of the Underground tour rolling through Toronto in the summer of 2005.
In the midst of diving down the rabbit hole of extreme metal, my friends are I had only heard of a few bands on the bill with Chimaira, Devildriver, and Lamb of God enough to send us on our way to the gig. Although we were a bit concerned with the amount of hardcore bands on the bill, one of my buds had heard that Opeth were gods and GWAR always put on a good show so we were cautiously optimistic about what we would be hearing throughout the day while we waited for Chimaira to hit the stage.
Little did I know that my mind was about to be blown wide open. The Sounds of the Underground Tour (while featuring an eclectic group of bands to say the least) successfully introduced me to both Opeth and Strapping Young Lad. Already a fan of Between the Buried and Me, I was excited to check out more bands with a prog label attached. I was not prepared for Åkerfeldt’s face melting solo work and was even less prepared for a dreadlock skulleted Devin Townsend screaming LOVE into my slack jawed face. I distinctly remember walking to the merch tables immediately after Strapping Young Lad’s set to pick up their brand new album called Alien. If this wasn’t enough, this tour was also when I first discovered High on Fire, Unearth, Clutch, and ….GWAR. When I mentioned before I was not prepared for Opeth and Strapping Young Lad, I REALLY wasn’t prepared for live GWAR experience. Long story short, they sprayed the entire crowd with blood from the stage and followed it up by decapitating the Pope during the set, earning them an instant fan along the way.
Nothing beats a live metal show. I have so many burnt into my head, but this one is hard to top due to the sheer number of bands I discovered through the festivals lineup. My eyes were single handedly opened to true progressive metal mastery as well as the over the top stagecraft of the giant thong wearing metal aliens of GWAR in a single day. The day was topped off with a meet and greet with a few bands where I was able to meet Oderus and the scumdogs in the “flesh” as well the dudes of Lamb of God and Devildriver (even able to snag some signatures on my ticket stub). Overall this was a fantastic day of new bands with old friends that I will not soon forget. It was fun bringing up the old memories from this show to share with you, and I will leave you with the song that started off the day as I ran into the venue and directly towards the pit!