FROM A TO ZZ IN 33

aerosmith-walk-this-way 

I’ve had a lot of joys in my 48 years, but few have surpassed the sheer joy I get from a live concert.

Having logged what has to be several hundred concerts at this point in my life, the exhilaration I get from the live music experience still gives me almost unmatched chills and thrills. Just this past weekend, my wife and I went to see the brilliant Gipsy Kings at beautiful Wolf Trap, and there were no lack of chills there.

The first two actual “hard rock” concerts I ever saw were in 1976: Aerosmith at Madison Square Garden in New York, and ZZ Top at The Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut. These were two truly unforgettable experiences that shaped my concertgoing fever that still exists today. 

I remember three buddies and I boarded the Amtrak Metro-North train to the Big Apple from New Canaan, a thrilling hour-long ride and a big deal for a 15 year old. We arrived at Grand Central Station, which seemed absolutely humongous at that age, and walked the few blocks over to the Garden for the show.

The “bad boys from Boston”, Aerosmith, took the stage and blew us away for two plus hours. Front man Steven Tyler would mesmerize us throughout the show with his theatrics; I remember him standing knee deep in dry ice, long scarves hanging from the mike stand, the image remains burned into my memory. We ran back to Grand Central for the ride home, totally hopped up on this new experience, live rock and roll. I would make the same pilgrimage not long after to see the legendary Led Zeppelin; a truly amazing show that is still in my top 3, although we had to leave in the middle of the encore of “Whole Lotta Love” and sprint the several blocks to make the train back home.  

zz-top_l

ZZ Top was a different experience but no less memorable; a bunch of us piled in the car to drive up Interstate 84 to the Palace Theater in Waterbury, a small industrial town about 30 minutes from Hartford. I admit we had a few cold ones on the way (beer was a little too easy to get back then), and stopped on the way to relieve ourselves. We didn’t realize the building we were peeing on was a local police substation, so you can imagine how fast we beelined out of there.

That night, the “little ol’ band from Texas” ZZ Top would blow our minds with blues-powered, guitar blazing rock and roll, complete with live cattle stampeding cross the stage. Music literally rang through our ears on that ride home, further cementing the beginnings of my rock and roll concert love affair.     

This Sunday, after spending Father’s Day with my 13 and 7 year old and 33 years after these two groundbreaking rock and roll experiences when I myself was a teenager, I will be going to see…yes…the double bill of Aerosmith and ZZ Top at Nissan Pavilion.

Just knowing I will be seeing two of the bands that helped cultivate my deep love of live music is a truly ecstatic thought. Sure they are 60 year old, craggy-looking old rockers trying to keep their own careers alive decades after they began their journeys, but who cares. I can guarantee that they will still exhilarate the rock and roll soul of this 48 year old, who’s also trying to keep his rock dreams alive decades after his own journey began.

Oh, and I won’t be holding up a cell phone for the encore…it’ll still be a good ol’ Bic lighter, all the way.

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2 Responses to “FROM A TO ZZ IN 33”

  1. i luv rock n’ roll

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