Last night, I had the pleasure of reliving one of the best moments of my childhood – a flashback to my first live music experience. When I was 8, my mom did the BEST thing in the world: she took me to see the Backstreet Boys. Laugh if you will, but no one can deny the overwhelming success that this boy-band has achieved. At this point, the Backstreet Boys were in the height of their success. (Case in point: they were SO big that Northern Getaway made ‘Catstreet Boys’ t-shirts that paid homage to them in animal cartoon form…I obviously owned this.) They sang their catchy up-tempo pop hits, and made the crowd swoon with their many love ballads. The singing, the dancing, the laser lights…I was hooked.
This live-music nostalgia got me curious about the other nuts first-concert experiences. So, read ahead to see where live music entered into their little ‘shells’…
My favourite concert moment is a two-parter. First I must include a disclaimer because I’m fully aware that Jess’ will be about some really cool band, whereas mine is a teeny-bopper experience, slightly embarrassing, but cute nonetheless. When I was nine years old, my parents took me to a Spice Girls concert. I wore a denim dress and plastered baby and ginger spice stickers all over myself. The best part about this story is 1) The fact that my father attended a Spice Girls concert, 2) I relived the experience 10 years later with my best friends. In 2008, seven 19-year-olds who had lived through the Spice Girl era together in the 90’s, attended the Spice Girls comeback tour. We made T-shirts, we relished in our complete love for ‘girl power’, drank beer and danced to Wannabe and Spice Up Your Life. We felt like tweens all over again (minus the beer). While I’ve attended many other amazing concerts since, the experience of reliving the Spice Girls era with my girlfriends was unforgettable. It also helped that David Beckham was just a few rows ahead of us watching Victoria! Who cannot sing by the way. But we knew that.
While reluctant to share with me her first concert experience, I finally got the details out of Kate last night. Kate has great taste in music, and she would have preferred to tell you all about her favourite concert moment…but that’s not what I wanted. And so, Kate has summed up her first concert experience as: “Xtina, before she was Xtina. At Scotiabank place in Ottawa, when I was 13. So lame…”
Wow, my first concert. More appropriately thought of as the beginning of a lifetime obsession with live music – because seeing performers on stage was a whole new thrill for me, even as a scraggly-haired tomboy tot. I remember it perfectly. I was 9 years-old and at the height of my female acoustic/rock obsession, which included a lot of “Women and Songs” quiet time (I had some friends) and a slew of the usual suspects at the time: Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, The Corrs. For me, these chicks were who I aspired to be; something my Dad will say was pretty obvious from the incessant lip-synching and offbeat humming that would echo from the backseat on every long discman-reliant road trip. So, my Mom and Dad surprised me with tickets to the Lilith Fair women’s festival that would be touring through Ottawa. I was ecstatic. My Dad was my date for the day, and I remember thinking it was so much more than a concert; it was dozens of powerful women (both unknown and largely popular) narrating and singing from several stages, with artists like Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris, Joan Osbourne, Paula Cole and Diana Krall on hand. I was in little girl heaven. My Dad was so enthusiastic (despite being a manly 6”4 giant compared to the other tiny women attendees) and egging me on every time one of my idols took the stage. It was a long day for a little squirt like me, but as soon as headliner Sarah McLachlan stepped on the stage to the opening beep of “Sweet Surrender”, life as I knew it was pretty much out the door.
When talks about this post arose among the nutshell girls I came to an alarming realization – my childhood was deprived from concerts.
Never did I attend the Spice World Tour, see Britney in the flesh or even swoon over my main squeeze during his frosted tip years in N’Sync. I was cultured in other ways with art classes, trips to the ballet and tours of every museum in the National Capital Region – but somehow, despite my nightly living room dance performances, pop music concerts escaped me. I THINK that the 1st ever real-life concert I attended in an arena was with a gaggle of high school girlfriends to see AVRIL LAVIGNE of all people. She sucked and I can’t even remember exactly who was in attendance with me to witness it. Unmemorable.
I have in recent years made up for my concert inexperience taking in a variety of outdoor ones (my fave) and finally seeing Justin Timberlake in 2007 which left me star stuck with a wildly beating heart for days. And last night, while Meghan the true BSB groupie of our childhood relived her 8 year old dreams, I got to play hostess to the fellas at their “official after party” taking place at my night club. The old guys even treated us to a live performance from 3 feet away. Take that depravity.