My first concert was Alabama and Juice Newton. Not a lot of cool points in that statement, but I was maybe 8 years old — same age as my daughter.
I don’t remember much from the show, save for my stepbrother Joel buying me an Alabama T-shirt with black sleeves that I could push up, and the smell of popcorn.
For some reason, everytime I smell popcorn, it reminds me of the Albany Civic Center and its huge concrete corridors.
My second concert was Rick Springfield, Joan Jett and Quarterflash. My grandmother took Joel and me that time. She stuffed cotton balls in her ears and let Joel jump around near the railing, while I had to sit still next to her. I loved Joan Jett, but her lead guitarist was sick, so she played lead … badly.
Since then, there have been dozens and dozens of concerts, maybe as many as 50.
I’ve got a scar on my knee from the mosh pit at a Slayer concert.
My ears are still ringing from standing too close to one of the pyro cannons during the Kiss "Hot in the Shade" tour.
I’ve seen Marilyn Manson in the daylight at Ozzfest. That was terrifying.
I’ll forever have a bad back for letting Kim Layfield sit on my shoulders during Bon Jovi’s entire set during the New Jersey tour. I was in such pain afterwards that I was too slow to grab Richie Sambora’s guitar pick off the floor. That went to Kim, too.
Being over 6 feet tall has served me well for the most part. Get me in the first four rows and I’m all but guaranteed to catch a pick, a drumstick or, in the case of an Iron Maiden show at Madison Square Garden, a wet sweatband from lead guitarist Dave Murray. I graciously gave the sweatband to the Star’s own Phillip Tutor, who may still have it preserved in a Ziploc bag for the day when home cloning becomes a thing.
I love live music, love the venues and the drunk, nutty people. Sometimes it’s awful. Sometimes it’s magical, like watching Tom Waits stomping in glitter, but it’s never boring or forgettable.
I want my daughter Jellybean to experience that. When she was 7, we went to see Taylor Swift, along with 80-something-thousand girls and put-upon-looking dads.
Say what you want about Swift, girl rocked the house, and it’ll forever be one of the best nights of my life, just seeing how much fun my daughter had.
But I may have just gone overboard.
By the time you read this, Jellybean and I will still be recovering from the Meghan Trainor concert — the girl who’s "all about that bass, no treble" — and we’ll be gearing up for The Dixie Chicks next Sunday.
The Dixie Chicks tickets were a birthday present. Meghan Trainor was more of an impulse buy after Jellybean had forced me to listen to her catchy pop songs to the point I was singing them in the public library and had to be hushed by security.
Neither show will top Taylor Swift. It’s tough to have all your dreams fulfilled at such a young age. But both shows will be fun. And, since my daughter is now of the age to be mortified by her old man singing "I’m takin’ my turn on the sin wagon" while bouncing down the cereal aisle at Winn-Dixie, these may be our final concerts together.
Next time, I’ll be the one sitting with cotton balls stuffed in my ears.
Contact Brett Buckner at email@example.com.