Rock concerts: Then and now

January 1990. My first concert.

The place: Rosemont Horizon. The band: New Kids on the Block.

I wore a pink and white New Kids on the Block sweatshirt. I was in a stadium with one million other girls screaming and sweating and trying to see one speck on the stage which happened to be Joe McIntyre, my favorite New Kid. If I squinted my eyes just right, I could almost make out the guy who adorned the poster hanging on my bedroom wall.

I loved that concert and afterward I was hooked. On concerts, that is.

I was over New Kids on the Block the following year when I started junior high and moved on to Nirvana. How does one go from New Kids to Nirvana? I don't know, but it happens. I traded my Keds for Converse and flannel and the rest is history.

I remember seeing "old hippies" at concerts when I was 15 years old (they were probably only 40 years old) and I thought, "That's going to be me! I'm never going to stop rocking!"

Now that I'm an old hippie, or suburban mom squeezing into Target skinny jeans, I stand by my statement. Kind of.

Years ago the husband and I came to the conclusion that we weren't doing general admission concerts anymore. Lawns seats where I can actually sit? Check. A ticket that goes along with a specific chair in which I can place my rear? Check. Standing for hours on end crammed in front of the stage? Nope.

Wouldn't you know, along came a concert that we really wanted to see and guess what? It was general admission.

Maybe we'll make an exception this once. We can do this, right? We're not that old.


old simpson

Then: General admission is the best! We can push our way up to the front and if we're lucky the lead singer will sweat on us!

Now: When is this show going to start already? My legs are already starting to feel it. (Stretches back)

Then: This is awesome! There's a ton of people here. Let's push up further!

Now: Scanning the venue for the nearest exits, "I read this place was built in the '20s. I love the architecture."

Then: Body surfing! Moshing!

Now: Don't even think about surfing your body over here. Mama has a bad back and I'm not shelling out for physical therapy again. Send that dude/girl back over to those 18 year olds. They look so spry!

Then: (Lead singer jumps into the crowd) Yeah! Best night of my life!

Now: Oh man, you rock and I love your music, but don't kick me. (Starts to move to the back of the crowd)

Then: Lighters go up in the air.

Now: A sea of smartphones record every second. No fist pumping as it will mess up the shot.

Then: I wore my old shoes because they already have beer all over them.

Now: I wore my old shoes because I know about ten different fools are going to spill beer all over them.

Then: I'm so sweaty that I run and put my entire head under a sink at the Aragon Ballroom.

Now: It's so hot in here. Maybe I can get some cold water and find a window.

Then: Which party/bar/friend's house are we going to after the concert?

Now: Seriously we have to get home. If I fall asleep right now how many hours of sleep will I get before the kids wake up?

Then: More beer!

Now: More ibuprofen!

Matt Shultz, the lead singer of Cage the Elephantis a rock star and he will also jump off a speaker and land on your head. You've been warned.


I still love concerts and truth be told, I do stand up and dance and sing most of the time. Last summer I stood in a mud pit in the pouring rain so I could dance and sing horribly to Tom Petty. He can't sing American Girl by himself, you know.

I'll still drink a big 'ole plastic cup of cheap beer anytime, but it's going to taste a whole lot better if I have a place to sit. You know, just in case.

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