7 Days, 7 Moments: Day 6

Last week we dealt with questions about the various musical “stuff” you love, whether band, voice, lyric or item. This week I’m going in a different direction. Each day I’ll share an important musical moment from my life. Moments that changed things in some way for me. I hope this will inspire you to share some of your ‘moments’ too.

Live shows bring a new dimension to both music we know and music we don’t know. You can discover an artist or learn something new about an artist you know. More often than not live music brings you to new place with songs you already loved. It’s like hearing it in 3 dimensions for the first time for many of us.

It was 17 years from the time I first heard U2 to the first time I saw them live. That’s a long time to follow a band without seeing them. There have lots of bands I like that I haven’t seen over the decades. When one of your favourites who brought many moments of joy and a companion to your pain does not get to be seen for that long, it hurts.

I first saw U2 on a TV show called The New Music. They were playing the El Mocambo in Toronto and Jeanne Beker interviewed Bono in a coffee shop near the venue. The date was December 9, 1980. No, I wasn’t at the show. I just saw the interview and saw a clip of them playing “I Will Follow”. That caught my ear and started me on a long journey of fandom.

As my love of the band grew through the War album and into their rise to the stratosphere, their appearances in Toronto were taken from me for a variety of reasons: couldn’t get through for tickets; no money; no time. The longer this went on, the more frustrated I felt. I just wanted to see my favourite band live. I saw video of them but I hadn’t crossed the threshold to being there.

So the Pop album comes out in all its ironic glory and pain. One of my friend’s managed to snag tickets and here was my chance. Yeah, the seats were at the far end, miles away but I didn’t care. Then, a few days before the concert, someone from work says “My friend backed out of the show and I thought you’d like to come”. I said I had a ticket but then he mentioned they were 25th row floors. Had a talk with my friend who said I couldn’t pass them up. So I got even more excited.

After grabbing some food and drinking a couple of pints I had a lovely buzz going. The Skydome was packed. I was sitting there waiting. Then the lights went down and I felt like I was vibrating. Suddenly the guy I went with grabs my arm and drags me out of the seats. We run over to the fence at the back of our section. I had forgotten they came in through the crowd. So I am standing there as Bono walks within a few feet me do his best boxer impression. That was something.

The show was a blur but I’ll never forget that moment. I love that feeling of anticipation and total absorption in the night and music.

So, how about you? Ever had a moment like that? A band you love but had to wait decades to actually experience live?

Larry Lootsteen

Music is life and I love to write about all things music. Independent music blogger. Writer in general. I am a big fan of alternative and indie music but there's no genre I haven't found something to like.

4 thoughts on “7 Days, 7 Moments: Day 6

  • December 16, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I’ve been abstaining from commenting because I just wanna say “Ned’s Atomic Dustbin” to every question haha. But yeah I waited almost 20 years to finally see them. An amazing kind fan sent me a VHS tape of their videos and some live footage when I was a kid in the 90s though.

    Bonus: Republica opened for the Ned’s show I finally saw. So great; never expected to see them either.

  • December 16, 2017 at 11:31 am

    I got to see U2 perform live BEFORE they hit it big! Like you, I had become enthralled right from the start, with the “Boy” album and the song, “I Will Follow.” Later I heard they would be playing a show in Buffalo, which is not far from where I live in Niagara Falls, so I got tickets and my girlfriend and I went. The venue was a very large bar called “Uncle Sam’s,” which I heard was a former aircraft hangar. Over the years I saw several great shows there. The opening act was local new wave group Pauline & The Perils, who were excellent, followed by Jack Casady’s trio, “SVT,” who were just amazing. Jack is such a monster bass player, and I loved this group’s dark mysterious sound. Then U2 hit the stage. They were touring for the “October” album and so at the time, the guys were only about 20 years old. Right from the start, Bono took command. I was busy watching the Edge play, and his many guitar changes, but Bono was clearly in control, demanding your attention and often bringing the band down to a whisper and then back up to full roar. They didn’t have many songs at the time, so they ended up playing “I Will Follow” twice. Later, brought back for an encore, they played it a third time, as the roadies were tearing down their gear and leaving them playing through just the stage monitors at the end. On our way to the washrooms, we were stopped by security and a group of four small men passed in front of us, about three feet away. My first thought at the time was, “Who let those kids in here?” Only later did I realize it was the band! We had driven to the show through typical crappy Buffalo winter weather, but it was worth it!

  • December 16, 2017 at 11:38 am

    A few years earlier, I had seen another major artist before he hit the big time, and that was Bruce Springsteen. Again, driving through a snowstorm to Seneca College with my girlfriend. The show was in the college gymnasium and was just a few days before Christmas. It was December 1975, and Bruce was touring the “Born To Run” album, which had just taken me by storm the first time I heard it. Bruce was on the second last date of the first leg of the tour. To this day, that is still the best rock concert I have ever attended. The feeling of being there, the electricity of the crowd and the energy of the E-Street band, who I thought were going to blow the roof off the place! Three hour show with no opening act, and by the end Bruce had people dancing on their chairs!


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