Love & Sex

15 Stories About The First Concerts We Went To

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Summer concert season begins, and our readers reminisce.

When I was fourteen, I decided I’d get my dad tickets to see The Who for his birthday, since they were one of his favorite bands. So I scrimped and I saved worked all spring and got… enough money for one general-admission ticket. (Man, being fourteen sucked.) But my mom came through and so one perfect-summer-concert-weather May night, my dad and I went to go see The Who. Robert Plant was opening, and he nailed everything — this was pre-Raising Sand so I barely knew he was still alive, let alone that he was still able to rip through "Whole Lotta Love." I had a blast, but I think my dad enjoyed it more than I did — he got to conspiratorially whisper to me that the people in front of us were smoking pot and enthusiastically air-drum for most of the show. — Alex


Pearl Jam! I was thirteen. I won tickets from a Boston radio station and got to ride up to Portland, ME on a bus with the DJs. I screamed lyrics to Vitalogy all night, and Dennis Rodman made an appearance. — Logan


My first concert was Neil Young. I got stoned with my brother; awesomeness abounded. I remember being confused when I went to my next show and didn't see old men with potbellies everywhere. — Becca


Spice Girls, the Spice World Tour. I sat in the second-to-last row and took three-hundred flash photos. — Cindy


The Jesus Lizard, Irving Plaza, '96. I hitched a ride, met my brother along the way, and drank a forty of Budweiser. I was too short to see at the show, so my bro held me up for parts, and said "One day, you'll be tall." David Yow flew out over the crowd as soon as the first song, "Puss," started. He wearing a red cowboy shirt with white fringe, and when the light hit him he looked like a flying squirrel. I had purposefully dodged other, parent-sponsored shows so I could lose my concert V-card at a righteous event and I succeeded. Jesus. 1996. — Charlie


I saw Robert Palmer in 1988 when I was six. My brother and I begged our father to take us because we were obsessed with "Simply Irresistible." He did not disappoint. — Anthony


The coolest girl in my high school asked me to go to a Depeche Mode concert with her. I only knew "Just Can't Get Enough," but I went because I didn't want to invoke her ire. I was a new kid, and I saw this as a ticket into an accepting group of friends. We were the youngest people at the concert by far, but it was a terrific, and I fell in love with Dave Gahan and English electronic music. And from then on out I had friends. Very win-win. — Danielle


Kris Kross for my birthday in elementary school. My parents offered to get Billy Joel tickets instead, but I demanded the band with the backwards pants. As it turned out, they didn't make me wanna jump, jump; they made me want to sit quietly in terror waiting for it to end. That was the first concert I went to and the first time I realized just how white I was. — Jon


Black Eyed Peas and Lit opening for No Doubt. Had no idea who the Black Eyed Peas were, and thought the girl said "fuck" too much. I was already obsessed with No Doubt at the time, and pretty much could not believe Gwen Stefani was in front of me for real. I had spent the past year blasting "Sixteen" and "Just a Girl" in my bedroom and feeling very self-righteous and mature. — Meghan


The Vengaboys. I shit you not. Mind you, I didn't actually want to see them — it was for a friend's birthday and her parents bought the tickets for all of us. Almost wore a bag over my head. — Shannon


Lollapalooza '94. I was thirteen and forbidden to go, so naturally, I won tickets off the radio, dyed my hair black, and went anyway. Teenage Rachael: one, Mom: two million and eight. In Catholic school at the time, I literally prayed nightly, in earnest, for tickets. Jesus is magic. And apparently also a Smashing Pumpkins fan. — Rachael


The Go-Go's at The Greek in Hollywood. My mom was scoffing at the girl in front of us whose bra strap was showing (the horror!) and then got called a “bitch” by another woman when my mom told her to "sober up.” So embarrassing. As if I could have passed as cool, at twelve, even if she hadn't been there. Anyway, we got the beat! — Dalila


The Backstreet Boys, suckers! That’s right. Be jealous. I cried and AJ waved at me. NBD. — Lina


I went to see Depeche Mode's "Black Celebration" tour when I was in the ninth grade. We teased our hair and drank wine coolers all night. It was amazing. — Heather


When I was nine-years old, Boyz II Men came to the York Fairgrounds, and my grandmother took me. I cried because they came into the audience and were handing out roses, but they were too lazy to walk up into the nosebleed section and give my prepubescent ass one. — Nichole


Let your voice be heard! Tell us about your first concert in the comments, and submit to our next series — Student-Teacher Romances. Have you ever made good on a teacher infatuation? Or, even better, are you a teacher who's hooked up with your students? Tell us about it in 300-500 words. Click here for more details or email your story to