(I posted two lengthy entries today, yes, I can be a bit "wordy")
I know that music has been a running motif most of this week, but I guess I am so hungry for good music that it comes out through my writing. You can buy a recording artist's latest work, take it home and enjoy it thoroughly, but nothing beats going to see your favorite musical act perform live. Nothing beats standing beside true believers, people who have the same affection for that artist as you do, taking in every drumbeat as the crowd sways back and forth in unison. Not only is seeing the show a special occurrence, but the situations surrounding the concert are special as well. Here are a few of my most memorable concert experiences.
Run DMC(1985): Taking my father to a concert was as comfortable as a prison rape, or being potty trained at gunpoint. Even though we had our problems, and I feel that he really fucked me up, I still miss him dearly. Anyway, I begged him to take me to this concert for weeks until he surrendered and said "yes". We walk into the auditorium where Run DMC was playing and my father did nothing but bitch the entire time. "I should have never taken you to this god-damned show", or "What's up with all these bitches with those huge ass gold earrings on", or he'd say, "What's up with all these motherfuckers spinning on their head? Can't they dance like regular folk?" I kept saying to myself, "Would you shut the fuck up!!" He bitched the entire time, and when a teenager would accidentally bump him because of their dancing he would say, "Get the fuck off me you dirty motherfucker!!" This was turning out to be a disaster, until Run DMC came on. When they asked the entire crown to take one Adidas off and put it in the air, all you saw was a sea of shell-toes. As I put mine in the air, and my father saw how many people responded to Run's request, he just smiled and nodded in agreement. The next hour, as Run DMC played their set of songs, my father bopped his head alongside mine, not saying a word. As we left the concert he threw his arm around me and said, "Those young boys are alright. We have to go to another one of their shows!" If he was anyone else on the planet I would have said, "Fuck you!", but because he was my father I smiled and gave him a nod of agreement.
KRS-One(1990): It was labor day weekend, greekfest 1990. That's right, a year after the infamous riots that happened the previous year in my beloved city. Looking back I'm surprised that the city of Virginia Beach had any festivities at all, but they did, and they were super cautious throughout every specific aspect of that Labor Day weekend. There must have been a million cops there, and in order to see your favorite artist who was performing that weekend you had to be transported by bus to a "undisclosed location" somewhere in Bum-fuck. I was with my friend Ron when we went to see the legendary KRS-One perform. Suffice it to say that he put on an excellent show, performing all of his hits. But things went bad when KRS realized that Coke was sponsoring the event, so suddenly he began criticizing the company for long periods of time, even calling them "Drug Dealers".
I guess the people running the show didn't like KRS's criticisms, so they shut his mic off half way through his show. The great part about the show, and what made the concert so memorable, is that KRS sidestepped adversity and finished the show using a megaphone and a portable radio with instrumentals of his music on it. He was also surrounded by fans, so security couldn't forcibly remove him off of stage. When I look back, I feel that that is a classic Hip Hop moment.
Digable Planets(1993): Digable Planets were performing at a place called "The Boathouse" when they stopped at my city when they were on their tour. They put on a good show, I can't lie about that, but that wasn't the most memorable part of that night. After that show my cousin and I decided to grab something to eat at Hardees where about 20 people who were at the show were also getting something to eat. For some reason I started free-styling which immediately drew a crowd around me of many self described MC's. We all took turns busting rhymes, battling each other in the middle of a crowded Hardees restaurant. I guess we were putting on quite a show, because the staff there actually stopped working and came from behind the counter to listen in on our verbal sparring that night. Even the cop who probably patrolled that Hardees each night didn't give us shit and urged us to keep rhyming.
A Tribe Called Quest(1995): As far as I can remember, I have hardly been in the front row of any concert that I have ever attended. But somehow I was right in the front of this particular concert, and if I had to pee I was willing to pee under the stage on the down-low to avoid losing my spot. Tribe came on and they put on a magnificent show, I have never seen a group be on their game the way these three gentlemen were that night. To make the night even better, I was the guy that Q-Tip handed the mic to, to say certain parts of the song when he wanted to give some random audience member some "shine". He did it so much that I became arrogant, even motioning to him when I wanted to get on the mic, my cockiness made him giggle a few times. Also, they must of had MC Hammer on their mind because I distinctively remember Q-Tip constantly calling the Oakland rapper a "Pussy" and how he "didn't want it". I thought he was joking until I found out what the beef was actually about later on. I do admit that I have too much pride as a man to jock any artist, but at the same time I can admit when I am a fan of someone's music. That night, standing in front of a packed crowd, I was a fan.
Rage Against the Machine:(1999): One of the most intense shows that I have ever been to. The crowd was amped, wall to wall people, all there for one solitary purpose: To Rock! Zack De la Zocha came on stage he had a swagger about him that said, "I am going to blow you motherfuckers away tonight!" As he went through his anti-establishment play-list, it was like he was Jim Jones and everyone in the crowd was gladly drinking the Kool-Aid. The only problem with the concert was the slam dancing, let me explain: I love rock music, have been a fan for years, and I even have a band, but motherfuckers slamming into me without saying "sorry" might get your ass whipped. Beside that, the night was memorable based on the fans devotion and the energy and aggression that Zack exhibited on stage. I remember seeing my girlfriend after the show with bruises on my arm, and a extremely horse voice. She said, "You had a rough night huh?" I replied, "Yeah, and it was great!"
Some Random Reggae Concert(2001): For anyone that knows me can tell you, I hate Reggae: I know it seems inconceivable for a dread-locked black man to dislike Reggae, but I do. I don't hate stuff like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, or Third World, I just hate Dancehall with a passion. I don't know what it is, but if you ever want to know what my Kryptonite is just play any random Dancehall song. I'm sorry, but that is the truth. I had went to a dancehall concert with a friend of mine because I didn't have anything better to do that night. My friend and I were getting extremely drunk on overpriced beer when this Jamaican woman sat right beside me. She informs me that she is fed up with her boyfriend, and she asks me, "If you had the chance to be with me what would you do?" I guess she expected me to say something rather generous, but I replied, "We would probably hump like two drugged up test bunnies, then I probably wouldn't call you again." Before she could express her disgust, her ex-boyfriend comes up and asks me "who the fuck" I am. I said something about "having my way with his girl", and other ignorant statements that antagonized him. When he told me that he had a gun in his car and would shoot me, not only did my friend leave my side, but I responded: "You won't do a damn thing Pussy. What's up with that flower shirt? I never knew that wearing your mother's tablecloth would be in fashion." The guy immediately took off for his car, and the girl sitting beside me must of liked the way I handled myself and we began making out. I did get her number, and saw her the following week, but I felt like a pussy when I took an alternate route to my car to avoid getting shot.