I used to have this great standing policy that I've let lapse recently.Â It went like this - if anyone asked me to go to a live music event with them, I'd go. Why would someone behave like Jim Carrey's character in "Yes Man" when concerts are concerned?Â I made the rule when I was in college, and it served me well.Â The early 90s in Virginia, where I went to school at Washington & Lee, were a great time and place for music.Â It was also a time for my likes and dislikes to shift a bit.Â I graduated high school a slobbering hard rock fan and didn't listen to anything unless it was in the Van Halen/AC-DC/Aerosmith realm.Â Then I got to school and everybody was listening to other stuff.Â I had no idea at the time, but musical tastes were shifting and we were going to get exposed to some great music from bands that would go on to do bigger and better things.Â To give you an idea of some of the acts I saw in the 1990-1994 period by sticking to my policy, here's some of the artist I saw (some of them at fraternity houses or small college shows):
- Dave Matthews (in particular, many gigs at the W&L Phi Delta Theta house during Spring Term my senior year)
- Toad the Wet Sprocket
- Gin Blossoms (hung out with them in their hotel room, too, and got an interview for the school paper)
- Blues Traveler
- Soul Asylum
- The Smithereens
At the time, I had no idea how big any of these bands were or how big they'd get.Â I saw a lot of other shows, too, with artists that were more established and I'm now very thankful for that.Â Then there were a million bands and artists that I saw who didn't "make it" but probably should have.Â I've also got a running list of bands I'd probably be uncomfortable admitting that I've seen live - Air Supply, Journey, that annoying boy band that did that "I Wanna Sex You Up" song (can't remember and don't feel like Googling).Â But I'll take the bad cheesy with the good.
Point is, I can't remember every really having a bad time at a live music event.Â (Well, there was that one time at the Tibetan Freedom Concert at RFK where that girl got struck by lightning.)Â So I'm wondering why I don't go like I used to.Â Of course, it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm too old to be seen in clubs and that I have a wife and 18-month-old daughter at home.Â But I think I need to get back to going to shows again.
You never know when you're going to witness history.Â You never know when you're going to get exposed to an up-and-coming artist that's about to give you music that will be your life's soundtrack in the coming years.Â You never know when you're going to have a good time out with your friends, seeing some band and creating a story you're going to tell over beers 10 years from now.
So go out today and find something to go see.Â Go to the bar down the block and check out the live music.Â Go book tickets to a live show you've been meaning to see.Â Tell your bud with the spare ticket you'd love to go to the show with him.Â (Yes, I turned down a spare Lady Gaga ticket and even though I'm not really a fan, I should have taken up my buddy on it...)Â Just get out there.Â I have so many fond memories of going to shows that I really should be making an effort to do it more often.
So stop reading this, open up a web browser and go buy some tickets.Â Just go.