My first concert.
I'm a loser, baby.
It was the year 2000 and I had just graduated High School. Most of the music I listened to had a twang and a banjo, perhaps a fiddle or harmonica; I had been raised in the mountains of Sonora, California and my mother often sang the tunes of Strawberry Wine and anything by Garth Brooks. I think at 17 I hardly knew of any of the names of the epic bands. My fathers fiance was celebrating a birthday soon and he thought to surprise her. Somehow despite my spurs and frilly satin shirts he also thought it appropriate to drag me along. After all, all teenagers like going to concerts, right?
Especially the Red Hot Chili Peppers tour, featuring the Stone Temple Pilots.
Now I must tell you I did not know who the Stone Temple Pilots were but I feigned interest to remain 'cool' while my father went on about Scott Weiland. I had heard of RHCP but if you mentioned Anthony Kiedis you would have to explain to me that he was the lead singer of that band with that song about Scar Tissue.
You might say I lacked culture.
I hated loud noise and would have chosen not to go but dad insisted his daughter go to a concert under his wing. After all, my brother had been part of enough mosh pits to last us all a life time.
I just wanted to play horseshoes and drink a beer like a normal teenager of my raising.
All photos and content property of Gina Blanchard, All Rights Reserved
The Men, the Music.
"Well, I'm half the man I used to be. This I feel as the dawn...It fades to gray." I had fallen in love with a criminal and the feel of his sweat on my skin. It seems so long ago now. I still enjoy the music and always will but so much has changed!
The first time....
When we got to the Shoreline Amphitheater we paid for parking and hurried inside for the perfect seats. My dad approached an usher and muttered something to him before holding up a crisp picture of a president.
"Money talks." He said pointedly as he walked back by us to follow the man down the stairs and right to the center of the stage. To this day I don't know what he said or how much he paid but I tell you we were pressed up against the railing separating us from the celebrity that was the band. Hundreds of people crowded all around us though we had secured a spot close enough that no one could get in front of us.
There was music and cheering and screaming and although I had been afraid (and wished I'd brought earplugs) I was able to quickly become lost in the fanfare and the chanting. People bobbed up against our backs and pushed us gently into the railing but we all looked at each other and grinned victorious grins.
When he came upon the stage he was wrapped in nothing but an American Flag and a pair of shoes. If there were actual words coming out of his mouth to go with the rhythm of his tongue they were lost to me. Scott Weiland to my teenage heart was as perfect looking a male as I could have had in that moment. Shirtless his sweat shone from the glare of the light and his throat produced sounds worthy of seduction. I was lost to the power of the music.
Then he hopped off the stage.
Right in front of the two of us he landed with his godlike stance, microphone still in hand. I was acutely aware of how I could feel the heat of his body and had just been sprayed with a little bit of sweat when the entire crowd lurched forward and we were rocked face first over the railing, right into Scott Weilands sweaty chest and stomach! Hands and claws and arms reached over our heads to get to Scott but there we were the fiancé and I hanging upside down holding tightly to metal to keep from concrete diving head-first.
I might have panicked but any girl there wouldn't have minded being one of the two who had just been flipped over because we were pressed cheek-first into this man's dripping flesh. We were laughing as the security guard yelled angrily for us to
"Get back! Get back, now!"
We couldn't because of the crowds still lurching us forward! We were able to upright with his assistance but the moment would never be forgotten.
I didn't really notice when the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on-stage. They kind of just stood there and after what I'd just witnessed there would be no comparison (ever).
As it turns out I actually do like concerts.
Funky Monkey, Give it Away and Under the Bridge name just a few tracks on this (my favorite) CD of theirs. I liked the Californiacation but I would always end up back here in the end.
"...the entire crowd lurched forward and
we were rocked face first over the railing, right into Scott Weilands sweaty chest and stomach!"
DID you like Stone Temple Pilots?
For a concert outside on a grassy knoll at the park or down in the sand by the beach, this versatile blanket can also be used for picnics and any other outing you can dream up!
I was changed!
Oh, I still like(d) country music; I had just discovered an entirely different outlet in the world. There was magic here! My heartthrobs donned cowboy hats and deep voices that burrowed into my body. What these men of these bands were bringing me was sex and bad boy appeal.
I wanted to be a part of it all. I wanted a band and to worship and be as wholly worshiped as my patriotically dutiful deity. I wanted to watch people flip each other over railings on my behalf.
If I could just get some attention and write the songs then everyone would flock to me. I could be the one in a million that made it because mother always told me I was a snowflake and that I could do anything I put my mind to. I too could be a degenerate on heroin that would later go back and forth with my band suing and firing each other.
I will tell you if you've made it this far that I obviously didn't make it that far. I did sing up on a stage in the middle of our small town and received enough tip money to keep in food and clothes for a few months with small group of friends. We borrowed microphones and stands, amps and guitars and sang and danced things we choreographed together. We had dreams and ambitions but never made it further than the newspaper pages of our own town.
It was worth it whether I "made it" or not - whatever it is.
My musical arsenal
I actually ended up with this microphone with a small amp and a stand. To this day over a decade later it sits in the living-room for impromptu singing.
I still have the wireless microphone that my dad got me upon my request - but this was the one I always dreamed after. Something about that retro-esque appearance made this baby croon its way into my heart.