The first rock concert I ever went to was at Joe Louis Arena back in 1983. I had just turned 16 and was invited to go see Journey with my then girlfriend, her best friend, and one other guy who I still can't remember to this day. My girlfriends parents dropped us off and said they would be there to pick us up when the concert was over. Having come from a family that listened to nothing but country or gospel music, I had no clue what to expect.
The band was Journey and they were promoting their newest album, Escape. I went out and bought not only that cassette (remember cassettes?) but the two previous albums as well. I wanted to make sure I knew every song they were going to sing. My father was flabbergasted at what I was playing in my room. It was loud, he didn't understand it, and he was pretty sure that Satan had written all the lyrics. Granted, his opinion on Journey changed drastically six months later when I brought home AC/DC's Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. My mother reminded him on more than one occasion that his mother was not that understanding when it came to his music at the time, either.
I still remember sitting in our seats, slightly to the left of the stage, but with a great view, when those lights suddenly went out in the stadium and the crowd roared. I got a little nervous, not sure what was about to happen. Then the stage exploded in multi colored lights as the band took the stage. When the first few notes from the piano began to play Don't Stop Believing (my second favorite song of there's to this day), I was transformed into another world. The music was loud, the crowd was roaring, and Steve Perry's voice rose above it all. For the next 90 minutes I was in heaven as they performed every song that I had just recently grown to love. I made sure to buy a concert t-shirt as I left. It was the most amazing experience I had had up to that point in my life. Though I really couldn't figure out what that weird smell was. Really! I was totally sheltered and out of it until I hit college.
Nearly 30 years later that song has seen a resurgence in popularity, and my kids know every word to it, and several others. Angel and Spike love the song. Buffy and Willow really like Loving, Touching, Squeezing; a song that I really liked at the time as well, but the fact that they like it so much scares the hell out of me!
One weekend Angel needed a shirt to wear while his was in the wash. I grabbed that old concert shirt and when he put it on I was surprised at how well it fit him. The sneaky little kid ended up taking it home with him! Granted, it was going to be his someday, anyway, but I was caught off guard (and proudly so) how much he wanted it.
I've been to a LOT of concerts since that first one, and in all honesty, there have been many others that were much better shows. I've still got concert t-shirts to all of those as well and I'm ready to give each of my other children the one's that are the most special to me.
But like your first real true love, you never forget that first concert. And now when we are all in the car and that song comes on the radio; those first few signature piano notes pounding out, the kids get excited and tell me to turn up the radio. I'm happy to oblige them. Don't Stop Believing now has two wonderful memories for me that I will carry to my old age.