I’ve been to a lot of concerts, seen a lot of bands both good and bad. Between the ages of 16 and 22 I went to as many as I could with my friends, with my brothers, with anyone that wanted to go with me. I loved, and still love, seeing live music. Live music from a band I greatly enjoy? It’s superb.
My first concert was a festival called Rockstock 96, thrown by Chicago rock station Rock 103.5. Rockstock 96 was kind of a downer concert; one-hit wonder Candlebox and old terrible band Cheap Trick were the two headlining acts. The station got it right the next two years as Rockstocks 97 and 98 were great experiences that I remember fondly, though Rock 103.5 would be dissolved in November 1998.
June1997 to August 1998 was probably the best extended year of concerts for me, personally. It started with Ozzfest. I’m not a huge metal fan, or really a fan at all, but that was a great show. Black Sabbath and Pantera were amazing, and even Marilyn Manson – whose pathetic gimmick I despise – put on a fun show.
Rockstock 97 was two months later. There were no huge bands at that show – I believe Megadeath and Faith No More were the headliners – but there were enough good bands and good friends with me to make it highly enjoyable.
Two months after that I went with one of my best friend’s boyfriends to another Pantera show that was one of the most insane experiences of my life.
In February of ’98 half of my high school turned out at the Aragon Ballroom for the Black Crowes. We waited outside in line for about 8 hours in the cold Chicago winter and it was worth it, because we all got front row… most of us also got ridiculously sick, but it was so worth it.
Rockstock 98 was the cherry on the cake. Another concert where there weren’t any huge major bands – Black Crowes, Creed and Rammstein were the headliners – but still so much fun.
The highlight of the year, however, was seeing the Rolling Stones in September of 1997 at Soldier Field. Despite crappy nosebleed seats and the weather progressively getting chilly as the evening went on, it was amazing. The music was amazing, the band was great, even the crowd was awesome. And eclectic. There were the college frat boys sitting to the right of us, in front of us a couple of old bikers in leather jackets and beards passed joints with a couple of businessmen in suits. Behind us an elderly couple would get up and slow-dance every so often. All around was a motley collection of humanity, and all of us were entranced for a couple hours by one of the best bands the world has ever seen.
Today’s Ditty is a clip of that very same concert at Soldier Field in 1997. The music doesn’t start until the 4:30 mark and watching a concert via youtube video is nothing like being there in concert, but looking at it brings back memories of how absolutely amazing that night was.