FT5: First Concerts

0501top5cover1The first official concert in a young person’s life can be a monumental occasion. 15 years and countless shows later, you always remember your first. The ATH offices were surveyed, and today’s Top 5 is a random ordering of the first concert from 5 ATH staff members. Although I was hoping to find some suppressed NKOTB or Debbie Gibson concerts among us, I had no such luck. Some of us were a little embarassed to fess up, while some us were happy to gloat. But this list isn’t just about us. We want to hear about your first concert experience as well, as cool or embarrassing as it might be. Follow the jump for our list.

beachboysThe Beach Boys from davatron5000

My first concert was seeing the Beach Boys at Astroworld! I know. It was that awesome. And it was on the cheap too because I had a Season Pass. But nothing could have prepared me for the special guest drummer… JOHN STAMOS! Uncle Jessie + The Beach Boys! This was a dream come true. If only Dave Coulier had been there. And Stephanie… mmmm… Stephanie…

Although this was my first concert ever, it is still in contention to be the BEST concert I have ever been to. Even better than seeing the P-Funk Mothership land at Stubb’s.

pearljamvstourPearl Jam from raygun

Being from a small East Texas town, there weren’t a lot of concert offerings outside of the yearly performance The Crimestoppers Band gave in the Jr. High cafetorium. But in 1993, the stars aligned and Pearl Jam made a stop 20 short minutes up the road in Nacaogdoches, TX during the Vs. tour. To this day, I’m still not sure why they decided to make a stop in a town of 25,000, but I wasn’t asking questions. I heard rumors of the drummer’s cousin living close by, but I didn’t care. I was a grunge kid all the way in the early 90’s, and had purchased Ten and Vs. the day they came out. I basically snuck out to see this show, and I still don’t think my parents knew I went.

thejuddsThe Judds from MrTrent

I don’t even know what to say about this. I remember going with a friend of mine and being really excited for my first Houston Rodeo experience in the mid 1980’s. The only thing worse than the smell on my shoe from the livestock show was that cacophonous banshee wail emanating from the rotating stage.

hordefest’98 H.O.R.D.E. Festival from RayRay

Similar to Raygun, being from a small town in East Texas doesn’t lend itself well to seeing live music outside of the occasional country artist at the rodeo. My first real show, or at least the one I can actually remember, was a big festival out in the hills of Austin, TX. H.O.R.D.E. festival may not sound familiar to some of you, but damn if it was a hell of a lineup for 98. Heavy hitters from the decade included Blues Traveler, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Cowboy Mouth, Fastball, Barenaked Ladies, and even a young Ben Harper. How my older brother, attending UT at the time, convinced my parents to let him and his girlfriend take a 15 year old kid out to a pot and shirtless women laden festival I’ll never know. Side note: Event was held at Southpark Meadows, which is now a huge shopping center.

smashingpumpkinstourSmashing Pumpkins & Red Red Meat from nathan.lankford

Long ago, in an Austin far far away, there was a place called Southpark Meadows. It was a grassy knoll on the edge of a hill where larger acts would come to rock hordes of young music fans from all over the hill country. It was here where my parents first let me attend a rock concert solo, escorted by a friend’s older brother. I loved “Today,” and I wanted to throw paint all over my own ice cream truck when I grew up, so seeing the Smashing Pumpkins before Billy Corgan turned into a McDouchebag was a must, not that I foresaw his douchiness, at least not until Adore. That was my first concert as a fan, and I haven’t stopped going since then.


  • Guided by Voices – Live from Waterloo Park sxsw 2000 or 1999. I wore an onion on my belt as it was the fashion of the time….

    Being from out of town on spring break, and not knowing what I was doing, i thought I was being sneaky climbing over a partially downed fence to get in to see the last few songs of the show. Little did i know it was free.

    The one thing that sticks out from this show is the huge volume of alcohol consumed on stage. Fairly incredible. Tequila? Vodka? Whatever clear bottle on top of the bass amp, it never sat still for long. Not til the Hold Steady shows several years later did I come across anything like it.

  • 1997- Bronco Bowl Dallas, TX
    mxpx, Real Big Fish, and Blur
    Song #2 was in full swing and I was 16. Awesome show until my mom pushed her way through the door guys and retrieved my sweat soaked body out of the pit (true story). It was a school night and I swore I’d be out by midnight but, inevitably, time slipped away and while I was getting my mosh on my mom was in the parking lot watching a kid get stabbed! She was freakin’ out.

    P.S.- I’m very jealous of davatron5000’s 1st.

    Great Friday top 5 guys!

  • The year was 1991 (I think) and my best friend’s family had gotten us tickets and access to the “red room” for the MC Hammer concert. He came to the Montagne Cener in Beaumont. I remember one such classic as “You need to pray just to make it today”.. unfortunately, being a 2nd grader at the time, I was too tired to stay until the end of the concert to hear “You can’t touch this”. Come on, it was a school night. But I will say this: his pants were super fly and his fade top is gloriously etched into my memory. (Wait, did he have a fade?) Needless to say, the two of us were the talk of the elementary school that next day and all the kids envied us for the rest of their 7-yr-old lives.

  • Stryper, fifth grade. They threw out little bibles.

  • Lollapalooza 95. Sonic Youth, Pavement, Beck, and Hole (until someone threw a shotgun shell on stage with Kurt Cobain’s name scribbled on it).

  • ’98 – Radiohead’s OK Computer tour, opening act was Spiritualized, and it was in the relatively small Houston venue formerly known as the Aerial Theater. Still probably the best overall show I’ve ever seen. No free bibles, though, so it could’ve been better.

  • My first concert was Harry Connick Jr (haha) at the Coca Cola Starplex ampitheater in dallas Texas, circa 1994ish…. jesus i am still not cool.

  • Great FT5! I especially loved buttons/graphics this week…

    My first concert was The Cranberries in 6th grade at The Woodlands Pavilion… I looked so cool in my Airwalks, too.

  • Ramalamahamdam

    1992 – Clint Black in Mission, Texas. It’s “Killin’ Time.”

    Brett – Robert Pollard, alone, drank more on stage than the Hold Steady.

    Kyle – You know damn well Blur was playing “Girls and Boys” when your mom retrieved your sweaty ass. Maybe this will refresh your memory:

    Annie B – Three words to compete with your Airwalks: Marithe Francois Girbaud

    Great List.


  • Blindside. Tenth Grade.

    I loved the swedes. And Jesus.

  • Moving from Mexico in 1997 I didnt know anything about music. It took me like three years to stop watching MTV, that’s when I started to listen to bands that are relevant to me.

    My very first concert ever was The Strokes in November of 2002 @ Austin Music Hall. I knew right away that I had been missing on a lot of music so I have been going to a lot of concerts since then. Still to this day, I consider that my favorite concert of ALL time and ive seen the rolling stones, paul macca, bob dylan, the who, oasis, kings of leon, rage against the machine, primal scream, my bloody valentine, etc. I guess its bc it was such a significant moment in my life.

  • 1999 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. I wore a straw cowboy hat. Shania Twain…and I fell in love.

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