The Concert Meme

Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t I? Here’s the concert meme that’s made its way around Facebook, except that I can turn it into a post here and have an easy day.

First concert: The first concert I remember with a well-known performer was Doc Severinsen performing with the St. Cloud State concert band, decked out in a classy tuxedo. Being a faculty brat, I got backstage afterward and got his autograph on the program. DocThat was 1965. In 1972, he played St. Cloud State again, but he’d turned into the Doc we know from “The Tonight Show,” flashy clothes and covers of rock classics. I was a college freshman, and my music theory professor asked the class if anyone wanted to go along with the greeting party down to the Twin Cities airport, so I got to meet him again. I told him I’d met him in 1965 when I was in sixth grade. He gave me the arch look he so often gave Johnny Carson and said, “So you must be in seventh grade by now!”

(Doc came first, but in January 1966, I saw – again at St. Cloud State – Louis Armstrong, and I met him afterward, too. Autographs from both concerts are now in the St. Cloud State Archives collection.)

Last concert: A local act, Justin Ploof and the Throwbacks, did an open-air deal in September, a show of country covers in the parking lot of a local restaurant. We’re friends with Justin and his brother Jason, but there weren’t enough masks among the crowd, so we were a bit uneasy as we sat and listened. We’ll wait until the other side of this shit until we go to another show.

First pop/rock concert: The 5th Dimension, 1969, again at St. Cloud State.

First pop/rock concert not at St. Cloud State: Joe Cocker, April 1972, Bloomington, Minnesota.

Best concert: In 1989, I saw Ringo in St. Paul on his first All Starr Band tour, with Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Dr. John, Billy Preston, Clarence Clemons, and Jim Keltner.

Three shows are tied for second place: Paul McCartney in Minneapolis in 2002 was superb, as was Richie Havens in a small theater in St. Cloud in 2011. Peter Yarrow in an even smaller St. Cloud venue in 2012 was spectacular, too.

Worst concert: The first half of the Joe Cocker concert, 1972. He was under the influence and it showed. As the show got into the second half, he sobered up, and for 90 minutes or so, he was the Joe Cocker we came to see.

Loudest concert: Bruce Springsteen, 2009, St. Paul. My ears rang for a day and a half. Still a great show, though.

Most seen: Bob Dylan and Leo Kottke, three times; Don McLean and Jackson Browne, twice each. In different groupings, I’ve seen Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Billy Preston three times each.

Bucket list: Eric Clapton, Boz Scaggs, Indigo Girls, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sebastian (Danish singer).

Speaking of bucket lists, here’s how it sounded when I heard “Born To Run” live in St. Paul in May 2009. The audio (not mine) is rough, so don’t turn it up too high. And yeah, one of those voices singing along is mine.

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One Response to “The Concert Meme”

  1. Val H. says:

    I apologise for being late – just catching up with your blog as I tend to do after a few weeks’ lapse. Re your bucket list; I am a big fan of The Indigo Girls and have a number of their albums, but I was very disappointed when I saw them back in 2007. They seemed very nervous and unsure of themselves on stage; no stage presence at all really. And the amount of time spent changing guitars and tuning guitars was almost equal to the time spent singing. Nevertheless, I do hope you get to see them and that you have a much better experience than I did. The Tedeschi Trucks Band is a great live experience (I saw them in 2011) and with Robert Randolph and his Family Band on the same bill, it was always going to be a concert to remember. Here’s hoping some overseas artists feel able to travel to Australia in the coming months (years?) – my tickets for the Cowboy Junkies have been rescheduled twice – now for February 2022! All the best from downunder. Valerie

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