Some of the most memorable moments growing up as a teenager were all the amazing concerts I went to see. They may not have been the best bands in the world or huge events at grand arena, but they were magical all the same. Sometimes I feel embarrassed by the bands I loved during these times, but then I remember that they were a big part of my life and they’re important all the same. Most of them inspired me to play music and that – to me – is priceless!
“You like Hanson?” a lot of people would say to me, with a look of disgust on their face. Yeah, I do! So what? They have amazing harmonies, play their own instruments, and write all their own songs. What’s not to admire and love about that? They’re real, not some fake lip-syncing phonies that a lot of artists are nowadays. It was only recently (after their whole Mmmbop craze was over and done with) that I finally got a chance to see them in concert at a small venue. What was the best moment? Meeting them on The Walk. I got to chat with them, talk about their new songs, and interact with them in a way my 13 year old self would never have dreamed possible. And you know what? They’re the nicest guys. Other than that, Isaac throwing a guitar pick at me during the next concert was probably the next best thing. What a special keepsake!
I have to admit, I’ve been very lucky when it comes to meeting bands and musicians. Somehow I always interact when them in some way. Not even on purpose! I’m not a groupie, by any means. I’m just a fan who happens to be in the right place at the right time. Bob Moffatt of “The Moffatts” threw a drumstick to me, Isaac Hanson tossed me a guitar pick , a roadie gave me Serial Joe‘s set list, and Jamie Cullum signed my piano key. Not to mention all the other little things like:
- I was at a Naturally 7 (seriously…you have to check them out, they do all the instruments just with their voices) show at the Jazz Fest in Montreal. I had seen them open for Michael Bublé and thought they were just amazing. At the end of the show, they told everyone to head over to one of the stores for an autograph signing. I thought What the hell! I’ll go buy their CD and they’ll sign it. The only problem was, I had no idea where the store was. So after they got offstage, I started looking for people who looked like they were going to the signing. I saw a group banded together and quickly heading off together in one direction. Excellent! A group of fans in search of autographs. So…I followed them. I was just trying to kind of blend in without anyone realizing I was following them. A girl noticed and I asked if they were going there. She said yes, but that I should go another way. Weird, I thought. Then I realized we were walking through a restaurant and taking the weirdest route imaginable. I finally took a good look at the people I was following. It was Naturally 7. I guess I picked exactly the right people to follow!
- When I was 16, I went to a Serial Joe concert and somehow managed to be in the front row, right up against the stage. There was standing room in the front, so I literally was leaning my arms on the stage and had a crowd of crazy fans behind me. During the concert, I took out a water bottle I had, took a big long gulp, and placed it on the edge of the stage. Right in front of me, the guitarist drank his water bottle and when he was finished he put it down next to his mic stand. The roadie (who was cleaning up the stage of empty water bottles) crouched down and came out of the wings and picked up the guitarists water bottle…and mine! I tried to tell him no, but he couldn’t hear over all the music and fans screaming. The guitarist noticed, went offstage in between songs, and got me a water bottle from their stash. What a sweetie!
- One day, I won tickets from a radio station to see Nsync at a movie theater in Montreal for an interview they were hosting. It would be aired live. That same week, I had entered a contest to possibly win a chance to ask the band Serial Joe a question on a a local TV station called Musique Plus. The interview with them would be live and all I had to do was send them a question and if they liked my question, I would get to go with a friend. I won. The thing is, they both happened to be on the same day…one at around 1 pm and the other at 4pm. They were one the same street but a few blocks apart. When I was offered to ask Nsync (which turned out to just be JC because of something that happened) a question live on the radio, I jumped at the chance. When the interview finished and my friend and I finally got out, it was almost time to be at Musique Plus for the Serial Joe interview. We had very little time to get there. We decided to make a run for it and got there right on time. I got to ask my question on TV and even had the chance to chat with them a bit. An excellent day, if you ask me.
- At work one day, Ginette Reno came in to the restaurant to have a meal with her family for her daughter’s birthday. They were sat in my section and I got to serve them. (I’ve also served Georges St. Pierre and met many Montreal Canadiens players, but that’s a little different…). Okay, so not at a concert…but it was cool to meet her.
- One day, I decided to go to a Jamie Cullum concert last minute. I arrived 2 hours beforehand, deciding to just hang out around Montreal before the show, but when I got to the theater to buy the ticket, I realized that I had forgotten my Interac card at home and I had no money on me. I was almost in tears because when I went to buy one they said “You’re so lucky! It’s the last one.” I suddenly got a great idea that maybe a friend of mine was also at the Jazz Fest and could help me out. I called him, and sure enough he was heading there. We met up outside and ran to the theater in hopes that the last ticket was still there. Thankfully, it was! What a life saver my friend was that day. During the concert, Jamie Cullum told everyone to get out of their seats and come towards the stage. “Make yourselves at home” he said. So, I decided to sit on the edge of the stage. He gave me a thumbs up and security let me sit there throughout the end of the concert.
The best concert moment, though…
was at an Our Lady Peace concert I went to. It was with 3 of my guy friends. I had never bought an Our Lady Peace album before, barely knew any of their names, and didn’t know what the songs were called, but I loved every song I ever heard by them. My sister, who absolutely adored them went as well, but was sitting at the other side of the the Bell Center (also known around these blog waters as “Le Clown Center“). During their encore, at the end of an amazing show Raine Maida (the lead singer) ran offstage into the crowd on the right of the stage. I was a little bummed because we were sitting on the left hand side.
As he got back to the stage, he crossed it to the right side and jumped down from the stage. Holy Crap! I thought as I rushed down the steps to try and get a better view. Where is he? I thought, and just at that moment a person popped up in front of me, standing on a seat (or something) and there he was! Raine Maida! Right in front of me! He smiled at me, I smiled back and held out my hand. He grabbed it and held it straight up in the air. People were surrounding us, trying to grab at him and shake his hand and the music started (a song called 4 am). The spotlight was on us, everyone had their lighters up in the air, swaying to the beat. With his hand still holding mine, a looked around the arena and just took it all in. What an amazing feeling.
After the show, I called my sister. “Did you see at the end when he went into the crowd?” I asked her. “Yeah! That was awesome!” she exclaimed. “Did you see the person’s hand he was holding the whole time?” I said. “Oh my God! They’re so lucky” she replied. “That was me!” I shouted. Her reply, short but sweet, was “I hate you!”
Ah, yes. That was probably the best memory I have when it comes to concerts. What are the chances, that out of thousands of people, I was the one standing in the right place at the right time? I have no clue, but I’m happy I was there.
Hopefully there will be many more memories like that to come. The feeling you get before the band comes on, the screams and excitement as the lights turn off, the sea of lighters during a love song (which have unfortunately now been replaced with cell phones…) hardly compares to anything else.
Have any of you had a special concert moment? What was it? Which band or musician?
See you tomorrow morning!