So what about these particular concerts made me skip class or take off work (depending on the year), in some cases fly on an airplane (which I'm afraid to do), and shell out big money (which I'm not accustomed to doing)?
Simply put, I love live music.
I discovered this in 1997 when a friend introduced me to Pat Green's music. I had listened to a few of his songs on a CD and then went to see him in concert. While I was at that concert, I turned to my friend and said, "Pat needs to make a live album because he's ten times better live than he is on his CD." Thankfully, Pat took my advice (oh how I wish I could take the credit!) and put out his first live album almost exactly one year later. Shortly thereafter, my friend introduced me to Pat in person, and I had the privilege of having dinner with Pat and his band in Amarillo before they played at The Nat Ballroom. I was sold. Hook. Line. Sinker. Long live live music!
Around that same time, the same friend gave me a casette tape with some Sarah McLachlan songs on it. I fell in love with her music as well. Soon, Sarah was at the top of my "Must See Before I Die" list.* And so began the quest to find her in concert. Luckily, she was putting on her Lilith Fair concerts at that time, which meant that I got to see her as well as eight or so other performers at each Lilith Fair--in Austin (1998), Dallas (1998), and Colorado (1999).
Knowing that Sarah wanted to start a family and after hearing rumors that there might not be a 1999 Lilith Fair, I decided to go all out and travel to California to The Bridge School Benefit in October 1998. (A little background: In 1986, Neil Young and his wife started The Bridge School to assist children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs. For the past twenty years or so, Neil Young has put on a concert to raise money for this school.) Those two nights of concerts were, by far, the most amazing live events that I have ever attended. The show is all acoustic, and the line up is always incredible. Sarah McLachlan drew me there, but in the process, I got to see all the musicians that I designated as "California" in yesterday's post.
For me, these memories remind me of how fun it is to see that musicians are real people, with facial expressions, who connect with their audiences. And they illustrate the power in seeing musicians perform live.
I have yet to attend a concert where I was the only one in the audience. So what say ye fellow concert-goers: what makes you attend a concert? Are you a live music junkie for whom a recording simply won't cut it? I'd love to know I'm not alone.
(*I am updating my "Must See Before I Die" list, which I plan to post tomorrow.)