I was in 10th grade there was an assembly about something called
Junior Achievements and as usual I was ignoring it when one of the
school counselors leaned over and told me to sign up and write down
"broadcasting". This lead to many great experiences, this is just
one of them.
Junior Achievements was to learn how businesses
worked, it was not part of school. This was the first (and last)
year they tried broadcasting. It was sponsored my WZZM radio who at
the time played top 40's. They gave us radio time for a Sunday
morning show and we met on Thursday nights to put the show together
and tape the broadcast that would be played the next Sunday morning.
We used their studio and learned all about what it was like to run a
radio station. The main thing we did was sell advertizing for the
show and the money we used for a trip to Six flags Great America (I
have some good stories about that also).
Anyway, it was the last meeting and because there would be no
show the coming Sunday we just had kind of a goodbye meeting. While
talking I found out that the DJ (disc jockey named Chad Roach) in
charge had tickets to the R.E.O. Speedwagon concert that night. I
had never been to a concert but really wanted experience one. I was
able to talk Chad Roach into giving me 2 tickets never even thinking
of how I was going to get to Grand Valley State College (I was 15
and couldn't drive).
After the meeting was done I was walking out the back door and
there was Finny, someone that always showed up in the weirdest times
and places. I told him about the tickets and he said he'd get us a
We road our bikes back to my parents house. As I was putting my
bike away finny ran across the street where our neighbor was doing
yard work. He asked her if she'd drive us to the college and she
said she would. I never talked to her but she did know my parents.
I'm not sure what finny said but that didn't matter, I was going to
my first concert.
Okay, I never thought about getting a ride, just got the tickets.
Now, I have a ride never thinking of asking my parents if I could go
(Wednesday night, a school night and I'm only 15 yrs old) or how I
would get back home, but that didn't seem important at the time, I
just wanted to go to my first concert.
We arrived about 7:00 giving us an hour before the show. On the
way to our seats we ran into finny's brother and he gave finny some
pot, about a 1/4 ounce. We talked while then went to our seats. I
never had a clue how cool this would be. There was music playing
thought the sound system, good music. People were talking and having
fun, there were giant beach balls bouncing over the peoples heads
and just as we sat down the person to the left of me hands me a
joint, then shows me a bag he has with about 20 joints. He told me
to take a couple of hits on it before passing it because it would
never come back. After passing it on the person to the right of
finny passed finny a pipe and said only to pass it as far as me
because he needed it back. All this time while waiting for the show
to start there were joints and pipes being passed all over, it was
like one huge party.
Then the lights went down, wow, what a scene. Everyone light up
their lighters and held them up high, it was wild. Then the Babys
started playing. Now I heard their music on the radio before and
their music was kind of like feminine love songs but that's not what
I was hearing, they were rocking! Hard! I was, for lack of a better
term, zoning. I couldlnt' take my eye's off the stage. We were on
the floor about 10 rows from the back, dead center, where the sound
quality is at it's best. Also, something you do not see anymore,
when the music started everyone sat down, making it comfortable,
enjoyable, Everyone sat and listened. I was being blown away.
After the Babys left the stage the lights came back on, they
started playing music through the sound system again and the party
started back up. We got up to go to the bathroom and get some fresh
air. Something else you never see at a concert, we were able to
leave and come back as long as you had a ticket stub. So we stepped
out. While outside some people told us they couldn't get in because
the show was sold out. They told us that if we would get them some
ticket stubs they would pay us $6 a stub (that's what the tickets
cost at the door, not $80 like today, click on the concert poster
for a larger view and notice the price), they needed 6. I went
inside and found 6 ticket stubs and made $36 bucks, nice. We bought
snacks, drinks, posters and T-shirts then went back to our seats.
The lights went down and R.E.O. Speedwagon started. The sound was
stepped up a notch or 2, I thought I was blown away before but this
was a lever higher. I would have to say I was having the best time
of my life. After about 30 minutes I started thinking about how I
would get home so I did something I thought I would never have the
guts to do, I called my dad. It was after 10pm on a school night, I
didn't have permission to be there, my dad was someone that believed
in punishing with his hands instead of his mouth, now the fear was
I called my dad and told him where I was and that I needed a ride
home. He didn't say anything more that he'd be there as soon as he
could. Finny and I went outside to wait for him. I should have been
scared but I guess I was just too high to worry, until I seen the
car pull up. When we got in the car my dad didn't say a thing, I was
very surprised. The whole way home he never said a thing, not even
the next day, or ever, he was fine with the whole thing.
The night was a success and so went my first concert. It was
almost a year before I'd go to another, and that was an even more
unique experience, and another story...