The time has arrived. Yes it has. Time for what Stone? It’s time to reveal my very first “live” concert experience. Oh, it was a dandy. No, The Partridge Family wasn’t my first live concert experience. They are mentioned in this post though. I was a youth when I attended my first live concert. I believe I was about eight or nine years old. Hell, I didn’t have a favorite Rock band at that age. This was around 1974 – ’75. While I was growing up that age, wiffle ball, baseball cards and Hot Wheels were all I cared about. For crap sakes, I was into whatever the AM radio dial was playing in the family station wagon, back then.
Needless to say, I make no excuses by revealing my not having a clue about real Rock, Hard Rock or anything remotely close to Heavy Metal at this young age. KISS was “mentioned” to me at Burger King and Pizza Hut birthday parties and that is as close as it came folks. Hell, there were The Partridge Family songs that ignited my adrenaline at age 8 and 9 for shit sakes. Metal as my witness, I’m not ashamed to admit that anymore. My (late) sister had that exact greatest hits album by The Partridge Family (shown at top of post).
Those were different times, man. It was all about accessibility and exposure during my childhood, with obvious limited technological access to music back then, compared to today. Okay, onward with my first live concert experience. Enter… Nelson’s Campground in East Hampton, Connecticut. Yes, this family friendly campground located in the wooded serenity of East Hampton, along the Connecticut shoreline, was where it would all happen for my first plunge into loud, live and rowdy music.
My Dad, Mom, Sister and I headed for this gargantuan field, in the middle of Nelson’s Campground, as it became dusk. There were easily a few hundred fellow campers all assembling in this field as well. I remember being psyched just to be outside, running around and chasing lightning bugs. I easily recall, like it was yesterday, my Dad being “pumped-up” to see this band and they called themselves: The Mozark Mountaineers. Once this band hit the stage, I was a child that was simply awestruck.
The lead singer was a mammoth of a man to my young eyes. He was wearing a stain strewn white t-shirt, with holes cut out to reveal his… nipples. At that moment, I realized I was witnessing something I’ve never seen before. Before this band started to play any music, this same mammoth frontman held up a shotgun to the night sky and fired it off! If I knew the line then, as I know it now, I would have exclaimed: Metal be thy name!
Think about this for a moment, how many bands are you aware of today, that are legally allowed to fire off a shotgun on stage? Did this shotgun fire off “blanks”? From remembering what this band looked like and knowing what I know now… that had to be live ammo. As The Mozark Mountaineers began to play their music, I jumped around and acted silly as a child should. The loud sounds of the banjo and fiddle filled the evening’s air and swirled about this campground field. Laughter and good times I vividly remember, as it stirred up among the campers, all due to this hillbilly band of raucous musicians.
If there is that one song that reminds me of that night which I experienced so many years ago, it is Steamer Lane Breakdown by the legendary Doobie Brothers. Loving that song is just a matter-of-fact for me. Reliving this childhood moment by writing about it, reminds me of where I came from and I could never lose sight of that.
* The Partridge Family – At Home With Their Greatest Hits was released back in 1972 on Bell Records.
* Steamer Lane Breakdown can be heard on the 1978 (Warner Bros.) Doobie Brothers album Minute By Minute.
* Nelson’s Family Campground still exists! Click the link below:
This post is dedicated to my Mom and Sister. May they both rest in peace, up in heaven.