On the wind-swept plains of West Texas, I recently met a fellow ex-Pittsburgher. As we started talking, I realized he was at many of the late ’70s rock concerts that I attended, including my first show: Rush, Cheap Trick and Max Webster at the Stanley Theater in 1977.
I was in ninth grade and had hatched a scheme to sneak out the bedroom window, catch a bus downtown and see the show with my buddy Ralph. (I wasn’t allowed to go to concerts. I’d already missed Kiss. No way was I going to miss Rush.)
But my conscience got the better of me and I confessed what I was about to do to my parents, who — to my surprise — decided to allow me to go anway.
We were about 25 rows back at stage left. The smell of pot smoke hung heavy in the air. And I was totally blown away by the show. Didn’t know what to make of Cheap Trick (I think that was their first tour), but I was totally in awe of Rush. This was pre-synthesizer Rush. Great stuff. I bought the obligatory black concernt T-shirt (with that naked dude and the star — from 2112) and wore the damn thing till it fell off me.
The Stanley was such an incredible venue. It was an old movie/Vaudville venue that seated maybe 1,500 people. I ended up seeing dozens of shows there during the next few years. Everyone from UFO to the Grateful Dead. Ah, those were the days.
So what was your first show? Do you even remember it? Please don’t tell me it was the Bay City Rollers …