Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer Concert Extravaganza

I have decided to call this summer, The Summer of Concerts.

During the school year, I avoid concerts because I can't stay awake past nine o'clock September through May. By the time June rolls around, I am ready to rock out, but most of the bands have already toured Idaho or our neighboring states. The rock 'n roll well dries out at the exact time I can start staying up past dark on week nights.

This summer was different. The West was host to several terrific concerts, including at least one of my bucket list bands (more on that later).

My husband, Dan, and I weren't the only ones who noticed this uptick. One of my colleagues was telling me he watched a variety of bands at one of Boise's concert venues all summer long. Another friend traveled all over the western states (and once to British Columbia) to see a plethora of bands, classic (translation: from the nineties) and current.

The following is a brief rundown of my concert-going experience this summer. I could have attended more, but, even though I can stay awake later during the summer, my tolerance for noise, the smell of weed, and people in general remains pretty low.


At the beginning of the summer, we saw The Shins and Built to Spill. We attended this concert with my friend who went on that concert rampage I mentioned earlier.


For my fortieth birthday, Dan took me to Hurray for the Riff Raff, a favorite band of mine. After their performance, my concert rampage friend convinced us to catch the end of Ron Gallo's set at another venue downtown. The band members from Hurray for the Riff Raff showed up as well, and I felt like a spontaneous (newly middle-aged) party animal.


In early July, we saw Thrice, Deftones, and Rise Against in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Dan is the Deftones fan, not me.) Frank Iero and the Patience opened for them. Frank Iero was the guitarist for My Chemical Romance.



This next concert actually came to Boise, but we were out of town, so we caught the tour during our vacation in Washington at the Chateau St. Michelle Winery.

This female power concert included Garbage (I'm pretty sure Dan has a crush on Shirley Manson) and Blondie (I'm pretty sure my dad has a crush on Debbie Harry). John Doe and Exene Cervenka from the punk band X opened the concert.

My forty-year-old self loved that fifty-year-old Shirley Manson talked about being starstruck touring with Blondie and X. Garbage, fifty-year-old front woman and all, was the young, up-and-coming band during that tour.


Then I went to Green Day (my bucket list band).

How do I explain the significance of this to you all? Or maybe several of my fellow Gen-Xers already understand.

Once upon a time, I was a junior in high school, and I was in a parking lot in the middle of the night, dancing in the headlights of a van with the girls from my choir. We had strange, innocent rituals to initiate new members into our music ensemble—no alcohol or humiliating hazing involved.

And this song came on over the stereo system.

It stopped me dead in my tracks.


It was "Basket Case" by Green Day. My nineties musical fate was sealed.

Years later, my mom fell in love with the song "Good Riddance," which she initially thought was sung by Rod Stewart. She still insisted Billie Joe sounded like Rod Stewart whenever it came on the radio. For those of you wondering, Green Day sounds nothing like Rod Stewart.

At the Green Day concert, there were lots of people my age with kids in tow. One dad sat next to us, wearing a Kerplunk shirt. His preteen son wore a Revolution Radio shirt. This was the perfect metaphor. Green Day spanned the generations.

On the other hand, I never thought I'd see the day when a Green Day concert would be a family show.

"I hope he gets political," Dan said.

Dan had wanted the lead singer of Rise Against to be more outspoken when we saw them in early July. He thought they may have held back a bit. It was Salt Lake City after all.

Now we were back in Utah, and Dan wanted Billie Joe Armstrong to go OFF, especially since we were on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea.

Dan was not disappointed.

"Yeah," he answered when I asked him if Green Day was political enough, "it was awesome."

During the second encore, Green Day finished with "Good Riddance," and it started to rain.

Huh. Maybe my mom was there, listening to Rod Stewart sing her favorite song.

The Punk Rock Princess (Dan's name for me, not my idea)
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