It was April 20th, 1997 when I saw my first concert.
No, the day it truly started was the one at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena when I was fifteen years old. I don’t recall who had the idea to go to the show, but I think there were four of us (five if you count the parent we had in tow).
Clever, we were, we four high school freshman who knew it all. We’d managed to pilfer a small amount of alcohol from the aforementioned parent’s stash. Of course, we couldn’t simply bring with us a bottle of liquor into the rear of the van with the parent there in the driver’s seat, so we cleverly concealed our spirits in a cocktail.
Vodka and Gatorade, consumed from premium grade plasticsportsdrinkware. Beverage of the refined, cocktail of kings, the flavor that put me off alcohol for at least a few more years.
The headliner that evening was Bush. Those who weren’t conscious in 1997 may recognize Gavin Rossdale as Gwen Stefani’s husband or “the guy that toured with Nickelback”, but to us, he was the man (along with Nigel Pulsford) who brought us the rock with Everything Zen and Machinehead. And though Bush had a part in making that first concert start an addiction to live music that continues to this day, what truly defined that evening for me was what happened before Bush even hit the stage.
It was the openers. The queens of the rock show where no king was needed or desired. Nina and Louise. Veruca Salt.
In the early evening hours of Sunday, April 20th, 1997, the story started.
With the March 2013 announcement that the original band line-up was reuniting, that story continues.
I’ve been digging up artifacts and reminiscing about Veruca Salt, the band that accompanied hours on the couch at Mitch’s house and hours on the road with Jon. The band that forever gave me a love for ladies with musical talent. The band that led me around the Midwest, a behavior that threatened to bring upon me the label “groupie”. There are stories that changed this rock loving boy forever. There will be tales to come.
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