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My first gig

Hunter Walk asked people about their first concert.

My first was Tears For Fears, for a friend’s 13th birthday. It was just me and him. I wasn’t that into the band, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I loved it.

Perhaps more notably, the support band was a local group who had just changed its name to Radiohead. I remember that the singer, Thom Yorke, was very deadpan and reserved. Later, I’d see him around town a lot, always looking incredibly dour behind a pair of sunglasses while he went shopping or had a picnic with his family.

I love live music, but I haven’t felt safe to go during the pandemic. Even more recently, I’ve given up tickets to see Wet Leg and Dadi Freyr because I just didn’t want to risk it, despite being excited to see them live.

A couple of gigs that stand out to me:

I was glad I got to see Johnny Clegg on his final tour. Clegg formed the first interracial rock band in South Africa, which was illegal under the country’s apartheid rules, and told stories of their run-ins with the law as well as about the activists of the time.

I’ve seen Ani DiFranco fifteen times or so. I love the kinetic energy she brings live, and her politics - both about the world and about gender and identity - speak loudly to me.

I got to see Seasick Steve at the smallest stage at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park. He didn’t have a following in the US, so it was just a handful of us on the grass; intimate in the way great shows can be. And then he brought out John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin to play guitar with him.

And it was a treat to hear my sister’s band, Django Moves to Portland, for the first time after decades of hearing her play her songs acoustically. Her songs have always stood on their own, but the full band transformed them into something else.

How about you? What was your first concert? Which gigs have been notable for you?

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