My first concert

8 01 2009

I’m not sure what brought this to mind, but I was struck this morning with the memory of the very first concert I saw.  I don’t remember the year for certain, but it was in about 1978.   I went with my mom and her sister-in-law, my Aunt Peggy.

The performer was Chubby Checker.  Yes, the Chubby Checker.

chubby-checker

The venue was the State Wayne Theater in Wayne, Michigan.

state-wayne

I remember a few things about the show.   The place was packed.  Now the State Wayne is carved up into 3 different theaters but back then it was one big place with a stage the width of the whole interior of the building.  For a seven year old kid, it seemed like there were a lot of people at the show.

A Calypso band was the opening act.  I think that was the first time any of us (my family) had ever heard steel drums.  This may seem corny, but that sound was almost magical.  It certainly was exotic.  The crowd really loved those guys.

Chubby Checker, by that point, was an oldies act.  The strength of his show was his late 50’s/early 60’s hits (most of which were some variation on “The Twist.”)  Besides “The Twist,” the song that stands out was an R & B ballad that Chubby sang in the voices of his contemporaries.  I distinctly remember the crowd’s wild applause when he sang like Elvis (who had died recently.)  [I thought I might have imagined that, but apparently Chubby’s ability to impersonate other singers is what got him discovered]

The interactive bit in the show was when Chubby and his band did “Limbo Rock.”  A couple of people held the limbo stick and fans could come up on stage and limbo.  I’ll never forget the tall, skinny, young white kid in bell bottoms and a t-shirt that limboed seemingly inches from the stage.  It was almost as if he hovered off the ground.

We left the show very pleased.  My mom and aunt, both pre-teens when Chubby was at his peak, really loved the show.  It probably brought back memories for them.  It was exciting for me because I was seeing someone I thought was a major star.

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