Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Concerts (Stephanie Kuehnert)

My favorite teenage summer memories revolve around music and concerts. My favorite teenage memories period revolve around music and concerts actually. I went to a LOT. Like I can't even count how many. I have a bunch of ticket stubs in my scrapbook, but that probably accounts for less than half of the concerts I actually attended since I spent a lot of time at the Fireside Bowl, a bowling alley that hosted punk shows (which appears in both of my books!), and they didn't sell tickets. But summer meant big outdoor concerts and festivals.

My best festival memory of them all was Lollapalooza 1995. This was back when Lollapalooza was still a traveling show and it was ALSO back when you could not get tickets on the internet. For big concerts like Lolla, my friends and I would get up at the asscrack of dawn to sit outside our local Ticketmaster branch at the Carson Pirie Scott department store at the North Riverside Mall (yes, where Kara and Cass from Ballads of Suburbia met while shoplifting... and where I met my BFF while shoplifting). They would do a lottery system to discourage the whole getting-there-before-sunrise-to-wait-for-tickets thing, but we always got there early just in case they would decide to be nice and let the people who got there first have the first crack at tickets (because that was actually FAIR).

Lollapalooza 1995 had an INSANE line-up, including Pavement, Beck, The Jesus Lizard, Sinead O'Connor (who canceled the Chicago date, but Elastic played instead which almost made up for it), headliners, Sonic Youth, and the band who totally saved my teenage life, Hole. I was dying to see it all and to see Courtney Love especially as close up as I could. So I got there to the North Riverside Mall at like 6 am with my BFF and we stood outside until 9:30 when they came out to draw lottery numbers and for the first and only time luck was on my side and I DREW FIRST PLACE. As a result we got FRONT ROW TICKETS!!!!!

I was practically THIS CLOSE for Courtney!

Picture I cut out of the paper from the review of the show
I made a booklet of my poetry and tried to throw it onstage to her. (I doubt she ever got it.) I had the best time I ever had at a festival. Another group of my friends had lawn tickets, so we would go out to them and pass off the front row ticket, sometimes subbing out depending on who liked what band. Then we figured out that one person with a front row ticket could go out to the lawn with another person's front row ticket and bring a lawn person back. By the time Sonic Youth was on (who was ALL adored), like all 12 of our friends were squeezed into our five or six seat space and we TOTALLY GOT AWAY WITH IT!.

So yeah, that was my most epic summer concert experience.

I am actually having one today, too, because it is my birthday and I've just moved to Seattle where Sub Pop also happens to be celebrating their birthday (or their silver jubilee as they put it!) with a free concert. Mudhoney is probably the band I am most excited to see and I saw them in the summer of 1995, too (but inside, not at Lollapalooza). I think it's gonna be one of the best summer concerts/birthdays ever!

What about you? What was your favorite summer concert? Have you seen any yet or do you have any cool ones lined up?


  1. Happy birthday, Steph! My first concert was ALMOST a summer concert--Kiss, in September of the 8th grade. I'm pretty sure this first concert experience is the reason behind my deep wish that all author events could have more pyro.

  2. Happy birthday! I haven't been to a lot of concerts; I've never understood why people scream the whole time, because how can they hear the music if they're screaming? I did see a good concert last summer; a musician named Meiko was performing, and the venue was small but good. It was cool because I got to meet the singer after the show, and she was so nice to me and everyone else.

  3. Thanks for the birthday wishes all! And Holly, YES!!!! that is awesome! More pyro!!!