Friday, August 1

How Janet Jackson totally humiliated me...

It’s quiet here this week, huh? I think everyone might be at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference, but me. I really wish I could have gone in order to meet people mostly, but having just come back from tour/vacation, I couldn’t really afford it.

Anyway, the topic of the week is Embarrassing Moments. And I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of one of those embarrassing moments like the ones I remember in the reader write-in sections of teen magazines when I was younger—I may be showing my age here because maybe they don’t even have those sections in the magazine anymore, teens would write in and talk about the time they blurted out something inappropriate in front of a crush or had their period and got blood on their skirt or drooled on their boyfriend while making out or something—but while I’m sure I’ve had *plenty* of those kinds of moments, I am pretty good at blocking them out. The kind of embarrassment that is burned into my memory are the moments where I thought I’d be capable or good at doing something and it didn’t work out. Maybe it’s because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist and have super high expectations for myself, but I really feel humiliated sometimes when things don’t work out as planned.

I thought of this particular example the other night when I went to a Rancid concert. The night before the concert I took special care to pack earplugs because once when I saw Rancid about four or five years ago (I think Wednesday night’s show was my fourth or fifth time, I’ve lost track), I forgot earplugs and my ears rang for three days straight. I’m not even exaggerating. Three days. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think and I was majorly freaked that I’d done serious damage to my hearing (which I probably have, between the years of going to punk shows without earplugs or using toilet paper to serve that purpose and trying to blast my iPod over the noise of the train, I predict hearing aids in my future). But that’s not the embarrassing moment. It’s really the result of the embarrassing moment, which took place all the way back in the summer of 1990 when I was ten-going-on-eleven and the only thing I wanted for my birthday was tickets for Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation tour.

I guess it should be embarrassing to admit that Janet Jackson was my first concert period, but I don’t get embarrassed by that kind of stuff. I readily admit to my guilty pleasures (not that Janet is one of them, though I bet I’d still rock out to that “Black Cat” song if I heard it.) And most people I know have mildly embarrassing first concert with the exception of my friend Chris, who apparently has been cool his entire life because his first show was Slayer and Biohazard. No, what was embarrassing was that my mom and I got to the New World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, IL, went to our seats, which to my parents’ credit were not even lawn seats, though I believe they did have some view obstruction, I was only able to handle sitting through four songs because it was so loud it hurt my virgin ears.

My mom and I went to the bathroom and I agonized over not being able to handle staying at my first concert. She probably agonized over not bringing me earplugs, but I don’t even remember because I was too busy worrying about what my dad and little brother would think if we came home from the concert to early and I was forced to admit I was a wuss. My mom is awesome so she bought me a tour program so I could prove I’d been there and then she told me that since she’d grown up in Tinley Park, we could drive around and see all the places she remembered to kill time until it was a reasonable hour to go home and I’d never have to admit that I hadn’t stayed for the whole concert. I’m sure she told my dad about it, but I kept it secret for many years. And in 1993 when I started going to real concerts—rock concerts that I don’t have to be ashamed of—I really threw myself into the concert going experience. I went to every single show I could. I pushed my way to the front of the stage. I brazenly didn’t wear earplugs, even at Dinosaur Jr at the Metro when it was so loud the PA couldn’t even handle it making their sound more feedback-laden than usual. I braved the mosh pit weekly at the Fireside Bowl even when it was mostly big skinhead dudes. All to prove that I could. Possibly all because on subconscious level, I was humiliated because I hadn’t been hardcore enough to handle Janet freakin’ Jackson.

I know it’s silly, but those are my moments of deepest embarrassment. Kind of like I’m embarrassed right now because I have only one entry for my tour contest. Please, for the love of rock ‘n’ roll, enter my contest, so I don’t respond by not having anymore contests because I don’t want to feel the humiliation of no one entering and feeling like no one loves me. (Even though really I know lack of entries might be because I’ve been on tour and unable to promote it.) One of the really cool prizes is a signed ARC of Invisible Touch by TFC’s own Kelly Parra!

Okay, enough of my desperate pleading, care to share your first concert experience? Or let me know if you get embarrassed when you aren’t capable of doing something or if I’m a total freak (which I wouldn’t be embarrassed by oddly enough)?


The Golfing Librarian said...

I'll step up and confess my first concert was the Doobie Brothers in 1976/1977, at the Kibbie Dome on the campus of the Univ. of Idaho. Looking back on it, the strange thing about that concert was the fact all the people on the infield SAT(on the floor, no chairs)through the entire concert. I can't imagine that happeninig now. It would just be a mosh pit or you'd be pressed tight against the stage barrier.
As far as embarassing confessions go - my first record was the Partridge Family's "Up to Date" album.
BTW- Kelly Parra Rocks! Hard!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Yes Kelly does!!! And you are right that would never happen now! Concerts are even crazier now than 94/95 and I thought it was crazy then!

Liviania said...

My first concert was the last day of ACL Music Festival '07, and the only whole sets I watched were Regina Spektor and the Decemberists.

The only time I've moshed was the Dropkick Murphys concert (during which I wore earplugs). The tickets were a birthday present. ^_^

I'll probably enter the contest . . . but I hate coming up with good pictures. I'm too picky.

Melissa Walker said...

I know you've seen my homage to Poison, but I posted about my first concert here:

And man, Rhythm Nation was on my boom box ALL SUMMER that year. "People of the world today, are you looking for a better way of life? SING!"

Wendy Toliver said...

Hey Steph! Yes, you were definitely missed in San Fran. I had to leave early, but the rest should be getting to their respective homes soon. I got to meet TFCers Sara, Kelly, Amanda, Teri (from a distance), and Alyson.

I was trying to recall my first concert. I think it might have been L.L. Cool J. (sp?) Or maybe the Dead Milkmen?

Gerb said...

It wasn't my first concert, but I've been humiliated at concerts, as well. In college, they had a concert after the homecoming game - which went into double overtime - so it was pretty late. My date had managed to get third-row seats to this concert. And I fell asleep during it! Smooooth.

Alyson Noel said...

Okay, here goes:
It was Foreigner. My friend bought me tickets for my b-day which was sooo incredibly sweet. Really good seats too!
The second concert was Missing Persons and Bow Wow Wow- Anabella Lwin was like 14 and completely AMAZING!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

I love all these concert stories! Thanks for sharing you guys! And I really hope next year I can meet everyone at RWA!

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