Today, for the second time in four days, I heard Skid Row’s “18 and Life” on the radio.
That is significant for two reasons, the first being that I haven’t heard the song in at least a decade prior to this week so twice in just a few days was odd.
The song also has a special place in my heart because it reminds me of my first concert, Bon Jovi with opening act Skid Row.
To be fair, Bon Jovi wasn’t my very first concert. My mother, grandparents and I went to see Ricky Skaggs when I was in elementary school.
But it was the first concert I attended without any parents and my first “real” (i.e. big) concert.
I had just graduated from high school and my friend Lisa and I drove an hour and a half to see the band in a big, outdoor venue.
I’m not sure exactly where it was, to tell the truth. But I remember it was next to a river.
Being my first rock concert, this small town girl was a little overwhelmed by the scene at first. We stood surrounded by a huge crowd of people and it felt like everyone was just closing in.
Standing next to us was another pair of teenage girls and a mother. The mother was dressed just like the girls, too tight jeans and t-shirt, big earrings. It was obvious that she was trying to re-live her teen years. She was giggling and screaming right along with her daughter and her friend.
I remember being embarrassed for the mother at the time, but thinking back on it I just hope she was having fun.
Before Skid Row took the stage, I felt dizzy and ill. Maybe it was the excitement or the crowd or a combination of things, but as soon as the music started, I forgot all about being sick.
I wasn’t familiar with Skid Row at the time, they were a newer band, but I knew “18 and Life” from the radio and shouted the lyrics along with the rest of the crowd.
The best memory of I have of the night was when Bon Jovi took the stage. Before he (and I think the band, even) came out, the beginning of “Lay Your Hands On Me” played over the massive speakers.
The wailing guitar, the rocket launching sound effect, the duh, duh, duh, duh, dum rhythm, that vocal that sounds like a group of people yelling “hey”, words spoken over the top of it all… Can you hear it?
The crowd grew still, all eyes on the stage, the intro just washing over them, expectations building until the man himself walked out and the place exploded.
To this day, it remains the most perfect concert moment I have ever experienced.
When I heard that rather mediocre song on the radio this week, it transported me right back to that crowd, that concert, that overwhelming excitement.
Now only if it could make me 18 again.