Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Personal History of Shows

I was looking at my YouTube channel which as grown to 482 videos, which is cool, and I realized "they're all recent, and mostly of fairly new bands."

I'm 50 years old now and I've been going to shows since my 16th birthday - Santana in the old Seattle Center Arena on the NW corner of the Seattle Center on March 13, 1977.

I didn't film or videotape anything until the most recent 5 or 6 years, and I only started doing it fairly systematically this year.

As a result I've seen plenty of shows that I wish I had gotten recorded.
Highlights include Santana 5 or 6 times, Bob Dylan 4 times, the Who 5 times, the Rolling Stones with the Clash, the Kinks 5 times, Heart 5 times, the Grateful Dead twice, Eric Clapton 3 times, and lots of one offs and obscure stuff that I loved like Romeo Void, the Fixx, Blue Oyster Cult

Oingo Boingo, Tower of Power, Supertramp, Yes, Violent Femmes, Van Halen, Black Sabbath (w/Ozzie), Don McLean, Roger McGuinn, AC/DC, Robert Plant, the Sex Pistols, Ringo & His All Star Band (the year with Seila E., Howard Jones & Greg Lake), Joan Jett, I could go on for quite a while. Let's not forget beloved local acts of decades past like Young Fresh Fellows (still around 33 years later), Mondo Vita, Allies, Red Dress, Rail, Visible Targets and dozens I've completely forgotten.

I saw plenty of bar bands when I got to be 21, but after having children in 1987 the frequency dropped off substantially.

Fifteen years later in 2002 I started taking my oldest kid to Bumbershoot and then other shows and multiple kids per show. We saw great EMP shows by Neko Case and several great Sound Off rounds and finals and one day while looking for an all ages venue I found the Vera Project. Volunteer driven sounded cool, and the 2 or 3 shows we saw there were fun. Then I got a job in Belltown and the Vera Project moved to the Seattle Center. My nephew came to visit from Klamath Falls and I wanted to entertain him with some Seattle culture so we went to see Jason Webley and check out the new Vera space at the Seattle Center. The show was awesome (including the best ghost story ever) and we all had a great time. I picked up a brochure on the way out and pretty soon I was volunteering, then I became a member. I gave lip service to doing it to support my kids, and I do take them on occasion, but for the most part I'm into it, not them. I'm a Vera member and chair the Veracity committee, booking veracity shows and cooking vegan tacos at the shows and cleaning up after, and I steer shows (assign jobs to volunteers at shows and help make sure they succeed in those jobs) and just generally enjoy the heck out of the Vera Project.

There are many more bands and venues now than when I was younger, and I'm putting effort into making it to shows and as a result I'm getting to see an amazing amount of performances this year. My "going out to shows" rate has bounced back with a vengeance and is now higher than it ever was when I was younger. I no longer use my kids as an excuse to go much; 2 out of 3 festivals and at least 4 out of 5 shows that I've been to this year were without my children. When they do go, they're going with me rather than me taking them.

My estimated rate of going to shows per year:
1977 3 shows
1978-1987 10-15 shows or so annually
1988-2003 1.5 shows annually (babies)
2004 6 shows
2005 8 shows
2006 9 shows
2007 9 shows
2008 15+ joined the Vera
2009 20+
2010 50+
2011 100+ shows

So I'm guessing I've seen 361 shows and probably 1,000 performances total. I didn't keep record and don't have a ticket collection or anything like that so the best I can do is rely on my frail memory for most of the shows I've seen. It's different this year since I blog every show I go to, and I plan to continue that (at a lower rate) from here on out.

I've blogged about 350 performances and I can vaguely recall perhaps 100 more, 150 would be a stretch, so I can recall around half (500 of 1,000) of the performances I have seen in my life. As I continue to blog about the shows I go to the total will increase and in a few years I'll recall 1000 of 1500 or even 1500 of 2000, so the percentage will slowly climb but it's going to take years.

Hmm, this has to be one of my more boring nerdish posts, better add some pictures and videos from somebody else, since I'm talking about stuff I didn't get recorded. Even with a few extraneous videos and pictures, with all the band name dropping and numbers it's still kinda lame.

Tomorrow is Reverb so I should have all kinds of video and photos of bands to post and blog about, and with any luck I'll see at least 15, reaching 365 for the year in early October. Lots of music, only dropping the names of bands I got on video tape, limited numbers, much less nerdy. Well, I still write the text so it's still somewhat nerdy, but less so than this post anyway.
reverbI hope it doesn't rain hard on Saturday, getting between venues so I can see additional acts during reverb would be more more fun in crisp dry fall weather so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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