The first concert I ever went to was Huey Lewis and the News. My favorite thing in the world was sports, and Huey had an album called, well, "Sports".
And for some reason, members of the San Francisco 49ers would go on stage with the band during their shows. Since the Niners were/are my favorite team, this seemed pretty awesome. And I have no idea why but it didn't even seem that strange at the time. It's like, "Cool! They're doing 'Heart of Rock N' Roll' and linebacker Ricky Ellison is playing the bongos!"
The second concert I ever went to was headlined by MC Hammer. But I was really there for the middle act, which was a new group called Boyz II Men. I remember getting to the arena in Oakland, and inside it was maybe a third full, and the opener was just finishing up their last song. It was TLC, and no one gave a shit.
The third concert I ever went to was Bell Biv Devoe. The opener was Johnny Gill, and the second act was Keith Sweat.
At the close of the show, BBD brought out a basketball hoop. Music and sports! But Ricky Ellison was nowhere to be found. Anyway, after the song "Poison" was all but wrapped up, Bell, or was it Devoe? threw up what amounted to a half court shot and hit nothing but net. I thought it was just about the most amazing thing I'd ever seen.
A year later I saw them again in San Diego. Again, the basketball hoop came out. But this time, about 10 bricks followed. See? It really had been amazing!
Well last night, exactly 20 years later, I went to see BBD at the House of Blues. My life has come full circle.
The crowd was great. Before BBD went onstage, the DJ warmed us up with some EPMD, Bobby Brown, Mary J. Blige, Naughty By Nature, and even some Another Bad Creation. Every time a new song came on, there was an audible "awwww shit". As in, "aw shit, that's my jam". These were my people.
Finally, BBD came on. They opened with the song "Dope", just as they did in 1990. There was a tiny black woman next to me (most of the black women there could not be described as "tiny"), and at one point, during "Do Me", we were doing the "Do Me" dance from the video in unison. To the left, then to the right, then to the left again. It had to be what Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind.
But then an annoying Asian lady next to me couldn't do it and crashed into me - she went left as we were going right - causing me to ruin my flow with the tiny Black Lady, and I imagined her disappointment as she chalked me up to just another white dude.
The great thing about the House of Blues is that there are no seats. It is standing room only, and you can get as close to the stage as you can push yourself to. I also learned that this can be a bad thing.
Because 20 years ago, my seats were way far away on the 2nd deck. But last night, I was right up in Ricky Bell's grill. And it made me very self conscious. Why?
Well, because I am literally 10 feet away from them. So as Michael Bivins is singing "the time was 6:00 on the Swatch watch...", I am singing "the time was 6:00 on the Swatch watch..." and the dude is looking RIGHT AT ME!
We're making eye contact over this gay song. And I start thinking about what he must be thinking about. Namely, look at this 34 year old dork singing about Swatch watches! It was a strange and slightly humiliating experience, for the both of us.
But it was a great show. In fact, it was nearly identical to the show they did way back when. I think the song order was even the same. Of course, one thing was different - they no longer have the budget for the basketball hoop routine.