Music Makes My World Go ‘Round

Sitting with my brother at Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock tour about six years ago at the Electric Factory,sipping on Mount Gay and pineapple, I was suddenly transported to a different era. Damian launched into his own rendition of “Exodus”, and for a moment it was if the legendary reggae performer (and one of my all-time favorites) was on stage. He sounded exactly like his father, Bob. In that moment I decided I would be traveling down to Baltimore the next night to keep this feeling going. Music moves me like that.

Since 1975 I have been to an average of 40-50 shows a year. I just can’t stop chasing the buzz. Almost 35 years have passed, but Pink Floyd’s The Animals Tour at the Spectrum is still number one on my list.

It was the summer of 1977. I was going into 10th grade and it was quite a carefree time. For the first time ever my mother didn’t make me go to camp, so I was on my own. I would meet my friend Betsy most mornings at General Wayne Park where we smoked cigarettes and hung out counting down the days until the show. Dark Side of the Moon had been on the charts for years and Wish you Were Here was constantly on my turntable. With the release of Animals, I couldn’t have been more excited. The show was simply amazing. It was one of the first to use a video screen, but most people only remember the giant pig that floated overhead throughout the show. I floated too.

The Pink Floyd Spectrum concert in the summer of  ’77 featured a giant floating pig – See if you can spot the one on this album cover.

Image of recent flying Pink Floyd Pig

Image of more recent flying Pink Floyd Pig

Later that summer my brother and I went down to Miami to stay with my father as we did every summer. AC/DC was playing at the Hollywood Sportatorium, a convenient 10 minutes from dad’s place. Not so convenient was the fact that unless I agreed to bring my younger brother along, the show would be a no go. Chris, who wasn’t quite 11, was not interested at all. After days of bribing him he finally gave in. Years later when his friends were just discovering AC/DC, he would brag about how he saw the band in Miami when Bon Scott was still alive. I can still see Scott sitting on Angus Young’s shoulders galloping through the arena and into the crowd. My heart raced.

And then it broke.

In 1982 JFK Stadium held a multi-billed concert like never before: Santana, The Clash, with local band The Hooters opening, and The Who in what was billed as their “farewell” tour. Today we call them “music fests” with a corporate nametag. Although I was a big fan of Santana and The Who, I came to see The Clash. They had recently gone mainstream thanks to MTV and the video for “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” I wanted to see if they still had their punk edge. They ended up getting booed off the stage. Philly fans can be as tough on their music as they are on their sports teams. Still, every time I hear “This Is Radio Clash” or “The Magnificent Seven,” my soul stirs.

My son Cody has inherited much of this same passion for music. And while I still chase the buzz, I sometimes let him lead. It was Cody who urged me to get tickets for Damian Marley & NAS at the House of Blues in the summer of 2009. A great show made even more special because NAS would announce that he and Damian were in the studio and set to release a joint album together. We were overcome with anticipation.

In November 2010 the magic struck again. This time it was Roger Waters and The Wall tour at the Wachovia. Just minutes into the first song I knew I would have to go back and bring my kids. Sadly Cody couldn’t go (due to a wrestling meet, his other passion) and I had to talk my daughter Julia into coming. She too became immediately transfixed, so much so that she didn’t hear me mention the spring tour in Italy. Like I said, music moves me.

This blog post originally appeared in the Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch….