First Show: Like Rahnia, I went to a lot of shows as a kid. My dad wasn’t a musician, but he was a music loving Deadhead, so live music and festivals were a big part of my childhood. The first show that I remember was Michelle Shocked at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. I was about six years old, and I loved Michelle Shocked (My Top 5 Artists at Six Years Old: They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Michelle Shocked, The Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, and whoever wrote that song about sandwiches). My favorite Michelle Shocked song was the one about making jam, because every summer my mom and I picked the raspberries that grew wild all over Baltimore County and tried to make jam, and every summer our jam experiment failed. We had a lot of sticky, too sweet raspberry syrup that we ate on frozen waffles for a few weeks and then discarded.
I remember everyone being really happy about Clinton. I thought Clinton was cool because he played the saxophone, and because he wasn’t George Bush, who I had a reoccurring nightmare about involving me getting shipped to the White House and him giving me a series of vaccinations. There were a lot of chalk drawings on the sidewalk and the show was in a big tent. I sang along to a lot of her songs and I kept asking my dad if she was going to sing the one about jam.
Worst Show: When I was about 20, I saw The Raconteurs and Bob Dylan play at the Patriot Center in Virginia with my friend Noura. We got stuck in unbelievable traffic and by the time we got to the venue, the Raconteurs were half way through their last song of the night. Noura, who was really in it for the Raconteurs, was depressed. I was still excited to see Dylan, until I actually saw Dylan, and then I didn’t listen to Dylan for the next year or so because the show was so awful. It was like watching an SNL actor do a bad Dylan impression. I couldn’t understand a word he said, and he looked like the Crypt Keeper. Neither of us had eaten in hours, so the highlight of that show ended up being a basket of chicken fingers that we bought before Dylan got started.