First Show: This may not have been my first first show, but its the first I remember. It was summer in Northern Jersey and I was 7 or 8. Near my home was an open air historic museum/historic reenactment locations called Waterloo Village. Wikipedia has just recently informed me that it has been shut down for the past few years. Anyway, it was a local field trip common for elementary grades in the area, there was a section that was historic 1800s canal town and a section dedicated to the lives of the Lenape Indians. On this particular summer night, however, my parents showed me a Waterloo Village completely different than being forced to take turns grinding corn with stones. I don’t remember the name of the group, but they were a Beatles cover band. As my parents graduated college in 72, I had grown up with the Beatles, so even though this wasn’t them it was the first time I remember realizing how different music was live versus on a record. The main part that has stuck with me was the overwhelming heat of the summer night in a jammed crowd, coupled with my little body just refused to stop dancing as long as that live music continued to play.
Worst Show: During high school a group of friends and I frequented the various North West Jersey punk shows of the time, many of which took place in church owned buildings. One location, “The Lyceum” attached to a church in Franklin, NJ (Sussex County) in the middle of no where. This was an ordinary night in January. One of the favorite bands, Paulson, was playing the show, they played the location usually 1-2 times a month. My friend and I were just 15 or 16, so we were dropped off while parents went to have a night out. At this particular show things were much more packed because last minute a local band that was soon leaving for a national tour was going to play. This band, Tokyo Rose, was not very good in my mind, but they had gained some notoriety and as such they really packed people in this little church building. One thing led to another and a mosh pit during Tokyo Rose’s set caused a kid to have a badly broken nose. When the emergency vehicles came they very easily ascertained that we were way over the occupancy rate for that tiny building and shut the show down. Now this location was in the middle of no where, the closest non-residential thing was an Arby’s about a mile away along was was then an icy cliff side road. Hanging out at the Arby’s turned out to be a fun time with all the other rideless high schoolers, however the show remains the worst. Not only did we not get to see our favorite band that night, but also The Lyceum was shut down as a venue, ending the glory years of local punk in Sussex for my mini generation.
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