June 6, 2023

June 6, 1983: The Kinks, New Haven, CT

June 6, 1983: The Kinks, New Haven, CT

“What was your first concert?”

Whenever people I know answer that question, there is usually either some kind of embarrassment or a boastful pride. No one I have met has ever had the same answer as me.  

This was my first concert. Not the first concert I ever saw, but my first rock  concert, the first concert I saw that I chose to see. You know what I mean.

I have gotten a lot of mileage out of the fact that such a seminally cool band was my first concert, as though I was an in-the-know 11-year-old little hipster. Truth is, I was never really that cool or in the know, I have just always liked what I like and despite being self-conscious in most other matters, always felt pretty confident about my musical tastes. Plus, The Kinks were on a bit of a mainstream run in the early 80s. They were not afraid to make music videos with just enough narrative and MTV rewarded them with the gift of exposure. It was not like I was trolling the underground. 

One thing that was kind of funny about the show was that they kept teasing “Lola” – maybe 2 or 3 times – but instead of playing it, would stop and tear into something else until late in the show when they finally provided the payoff and played the song in its entirety. Good schtick.

I have ticket stubs and other mementoes for hundreds of the concerts I have seen in the 40 years since this one, and while I remember exactly what the stub looked like, can still visualize the stage from the vantage point of where I sat, and recall the fact that I was in Section Two of the old New Haven Coliseum, I have no souvenirs. I bought a tour shirt which I lost within a week and that ticket stub is long, long gone. After years of Google searches I did find the backstage pass pictured here.

The opening act was a band named Sheriff, from Canada. They had something of a hit, called, “When I’m With You”. It represents the worst of what the 80s had to offer. So bad is was a hit twice.

Something else I remember was that this was a school night, a Monday. I was in sixth grade. It was the final weeks of elementary school. Right on the cusp. The weather had changed, it was already warm in New England. I remember all of those things. I even remember how I lost that tour shirt in the days right after the show.

This concert was not the start of my lifelong affair with music, that began several years earlier, but it was the start of my connection with the live experience, something I get incredibly energized about to this day.