Best in Show: The Chicks Share their First Concerts

From gospel to alternative rock heard in everything from auditoriums to Central Park, the Chicks share their first—and favorite—live music memories!

 Ellen Byron


I honestly don’t remember my very first concert, but when I was around twelve, they had free concerts in Central Park during the summer and my mother, bless her heart, took me to some. I remember seeing Tina Turner once, and Judy Collins another time. What I remember most vividly, though, is the setting – twilight turning into nighttime, illuminating the New York City skyline behind the park and the outdoor Delacorte Theater. Later, when I lived in the city and would go see Shakespeare in the Park, I still reveled in the magic of NYC’s “golden hour.”

Vickie Fee


The first concerts I went to were gospel singings, featuring Southern gospel quartets. My parents would pack up us kids and take us along to the old Ellis Auditorium in downtown Memphis. (I still have a soft spot for tight four-part harmony). I think the first concert my sister and I went to sans parents was Barry Manilow. It was especially memorable because our friend Karen camped out to buy tickets and scored us floor seats about 12 rows from the stage! We stood up most of the concert, danced to Copacabana—“she would merengue and do the cha-cha.” We even rushed the stage a couple of times! (Okay, I can hear some of you giggling from here.)

Kellye Garrett


Before there was One Direction and Backstreet Boys—and after there was Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and the Jackson 5—there was Menudo. Menudo was a boy band known for it’s catchy Latin Pop music and kicking members out as soon as they finished puberty. (Don’t worry, there was always a pre-pubescent replacement  waiting in the wings.) They were the group that brought us Ricky Martin. They were also my first concert. Like many teenagers in 1984, my older sister was obsessed with them, which meant my little bro and I were obsessed with them by default. So much so that my poor parents made the trek to Madison Square Garden for Menudo’s first U.S. tour. Our seats were so high that Charlie, Robby, Ricky, Roy and, my personal fave, Ray, were nothing more than specks. Not to mention, I didn’t speak Spanish. I didn’t care. At all. I was in the same (very big) room as Menudo!

Marla Cooper

CotC Marla Cooper

My first concert was Styx, and it was so long ago I barely remember it. But I loved the song “Best of Times” and I’m sure that was the highlight of the evening. My favorite concert? Hmmm… Well, there are three that really stand out. The first was an obscure new wave band called The Judy’s that was like Austin’s version of Devo. The second was when I saw Elvis Costello at an outdoor venue surrounded by enormous oak trees, and it was perfection. And the third was seeing Lyle Lovett at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA, which may be the world’s loveliest venue, with outdoor seating, gorgeous weather, and, of course, WINE!

Cynthia Kuhn

cynthiaThe first real concert I ever attended was Billy Squier and Foreigner at the downtown Rochester War Memorial with my boyfriend (now husband, yay).  It is so hard to choose a favorite concert, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but the nominees are as follows: (1) The Police/The Fixx/A Flock of Seagulls, (2) David Johansen/The Clash/The Who, (3) Heart/Cheap Trick/Journey, (4) REM, (5) Sting, (6) The Thompson Twins, (7) Supertramp. Annnnnnd now I’m going to put on some old songs and dance around. #somanymemories

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

My first concert? Chicago, in the nosebleed section at the decrepit New Haven Coliseum. It was also one of my first official “dates”– a good drive from home (my parents liked the guy a lot more than my other boyfriend). We were surrounded by a haze of late-70s pot smoke but my most vivid memory is that someone OD’d in the row in front of us and had to be stretchered out of there down some very steep, concrete steps. I was horrified. Since then, I think I’ve been to every kind of concert, from blues to jazz to country to punk to pop to all levels of rock. Most memorable? The Boss, The Cure, Taylor Swift, U2, They Might Be Giants, and Old Crow Medicine Show. My all-time most memorable concert was probably at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, where my husband and I got engaged–but I can’t remember who was playing. Tom Petty? In any case, right now I’m agitating to see The Beach Boys at the shore in August. My husband flatly refuses to attend that one (he even tried to hide the existence of the new Sirius Beach Boys channel from me on our last road trip), so I’m looking for a new date. Ladies????


Readers, drop us a note in the comments below! What was your first concert? Your favorite? 

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31 thoughts on “Best in Show: The Chicks Share their First Concerts

  1. My oldest sister wins the prize for best first concert — The Beatles in Dallas. My Mom surprised her with tickets for her birthday. My first concert was The Moody Blues, and it was electrifying. I’ve also seen Jimmy Buffett (would love to be a part of the Coral Reefer Band!), The Drifters, Al Jarreau, REM, Martina McBride, The Hughes Corporation (they sang “Rock the Boat”), the Wiggles (does that count?), and Bonnie Raitt. I would have loved to have gone to a Duran Duran or Wham! concert back in the ’80’s. My favorite was Bonnie Raitt because I saw her at the Royal Albert Hall in London when visiting a friend there.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Some great concerts, Celia! Wish I’d seen The Beatles and I still hope to see Martina in person. I did get to see Paul McCartney and Wings!


    2. Wowza! What a cool list. I haven’t seen the Wiggles but I did see Raffi once. He looked miserable with all those screaming kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think my first concert was Don Francisco. I know, I know, you are all going who? He’s a Christian singer who was very popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s. By the time I saw him in the late 80’s, his star was no longer on the rise, but it was still great. Or maybe it was Sandi Patty? Actually, now that I think about it, it probably was Sandi Patty.

    My favorite has to be with the band Downhere. I miss them terribly. And they introduced me to the music of Jason Gray, one of my favorites today, when he opened for them at a concert.

    Concert I most wish I could have attended? Jason Gray and Josh Wilson. I love both of their music, so them touring together would have been great. But alas, they didn’t come further south than Sacramento, and I couldn’t make that drive for a Monday night concert. Stupid work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I should mentioned at a different Downhere concert, I met a friend of mine who even agreed to do Tough Mudder with me. (The only mud runs he’s ever done.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Mark, I’ll be honest. I don’t recognize a single name you mentioned. But now I’m off to Youtube to look them all up.Thanks for introducing me to some new musical talent!


        1. These are all Christian artists, which is why you probably have never heard of them.

          And someone I know has reviewed them all (some more than others) on his blog. 🙂


    2. Mark, I had a Don Francisco album, but never saw him perform. I have seen Sandi Patti a couple of times — she can really hit those high notes!!


      1. Her voice is amazing.

        Don Francisco came to Santa Rosa several years in a row, and my whole family would go see him.


  3. I left out my favorite concert! I’ve seen some great ones, from Yes to Stevie Wonder to the Kinks, but I’ll go with KC & The Sunshine Band. It wasn’t really a concert, they were at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. I went alone because my husband isn’t a disco fan – he still can’t believe he married someone once known as the Disco Queen. I was six months pregnant and danced so much I almost shook Eliza out of me onto the club floor!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My first concert was Neil Diamond at CMU in Mt. Pleasant, MI. I always tell my older daughter that it was HER first concert, as well, since I was pregnant for her at the time:) My favorite concerts were Battlefield Band, a Celtic group, that I heard several times in Upper Michigan. The violin solos could bring tears to your eyes…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s cute! I love Celtic music, too. One of my all-time fave groups was called Schooner Fare. They did Celtic and sea chanties. I learned to play the spoons from when they played at Tommy Makem’s Irish Pavillion in NYC. Sadly, I’ve forgotten how.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Not sure I can pick a favorite concert, but we had good seats for the Elton John/Billy Joel Piano Men tour back in the 90s — it would be pretty hard to top that!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Kellye, I remember Menudo!

    The Girl’s first concert sticks out in my memory more than mine (Keith Urban? Kenny Chesney before he was doing stadium shows? I don’t remember.). I took her to see Taylor Swift when she was 8 or 9. Again, before Taylor became a big stadium act. She played the old Civic Arena in Pittsburgh (the Igloo, where the Penguins used to play before they tore it down).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My daughter and I caught her 1989 Tour a couple years ago at the Meadowlands. SO good, even though she was a much bigger name for that one. Definitely a feel-good deal for multi generations (and even boyfriends, little brothers, and dads).

      Liked by 2 people

  7. My first concert? Embarrassment city. Neil Diamond when I was 17, with my father, the Marine.
    Favorite concert? Barry Manilow in August 2010. Only concert out of Vegas that year. I almost had to cancel the hotel, tickets everything because of a problem at work. Was so upset. But “Looks Like I Made it!”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Cynthia I think we went to a lot of the same shows, lol. My first concert – Kiss when I was 9. My brother and his girlfriend took me. One of his friends got me a plastic rose that Gene held in his mouth. Favorite concert – that is a hard one for me. Any time I was able to see Aerosmith, I was a happy camper. (Even though the first show was a bust). The last time was a great show, bad company though. I loved seeing Metallica on their Black Album tour. One of the best shows for sure. “Nothing Else Matters” is pretty important to me, lol. Other great ones – Kansas, Jethro Tull, The Cars, Foreigner, and The Who

    Liked by 3 people

  9. My very first concert was Paul Revere and the Raiders at the Houston Coliseum in 1967, I think. I loved John Denver and was able to see him twice, when he played at Rice University in Houston,Tx.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. My first concert was Creedence Clearwater Revival. I loved going to concerts when I was younger and went to quite a few. The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Wings, Stevie Winwood, Blind Faith, Eric Clapton, The Eagles, LED Zepplin (4 times), The Who, Yes, the list goes on and on. My favorite-Jimmy Buffet or Led Zepplin.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. My first concert was Prince in 1988, the Lovesexy Tour, with Sheila E on drums. I had a pretty strict 11 PM curfew at the time so it was a big deal that I was allowed to go. That night and concert changed my life and I’ve been an avid live music fan every since.

    My favorite “concert” (after that one, which will always be my favorite), was two summers ago my husband and I went to Firefly, the four day music festival in DE. We had VIP passes and got to see Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Kaleo, Fitz & the Tantrums, Kings of Leon, Trombone Shorty and 100 other bands up close in a beautiful setting, drinking craft beer and cocktails and eating from the army of gourmet food trucks and local chefs the whole time. I’m a festival gal now. Already planning our next trip. Love this post–thanks for sharing, you guys!!


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