Thanks to my parents, I LOVED music from before I even knew of myself. There was music sung or played in our home every day. When I was old enough to learn how, I played music on the record or cassette player or would tune in to the local radio station and just jam! No matter who was around, music was playing and I was singing and dancing…
The first concert I remember going to, I must have been 8 or 9 years old. It was the pre-war era in former Yugoslavia and I had big dreams of a solo singing career and a wild imagination. It was a warm sunny autumn day and, thanks to a radio station announcement, I found out that one of my favourite bands was going to perform that evening in our town . I was willing to do anything for my parents to let me go. I remember there was a money issue my parents discussed and my dad was against me going (I think it had something to do with my age). But I just had to go as I was to be ‘discovered’ that night! I am sure that my then talent to produce tears quickly was utilized along with the well practiced pout.
Now I don’t remember the details (of who talked to whom, how we left the house or how anyone else felt about it) but I do remember my mom and I walking to the arena where the concert was to be held. I had the cassette cover of the band’s album in my pocket as I knew that I was going to get an autograph from the cute lead singer of the group. (This speaks to the faith and dreams of children which we should never lose. It also speaks of an era – do YOU remember having cassettes?) I don’t think mama or I knew how much this really meant to me nor how much it would affect me later on in life, but I do know that she was just as excited as I was!
After purchasing our tickets, we made our way through the massive crowd and finally entered the large gates of the arena. We found some space on the wooden benches and after we sat down, I felt like I was a grown-up. I mean, I was sitting amongst them all and I was at a concert! I sat up tall so that I could see the stage well and also to make my self better seen by these scouts who were to ‘discover’ me.
The band entered the stage and the concert started. Hearing live music…I was in awe. I was moved from within as my audio and visual senses were stimulated. I felt a little light-headed but that could have been because it was hot sitting next to all those people and I was overwhelmed by the energy and the smell of the crowd. I watched the musicians play their instruments and could now see and hear their talent for myself. I could feel each note that blasted through the large speakers in the middle of the arena (our seats were vibrating!); and I appreciated the way that these talented men moved, danced and sang together. It was magical.
I knew all the words and my mom and I sang along with the band. I, of course, knew that each band member saw and noticed me amongst the few thousand fans who were there. How could they not?! I was one of the youngest people there and my mom the prettiest!
After a couple of hours of pure goodness, the concert had come to an end. It was time to get my autograph! Except that I was too little to fight through the crowd which surrounded the band so mama did that for me. With the cassette cover in one hand and a tight grip on my own hand in the other, she walked up to a band member and said “Will you please sign this for my daughter?”. I know he replied with an “I’m sorry ma’am, I don’t have a pen.” but somehow a pen appeared and these men took turns signing my cassette cover as my heart filled with joy. My mom did all of that. As for my singing career which was to begin that night…although my body moved and I smiled, I had lost my voice! In a quick second I went from a girl who was going to sing and be signed on the spot for her talent, to a complete mute! (In retrospect, it was probably a good thing I kept my mouth shut. Not all of us possess the talent of voice with which to sing in public.) I remember waving to these lovely men as they walked away and exited the building and I remember thinking “Nothing beats live music!”.
That magical evening, thanks to my mom, is when the concert goer in me was born. With my little hand safely held in hers, and the very special cassette cover in my pocket, we walked home with smiles on our faces and our spirits lifted, excited to tell everyone about it.