Do you remember your first concert?
In my line of work it’s a question that gets asked often and you ask the question just as much, maybe more.
Over Thanksgiving weekend I had the pleasure of taking my mom to a fun and adventurous concert in Hinckley, MN. One of my new favorites, up and coming country act Dustin Lynch was playing for what he said “was his first sold out crowd” and it was an exciting concert. He’s got a deep voice that will make you melt but it takes me back to old school country. The country I grew up on, the music that made me fall in love with country.
To me there is no one quite as legendary and as country as the one, the only Mr. George Strait. He was my FIRST concert and I still remember it vividly to this day. But let me share the story of how I got there…
The excitement I felt when I heard that George Strait was coming to the Fargodome March 7, 1997, can not even be put into words. Anyone who has experienced seeing their favorite act live in concert has a good idea of what I’m talking about. All I could think at that time, was there is no way I could fathom missing this concert. Me going had to happen, not that I could drive myself, but I’d find a way.
Keep in mind, these were the days before we could buy tickets on the internet, you either stood in line at the venue to buy them or you called Ticketmaster on the phone, and not a cell phone, a land line. Day the tickets went on sale we were an hour out of Fargo in the country trying to get through on the line to buy tickets immediately, sadly my world came crashing down around me, as it does when you are 15, when tickets sold in a record 38 minutes. 38 MINUTES, tickets gone, none to be found and my hopes of seeing him vanished. It wasn’t meant to be.
It was a couple days later I happened to be listening to a popular country station and I heard mention that they had tickets to the SOLD OUT George Strait concert and the only thought in my mind was I HAD to win. Being in radio at this time I did not understand back then how difficult and rare it can be to actually win a contest this big in radio. Perhaps that’s a good thing or I never would have tried and what happens next never would have happened.
Woke up on a Wednesday morning to get ready for school and looked outside to see an incredible amount of snow, today was going to be a snow day. It was after all the winter of ’96-’97 which later turned to the flood of 1997, but I digress. It was six in the morning, I saw all the snow I didn’t go back to bed, I knew today was going to be MY day, I was on a George Strait-up mission. Glued to the radio that day I wrote a poem, made several calls, and pretty much embarrassed myself anyway possible to try and win these tickets with absolutely no luck.
It was at about 4:10 in the afternoon when it was yet again time to call and be the 102nd caller, or something ridiculous like that, but it upped my chances to get through from the country, where we lived. Grab the phone to dial and to my dismay mom was on the phone with a friend, how could this be happening??? Ran to mom and begged to try and call and she laughed but like the wonderful mother she is, she got off saying she’d call back soon with a roll to her eye, knowing there wasn’t a chance in you know what that’d I get through.
Well she was wrong, I got through…I was caller 33, then I was caller 77 and then I dialed once more watching all chances slipping through my fingers and it rang once more. And it rang and it rang and it rang, for what felt at the time forever. Then to my shock, someone answered and asked “who’s this?” Somehow I sputtered out ‘this is Megan’…all at the same time to my horror, my mom picked up the phone and asked if I was “done” yet – I remember through clenched teeth telling my mom “not yet”, she got off and the next thing I hear is the radio dj telling me I’m the correct caller and that I would be going to see George Strait. Scream I did, at the same time my mom made it to my room asking if I had won, figuring yes from my screaming she began yelling she’s coming with, I couldn’t drive yet so that was a given, but I couldn’t believe I had won. Laughing at myself now, we were a radio phone call dream, making excited fools of ourselves…the rest is a bit of a blur but I had won and I was going to my first concert and it was to George Strait!
Later that day I was offered upwards to $350 for my tickets by neighbors who had heard me on the radio, which as tempting as it sounds, would never happen. There wasn’t enough money at that time to buy those tickets from me.
A few months later as planned mom and I went to see the Country Legend himself singing to the soldout crowd of 27,000 people in the Fargodome and he performed in the round with his guitar and band. There was no glitz, no glam it was just him, his guitar and his music and it was the greatest thing I had ever experienced. His cool, deep and collected voice was everything I had hoped for and more, it was perfect sounding. Mom and I had a blast, sang along to every single song and I look back at it now and am so grateful I got to experience that with her.
The way I got to experience another great act with her, when we saw Dustin Lynch, who coincidentally is inspired by George Strait. It’s building memories and sharing time with the ones we love that really make the whole experience that more enjoyable and unforgettable. Mom turned and thanked me and said you could have taken much more exciting people to this I’m sure but thank you for taking me. I couldn’t imagine sharing some of these memories with anyone else but her because she’s the one who introduced me to Country Music, she’s the one I should be thanking for not only making me a lover of the music but for helping me find a passion with it and having a career within it on the radio. It’s another memory I’ll never forget and the best part I got to experience it this time with my Red Sparkly Boots!