September 16, 1999. The first rock band I ever fell in love with–Cheap Trick–was headlining Avalon in Boston. And I was in the crowd.
We all have our first favorite bands: the bands we discovered on our own for the most part, without the aid of a parent or a cool older sibling’s record collection. Cheap Trick was that band for me. I happened upon the band performing live on MTV in the late 80s, spent my paper route tip money on cassette copies of One On One and Lap Of Luxury, and I was hooked. They were my first favorite band. And Rick Nielsen is still one of my all-time favorite axemen, with his insane five-neck guitar.
In time, they’d cede that title to the Ramones (middle school), who would in turn give way to the Smashing Pumpkins (high school), followed by Guided By Voices (college). So imagine my joy when, fresh out of Northeastern, I caught wind of Cheap Trick headlining Avalon on Lansdowne Street…with Dayton’s own indie darlings Guided By Voices opening. I couldn’t snatch up a ticket fast enough.
And the show delivered. My favorite band of the time played over two-dozen songs, shouting out Cheap Trick repeatedly as they got progressively drunker (if you’ve ever been to a GBV show, you know that’s always how it goes). By the time Cheap Trick took the stage, the sold-out crowd was amped and so was I. My first favorite band brought the hits, even throwing in a Fats Domino cover for good measure.