Just watched Tig Notaro’s new special and she does a really funny bit about the Indigo Girls and it reminded me of my first and best concert experience.
There wasn’t a lot of access to great music as a rural Southern kid. The local rock station, 102.9 KISS FM, was real heavy on Def Leppard and Guns ‘n’ Roses. Me and a few kids traded tapes that we recorded of music we found, and when the Indigo Girls hit, it was huge. Note that I had never met an out gay person in my life, nor even been informed that they existed. (Seriously, I can’t believe this was true, but I didn’t know about gay people until I was 15.)
I got my youngest aunt and uncle, who were pretty hip and lived near Atlanta so they knew who the Indigo Girls were, to take me to see them at the Fox Theatre, which is the most beautiful theatre. I’ve only been there once 26 years ago and I still think about its ceiling.
We got there and there was an opening band, also something I didn’t know about. The opening band was a punk band called Lay Quiet Awhile. Their lead singer, Danielle Howle, was amazing. She sang and shrieked and stage dove into the crowd and my mind was blown to shreds. This was the first punk music I’d heard and it slayed. I became an opening band man that night.
And then the Indigo Girls played and it was as amazing as you might imagine. Besides seeing the best show I’ve ever seen, I remember three things from that night. I found out about gay people. I’m still thankful that I found out there instead of at church. I remember that while I was in the men’s room at a urinal, a group of women ran into it declaring they were “liberating it for their use” and I was beyond terrified. And I remember this guy sitting right in front of me who kept trying to make out with his girlfriend and getting shut down so hard.