Robert Plant: 7/14/88

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This is an example of a great concert where I did not have a really great time. I was originally planning to go to this show with my then girlfriend, Julie. But something came up and she could not go. Instead, she insisted that I take her mother instead. I knew this was not a good idea, but she was insistent and I decided to give it a go.

To say I was uncomfortable is an understatement. I was certain that this woman was scrutinizing and judging me. Still, I was going to try my best to enjoy myself and the concert.

Cheap Trick was the opening act, and I do love Cheap Trick. Our seats were toward the back of the arena, but we still had a decent view of the stage. As the band tore through their set, I got more and more excited. Finally, in a fit of rock and roll enthusiasm, I stood up and screamed “California Man!” wanting to hear my favorite Cheap Trick song. My girlfriend’s mom looked at me with what seemed a blend of pity and disdain, and then said, “Do you really think they can hear you?” I felt crushed, but only for a moment, because they immediately broke in to “California Man” and vindicated me. I looked back down at the mom with a smug smile on my face.

The rest of the show was less eventful, thankfully. Robert Plant was great, as always. His set was mostly solo material, but he did perform a few Led Zeppelin tunes, the best being “Trampled Under Foot.”

Anyway, I survived the ordeal, and vowed never to make that mistake again.

Jimmy Page: 9/8/1988

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Let me start by saying, as a guitarist, I have been inspired and awed by the great Jimmy Page. He has the mystique, the skill, and the style that earns him a spot as a guitar god. So, when I saw that he was performing at the James L. Knight Center in Miami (a small venue), there wasn’t even a question as to whether or not I was going. I was there!

I went with my good friend Craig. We got to the show early since it was general admission and we had decided to get as close as possible to the stage. And close we got. But alas, there was a problem. As Page and his band came on stage, it began to get crushing up front. After being up front for a nice part of the show (which included an awesome version of “Over the Hills and Far Away”), Craig and I decided we should move back so we could enjoy the rest of the show without being squashed.

Craig looked at the mass of people and yelled into my ear: “How the fuck are we going to get through that?”

I looked at the impenetrable sea of rockers and thought for a minute. Then I had an idea. “Follow me!” I yelled back at him.

I then put my hand over my mouth and pretended to wretch, acting like I was struggling to hold back projectile vomit. The sea of people parted before me like I was Moses at the Red Sea. It was beautiful! Never underestimate how quickly people will move out of your way when they think you are going to throw up on them. We cleared the crush and laughed heartily as we found a nice relaxing spot to sit and enjoy the rest of the concert.

A couple highlights about this show that are worth mentioning. Page played an amazing version of “In My Time of Dying” which featured some really eerie slide guitar playing. Then, for the encore, Page brought out the classic double-neck guitar and played an instrumental version of “Stairway to Heaven” to which everyone in the theater sang along. It was the perfect way to close a fantastic night of rock and roll.

This was not the first time I saw Page in concert, nor would it be the last, but it was a really cool show and one that stands out in my memory of concerts.