Do you remember the first gig you went to? I started going to local gigs to see punk and indie bands from the age of 13, but I didn’t go to my first concert until December 1982 and that was to see The Kinks and The Truth.
Whilst having a sort out in my loft recently, I came across an old school project where I wrote about what I had done over the Christmas holiday. I wrote about My First Concert.
I thought this might interest some of you and decided to share it here. Bear in mind it’s written by a fifteen year old school girl, but I think you can get the excitement that I felt. Looking back, I don’t think my creative writing was too bad at all, and I must have been well ahead of my time as there’s even an element of SEO in there. 😂 I hope you enjoy reading this. I could have edited it to read better, but my first concert was an important part of my youth and I didn’t want to change it.
My First Concert – The Kinks December 1982 Guildford Civic Hall
[School project dated 4th January 1983]
December 20th, 1982 was a very memorable day in my life. I went to see The Kinks at the Guildford Civic Hall. It was extra special because it was my first concert.
I had been meaning to go to concerts for the latter part of 1981 and 1982. Something had always gone wrong: we could not get tickets or the trains stopped at half past ten and the concert would end at half past eleven.
This time everything seemed to go well right from the start and there was nothing that could go wrong: tickets were easily obtainable as we only had to travel to Aldershot to buy them, and there were plenty left; the actual concert was being held reasonably near to our home town, and travelling by train was easy. Due to this fact, we could get a lift home from the station by our parents as they would not have to go out of their way to pick us up.
I felt excited just holding the tickets in my hand. Knowing that I was actually going to go to my first concert at last, and thinking about the people who would be there. As The Kinks are very popular with mods, we were likely to meet people who have the same taste in dress and music as ourselves.
The day soon came and the Christmas season was rapidly brightening up. Excitement was welling up inside me. The day could not go quickly enough, but we spent it wandering around town expressing our feelings to every person that we met. We yelled at every passing friend “We are going to see The Kinks tonight!”
The train was delayed and we were worried about getting there in time. We reached Guildford station at half past seven which was the time the concert was starting. We asked for directions to the Civic Hall from a local boy and made a fast walk to our destination. We were not too late as the support group had not even started, and there didn’t seem to be that many people there.
Once the support group had been on, the atmosphere got better and better. There were more people now, and we had managed to push our way right to the front of the stage with no-one in front of us to block our view. The fans were singing and shouting “The Kinks, The Kinks”.
The Kinks soon came on, the crowd cheered and started bouncing around. Space had become limited. The group of mods that we had been chatting to in the interval between The Truth and The Kinks started to shout out “David Watts”, so we joined in with them. (David Watts is the title of one of their songs.)
After a while The Kinks played it and dedicated it to The Jam who had recently split up – the Jam had released it a few years back. This made the crowd go wild, as nearly everyone there seemed to be a Jam fan.
During one of their songs Ray Davies, the lead singer encouraged the fans to clap their hands in the air. We did this and suddenly Ray came over and grabbed my hand. When we had walked back to his original position, I looked at my friends in amazement. I could not believe my luck. For the rest of the concert, I was in a total daze staring at my new found idol, while my two friends stared at his brother, Dave Davies, who was strumming at his guitar in front of us.
When the concert ended, after numerous encores, our new mod friends came back over. We all went to McDonald’s to have a drink. On the way there we chatted about the best parts of the concert and sang lines from the songs that we knew.
We left the mods at about eleven o’clock and made our way back to the station to meet my friend’s mum. The chat was totally fixed on The Kinks and this was the case for a couple of days afterwards.
That evening certainly brightened up the year and made me look forward to Christmas more. I didn’t really care before whether Christmas came or not, there doesn’t seem to be any excitement in Christmas anymore. However, on Christmas morning as I dragged myself downstairs to open my presents, I had a nice surprise – A Kinks album!
Where and when was your first concert? Who did you go and see?
The Jam had already played their last concert at the Guildford Civic Hall earlier that month. It was a gig that I really wanted to go to, but we couldn’t get advance tickets and none of my friends wanted to take the chance of going without one. It turned out there were loads being sold by ticket touts by the venue.
This concert in December 1982 was part of the “Come Dancing” tour with the single being released around the same time. It was rereleased the following summer when it became a hit making it into the UK Top UK and US charts. I saw The Kinks once more a year or two later. It was at the Hammersmith Odeon with The Pretenders if I remember right.
The Truth were the support band and became a firm favourite that I would go and see time and time again. I used to have a concert diary from all the times that I went to see The Truth – I wish I’d have kept that. I loved that band and I even made some graphics for my first scooter as a tribute to The Truth. I kept some of my old photos though, and was chuffed to bits when decades later, my photos were used on the CD booklet of a new album release. I got to relive my childhood moments when I went to see them a couple of years ago in Worthing. It wasn’t quite the same as the sweaty gigs at The Marquee in Wardour Street, but my inner teenage girl made an appearance once more. 😊
I’m still enjoying going to see live music and usually manage to get right to the front. A place I’ve claimed for the last 40 years. Being short does have some advantages. 😂
I still don’t like Christmas.