SURREY — Everybody remembers their first concert - even if they'd really like to forget it.
"My sister took me to the Avril Lavigne and Gob concert," said Tommy Alto drummer Chartwell Kerr with a sigh of embarrassment. "I would definitely consider not going if someone asked me lately."
But despite how he currently feels about the Canadian pop-punk artists who were largely popular in the early 2000s, Kerr was inspired to pursue music as a career from that show onward.
"Just seeing how many people can go to a show and sing along and be that emotionally invested into one person just playing their instrument, it's insane how much power it has."
Kerr's bandmate, lead singer and guitarist Tom Vander Kam, recalled the first show he'd ever seen without quite as much humiliation.
"The first concert that I went to was a really, really great Vancouver band called Ninja Spy," he said. "They're reggae skacore - I can't even describe their music, but it's really, really cool.
"They just rented out Peace Arch Curling rink in White Rock. It's probably a 500-person venue if everyone's just standing, and there was maybe 40 people there, and it was the coolest thing ever. That was the first time I crowd-surfed, also."
While Vander Kam had already started performing at open-mic nights, the show strengthened his passion for live music, both as a fan and an artist.
Every musician, for better or worse, is influenced by their first concert, even if they'd already performed themselves. The members of White Rock sextet Their There had already picked up their instruments before any of them saw a concert, but they still had fond memories of their first time setting foot in a music venue.
Rhythm guitarist, pianist and co-vocalist Harley Small said, "I don't remember when it was, but it was Maroon 5 and I went because my mom and my sister got tickets and I just wanted to go to a concert, so I went to that."
"In 2006, me and (drummer) Jess (Desrochers) went to Bob Dylan together, and Kings of Leon opened," said lead guitarist and co-vocalist Ross Jenkins. "They were really good at the time."
"Emphasis on 'at the time,'" added Desrochers.
While some bands just aren't as good as they used to be, others are still near and dear to the hearts of fans who saw them long ago.
Dan Hare, leader of local cover group March Hare, remembered the time his uncle took him to a show at the Pacific Coliseum in 1973.
"It was the Guess Who, with Burton Cummings," he said. "The Guess Who was one of my biggest influences. I came home and started playing 'These Eyes' on the piano right away.
"In those days, you had to listen to the records to learn. I listened to (Burton Cummings's) records and sang along to everything that he sang so I could learn from them."
And musicians aren't the only ones motivated by concerts to host their own - promoters have a passion for live performance, too.
Janice Savage, owner of Beyond Scarlett Arts & Entertainment, told the Now about her start with shows.
"Supertramp at the old outdoor stadium at the PNE," she said. "It was a beautiful summer day with my girlfriends. I was 14 and we had so much fun. I think every teenager was there."
Rod Dranfield of the White Rock Blues Society had to think back to the summer of 1966 in Dorval, Que., for the first show he'd ever seen.
"(Local promoter) Donald K. brought in The Shadows of Night, who had a major hit with Van Morrison's 'Gloria,'" he said. "There were a couple thousand people, all standing and cheering. The crowd encouraged them to play the song three times that night.
"I think it was the only hit they ever had. Someone recently posted the tune on YouTube with a picture of the album cover. I still own the album."
And some people got to experience live music with 28,000 other people without leaving Surrey.
"Lollapalooza, 1994. Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest. It was in Cloverdale, and I was 12," said Jim Black, guitarist of Star Captains. "That was such a good time to hear those bands. My parents took me to so many shows. My parents were pretty hip."
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