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  • Writer's pictureMichele E. Gwynn

Hindsight's 20/20


One of the benefits of getting older is looking back on stuff we did when we were younger. Fortunately for me, my younger years happened before cell phone videos and social media. No record of my shenanigans. Whew!


But I don't mind sharing the good stories. Like the time I went to my first concert.


It was 1989. I was 20 years old. I had the long, permed hair then and a slimness I failed to truly appreciate because all my friends were slimmer (why do we do that to ourselves?). I mean, a size 7 or even a 9 is nothing to sneeze at. I miss my smaller booty. But I digress...


It was my first concert and probably wouldn't have been my first choice as the music was more my friend's taste than mine. I wasn't really ever into heavy metal, but Metallica did have a couple of songs I liked. It was their 'And Justic for All' tour, and since the seats we got at the last possible moment were actually pretty good, I was excited.


We were one level up to the right of the stage (if facing the stage). I was surrounded by stoners who were puffing away. The music was loud. I mean, it was LOUD! Kirk Hammett shredded the guitar on our side of the stage and the headbanging commenced. I remember almost flipping myself into the next row at one point and the guy (some random stoner dude) grabbed me and pulled me back, and we laughed about it.


But it was what happened before we got into the arena that was funny. My friend was a pro where concerts were concerned. She'd been to many and met a lot of musicians. Me? I was a newbie, fresh meat, embarrassingly naive, and as far from a metal chick as you can imagine.

As we approached the arena from my car, there was a fenced-off area and a crowd had begun to gather. We looked to see what was going on, and there, standing on the other side of the fence, was Lars Ulrich (the drummer). He was signing autographs.


My friend said, "Whatever you do, don't you dare say this is your first concert."

Me: Nodding my head and approaching quickly. I pulled out a paper from my purse and we got right up to the fence.


I stuck my hand through the chain-link and Lars, (really nice guy, btw), signed my hand. Immediately, I blurted..."This is my first concert!"


I could feel my friend doing the face-palm next to me.


Lars: (chuckling) "Oh yeah? You're really diving into the deep end, aren't you?"


Me: "Yeah, I guess so." (smiling like a loon) "Can you sign this, too, please?"

I handed him the paper and he did.


Lars: "Enjoy the concert."


I did. I did enjoy it. And my ears rang for a week solid after. Hearing loss, anyone? Eh?

I later gave the signed paper to a dear friend of mine who was a true heavy metal and Metallica fan. He was so excited. Sadly, that friend has passed from Vasculitis, but up until the end he told everyone that story (I shared it with him) and he would show the autograph to them until he lost it in the flood of '98. My own autograph lasted until I showered for work the next day. Boy, I was a hurt puppy. Ears ringing, hardly any sleep, a measurable amount of THC in my bloodstream, I'm sure. But I was young and could bounce back from all-nighters then.


I'd need a week to recuperate now from that kind of misadventure. Maybe two weeks. But it makes for a good story, and I think I gave Lars Ulrich a good laugh that night. Good times had by all.


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