It probably came from a well-meaning parent, relative or adult friend: the chance to hear one of the greatest artists of the time, and it gave you a great story that you can tell and retell. It's just too bad you fell asleep.
With the festival season upon us it will happen all over the country, but that's just the departure. The real story will echo back for years to come when this summer's toddlers and school kids and even teenagers become tomorrow's embellishing storytellers. They'll remember they were there. They'll understand it was significant, and after hundreds of tellings they'll recognize that the best punch line to follow the "I saw so-and-so when I was a kid" story line is "and I had no idea what I was seeing."
Mine was the jazz great Bill Evans. He came to Montreal with Eddie Gomez when I was 17 and a family friend took his son, Peter, and me. I was a rock and roll kid who was just discovering jazz, but actual understanding was still a very, very long way away. I can picture the room at the McGill Student Union. I can remember hearing something I recognized. I can remember falling asleep.
Only two years later I knew every note of the album Since We Met by heart. That was 1980, the year Bill Evans died. The show I slept through was his last in Montreal.
CBC Radio's Michael Enright, host of The Sunday Edition
"When I was about nine my parents took me to Massey Hall at Christmas for a perfomance of Handel's Messiah. I think Walter Susskind was conducting. To me it felt like going to church for the Sunday high mass, and when everybody stood up for the Hallelujah Chorus I thought we were going up for communion. I didn't understand any of it but I loved it. I've since taken my kids to see it. I still think it's like a mass."
Here's a more secular, but still stirring performance by a strategically placed Canadian choir.
CBC Toronto's Matt Galloway, host of Metro Morning
"I saw Pete Seeger when I was a kid. I think it was at Summerfolk, in Owen Sound, but even that's a bit hazy. I only knew who he was because he sang on a Sesame Street record I had. I remember being bored. I'm now mortified."
Seeger clearly meant it when he said here that he loved it when people sang along. He got no help from Galloway.
Molly Johnson, host of the weekend edition of Radio 2 Morning
"My dad took me to see Miles Davis at the O'Keefe Centre when I was 13. We sat in the front row. Miles was in that phase where he didn't look at the audience and my dad yelled at him the whole time. 'Hey, Miles! Come on! Show us what you got up there! Miles!' I shrank into my chair in embarrassment and didn't hear a thing he played. I was a teenager, for God's sake. I still die inside just thinking about it."
Here are 27 minutes of Miles from 1973. Pay attention!
What shows did you sleep through, yawn through or completely ignore that you now wish you could really see and hear? Who took you to them? And be honest: How many times have you told the story as if you really paid attention at the time?
Unburden your cultural conscience, and tell us now!
on Jun 26, 2012