I remember back when I was a sophomore in high school, one of my uncles (dad's youngest brother, Tom) wanted to pick me up for a weekend with him and my aunt.
On our way from Fontana, we stopped off at a head shop in Chula Vista called Trip West Imports (long gone now) where he bought me some stylin' clothes; some bell bottomed pants (thick stripes running the length of them) with a thick belt and a country-western cut shirt with some sort of colored sunset inside the shoulder panels and across the back along the shoulders. Arriving at their little apartment (kind of newlyweds) we had dinner and hung out talking for a while.
My uncle told me that he'd like to show me his stereo setup; a Marantz receiver, Garrard turntable and I don't recall what kind of 8 track player (we had listened to a Steppewolf tape on the trip from Fontana in his souped up Ford Ranchero)... yeah, a Ranchero.
Anyway, he grabs these headphones (dunno what they were) and puts them on me. Sitting on some pillows on yellowish sha g carpet in front of the stereo (perched on a Walnut stained plank, bridging some concrete blocks as a long stand) he said "Danny, you have to hear this. It will blow your mind! He placed the Jimi Hendrix Lp on the turntable, turned on a little lamp by the receiver, the heat from its bulb propelled a mostly black cylinder with different colored stars on it through a round globe-like prism outer case, the result, once the bulb really got hot was the spin these colors around the room.
He shut the main light off and left me to side one of “Are You Experiened?”... I think around “Love Or Confusion”, I felt a nudge on my shoulder that brought me out of my trance, it was my uncle laughing at me, telling me not to breathe so heavy. He could almost hear me as he walked up to me. I hadn’t noticed - but he was right! The music and the light had grabbed a hold of me and I was off somewhere. I was gone!
He told me to listen to the other side too and that they were heading off to bed and that if I wanted to stay up, that was fine but to be sure to listen to as much of this other LP as I could manage before hitting the sack: it was Woodstock and I did all of the above: I stayed up, I listened and listened and may have dozed at some point but got through it all ...and I was in love. In love with the music, in love with the immediacy (and volume) of headphone listening; the intimacy of the ‘phones allowed me to listen inside of the recordings. The Jimi Hendrix music, with as much panning left and right, swirling control booth bravado as musicianship on the other side of the glass. That’s real headphone music! But just as much; the crowd noises in the live recording from Woodstock. The ambience and chatter between songs and the "by the seat of the pants" playing - spontaneity that conveys raw emotion from what these artists were trying to say. And the crowd loved it... and so do I.
It’s weird how I frame my lifetime from song to song. They stand out like markers and go back much further than this particular experience; a fondly remembered date, graduations, a special car or two. My first apartment and family tragedies. My wedding, the births of my kiddos, they are all in there, neatly framed by music that I was in-tune with at the time. I can also look at artwork I’ve created and remember sitting in the room listening to some recording or another. Musical bookmarks.
I wonder if others are affected in the same way?
So... care to share a watershed moment with us? Live music and/or recorded count.
Oh, and look; it’s clear I’m no writer but I’ve sure not let that stop me from other postings around here. So don’t feel funny. Just add to the topic. It’s all about sharing and we're all friends here.
Yes, listening the the Cure's 2nd album with Carol in our first apartment right after being married. NAD, DCM Timewindows, and a Sony direct-drive P500 turntable! Sounded ever so right... though the herb was no doubt a key contributor.
Man, that was a great story Dan!! I could write for HOURS, & I'm not gonna bore our fellow Audioevo-Devotees to death, but I felt obligated to share one of my own musical/sonic watershed moments:
We used to have "Floyd Sessions" in my bedroom when we were in high school. My home was the only safe-house for getting stoned back then (my mother, right or wrong, said she could stop me so I might as well be safe smoking at home behind closed doors). I inherited some McIntosh equipment from my grandfather (an OG audiophile, who hand-built his own loudspeakers - they looked like Allisons, with the wedged cabinets and dual drivers, mids, and tweeters), along with a Cerwin Vega 15" table-looking subwoofer (passive actually). Me and my friend Nick put those in the corners of my room, then bought these other floorstanding Cerwin Vega towers for the other corners, and put the subwoofer almost in the middle of the room, slightly off to the side (to accommodate two couches and a lazyboy chair). I had a McIntosh pre-amp, monoblock tube amps (don't remember what models), and an NAD solid state stereo amp (which Nick, much smarter than me, and more knowledgeable back then - put on the subwoofer).
It was my 16th birthday, and my father (whom I barely saw, and didn't really understand at all back then) came to the door with a brand new Sony 5 disc CD carousel under his arm (now this was 90-91 - so this thing was SO COOL to me). He noticed my tie-dye shirt, beenie, no shoes, and wished a "Happy Birthday to his Beatnik son." I told him beatniks had not been around since the fifties. Anyway -
I was with my boys Brian, Tim, Kyle, Nick, and Stevie (my crew). We loaded up Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon, Delicate Sound of Thunder Live, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and disc 2 of The Wall. We then took glowsticks, shook em up til they lit up, cut em open, and tossed the glowing, gooey crap all over my room (yes, wasn't the smartest thing, but wait...) and it was like being in a planetarium. Our girlfriends came over, and we did 4 foot bong hits with nitrous-injection (yup, whole other story) and listened to all those records til the sun came up. The glowstick crap magically disappeared, so no messy clean-up. I'm not kidding - I have all my friends as witnesses - perhaps it just dried up, evaporated, who knows...
We climbed out on my roof for the sunrise, a ritual in those days, and, well, if you've ever seen Dazed and Confused (sure, it wasn't the seventies) - the final scene: They're in the car blazing down the road, smoke billowing out of the windows, smiles on their faces so wide they looked like clowns:::::
Too many for me to comment on just one event. One only has to look at my music collection to see the diversity. And yet each LP/CD of music that I own has a story behind it that is unique and important. I've been lucky in my life to have traveled a great deal and to have met people from all over. I look back at it all sometimes and wonder how I managed to get through it all. It's good to reminiscence but I'm still on the lookout for new music, then again it's been that way for me all along. :)
I know what Greg is saying here. Hearing some of the worlds best Underground house music pumping out onto the ocean on the island of Ibiza was simply STUNNING!!!!! Such a small, gorgeous island, with so many clubs and great people!! Man rocking a crowd there was one of the best experiences of my life. Music is always with us, now and then.
@ Greg: "It's good to reminisce but I'm still on the lookout for new music, then again it's been that way for me all along." True - I get it - and don't get me wrong, as I am always open to new, inspired music as well. Always on the look out.
Oh, and that thing about the kids listening to my music but likely is not reciprocal... I've learned a thing or two from the music they play since around early high school. It's dad's rock collection that sometimes surprises them... "Dad? You listen to that?" Muahhahahahaahaha! indeed I do.
It must have been around 1973. I was nine at the time and spent the night at a friend’s house. He had older sisters who were full-blown into the hippie thing so lots of incense, candles, and blacklight posters scattered about the place.
We fell asleep to the radio listening to (in retrospect) an amazing set of music: Day After Day (Badfinger), Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress (Hollies), Free Ride (Edgar Winter), Rock &Roll Hoochie Koo (Rick Deringer), Hello It’s Me (Todd Rundgren). After dozing for a while I suddenly awoke to Steely Dan’s Do It Again. The disorientation, the smells, the sights, and the haunting melody just freaked me out. It was a magical mystery, threshold of a dream kind of moment that permanently dented my psyche.