March 27, 2011.

Downtown Tucson, Arizona, United States. 

Where it all began. 

I will never forget the date of my very first gig because it happens to also be my brother’s birthday (happy early birthday, Ryan!). My parents made a big fuss about me going to this concert on my brother’s birthday but reluctantly let me go given my dad chaperone.

Through the video game Guitar Hero, I got into a whole new world of music and Senses Fail happened to be one of my new favorites. I still cite them today as my second favorite band right behind Rise Against. When they announced a live show in Arizona, I was thrilled. I asked my best friend to go with me and given that it was my very first gig and at 15 I couldn’t drive yet, my dad got a ticket for himself as well.

When the crisp tickets came in the mail, I was ecstatic. So ecstatic, that I took a picture of myself with the ticket and posted it on social media. I ended up taking it down within the next few month (my self-esteem was especially shit), but not before the band management somehow got a hold of it and included it in a collage fan pictures in the packet of their greatest hits CD that came out in 2012. I can’t remember if my friend Jonah told me about it first or I saw it for myself, but either way, I was shocked and amazed!

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Anyway, back to the gig story… I remember being so excited I was literally counting down the days. I ordered a Senses Fail shirt to wear to the gig and vividly remember being in the car on the way back from a ski holiday with my family and realizing it was only three weeks exactly until the show.

A few days before the show, Sydney fell ill, so I was going to be flying mostly solo with my dad in the back of the venue.

My dad drove us downtown to the venue by the university. We got there in time to secure a spot in the front see the opening bands: The Ghost Inside, Man Overboard and Transit. Since my music taste was so tunnel vision back then, I didn’t fully appreciate what I was watching and was just focused on staying standing through the pushing and shoving.

Between bands, I chatted with people around me and they were all in awe that it was my first gig. With that, they let me come right up to the stage for Senses Fail and gave me the setlist (which I still have and often rotate to display on my memory board) after the show.

Finally, Senses Fail took the stage. I stayed in the front, took pictures (the first and last time I took a camera to a gig) and rocked out. I knew every single song on the setlist and sang at the top of my lungs. After seeing them so many times and being to countless other gigs, it’s hard to remember the exact feeling I had at my first concert, but I know the excitement of seeing your favorite band never dies down through the years.

I can’t believe it’s been seven years since I started going to gigs and that I still love Senses Fail. So much, in fact, that I got a tattoo inspired by them a few months ago.

Gigs are a big part of my life and Senses Fail will always have a special place in my heart as my first and one of my all-time favorites. It wasn’t until the following year that I met the band for the first time, but it was worth the wait!

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Just for shits and gigs (pun intended), I asked my dad what he remembered about the gig and this is what he said:

  • “My hearing is damaged”
  • The venue was quite small
  • [I] was very excited
  • He came along with me because he was worried about me in an “adult environment”
  • He was also worried about me getting hurt… but through the years I’ve become the one throwing the punches

You can see a page of all my gigs here.

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