Recently a post by fellow blogger Abel Pharmboy about his memories of going to an Elvis Costello concert when he was a teenager prompted me to comment about my first rock concert experience. While I was growing up in Mexico City all big rock concerts were actually banned. This policy started soon after the 1968 student massacre in Tlatelolco and persisted for about 20 years. The ban was lifted in the late 80’s with a rock concert by Rod Stewart (of all people). I vividly remember my first concert when I was 16 or so. It was Carlos Santana in the former Olympic bicycle arena. I remember being about 15 or 16, and taking the subway all the way out there with my friend Luis. I remember my folks being worried, because I’d never been to a rock concert. I even remember the T-shirt I bought and how it shrunk to half its size after one washing. I remember being surrounded by what seemed to me like aging hippy dudes and very few people of my generation. I also remember the show was amazing, with a particularly good solo in “Samba pa’ ti.” I also remember the ride home on an abandoned subway, late at night, and just feeling electrified for days afterward..
The problem was, most of this was not true. Its amazing how many things that simply appear etched in one’s memory are totally wrong, or just mash-ups of a whole bunch of thematically-related events. Even though my memories of the Santana concert are vivid, after consulting with the Santana website and finding out that Santana didn’t tour Mexico (since 1973) until 1991, and then consulting with my friend Luis, it turns out we didn’t go to the concert until 1993, after I graduated college. It was at the old olympic arena, but we didn’t take the subway, we drove in my friend’s car. And it was he who bought the shrinking t-shirt, not me. We did go together to several concerts by subway in high school, but neither of us could remember which and exactly when. Maybe it was Pink Floyd. Or was that one in Guanajuato? Who the hell knows. I do know that neither of us liked Rod Stewart, so that’s a given that we didn’t go to that one.
I wonder how many more of my formative memories I’m getting wrong!