My first ever concert was Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band at the “acoustically imperfect” (Detroiters who listened to the JJ and the Morning Crew morning show will get the reference) Pontiac Silverdome in 1976. It was not only my first concert, but my first date. Even though the seats were lousy and the sound was worse, it was a big night for a fifteen year-old. I had a huge crush on my date, Suzie (I felt the z spelling made her even cuter), but unfortunately the feeling was not mutual. Regardless, I fell in love with concerts and music and enjoyed them well into adulthood. I’ve seen everyone from Stanley Clarke to Hall & Oates to John Lee Hooker, in venues from small and intimate 200-seat speakeasies to outdoor band shells and everything In between. But one particular evening stands alone.
Midway thru the song, the band asked anyone who wanted, to come onstage and sing a verse with them!
My wife, another couple, and I went to see the Temptations and Four Tops at the “acoustically perfect” Ford Auditorium in downtown Detroit. The concert was phenomenal with both bands playing all their hits one after another. The place was absolutely jumping as the Temps started what is arguably one of their biggest hits, My Girl. Midway thru the song, the band did something I’d never seen before. They asked anyone who wanted, to come onstage and sing a verse with them! My wife and friends all looked at me. They knew this moment was meant for me. I sang the Temps all the time at home, in the car, wherever. Plus, I was a radio sportscaster at the time and used to take weekly voice lessons to help strengthen my voice and part of my training included singing.
Our seats were right on the aisle, so whatever apprehension I had disappeared as they pushed me past them. I ran to the steps where an usher helped me up on stage with a couple of people ahead of me. They were not very good and the audience let them know it. When it was my turn, I took a deep breath, grabbed the mike, and belted out, “I got sunshine …,” right on key, “… on a cloudy day.” Perfect pitch, on time, loud and strong, and the place went crazy. As I continued, “When it’s cold outside …” the band member closest to me started fanning me like I was on fire, which I was. What a rush. After I finished with the chorus and made my way back to my seat, people kept high-fiving me. Even walking to the car after the show in the parking structure, people were pointing and saying, “There’s that guy, there’s that guy.”
I’ve been to dozens of shows since then, seen bands come and go, and not unlike the group, changed some of the people in my life. But I’ll never forget the night the Temps made me an honorary member.