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Been a Long Time: What Are Your Missed Opportunities?


Fifty-five people were in the audience for Led Zeppelin's first Washington-area gig, Jan. 20, 1969, at the Wheaton Youth Center, as I recount in my column today. If you claim to be number 56, you're lying.

But that doesn't mean you don't wish you'd been there. In fact, maybe you even had the chance to be there, but, for whatever reason, just couldn't get your act together. You had school the next day, or not enough money (even if tickets were probably around two bucks). Perhaps it was along the lines of: "Woodstock? I dunno. It sounds like a lot of bother."

It's easy to remember the great shows you attended, harder to confront the great shows you passed up. I've had a lot of wonderful nightclub experiences over the years, but the best might have been seeing the Selecter from the foot of the stage at the Bayou in around 1981. (Watching that clip -- not from the Bayou, by the way -- is to be reminded there was a time when people moved.)

As for the show I kick myself for missing, it has to be Rockpile at the Psyche Delly in Bethesda. They'd been talking about the show on WHFS for weeks. I can't remember why I couldn't go. Did I have an exam the next day? Was the concert postponed? Were any of you there?

All these bands are gone now, as are the clubs they played at. All we have are memories of the gigs (mostly; there are a lot I can't remember).

Then again, I never saw Bad Brains live, the group some say is the best band ever to come out of Washington, or at least the one that influenced a generation of hardcore bands.

And, get this: My four years at the University of Maryland overlapped with those of tragic basketball phenom Len Bias, and I didn't go to a single game. (I did see Eddie Murray hit a grand-slam home run in Memorial Stadium, though.)

So, tell me: What was the best show you ever saw? And what is the show you're kicking yourself for having missed?

What sports or cultural milestone did you witness? And which one did you doze on?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By John Kelly  |  January 22, 2009; 9:13 AM ET
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Best show I ever saw was Richard and Linda Thompson at the Wax Museum in May 1982. I still wish I had seen Jorma Kaukonen when he played Montgomery College in late November 1978, but I was a senior in high school saving for college, and I was working that night. Between the cost of the ticket and the lost wages if I had taken the night off, I couldn't justify it.

(You also missed Tru Fax this past Sunday night, didn't you? Fortunately, Slickee Mark Noone was there to fulfill the pork pie hat quota.)

I don't know if I would call it a "cultural" milestone (a historical milestone, definitely), but a high school classmate and I were in Lafayette Square viewing Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat as they signed the Camp David Accords.

Posted by: staxowax | January 22, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Back in the 60's I worked for a conservative Government agency (the US Government, of course) and one of my co-workers admitted spending the weekend in Woodstock at that famous event. She was fired on the spot.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | January 22, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Probably the best show I saw back in the day was The Who at the Cap Center--maybe about 1972? The lead-in group was Lynrd Skynrd!

Posted by: ebtnut | January 22, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I can't confirm the Zepplin gig. At the time my home was a 5-minute drive from the Youth Center, but I was in the Navy on duty in Delaware at the time.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 22, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

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