Early concert memories have little to do with music

Published 9:05 am Friday, March 27, 2015

From all the reports I’ve read and heard, Tuesday’s Stevie Wonder concert at the Smoothie King Arena in New Orleans was simply awesome.

I’m certain Wonder put on a show that would be difficult to top. It seems every one of his songs is a hit full with emotion.

There are stars and superstars in the music industry, and Stevie Wonder definitely falls into the latter category.

I haven’t been fortunate to attend one of Wonder’s concerts. Hopefully the stars will align one day and I’ll have the opportunity to attend one. I’m sure that concert will be one for the ages.

In my concert-going experiences there were two occasions that really stood out. But they didn’t stand out because of the music. Both instances involved not being able to find my car after the events were over.

I was an 18-year-old high school senior when I attended my first concert. It was a ZZ Top gig at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Miss. I went with four friends, and we somehow got separated.

As some folks might know, I am directionally challenged. It seems I went into the Coliseum on one side and left out of the other. That didn’t make it easy to locate the car I went in.

While walking in the parking lot looking for the car in vain, I saw some other friends from my hometown and they asked if I needed a ride back to McComb, Miss. I thought about taking them up on the offer, but I thought I’d find the car in a little while.

I never did find that car. After the parking lot emptied, I realized I had better make alternative plans. I called for a taxi to take me to the Greyhound Bus station. If I remember correctly, the one-way bus ticket home cost $4.88 of the $5 I had on me.

The next bus scheduled to depart for McComb was at around 3 a.m. I got too comfortable waiting in a chair and fell asleep and missed the bus. The next bus departed approximately two hours later. I finally arrived home at approximately 7 a.m.

Of course, they said they were sorry for leaving me. They weren’t as sorry as I was.

Years later, I attended my first Jazz and Heritage Festival at in New Orleans. I parked on the street where everybody and his brother parked. I thought to myself that I shouldn’t have any problem locating my car when everything was said and done.


After the final song, I went searching for my car, but it was nowhere to be found. Just before darkness fell, I asked a nearby homeowner to contact the police because I thought my car had been stolen. He asked did I think the car was actually stolen or rather impounded?

The homeowner was nice enough to take me to the impound lot underneath an overpass. That was where I found my car. It cost me $95 to retrieve it.

From then on out, I began paying the $10 or so folks charge for parking in their yards. My car hasn’t been towed since.

These experiences taught me to keep a close eye on your group and pay now or pay later.

All these years later, my concert-going experiences have been rather uneventful, other than hearing some fantastic music. As it should be.

Randy Hammons is a Daily News staff writer. He can be contacted by calling 985-732-2565 or by email at randy.hammons@thebogalusadailynews.com.