jump to navigation

Music Rocks August 29, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Music & Dance.

During summer breaks from college, I worked at the Garden State Art Center, a lively outdoor amphitheater in Holmdel, New Jersey.  I’ve written about the venue once before, recounting the time my boss threw a Birthday Bash for me:  S~U~R~P~R~I~S~E!


In case you’ve never been, the G.S.A.C. looks like its slightly larger and older twin sister, the Hollywood Bowl ~ the largest natural amphitheater in the US, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000.  Just Photoshop out the mountains.

Here are a few fun facts about the Garden State Arts Center:

About 17,500 people can occupy the amphitheater; there are 7,000 seats and the grass area can hold about 10,500 people.  Concerts are from May through September featuring 35–45 different events of many types of musical styles.

It is ranked among the top five most successful amphitheaters in the country.

That’s right . . . I worked at one of the top five most successful amphitheaters in the country!  Before I even had a college degree!  Go me!

Woodstock-&-Snoopy2During high school and college, we sat on the grassy lawn listening to Stephen Stills, Dave Mason, ELO, Chicago, the Moody Blues, Seals & Croft, Loggins & Messina, the Eagles, Hall & Oates, etc..

Nope, not Bowie.  He tended to stay in venues in the city.
Nope, not Bad Company either.

Years later, we sat in plush “inside” seating at the same venue (after its corporate-sell-out name change to the PNC Bank Arts Center) to see Sarah McLachlan.  We also enjoyed repeat performances by ELO, Chicago, and the Moody Blues far from the grassy knolls of our youth.

We sat on other lawns around the country to hear:

* Pure Prairie League (South Carolina)
* Steve Forbert (Delaware)
* John Eddie (New Jersey)
* The Dave Matthews Band (in Philly at the Mann Music Center)

Sometimes, during chilly winter months, we moved indoors, attending concerts by Bruce Hornsby, the Dixie Chicks, 10,000 Maniacs, and the Indigo Girls in small intimate settings (like Wait Chapel at Wake Forest in North Carolina).

Wikipedia ~ Wait Chapel (in Public Domain)

In larger arenas, younger versions of our current music-loving selves listened with youthful enthusiasm to Boston, Bob Seger, Little Feat, Neil Young, Little River Band, Firefall, the Grateful Dead, Starcastle, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Stevie Nicks, Alabama, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Jefferson Starship, Jackson Browne, Orleans, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Steely Dan, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Gordon Lightfoot, Journey, and Santana.

A few years ago, a much older version of me accompanied two nieces to see Natasha Bedingfield perform at Universal Studios.

Yay!  I can still clap hands with the best of them.  I hope when I’m really old and gray (like Jagger), I’ll still say:  Music rocks! :D

Aah . . . that’s better!

Do you enjoy attending outdoor concerts?  Have you ever been to the G.S.A.C. or the Hollywood Bowl?  How about the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado?

The earliest notable rock-and-roll performance at Red Rocks was by The Beatles on August 26, 1964, the only concert NOT sold out during their US-tour. 

What are your favorite music memories?


1. Tammy - August 29, 2013

Yep, that confirms it. We were separated at birth. I worked at Red Rocks every summer.

nrhatch - August 29, 2013

Yes!!! Twins on parallel paths! It does seem that we have shared an uncanny number of similar experiences . . . miles apart. 😀

2. Pix Under the Oaks - August 29, 2013

Cool job Nancy! I am sure I would enjoy an outdoor concert. The last time we were in Florida we went to a couple of tiny outdoor concerts on the beach there near where we stayed. The weather needs to be not hot though. I don’t know that I would enjoy a huge people packed concert. I love music though and there is rarely a day that goes by that music isn’t on in the house or on in the vehicle we are in.

nrhatch - August 29, 2013

We enjoy the small local outdoor concerts here (on the island, at Riverwalk, at the Van Wezel). We’ve heard some great bands ~ Patchouli, Good Graeff, Firedoor, State Road 64, Blues Pig, Sycamore Shade, etc.

I’m with you, I don’t want to feel like a sardine packed into a tin can while grooving to tunes. I want room to flow and breathe. I listen to the radio in the car and CD’s at home. Music adds such depth to life.

3. katecrimmins - August 29, 2013

I went to both the Garden State and Red Rocks. Music definitely rocks!

nrhatch - August 29, 2013

Excellent! At the Arts Center, we closed after intermission most nights which meant we could catch the end of the concert.

4. William D'Andrea - August 29, 2013

I remember a few years ago, I saw a news report in which people were calling out questions to Mick Jagger.
I thought that If I’d been there, I might have called out, “Mr Jagger! What hair coloring do you use?”

nrhatch - August 29, 2013

Jagger’s been strutting his stuff on music stages for ages . . . and for good reason. “Love that Swagger, Jagger!” 😎

5. spilledinkguy - August 29, 2013

Aw, man! And I was just getting ready to break-out my David Bowie impression! And it’s great, too (well… maybe for a seating chart that’s under the influence, anyway).

nrhatch - August 29, 2013

I loved Bowie in high school, but he always performed in NYC.

Whenever I asked to go to a concert in the city, my parents’ unified and immediate response was “NO WAY!” (Or “over my dead body” or some equally definitive response that did not brook further discussion.) 😦

To be honest, if the roles had been reversed, I wouldn’t have let me go either. 😉

6. kateshrewsday - August 29, 2013

Exciting time and venues, Nancy. I think Jagger is an excellent role model ;-D

nrhatch - August 29, 2013

As I read your comment, I heard him singing . . . “what a drag it is getting old.” 😛

7. Three Well Beings - August 29, 2013

You’re so right, Nancy, the seating chart does look like the Hollywood Bowl. My “next” post will be about our last two concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. I love that place, and it’s a staple of our summer. We’ve also enjoyed the Santa Barbara Bowl, and it’s the outdoor venues I enjoy the most. Through the years I’ve seen some wonderful entertainers. I’d been to previous concerts accompanied by adults, but the first one I attended on my own with a friend was a newly introduced James Taylor with Carole King. I was hooked from that time on. 🙂

I also hope that we never lose our enthusiasm for attending concerts.

nrhatch - August 29, 2013

Yay! I’ve been looking forward to your post about the concerts you attended this summer. I’ve never heard of the Santa Barbara Bowl. I’ll have to check it out. James Taylor and Carole King . . . how FAB!

Music + Outdoor Venues = Perfect together!

8. sufilight - August 30, 2013

I love outdoor concerts, used to enjoy them while living in New York. I worked in Midtown Manhattan so there were plenty of concerts during the summer months. Music rocks! 😀

nrhatch - August 30, 2013

Between the concerts in Central Park and the concerts at Madison Square Garden . . . the Big Apple had it all!

Rock on!

9. jannatwrites - August 30, 2013

How fun! I think the seating chart looks like a bicycle helmet.

It bugs me when amphitheaters and arenas sell out and take on these ridiculous, sometimes lengthy corporate names. In Phoenix, the Desert Sky Pavilion has changed names many times: Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavilion, Cricket Pavilion, Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion, and now, Ak-Chin Pavilion. Most have called it “Desert Sky” all along.

nrhatch - August 30, 2013

It does look like a bicycle helmet.

I feel the same about the corporate merry-go-round name changes . . . and those are some ludicrous names. “Desert Sky” is MUCH better.

10. shreejacob - September 3, 2013

I remember attending out door concerts when I was studying in India…they were held on campus grounds and it was fun because it meant being with friends!

nrhatch - September 3, 2013

Friends + Music = Perfect Together!

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: