Remember When?

Before last spring, large concerts were a cherished tradition. Now, however, we can only wait for their return.


The days of live concerts seem a distant memory as we continue to face cancellations of large public gatherings.

Anthony Durzo, Staff Writer

Oh, the goosebumps that would cover my body as my one artistic idol walks out onto the stage and the crowd applauds and screams their name. Some people wait years for their favorite artist to make a stop in their town for a performance. Others go wherever the celebrities go.

Because of my age, I stay in my hometown and let the celebrities come to me. One of my favorite bands, Chicago, made a stop in Burgettstown, PA, at what is now called S&T Bank Music Park, just west of the city of Pittsburgh. 

Chicago was being accompanied by another band, REO Speedwagon, whom I also enjoyed listening to. It was a must to see them when I found that they both were coming to my area. Therefore, my parents bought me tickets to see them in concert for my 14th birthday in April of 2018, but I had to wait until the following July to attend.

July 28th, 2018, finally came and my parents, sister, uncle, and I arrived at the concert. It’s a tradition to tailgate in the parking lot of the pavilion, so we had tables of food, cornhole, and other concert-goers surrounding us. I felt as if I was tailgating at a Steeler game.

Fellow tailgaters invited us to share their food and play games with each other, just like people from Pittsburgh do at any tailgating event. No mask, no social distancing, nothing! Remember those days?

It soon was time for the concert, and we all left our cars in the gravel parking lot and headed towards the field to lay our blankets down and watch the show. There was neither a single empty seat nor a single patch of grass that wasn’t covered.

REO Speedwagon came on stage first, and it was obvious that everyone enjoyed their share of the show, but we all came to see Chicago. Nonetheless, they put on a great show for us and performed their songs brilliantly.

Then it was time for the stars of the show to enter the spotlight. The trumpets, trombones, guitars, drums, and keyboards were set on stage, and we, the crowd, knew what we were in for. 

Screams, laughter, and even tears flooded the area from those who were ecstatic to hear their favorite songs sang live as the band performed some of their hits songs such as “25 or 6 to 4,” “Saturday In The Park,” and “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.” 

Perhaps the greatest moment of that night was at the very end, when Chicago performed “You’re The Inspiration.” This is my absolute favorite song ever sung by this band. Its heartfelt beauty with a touch of rock is a perfect mix that makes it one of the greatest ballads ever recorded.  

Some people grabbed their lighters and lit a flame while they swayed their arms in the air. Others, including myself, used a phone flashlight. The entire crowd was singing along, and it was even difficult to hear the band at some point. 

There were people with their arms around others whom they never met before, swaying back and forth together along with the rhythm of the song. There is a sense of relaxation and calmness while thousands of strangers are surrounding you, something that is hard to find in everyday life. 

I have been to other concerts where similar interactions occurred, such as when I saw Cher at PPG Paints Arena in April 2019 with my grandmother. If you haven’t already come to the realization, I’m an old soul. 

When she sang her hit songs, such as “If I Could Turn Back Time,” “I Found Someone,” and especially “Believe,” thousands of strangers in one large room gathered and sang together as if they were all part of a choir who have been rehearsing these songs for years. The exuberance that everyone has at a concert is wonderful to witness. 

In November of 2019, it was announced that the queen of country music, Reba McEntire herself, was coming to Pittsburgh for the first time ever. Anyone who knows me can understand how exhilarated when I saw this as I was casually scrolling through Facebook.

My parents immediately bought tickets before they were sold, and my mother and I were supposed to attend the concert in March of 2020. That date should automatically make you realize what was next to come. 

The concert was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic that was making its way around our country. We were told we had to wait another four months to see my favorite singer of all time to perform some of my favorite songs ever recorded. But the concert was postponed once again until July of 2021.

Some may think I would have been depressed when I heard this news. Obviously, I’m disappointed that I have to wait approximately eight months to go to the concert. 

However, I took a sigh of relief because other big stars such as Dan and Shay were cancelling their tours completely. 

I still had a little bit of hope when there was still one concert that had yet to be cancelled. Def Leppard, Poison, Mötley Crüe, and Joan Jett And The Blackhearts were coming to PPG Paints Arena to rock our ears off. Well, that was cancelled also. 

I can only imagine what I would have experienced if I had gone to that concert. I know for a fact that there would be no swaying but more of the banging of heads with our hands in the air. I also know that I would have woken up with a headache the next morning, but it still would have been worth it. 

I miss the times when we could come together as one fanbase and enjoy live music. It just isn’t the same watching it on a television screen, but it’s the best we can do for now.

Concerts will someday return, folks, but until then, we have to look back on the good days that are stored in our hearts and say, “Remember when.”