Where were you on the night of July 8th, 1989? On that fateful night, many people in the Yakima Valley were introduced to their first metal concert hosted by Talcott's music store all crammed inside the Yakima Convention Center. I was there and remember it fondly. Little did I know I was walking into a room full of new experiences.

Now, in full discloser, my sister was the metal head. She'd listen to bands like Cannibal Corpse, Suicidal Tendencies and whomever was playing on Mtv Headbangers Ball. I didn't mind it so much but she was the super-fan. She wanted to go and I thought it'd be fun so I went with her. Not sure if that was the plan or how that came to be. If my sister didn't wanna go alone or if my parents recommended it, I honestly don't remember but I do remember I was excited to attend my first concert, didn't matter what the music was. And, hey! It was free!

In the late 80s, I listened to more KFFM than anything (sorry!) and my favorite bands were INXS and George Michael. Since I didn't wanna wear a George Michael shirt to a metal concert I borrowed one of my sister's Guns n' Roses shirts. Y'know, so I could blend in as a 12-year-old at a metal show. Fortunately there were other kids at the show, too, who I can only assume were children of parents who wanted to attend.

Since we were smaller than some of the other rockers at this show, it was pretty easy for us to get up to the front of the stage. Soon as the first band took the stage I remember thinking 'oooh, this is loud' but my ears adjusted pretty quickly. It was fun watching the performers on stage do their thing. The audience was lovin' it, too. It was the first time I ever saw headbanging in real life. Not just what we'd do at home more for fun or more as a joke, but actual thrashing.

It was also the first time I saw a stage dive. I remember thinking 'people actually do that in real life?' Well, they did, several and multiple times. One was more of a 'stand and trust fall' but a few had the full cannonball flip. One flew right over my head. What an amazing experience. I trust someone caught him -- I wasn't about to.

This free metal show was a Rock Against Drugs concert. I can only remember one time the headliner, after the first song or two, thanking everyone, thanking the sponsors and saying something like 'we don't need drugs to rock'. I had to give a side-eye as I'm most definitely certain drugs were on the floor at this concert. I could see a few random puffs of smoke here and there and didn't smell like swisher sweets if you know what I mean.

As time went on and I made friends with others throughout the years who grew up in Yakima, I'm learning more and more this free metal show was many people's either first concert experience for at the very least their first metal show. Many may have found a love for metal through this concert. Sure, maybe they enjoyed Bon Jovi or Def Leppard before this and maybe still do as I know I do. But to feel the energy and excitement and feel like you, as being a member of the crowd, felt like you were also a part of the show with your cheers and scream, it was a wonderful time and made the ringing in my ears for the next 24 hours totally worth it.

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