Were you at Woodstock 69 or 99? One of the lucky hundred that saw Nirvana at the Moon in New Haven? Rolling Stones at Toad's? Lucky. I wasn't. I love talking to people who were lucky enough to see Led Zeppelin live, or got to see Stevie Ray Vaughan open for Huey Lewis & The News. You never know when the opener is going to blow away the headliner, but it happened to me once, and I've been a lifelong fan of Pearl Jam since.

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One of my 'Wow, you saw that?' concerts happened 30 years ago today. On November 3, 1991, I saw a triple bill of Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Springfield Civic Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Photo by Large Dave

We got to the concert early, I was already a huge Chili Peppers fan, Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic had just been released. I liked what I had heard from the Smashing Pumpkins, but no one had really heard of Pearl Jam, yet. Their debut album 10 had just been released at the end of August 91.

Photo of Pearl Jam at Fenway - 2016 by Large Dave

I went in expecting to not care about the openers, but Pearl Jam took the stage with a strength that I had never seen before. And my God, Eddie Vedder's young voice cut through the din of the disinterested crowd. I remember when they started playing Release, everyone around me (all 5 of them) said "Whoa...". Pearl Jam played a 5 song set, which was - Release, Even Flow, Why Go, Porch, and finally, a cover of The Beatles 'I've Got a Feeling'.

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That made me a Pearl Jam fan for life. Smashing Pumpkins and RHCP were great too, but they didn't have the energy or power of Eddie Vedder.

Getty Images

That night changed the way I approached going to live performances. I used to be the one more concerned about where I was going to park, and how much I could stuff in my face before the headliner started. After November 3, 1991? I'll never miss an opening band.

Who did that for you? Were you at CBGB's for a Ramones or Talking Heads show? Did you see The Pretenders open up for The Clash? What's your "I was there" concert?

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