Beastie Boys Were My First Concert, In 1987

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Adam Yauch speaks at the Apple Soho store on May 2, 2008, in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder / Getty Images)

As news spreads via social media this afternoon about the death of Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch, a tweet from the screenwriter Josh A. Cagan, West Hartford native and son of my colleague Korky Vann, stood out: “Ow,” he wrote. “My childhood hurts. #RIPMCA”

I can relate: the Beastie Boys headlined the first concert I ever saw, in July 1987, at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colo., outside Denver. Run D.M.C. opened. I was 11.

Mostly I remember them jumping around on stage, spraying each other with beer and dropping f-bombs, to the chagrin of my father, who had no idea what he was getting himself in to. I knew all the words to “Fight for Your Right” and “Paul Revere,” even if I was too young to know what they actually meant.

It was clearly a formative experience, though, and one that undoubtedly played a role in steering me toward a career writing about music. I never met Yauch, or spoke with him — in fact, that show at Red Rocks was the only time I ever saw the Beastie Boys live — but I’m grateful to him for planting a seed all those years ago. My childhood hurts, too.

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7 thoughts on “Beastie Boys Were My First Concert, In 1987

  1. lsg original

    I believe you echo the reactions and sentiments of many with this write. RIP MCA.

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  3. francesca

    i never got to see them either. but their music, their actions, and their work has been a huge driving force in my life. i never get overwhelmed with celebrity deaths, but this one stings.

  4. Dan German

    I was supposed to meet Beastie Boys after the show at the meet n greet. They didn’t make it. From what I remember, they spray painted the stage at the end of the show and Barry Fey was very angry at them, so they made a hasty exit.

  5. Nicole Johnson

    I was right there with you at Red Rocks, watching The Beastie Boys with Run DMC. I was 14. Licensed to Ill was the only tape to play that summer, and I had a thing for this guy called MCA! Red Rocks was the only time I saw them too, and now I am both kicking myself for not going to more, and happy that I did get to see them when I did! Adam will be missed so very much.

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