I really do love telling the story of my first ever real gig experience, because it’s an absolute corker of a choice of act to see. To dispel any suspense; yes, my first ever gig was seeing Jedward.
Yep, you read me right; spikey blonde hair, matching sparkly outfits, true Eurovision winners (yes I’m still salty) identical Irish twins Jedward. I was around 12-ish, I believe, and invited by a friend who was utterly obsessed with the ‘JEPIC’ duo; bemused, curious, and honestly just excited to go to a gig, I went along! I have really vivid memories of being in the concert hall foyer before we actually went in to see the pair and encountering numerous absolutely ecstatic people, namely women, who were near shaking in excitement at the concept of seeing Jedward. One woman, I remember, even had a tattoo of the boy’s faces on both arms, one for each. Caught up in the whirlwind of pre-gig excitement and my first real experience of what I like to call ‘fandom mania’, before I knew it I had been decked in Jedward merch (including stacks of wristbands) and had acquired several posters, without really remembering buying any of it.
Before I knew it, we were whisked into the hall and the concert began; no opener, may I add, just straight into Jedward. My memories are hazy (it was nearly 10 years ago), but I do remember the dance routines, multiple costume changes, euro-dance beats and the just sheer insanity of the crowd, who clearly could not get enough of the twins. There was one particular song, ‘Miss America’, that involved a beauty pageant-esque setup with different female dancers flouncing onto the stage in prom dresses and little sashes (i.e. ‘Miss England’), before the winner (‘Miss America’) was crowned queen by the boys themselves. The entire show was almost a strange mix of concert, performance and pantomime, which I suppose is what you can expect from the Jepic twins. Overall, however, I still had a fantastic time, and would probably see Jedward again for the showmanship alone.
Since my Jepic roots, I’ve fallen entirely in love with gigs, and miss them sorely with the current pandemic. 2021 was my first year ever without going to a concert or festival since that first gig experience all those years ago, which is a wild thing to realise. I certainly have moved away from the world of Irish Eurodance and bedazzled sequined costumes, but I look back on that first gig with the utmost fondness, for the innate love it sparked in me for live music, that has lasted to this day.