I grew up on Long Island where there were a LOT of arenas and large stadium venues in the area like Nassau Coliseum, Madison Square Garden, Shea Stadium and the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Some people hate arena shows but I like them. I've been experiencing arena shows ever since I was a teenager. Pat Benetar with The Alarm at Nassau, U2 at The Meadowlands, The Police with Joan Jett and REM at Shea Stadium...all great shows. It was exciting to be part of a mass audience made up of ten to twenty thousand people! Growing up in a sleepy town in the middle of Long Island is not all it's cracked up to be. The suburban doldrums of Smithaven Mall, McDonalds, the video arcade attached to Nathans, school and my paper route could only bring so much stimulus to my life. Music was my way to connect with other people outside of my Levittown world. And when one of my favorite bands had an arena date in the Tri-State area, it meant that thousands of people that I had a connection with would be attending. It was electric. The journey usually started with some sort of public transportation...the LIRR to the subway or a bus from Port Authority. You could spot fellow concertgoers from miles away. The funky hairstyles, the cool shoes and of course the outlandish outfits. Keep in mind it was the 80s! Kids would be singing their favorite songs on the commute and some would join in while others would just smile or sulk. Once I got to my mega destination, I would always check out the merchandise booth or t-shirt stand and think about what I would buy at intermission. I had a strategy to avoid the lines and crowds. Wait until the second or third song and then head back out to the lobby to buy the souvenir of the night. I also remember the distinct stench of mustard, beer and pretzels. All of which were overpriced."What a rip" I'd say to myself and then abstain from eating or drinking anything. You don't need much when you're 15. Heading back to my seat, I was always in awe of so many fans, so many people who enjoyed the same music that I did, would be in the same place - singing, clapping, hollering, waving their hands. It was happiness and pure emotion in a big old area and what a great thing. Even back then I knew that if my life were filled with concerts, it would be a good one.