Heidi Ore’s Top 5 Shows

My parents’ Beatles reel-to-reel tapes (The White Album and Sgt. Pepper) and 1970s commercial rock radio were my earliest, relevant musical influences while growing up as the resident square peg in Seward, Nebraska.  I have always liked rock, the hard chords, the loud, the melodic, the complicated, the driving and the dynamic.

How did this square peg finally find her place in the music world?  While I can’t remember them all, here are five formative moments that pointed me in the right direction.

* * *

Queen  (1980, Omaha Civic Auditorium)

I had just turned 17 when I saw mustached, hairy chested, leather hot pants-wearing Freddie Mercury up close. My DNA was rearranged by this experience.

Lesson learned:  Music is dramatic, dynamic and operatic.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1982, Omaha Civic Auditorium)

Punk rock kids were far and few between in Nebraska and this concert seemed to attract almost all of them.  Looking around, I realized that I had found my tribe.

Lesson learned:  Music that is propulsive, powerful, manic and melodic is everything that is right, glorious and correct in this world.

Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash (Album bought from Dirt Cheap’s $.99 cut-out bin sometime in 1982.)

This impulse purchase was my formal introduction to midwest alternateen punk rock music. I never saw The Replacements in concert, but their songs kicked me in the head as much as any show ever could.

Lesson learned: Music really does have too many notes.

X  (1983, The Drumstick)

Exene accepted a plastic rosary from me during their set. Billy Zoom smiled eerily at me while he played his silver glitter guitar. And John Doe gave me a big, sweaty bear hug after I returned to him a hand full of charms he had lost during a fight with an audience member.

Lesson learned:  Music is best on small stages.

The Click (1982/83/84)

I saw the Click many times in many places — they were my favorite local alternative punk rock band.  Their music was complicated, driving and wild.  Sara Kovanda was as mesmerizing as a cobra.

Lesson learned:  Music is even better when you can pal around with the band.

* * *

Although I didn’t know it then, the previously mentioned events served as my rock school — sufficiently thorough and perfectly timed. Because, without warning, my music career would start on Valentine’s day, 1985, when my boyfriend gave me a bass guitar and amp, so I could be in his band. Thirty years later, I’m still in a band, still on stage, still making records and still using what Freddie, Elvis, Paul, Exene and Sara taught me: loud fast rules forever!

[Author’s Note: Heidi Ore is a 51-year-old mother of two daughters, wife of a loud guitar player and the vocalist/bass player in Domestica, Mercy Rule and 13 Nightmares.]