For many teens in the surrounding areas, The Webster Theatre is likely one of the first places they will go to in Hartford on their own. Located in the South End on Webster St (imagine that) The Webster Theatre hosts up and coming and somewhat past their prime rock acts. If you're not booking the XL Center or Comcast, you play the Webster.
It's a pretty cool place, though we haven't been in a few years, we've seen some memorable acts their including, GWAR and the above Marilyn Manson show almost 16 years ago. In late 1996 Marilyn Manson was starting an improbable run as a quasi mainstream act off the success of their single "Sweet Dreams." The next year would see the release of the Trent Reznor produced Anti-Christ Superstar, a global stadium tour, and legit stardom.
Marilyn would go onto to become a lighting rod in the next couple years, undermining the morals of youth and threatening to tear apart of the very fabric of society in the grand tradition of Elvis, The Beatles, Ozzy Osbourne, Twisted getting linked to the Columbine shootings in the great tradition of media sensationalism. Of course, all this usually does is make the artist more popular. Hey, we listened and we turned out alright.
While Marilyn Manson wasn't our first show at The Webster, it was one of the most intense. (Marilyn is a lot shorter than you probably think.) In an era where you had to wait and see the music video of your favorite act, seeing that act live for the first time was always an incredible experience. Seeing the act live right as they were starting to blow up nationally made it even cooler.
What is more exciting than being a teenager, going out with your friends to your first concert alone. Finding The Webster Theatre in a run down part of Hartford. Searching for a parking spot, walking hurriedly and nervously as the locals harass you for change and cigarettes and you hope you don't get robbed with the absolute lack of any police presence?
Getting into the dingy rock club, adjusting your eyes, taking in the smell, glancing at old metalheads and bikers smoking and drinking, scantily clad women flaunting tattoos, the smell of marijuana in the air, the anticipation before your favorite band hits the stage, seriously what's more exciting for a 16 year old?
It's a great rite of passage and for many, it takes place at The WEbster Theatre.
Whilst we like to think we are still young and cool, we often get reminded that we are not. After a recent (slow-pitch) softball game in our (co-ed) league (no sliding!) a teammate asked "Anybody going to Wilco tomorrow?" We replied that we "don't know what that is." We were informed "it" was a band and our teammate was bring their kids to their first show. Yup, once you're past 27, relevancy in music is all over.
Still haven't listened to a Wilco song. We're old and we'll stick with Marilyn. He's old now too.