The year was 1994. I was sixteen years old and had been immersing myself in music – cassettes at the time were the big thing. CDs were around but hadn’t yet caught on enough to knock out tapes. We all owned portable tape decks. The sporty yellow ones were really cool at the time.
Today, I was transported back to that time period because Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, died suddenly at the young age of 46.
She was my very first concert ever, where she was lead singer and guitarist for The Cranberries and they had just released their album No Need To Argue.
I’d venture to bet most people remember their first live music concert.
Mine was magical. The band played at a venue in Los Angeles that wasn’t incredibly large so there weren’t many “bad seats.”
The night was dark – it may have even rained earlier – and a friend and I had parked my Toyota Tercel in the over-priced parking lot before heading inside.
I vividly recall the energy of the room. I have no memory who opened for them but I do remember when The Cranberries took the stage, the crowd jumped to their feet and the room was captivated. The walls pulsed from the original rock music we all were witnessing. Dolores and band did not fail to deliver.
In hindsight, I realize why I liked her so much. She wasn’t like everyone else. She sang about the voices in our heads and looked the way she wanted to. She was so cool to me.
It’s incredible how music can transport us back in time.
Perhaps the power of memory is magnified when music is involved because there is definitely something about it that can stir the soul deep down, getting to a place not much else can.
As I watched the clip below of The Cranberries performing on Dave Letterman’s show, only a few months after I saw them live in 1994, I found myself not only taken back in time but also profoundly moved. Dolores’s voice had helped me through dark teenage times and was a source of enjoyment during a time period I didn’t much enjoy. (I didn’t care for highschool…)
Thank you, Dolores, and The Cranberries, for being a large part of the happiness of my youth. You’ve since remained a classic album among my favorites of favorites.
May you RIP.