For many people, the phrase “extraordinary audio visual experiences” immediately brings live music to mind. Favorite concerts can be cherished memories and provide legendary stories that people retell for the rest of their lives. We spoke with Terry Currier, owner of Music Millennium, about a few of the extraordinary audio visual experiences he’s had at live music events throughout his life.
Caitlin Lilly: Can you tell me about the most pivotal live music experience you’ve ever had?
Terry Currier: You know, every once in a while, I think of the top 10 shows that I’ve been to in my life. I can remember the first year I started going to concerts, and I went to see Boz Scaggs. I didn’t know a lot of music at that time because I’d only been working at a record store for two months. Well the opening act was a band called Wishbone Ash, and they were so good that in the fifth song of Boz Scaggs’ set, I got up and left. I haven’t left that many concerts in my life, and I have bought plenty of Boz Scaggs tickets since that day. But, Wishbone Ash’s performance was so riveting to me – it was one of the bands that changed my life.
Nine months later, the night before I graduated from high school, Wishbone Ash was a headliner and another band Climax Blues Band opened. Climax Blues Band was so amazing, I thought “I don’t see how Wishbone Ash is going to be able to come up to this level.” But Wishbone Ash came through and took it to the next level, and I think that Climax Blues Band and Wishbone Ash concert may go down as my favorite show of all time. The next day I graduated from high school. I remember the graduation got out at 4:45 in the afternoon. I handed my graduation robe to my mom, and I handed the piece of paper they give you in place of your diploma to one of my classmates and asked her to pick up my diploma for me. I got in my car and I drove [170 miles north] to Seattle to see that show again. I was there when they opened the venue doors at 7:00.
CL: How about concerts that stand out from a purely visual perspective?
TC: One of the most riveting visual shows that I’ve ever seen was Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies tour, which happened on May 24th of 1973, about a week before I graduated from high school. I went to quite a few concerts that year, but I had never seen a show with such theatrics. At the time, bands weren’t doing stuff like that, but that tour really changed how many artists imagined big stage productions, and influenced so many more artists going forward. I still go out and see live music pretty regularly. Most weeks I see at least one show, and I try to see two shows if I can. Plus, we do about 125 to150 live shows at our store every year, so I do get to see quite a bit of live music in a year’s time.
CL: We’ve talked quite a bit about the concerts that made an impression during your teenage years. Which artist have you seen recently that had a similar effect?
TC: Definitely Todd Rundgren. He had a side band when he had his first career back in the 70s, called Utopia, and they did a reunion at Revolution Hall. They hadn’t played in years. It was like a band on top of their game. That show was so great. I’m the kind of person who tends to see several shows on the same day. I’m involved with PDX Jazz, which I know Biamp sponsors. I’ve had days when I’ve been at a PDX Jazz show and then run over to [the now-defunct] Satyricon to see a punk rock show.
We’re really lucky in Portland because we have so many great venues. I could go to most of the live music venues in this town within 15 minutes of work, and I love that. If I lived in Los Angeles. I couldn’t do that. If I lived in New York, I couldn’t do that. Most of the local venues are just great listening rooms. Revolution Hall, Aladdin Theater, Alberta Rose, the Star Theater. We’ve got the Roseland, the Crystal Ballroom, Mission Theater, Dante’s, Mississippi Studios. I mean, the list just goes on and on. No other city in the U.S. has such an incredible collection of venues within such a small and accessible geographical area. We’re really lucky.
CL: Portland’s focus on nurturing the music community is one of the best things about this city. That passion doesn’t exist anywhere else, and it’s just the coolest thing to about living here. Thank you for your many contributions to the local music scene, and for taking the time to talk with me.
*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity