I'll never forget my first gig. It was for the first annual Queens Purim Parade, in 1984. My first band before Shlock Rock, Tohu Vavohu (it's real! ) got on the gig, and we rehearsed like crazy. We'd only played in basements prior to this, and had never used a PA system!
It was a surreal experience, to say the least. 10,000 people walked by. Martin Davidson was on the stage, bumping into us. Bar-Mitzvah Benji was throwing out frisbees with his name on it.
And there we were, the worlds loudest Jewish Rock Band, going through our set of Led-Zepplin inspired Umpah. There were no stage monitors, which at first didn't bother me, because I didn't know what they were anyway or why I should want them. But if you've ever played on an outdoor stage in front of 10,000 people, and the main speakers are 20 feet to either side of you, facing away, you quickly realize why you want monitors.
I could not hear myself sing at all! At first I thought the PA was off. So I kept yelling into the mic and asking the sound guy to turn it up. He kept making really ugly faces at me, and the people in the audience, who could hear everything I said, were covering their ears. Finally they talked me into singing anyway, so I started up, kinda guessing where the notes should be. I was probably way off key. (you could argue that that's never changed). But hey, the guitar solos were alright (thanks to Moshe Kaufman). Anyway after that, I could get up in front of anyone and sing or play anything without stage fright (the one exception: singing "Those were the days my friend" in front of all my relatives for my Dad's 80th birthday...woo...tough crowd).Here's a pic.