After I heard the sad news that Whitney Houston had died I thought about a couple things.
First, I wondered how we would respond to it as a community of live music fans.
Would it be like how we responded to Michael Jackson’s death? Or Amy Winehouse? Or other artists who’ve died?
How would we all mourn and express our grief in response to the death of Houston, one of the best and most emotionally moving performers in pop music history?
To begin to answer those questions I went to Twitter because that has become one of the most popular places where live music fans go to express their grief and loss when an artist dies.
Below are some of the millions of tweets that our fellow concert fans tweeted in the wake of tragic news.
As you’ll see, Houston had a profound and extremely memorable impact on millions of fans early and late in her career.
And what I found most interesting was how many of these fans shared that their first, and most memorable concert, was seeing Houston perform live. And I especially enjoyed how one fan connected Michael Jackson to Houston in the afterlife.
Whitney Houston a brilliant talent – saw her in concert years ago. – She was terrific. May she RIP.
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) February 12, 2012
Whitney Houston was my very first concert. Kenny G opened. Garden State Arts Center. Aunt Carol took me. — Deanna Russo (@DeannaRusso) February 12, 2012
First photo I had published in a national newspaper was a double page spread of Whitney Houston live in concert
— David Baird (@davidbaird) February 12, 2012
I saw Whitney Houston when I was 7 and it was my first concert — Johanna (@JoJoSnackCakes) February 12, 2012
So sad about Whitney Houston. I saw her in concert in her heyday. She sang to us during a torrential downpour and brought the house down. — JeffGriffith (@JeffGriffith) February 12, 2012
Right about now, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston are probably having a concert in heaven. Gone too soon. — LY (@howuseetheworld) February 12, 2012
#style Bobby Brown Sobs at Concert Hours After Whitney Houston’s Death: “I love you, Whitney!” he says tearfully… bit.ly/xxnH1l — Princess Paula (@Celeb_Leak) February 12, 2012
R.I.P. Whitney Houston My 1st purchased cassette and 1st concert. Now she’s free. — Sarah Coffman (@SarahCoffmanMF) February 12, 2012
Whitney Houston was my first concert ever… My mom took me because I begged… She wore a full length mint green… fb.me/1zd2b4LrX — Ava Gaudet (@AvaGaudet) February 12, 2012
Whitney Houston’s How Will I know tour in 1988 was my first concert. RIP.
— Amy Ravit Korin (@interactiveAmy) February 12, 2012
My first concert was Whitney Houston at Assembly Hall in Champaign, IL.Sat in the last row, upper deck on the Bodyguard soundtrack tour.
— Ryan Matteson (@muzzleofbees) February 12, 2012
A “Moment of Truth” Brings Back Memories
The second thing, that I thought about was how much my Dad loved Whitney Houston.
As I mentioned in my tribute to him when he died in 2010, Houston one of the three artists that my dad played all the time.
And one of my best memories was hearing my Dad talk about seeing Whitney Houston live in during her Moment of Truth Tour in 1987.
Anytime I would ask him about that night, his eyes lit up when he talked about how the show began with the words “Dance” booming from the speakers and blasts of confetti shooting out into the crowd as Houston came on stage to a roaring crowd at Poplar Creek Theater in Hoffman Estates.
After I thought about that memory and I read all those tweets, I wanted to find that 1987 Whitney album so I flipped through our record collection to see if I could find the vinyl album that my Dad got at the concert.
But, unfortunately I couldn’t find it. Hopefully I can find it because holding and listening to that album is one of those things, like tweeting a concert memory or watching a YouTube clip, that helps comfort and guide you through the mourning process.
At the very least, I chuckled at and found comfort in the thought that my Dad might be enjoying a Houston concert that was way better than the one he experienced on Planet Earth in 1987.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone through the process of what I like to call situational or memory-based grieving, which is, as I’ve explained to other people, is the process of being reminding about the loss of friends or family member after another person dies.
In times like these I’m reminded how the grieving process isn’t a one-time thing. And music, live music in this case, plays a major part in conjuring up our emotions that we’ve buried down deep.
Grieving can last a lifetime and you can go through many stages depending of the type of loss and where you were in life when the loss occurred.
In situations like these it amazes me how much the live music experience can help us identify and work through our grief, both individually and as a worldwide community.
And I’m sure this process will continue as more stories about impact of her career on our lives and details about her tragic death are reported in the media.
Hudson To Pay Tribute At Grammys
With this news coming on the eve of the Grammys, Reuters reported that Jennifer Hudson will lead fans in paying tribute with a performance dedicated to Houston on Sunday night.
The awards’ executive producer Ken Ehrlich told the L.A. Times that Jennifer Hudson would perform a “respectful” musical tribute to Houston during the CBS awards telecast on Sunday.
Ehrlich told the Times: “It’s too fresh in everyone’s memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize Whitney’s remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years.”
What Have You Felt?
What are your favorite memories of seeing her perform live? Let us what you think and share your experiences in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook, Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.