Political beat: Candidates for city office reflect on the shows they've seen | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Political beat: Candidates for city office reflect on the shows they've seen

"I caught a half of a drum stick from Eddie Money's drummer. It could have impaled someone."


Voters use all kinds of criteria when deciding whom to vote for. Some use party affiliation or endorsements. Others might even want to know where a particular candidate stands on the issues. But what about their musical tastes? Could we not have avoided a lot of heartache if we'd known that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was a fan of Toby Keith and Snoop Dogg, right from the get-go? 

As a public service, we asked candidates running for city office this year to tell us the first concert they attended, and the last one. And while Eddie Money appears to exert a disturbingly strong influence on our public leaders, the answers were as varied as the candidates themselves.


Pittsburgh Mayor

City Council President Darlene Harris

First concert: Harris says she hasn't had time for concerts, though she participated in school musicals while in school. "I think I only had speaking lines," she admits.

Most recent concert: Harris says the closest she got to a show was when Elvis played the Civic Arena Pittsburgh on New Year's Eve, 1976. "I wanted my husband to buy tickets ... but he didn't and I missed him and [Elvis] passed away," she recalls.  


City Controller Michael Lamb

First concert: The city controller admits that at the ages of 14 and 15, he and his buddies "were big Foreigner fans" and caught the classic rockers at the Civic Arena in the late 1970s. "We had the first Foreigner album where every song on it was a hit, like ‘Cold as Ice.'"

Most recent concert: U2 at Heinz Field, two summers ago.


City Councilor Bill Peduto

First concert:  Boston, with Eddie Money opening in 1978 at the Civic Arena. "It was the '70s and it was a rite of passage," Peduto says. And it may have launched his career in public service: "I caught a half of a drum stick from Eddie Money's drummer. It could have impaled someone."

Most recent concert: Haitian musician Yves Jean at Stage AE.


A.J. Richardson

Richardson could not remember his first concert, but says his most recent concert was Esperanza Spalding at the Byham Theater last fall. He admits he doesn't see many shows. "I'm a theater guy; I love plays," he says. But, he adds, "Maybe — maybe, if my duties allow it — I might go catch a show once I'm elected."


Jack Wagner

First concert: Ray Charles at the Civic Arena in the late 1960s. "He was magnificent."

Most recent concert: The Roger Humphries Jazz Jam Session at CJ's in the Strip District, produced by drummer and Pittsburgh native Roger Humphries. "They have some of the best jazz, not just in the city but probably the best jazz anywhere."


State Rep. Jake Wheatley

First concert: Run-D.M.C. on the Walk This Way tour in Detroit in the 1980s. "Run-D.M.C. was one of the big, major up-and-comers," Wheatley says. "It was one of the biggest things to do. It was just beautiful."

Most recent concert: Rick Ross at Consol Energy Center last year.


Josh Wander 

First Concert: The Republican candidate, who has dual U.S./Israeli citizenship, saw Eric Clapton in Jerusalem in the late 1980s.

Most recent concert: Jewish reggae performer Matisyahu at the Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead last month.


Pittsburgh City Council


Theresa Kail-Smith

First concert: Growing up, the West End councilor recalls her father "made us attend different cultural events once a month." When she got to choose, "I almost always chose the symphony."

Most recent concert: She went with her husband to see rockers ZZ Top in the early 2000s at Mellon Arena. "I left in the middle of the concert."


John Lee

First concert: "I think it was The Eagles back in like 1979. It was down in the Civic Arena. They were big at the time."

Most recent concert: "Springsteen in Philly this past Labor Day weekend. That show lasted three hours and 43 minutes to be exact, and the only reason he quit was that Max Weinberg couldn't freakin' pick up another drumstick."


Natalia Rudiak

First concert: The incumbent can't recall her first show, but says, "I remember going to Metropol in high school, and I saw Fiona Apple and Garbage and Radiohead all in the same year. That might have been my best concert year ever. This would have been like '96 or '97."

Most recent concert: Rudiak saw Morrisey at Heinz Hall this winter. "It was a good show, but it made me feel old, because everybody I saw there, I was like, ‘Wow, you're like 45. I remember when you were in a band.'" 


Daniel Lavelle

First concert: "If memory serves me, my first concert was Whodini." 

Most recent concert: "Sean Jones and Company at the August Wilson Center." 



Tonya Payne

First concert: "The Commodores."

Most recent concert: "The Dixie Chicks." 



Franco "Dok" Harris

First concert: "Michael Jackson — I was in sixth grade." 

Most recent concert: "Bon Jovi at Consol." 




Jeanne Clark

First concert: "[Folk-singing lefty] Phil Ochs: It was in Massachusetts, probably in 1968. I adored Phil Ochs, and one of my favorite songs is ‘When I'm Gone,' which is going to be played at my funeral, if people keep their promises."

Most recent concert: "Common Threads at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts last year. It's a group that has been active for awhile. They do gorgeous political folk, and wonderful music."

Dan Gilman

First concert: "It was the Beach Boys with Eddie Money opening, at Three Rivers Stadium, I think in 1995. What I can remember most was the crowd going crazy for ‘Take Me Home Tonight.'"

Most recent concert: "It would have been Girl Talk this past summer at Stage AE. It was an incredible show, and that's an incredible venue outdoors."


Sam Hens-Greco

First concert: "Uriah Heep at the Civic Arena. I don't even think I was a big fan — I may have known a song — but a friend wanted to go. I couldn't tell you the year, but they opened the Arena roof, and it was like being in a smokestack."

Most recent concert: "It's not going to be exciting, but the Renaissance City Choir's holiday-season concert this past December. They do ‘The 12 Days of Christmas' which is always fun, because they make each part of the audience engage in a role. We were the lords a-leaping."



— Compiled by Lauren Daley, Chris Potter and AmyJo Brown