Spotlight On: Mrs. McHardy

“This is where where the passion is, so this is where the money and the time goes.”


Mrs. McHardy on stage at a Goo Goo Dolls concert.

Ben Goldman

In this week’s Staff Spotlight, we sat down with Mrs. McHardy, and discussed her passion of music and live performances.


How has music been a part of your life?

It’s just always there. I don’t remember a time where music wasn’t on in the background. You know, as soon as I was old enough to pay attention to the Top 40 and put the radio on myself, music was always on. I would spend entire Sundays cleaning my room, while listening to the Top 40… Plus, I grew up as a dancer, so music’s really important. It was just always there, and as soon as I could drive I started going to concerts.

How many concerts have you been to?

It’s got to be well over 200. I started going when I was 16 and could drive… It kind of died down when I got married and the kids couldn’t go to as many. But now that the kids are older, it’s kind of picked up again. But I’d probably been to 100 by the time I was 21.

I think it’s just how much I appreciate live performance and what they put into it. Night after night, they do the same thing again, but it’s like it’s their first time doing it, and it’s never exactly the same show twice… I keep going to the same acts over and over again because they’re actually musicians and they do such a great job.

Is there a difference between going to concerts now and going to concerts then, when you were 16?

When I was younger, going to something two nights in a row was no big deal. Even in the summer, that’s tough now. I saw Green Day (a couple weeks ago), and at 11:00 I had to go. I did the same thing when I saw Bruce Springsteen in April. It’s like, they’re going to play for another hour, but I’ve got to get up at 4:30. So, yeah, that’s a little bit of a difference. I never used to leave before encores when I was younger, but it’s tiring now. I was tired after Green Day for days.

Is there a particular moment in a concert that will stick with you forever?

I was a little bit overwhelmed the first time I saw U2 and heard “One” live, because I consider that to be my all-time favorite song. And the first time I saw U2 I was there with my family, and it was on my birthday – so that made it more special. 

Also, when we last saw the Eagles—which I was glad we got to see one more time before Glenn Frey died—it was my first time hearing “The Best of My Love” live. They got up and stood in their straight line with their guitars,  and I was like “YEESSS!!”

Two summers ago, I happen to be in Colorado when Walk the Moon was playing at Red Rocks (outside of Denver). That’s just such an iconic venue – so that added to the experience, being outdoors in that setting.

So, I think those moments, and also when you hear something from an album that wasn’t a radio hit, but you love it. It’s like they’re playing it just for you. Like when Billy Joel toured in 1987, he pulled out a song from the Innocent Man album, “This Night,” that never got played on the radio and I’m not sure that anybody really likes. But it’s my favorite song off the album, and he sang it.

And also, I saw Green Day (before Spring Break), and I had never seen Green Day. They’re my youngest son’s favorite band of all time. There’s one Green Day song that we intentionally sing wrong lyrics to, so being able to be there with him to see Green Day was, you know… there’s all kinds of moments. It usually has to do with something they play.

You mentioned before that you got on-stage seats at a Goo Goo Dolls concert? That must’ve been an amazing moment, too.

Yeah. So, I turned 50 this year. Usually, now it’s just tickets for things that I would like for gifts.  I’d rather go to an event, an experience, than have stuff, because this is what I like. I got tickets to a show where we given a bag of merchandise, a chance to meet the band (Goo Goo Dolls), and a spot for on the stage during the show.  I took my middle son… we were standing literally at the edge of the stage. It was really, really neat! That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, just to be that close, because I don’t usually spring for the front row.

What kind of a concert-goer are you?

Oh, stand and dance for sure. And sing, most of the time. But not super-obnoxiously, though, because let’s face it, people paid to hear the artist, not me. But usually, I do stand and dance the whole time.

I made a sign once for a Van Halen concert. I don’t remember what it said now. But Springsteen, obviously, is famous for taking sign requests, so this year I made one for a song that he doesn’t usually play live, “Tunnel of Love.” He didn’t play it. 

It’s not just concerts, though. You’ve also seen many Broadway shows and sporting events, too…

I think it’s just the experience of live performance of any kind. I mean, I’ve been to a ton of sporting events, a ton of Broadway shows… When you go see a live performance, they can still draw a lot of emotion out of you that you maybe won’t get by reading a book or watching a movie. And another thing is, you’re experiencing it with, like, 20,000 of your closest friends, and you’re all experiencing one thing together.

Is there a particular artist or show you’ve seen the most?

Billy Joel I think I’ve seen 13 times… and it never gets old. I think I’ve seen Def Leppard 10 times.

Are there any bands you’ve never seen, but would like to?

Green Day was actually number one on that list. I don’t even know who’d be on that list now. I mean, I like the Rolling Stones, but never saw them when they toured. I may have missed out on that one… (Other than that), just some smaller bands that I would like to see. There was this really great band that opened for (the Goo Goo Dolls) called Run River North. They’re younger, they’re Korean Americans… and I keep checking to see if I can catch them.

You’re very lucky to have this lifestyle…

I like how you called it a lifestyle… When I was younger, people were always amazed by the amount of concerts I went to, but that’s what I did with my money. I didn’t go to bars… any money I made, I spent on concerts. That’s what I did, bought books and went to concerts. Especially now that I’m older, and have the ability to go to them if they don’t come to me. I’ve seen (U2 and Bruce Springsteen) in Chicago. My sister and I went to Indianapolis for Def Leppard because we couldn’t make the show at Pine Knob. I’m going on the road to see Billy Joel and U2 this summer, because they’re not coming here.

I guess I never really thought of it, until you brought it up, as a lifestyle, but it certainly is… This is where my passion is, obviously, and seeing all these things. This is where where the passion is, so this is where the money and the time goes.

Do you have any questions of your own for Mrs. McHardy? Comment them below and they may be asked in a follow-up interview!