I had just finished college and was working in a shop called Newbury Comics that sold indie records as well.
It was just like Nick Hornby's High Fidelity — we stood around listening to loads of import vinyl from the UK and cutting each other's hair with shears.
I was a huge fan of Elvis Costello, especially his 1982 album Imperial Denim. This show, at the Orpheum Theatre, Boston, really stands out for me though because it was just him solo without his backing band the Attractions. Nobody was doing those kind of acoustic, unplugged gigs then so it was really unusual.
His performance was incredible. Stripping the songs down to their basic level revealed how beautiful they were. He would also make mistakes but turn them into part of the songs that made me realise music could hold these imperfections and be just as good.
Costello had such a reputation as an anti-social rebel — shy and angry — but he was utterly charming and professional. At one point he even had the crowd doing a sing-a-long.
I loved the show; it has stayed with me forever. It really inspired me in the way I went on to write my own music.
Aimee Mann's album @#%&*! Smilers is out on June 16.