Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Given to Fly

In the days of my young adulthood, I relished summer for one reason: outdoor concerts. There was nothing I loved more than sitting under an open sky and listening to great music in the company of several hundred or thousand like-minded people.

The first concert I attended (NKOTB with my mom in 5th grade doesn't count!) had three headliners. The Gin Blossoms, Cracker and the Spin Doctors. It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, all heady and hormonal. There were maybe fifteen people in our group (SOB included, interestingly enough) and we spent the day/evening dancing, sweating and generally rocking out. The object of my desire, Bob J. had invited me to come out one last time before he moved off to Michigan for college. I nearly swooned when he let me wear his hat. He took a convoluted route home so that he could drop me off last. I think he was planning to kiss me, but I was 14, clueless and nervous. I jumped out of the car the second he stopped in front of my house. Later, laying in bed, wide awake from all the excitement, I realized what I had potentially missed out on and cried myself to sleep.

I went to Lollapalooza in '95. It was on or near the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide, and Hole was playing. It was a train wreck. I went with two girlfriends, my little brother and an older guy my parents knew and loved. He was supposed to be the responsible one, but since he was only 19, he turned a blind eye when my friend Ruth Ann got really really high and bugged out a little. We felt so illicit.

I went to the first Lilith Fair during my 'shaving my armpits is for suckers' phase. By the second and third tours, though, I was back on the razor.

Throughout college and beyond, I was always on the lookout for summer shows. Distance was never an issue. Venue was, however. As long as I could see the stars, or feel the rain falling on my back, I was content.

The last show I went to a show was in May of '06. Pearl Jam, my all time favorite band, was playing at the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ. Not the greatest venue, but it met the requirements. Plus, since I'm in the fan club, I get pretty bitchin' seats for most of their shows. It was the first time I was leaving Sam alone with SOB for bedtime, and I was incredibly anxious. He had never gone to sleep before without nursing, so not only was I was worried about him, but I was also concerned with leaking through the double layer of nursing pads and onto my awesome t-shirt from a long ago PJ tour. Fortunately, we both made it through the night without incident.

This year Pearl Jam is headlining Lollapalooza in Chicago the weekend after BlogHer. Eons ago, or at least what seems like eons, I toyed with the idea of attending both of these events. SOB and I love Chicago, so I figured that we could drop Sammy off with the grandparents and make a vacation of it. It was all too perfect. And then I got pregnant, with a due date mere days from these events. Now I'm going anywhere, except to Labor and Delivery.

But on some days, when it's sunny and not too hot, and I'm alone in the car, I'll pop in a disk from a live show. With the windows rolled down and wind rising up in my hair, I turn the volume up as loud as I can stand it and drive. Then, if only for a minute or two, the weightlessness of my past catches up with me.

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super des said...


We're definitely going to miss you at BlogHer, and I say bring a cd player into a park. That will help with the concert-lacking.

Arizaphale said...

Been busy and only just catching up on your blog. If you think YOU love outdoor concerts you should have been around when I was a girl. They were ALL outdoor concerts and when we were young and broke everyone 'camped' outside the venue and listened for free. This was often just as much fun especially as you got to meet all these similarly broke boys!!!! I saw Electric Light Orchestra, Fleetwood Mac, Status Quo, Deep Purple (what was left of them),David Bowie, Alice Cooper and Rick Wakeman amongst others. In those days you all put blankets on the ground and stood up when the main act came on. Nowadays everything is indoors and no-one lets you stand up :-(. What is THAT about? I, like you, sometimes turn up my ipod and drift back in time...great days.........