I chide myself for stuff I didn’t do when I was younger. More often though about stuff I did and wish I hadn’t. You’re all familiar with many of those incidents and events because I declare ownership on all by putting them in print. Sometimes in excruciating detail. Ugh. One of my silliest regrets is that I didn’t run away from home to attend some concerts as a teen. Three to be exact. How I wish I would have gone to see the Beatles, Doors, and Johnny Cash. Cash is a strange one for me since his music should not appeal to me. But it does and I love him. The first “real band” I saw in person were the Buckingham’s. Lake Okoboji at the Roof Garden, about 1967. “Kind of a Drag.”
|Neese at Lake Okoboji. Roof Garden, John, Buckingham’s, 1967…|
Guess I just wasn’t into music that much. I listened to the radio, and watched Dick Clark’s American Bandstand on Saturdays. But I never had rhythm. If only sarcasm were a dance move, I’d been top dog for like 3 minutes. Couldn’t dance as a teen. Still can’t dance as a gram. Music was never very high on my list. I joined high school’s choir just to be part of the group. Never had a good singing voice. Now it’s just hopeless. The more deaf I become, the worse I sound when I sing. So I don’t. Except when I walk. I sing my heart out. I don’t care who’s listening or watching. Deal with it.
At First Reformed Church youth’s choir, I was required to take part when I was a teen. We had practice after supper, so most my friends were there too. Another social outing for me. Yay. Got me out of the house for the night. Maybe we’d go to the bowling alley afterward to get something to eat. My favorite? Our bowling alley made a fresh homemade pizza that cost a whopping 60 cents. Or we’d ride around the loop in Rock Valley. Which, I might add included “our one and only famous stoplight.” I played snare drums in Rock Valley’s High School band, but it was a lackadaisical career. I never really tried very hard. For me, being a part of the group was front and foremost in importance. Not doing particularly well in any group never really mattered. Being in the group mattered.
|Our one fabulous Rock Valley stoplight. Wow what wide streets…|
I’ve gone to a few concerts over the years. Lamented with Kenny Rogers begging “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.” I took a bus from Davenport to Chicago to hear Neil Diamond croon “Sweet Caroline.” Love that man. Sang along with 3 Dog Night, who warned me repeatedly, “Mama Told Me Not to Come!” The Pointer Sisters got “So Excited” they had to “Jump!” Ray Charles was thinking bout “Georgia On My Mind.”
But music did not really become important to me until I started walking daily in 1998. Hmm, that was about the same time I started losing my hearing. Coincidence? Don’t know. A lot of people enjoy the sounds of outdoors when they walk. Or maybe it’s the indoor sounds they don’t hear while they walk. I walk on a rather busy street, so the sounds of cars zooming by and birds chirping weren’t cutting it. I needed something to keep my feet moving, and take my mind off of all those steps I was taking. Music was the answer. For several years I listened to the Beatles, Doors, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Pointer Sisters. You got the part about several years right? Bored out of my skull with the same tunes, year after year. While John made me cassette tapes of music we already owned, my techie son Joshua introduced me to music from the years 1995 forward. He’d make a tape of singers and bands I’d never heard. Black Eyed Peas, Train, Offspring. (I gotta feeling, Hey Soul Sista, Gotta keep ’em separated). After awhile, if I liked a tune, I’d research the band’s music and buy more songs. First on Rhapsody, then on iTunes. Finally something I could manage without Joshua’s constant help.
|One of Ari’s graduation pics. Same time as Lady Gaga concert…|
A few years ago, Lady Gaga was just becoming a hot commodity. She’s got great walking tunes. Joshua and I went in kahoots and bought a Lady Gaga concert ticket for Ari’s birthday. Plus one for each of us to watch her in Detroit. This just amazes me. Seriously, I’m amazed. Here’s a hip 34 year old uncle, Joshua, and his super cool, beautiful 19 year old niece, Ariana. Plus me, mom of Josh and gram to Ari. Unbelievable. Going to a hip-hop concert. Together. Honestly, nothing better. Or cooler. Maybe not to them, but it was to me. They might have been mortified to be seen in my company, but they covered it up nicely all night. Besides they were both kind of impressed that I knew the words to her songs. Well, Denise’s hard-of-hearing version of the lyrics. Might not have been what was originally written, but I stood up, swaying and singing along. It was an awesome night. Jason Derulo was Lady Gaga’s opening act. I had never heard of him until that night, but I was impressed. Bought one of his songs. “In my Head.” Nice choreography, and he had some sweet dance moves. As bizarre as Lady Gaga sometimes appears, she is a gifted musician, songwriter and singer. She played the piano on her haunches. Squatting with her butt one inch above the piano seat. Her legs splayed out like a frogs across the piano bench. Fabulous talent. Ari and I stayed overnight at Joshua’s. We had breakfast together the next morning before Josh went to work. Then I dropped Ari off in Jackson and drove back home. Maybe a titch more deaf.
|Ari’s big purchase on the way to P!nk. Isn’t she just the cutest Hawkeye???|
A couple years ago, I came across an article on the super talented singer, P!nk. She was starting a concert tour after releasing her last wildly popular album called “The Truth About Love.” I texted Ari on a Sunday morning to see if she had an interest in going to a P!nk concert? Her answer was plastered on Facebook. Something like, “my gram just asked if I wanted to go with her to a P!nk concert? Umm, yes! Coolest gram ever!” By then Josh had gotten married to marvelous, lovable Erica. Joshua begged off, Shannon had no interest, Sarah and Adam had to work. So our new cozy three-some was Ariana, Erica and tag-along gram-mother-in-law. Me. Ari and I spent the day in Detroit shopping while Erica was doing her car company engineering job. We all met for supper at a restaurant close to the Palace of Auburn Hills. There’s just not the right words to describe a P!nk concert. She spent a third of the concert, swinging from a trapeze attached to the several stories high ceiling of the Palace. In a rather nude body suit. Singing. She was utterly amazing. Plus I knew all the words again. My version. Great concert. Ari and I drove back to Jackson and I spent the night before driving home. Maybe a titch more deaf.
|P!nk flying thru the air SINGING. Concert 2013…|
I’ve been crazy about Adam Levine and Maroon 5 since I bought “Payphone “and “One More Night.” When I heard they were going on tour, I looked up when they would be in Detroit. Asked Ari and Erica if they were in? A resounding yes from both. Ari’s boyfriend Josh (not to be confused with my son Joshua. Really, what are the odds?) wanted to go too. Our seats were the best so far of our 3 Palace of Auburn Hills concerts. I drove to Ari’s and Josh’s apartment in Ypsilanti, and rode with them to Detroit which is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Of course we met Erica after work at the same restaurant as the P!nk concert. That’s now a tradition. The Maroon 5 concert was quite different than Lady Gaga’s or P!nk’s. Those 2 performers spent thousands on elaborate costume changes and sets. Adam Levine came out on stage in a black-non-descript-jacket, white T-shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes. After song number 3, he tossed the jacket. Never changed clothes. Never stopped singing. That’s really what I pay for. Still, gotta give it up to Lady Gaga and P!nk for their “wow” entertainment factor. It was a great concert. A wonderful night. All 3 of them have been. I went home with Erica and spent a couple days with her and Joshua. Maybe a titch more deaf.
|Maroon 5 ticket with Ari, Josh, Erica & me…|
While we were eating supper at the restaurant, before the Maroon 5 concert, Erica said she and some friends are planning to attend a Madonna concert in Detroit this fall. Ari turned to me and asked, “who else do you want to see gram? What’s next on your concert bucket list?” Without hesitation, (fully expecting and thoroughly enjoying their dropped jaws) I casually replied, “Pitbull.” …