I remember when rock was young…

Don’t take my title here literally. I really wasn’t around when rock & roll debuted. That was a bit before my time. Music was a different world when I was a kid. I remember very little about radio music (elementary school music and church hymns were the 2 biggies in my life) before I hit my teens in the mid-60’s. I do recall fighting with my sister about listening to the radio before we went to sleep at night. She wanted country music on when we were in bed. I wanted quiet, she didn’t. She had the prime spot next to the nightstand and was almost 8 years older than me. Needless to say, I lost that battle. 

One of my first concert experiences. The Roof Garden at Arnold’s Park, 1966…

I think kids today have a bigger interest in music at a younger age than I did. They know all the popular artists, plus every word from their songs. I didn’t have a huge interest in TV or radio as a kid. Until I saw The Beatles. Namely Paul McCartney. Hubba-hubba. And I didn’t get to see him as early as the rest of the world’s teenage population because I couldn’t watch the Ed Sullivan Show (or Bonanza) on Sunday nights. I was in church from 6:30, attending  RCYF (Reformed Church Youth Fellowship). After our youth group concluded, we headed upstairs to catch the evening’s sermon (no sneaking out of line and trying to dodge the rest of the service. Every parent looked over as we filed in. They knew in an instant if you were not among the kids you always sat with). A whole new world opened up to me once Paul professed his longing to hold my hand. And love, love me do. Even when I’m 64.

Paul, my favorite Beatle…

So by junior high the girls I hung out with had numerous slumber parties and music became a much bigger part of my life. In my book, no one ever quite measured up to the Beatles, but there were tons of popular groups. The Beach Boys, Dave Clark Five, Rolling Stones, The Monkees, The Buckinghams, The Temptations, Mamas & the Papas, The Animals, Simon & Garfunkel, Elvis, Neil Diamond (a close second to the Beatles for me), The Righteous Brothers, The Supremes. I’m sure I’ve missed some of my favorites, the list of musicians and fabulous songwriters from that great era were endless. 

Neil, 2017 concert…

One of the earliest entertainers I ever remember watching on TV was Liberace. Anyone remember him? He was flamboyant, outrageous, quirky and wildly talented. What he could do to a set of ivory’s was amazing. I thought he was a hoot, and my Mom loved him. I’ve been thinking about Liberace because of a concert I attended Friday night. That’s right. This little concert groupie with the gimpy leg checked another item off my Plastic Pail list. Namely, Sir Elton John. That’s right folks.

Daredevil P!nk swinging, singing on a trapeze, Truth about Love concert tour…

As soon as I realized Elton John was doing a “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” tour I texted my daughter-in-law Erica (who’s really our concert junkie in the family). Wouldn’t ‘ya know, she already bought tickets for herself and Josh. Well nuts. I had checked some of the ticket sites and knew there was no way my other go-to concert buddy, granddaughter, Ariana could afford a ticket. They were sinfully expensive. But Shannon was willing to sacrifice an evening and go with me (she really doesn’t care for concert type venues). 

Adam Levine, Maroon 5 at the Palace of Auburn Hills…

Six months zip by and suddenly Elton’s concert is upon us. Shannon and I are meeting Josh and Erica at their house and going out for supper before heading down to the fabulous new Little Caesar’s Arena for the 8 o’clock show. Josh & Erica know Detroit like the palm of their hand and delight in choosing different restaurants for us to try. But it was a Friday night, and we had to eat relatively early so I wouldn’t be rushed before the actual concert starts. Geesh. We finally decide on Mexican Town, not new but one of my favorite spots. (Last time we ate there was a couple years ago when Flat Stanley was our house guest for a week. Now that little guy could pack away the fajitas). We snarf our way through 2 baskets of piping hot tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole dip. Mexican Town is famous for their margaritas, but not tonight Neese. I can’t be half tipsy when I’m trying to pick out a t-shirt or find my way to the cotton candy kiosk before the big show. And who wants to get up during an exciting concert, (sitting squarely in the middle of my long row) to run to the bathroom? 

Sir Elton John, Little Caesar’s Arena, Detroit, 10-12-2018…

After ordering modest amounts of food (mini fajitas), platters the size of small yachts are placed in front of us. None of us made a very big dent on our delicious Mexican fare. Couldn’t take the excess food with us either as we were using Uber to get from here to there. (My first time for that too). It had been sprinkling since Shannon and I arrived in Detroit, by the time we were heading to the concert it was a steady drizzle and very cool. But the wait to get in the arena (everyone had to go through a metal detector, and they totally checked every inch of my purse) wasn’t 10 minutes. 

Elton scorching those ivory’s, 2018…

It wasn’t as early as I had hoped though. A mutual split second decision for a slight detour was made to get in line to buy souvenir paraphernalia before finding our seats. First top I saw hanging above my head was a grey zippered hoodie with a large gold sequined E (for Elton, focus people) was moderately priced at $125 dollars. Oh my word. No thanks, but I saw several being worn during the night. Since my arms are always cold I don’t favor short sleeves. Tried on a long sleeved T which hung down to my (sore) knees. Nope. Chose another from the large assortment, meanwhile Erica wanders over, shows me her shirt when the clerk hands me the T shirt to try on. “Good choice, this one’s only available tonight and tomorrow, exclusively for Detroit.” “Sold,” I say happily. Erica’s face fell, she mutters, “man, I should have gotten that one.” Salesman dude was very gracious and swapped Erica’s first pick for our limited edition Detroit super cool shirt. 

Part of Detroit’s skyline, made with a capital E…

The concert. No opening act and Elton walked out on stage at 8:05. He’s prompt. He starts off with one of my favorites, Ba-Ba-Ba-Benny & the Jets. (I’ve been singing this one since I started working because we’re on our second little boy named Ben). I didn’t recognize another song during the first hour which was disappointing. Elton used the backdrop to show lots of pictures, some sad, some silly about almost everything, people, wild psychedelic images. The second hour had more of my favorites, Rocket Man, Daniel, Crocodile Rock. He only changed clothes (and glasses) twice, basically sang over 2-1/2 hours. After leaving the stage at the end of the concert, he came back out in his dressing gown (what a riot) and ended the night with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. 

Elton sang his heart out, 2018…

I guess I would describe the concert on the whole as sedate. Elton, like Liberace, enjoyed embellishing his musical numbers. Almost like a rehearsed ad lib. Added 5-7 minutes to many numbers, playing the piano accompanied by his band. Maybe the people in the top shelf seats stood the whole time singing along, but no one did in the nosebleed section. It had nothing to do with his age (or even mine). I stood for most of Neil Diamond’s concert and EVERYBODY sang along with almost every song. Sweet Caroline, DAH-DAH-DAH! Good times never seem so good, SO GOOD, SO GOOD, SO GOOD. I mean that was crazy awesome. Elton did tell tidbit stories about his life, one with a picture collage about the AIDS Foundation he started in the 80’s which has raised over 200 million dollars. 

Farewell T-shirt, exclusive for Detroit venue…

Elton John gave a good concert, though not a great one in my humble opinion. But not one I’m gonna be thinking about with a smile on my face for years to come like when I remember the concerts with P!nk, Maroon 5, Paul McCartney, or my all time favorite, Neil…

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road…

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