Last night Tom says to me (he says) "I DVR'd a few things I thought you might like to watch." There in my lineup was The Who's "Tommy", "Rush"'s first appearance on American TV in over 30 years on "The Colbert Report", and "VH-1's Rock Honors The Who". The heavens opened and the angels sang. And the angels looked a lot like Roger Daltry, which is kind of how I usually picture them anyway.
As I watched, I felt the goosebumps starting to rise. Then I felt a huge (and completely uncool, but totally genuine) grin slipping over my face. And then there was a lump in my throat, then the burning behind the eyes, and before I knew it I was actually crying. Lea thought this was hilarious, as she is only a junior squealy fangirl and hasn't yet experienced the full rapture that can come on when the music you've loved for decades starts up. Though I was around her age when I first saw "Tommy" and - that was a long time ago - but I'm pretty sure there were tears involved. And a funny feeling I didn't have a name for yet. I've since learned the name for it: full-on lust.
We haven't gone to a concert in awhile, unless you count the concerts we've taken the kids to. But growing up, that was it. That was what I did. I grew up in a small town. It was actually the town where they filmed "All the Right Moves" and it was portrayed pretty accurately in that film. ("Slapshot" was filmed there, too, but that's another story for another day.) Entertainment in my town was pretty limited, especially since I couldn't have been less interested in sports. But I had concerts. We had our "War Memorial Arena" where we very frequently saw bands on their way up or down (rarely, if ever, in their prime). I went to every show they had, starting with "Nazareth" around 1977 or so. I had a wineskin of "Boone's Farm" around my neck and a neat little row of bright pink joints tucked into my sock. Now you're messin' with a son-of-a-bitch. I didn't really care if it was a band or even a genre I enjoyed ("Molly Hatchett", anyone?) I was there - fighting my way to the front of the general admission crowd.
When I moved to bigger cities, I had to be more discerning, because so many shows came to town I would've gone broke trying to see them all. But I saw some good ones. I saw "Aerosmith" 4 times in one year when I lived in Philly. I remember one of those shows - I was going with two friends who I'd seen several shows with before, but one of them brought along a friend who'd never seen "Aerosmith" live before. We counted on being able to buy tickets at the door, but by the time we got there, the only thing they had available was behind the actual stage. We took them. After the show, the newbie voiced what we were all thinking: "Um, guys? Whose job was it to bring the dry panties?"
I went to see "The Rolling Stones" in Pittsburgh and when they took the stage (after "Living Colour" warmed up the crowd for them, holy crap!) those tears came without warning, and I found myself punching my then boyfriend while screaming in genuine surprise, "It's Mick Fuckin' Jagger! Oh My God! It's Mick Fuckin' Jagger. Here! In the same place I am!" He looked at me like maybe I'd done a little business with the folks approaching us in the parking lot whispering, "trips. trips. got trips". But that was not the case. I was just completely and utterly overwhelmed. I know it's only rock and roll, but I like it. I like it a lot.
That screaming, overwhelmed fangirl is how I usually present at concerts, but one band literally knocked me on my ass, and that was the aforementioned "Rush". The second time I saw them was in D.C. . I was jumping up and down and screaming and doing the fangirl thing during the warm-up band, then "Rush" came out and the sheer force of that much talent in the same room with me literally took the strength out of my legs and the air out of my lungs. I sat quietly in my seat like a good little prog-rock nerdgirl. Damn.
Then there are the one's that got away. I never saw "Queen". I never saw original recipe "Van Halen". I never saw "Nirvana". Yeah, some big one's got away. But I don't think I've caught my limit yet. I may still have a good show or two left in me. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a nostalgia tour... (Though we do have tickets for "Jethro Tull" this summer. Gonna bungle in the jungle, whatever the hell that means)