When the hubby asked me if I wanted to sneak out on a Sunday night to go to the concert, I was astoundingly, excitedly, extremely meh about the whole idea. It meant leaving the kid alone again (it’s beginning to become a habit and I’m starting to feel a little dirty about it) while we pretended to be cool and hip and ready to party on a whim. But I’ve been in a weird headspace since I’ve retired and I was pretty sure I could muster up the strength to roll off the couch after the sun went down. While usually the family is eager to go out and explore the world during the daylight hours we rarely venture out once we’ve retreated to our private corners of the house. In actuality, I couldn’t find a reason not to go. The tickets were free and it was bound to be rocking.
We made minimal effort to dress up (in fact, I was even going to keep the shorts that I had worn all day, but it got too cold) and didn’t start driving into downtown until 30 minutes before the opening act was to start. You have to understand that we are people that are usually the first ones to our seats (I guess in case we miss something?) and for some reason we just weren’t willing to put in the effort. I started sweating (as I always do) about possible scenarios about someone being in our seats and having to ask them to move, or getting seated next to someone that wouldn’t be happy unless we became best friends, and had to make an active effort to stop myself. I was bound and determined to have a good time and I was as ready as I would ever be.
I had (I thought) a pretty firm handle on the schedule and the timing of the whole thing (oh, foolish, foolish woman) and was expecting that we would hit our seats with just enough time to get a couple of drinks and soak up the atmosphere. And with a few minor snags (don’t even get me started on bag check) we were ushered into the venue and to our seats. I was positively giddy. And I’m not even blowing smoke. It may have taken some effort to get there, but there we were. And I even introduced myself to some people sitting around us. And I had a conversations. Gasp! Who was I trying to be, anyway? Somebody stop me!
The people around us were dressed up to the absolute nines. Skirts were short and dresses were positively spewing sequins. Hair was big and make-up was on point. I was thankful to have put on pants. As it was, I definitely didn’t fit in. Oh well, the lights were going to turn off soon anyway and nobody was looking at me anyway. So I people watched and checked my phone, and people watched and checked my phone, and people watched and… for thirty freaking minutes. Okay, it’s not a lifetime, but I had the concert schedule in hand and we had planned this excursion around it. I’m not young enough to not care about curfews and kids at home by themselves. I crushed down my impatience and waited for the gig to start.
And wouldn’t you know, our opener wasn’t a singer at all–he was a comedian. A comedian that was a little late to the party and a little more funny that I initially gave him credit for. I’m a sucker for a good laugh and I thought he did a great job, but I was urging him to finish up and hurry on so that we could get to the main show. He finally wrapped and the lights popped on again. I was hoping for a short intermission. Ha. Ha Ha. So I people watched and I checked my phone, and people watched and checked my phone, and people watched and…for another thirty freaking minutes! Sorry kids, but mama was starting to want to check out of this popsicle stand. More people poured into the arena and the lights dimmed down. Screaming ensued. Lights went on again. As Samuel L. Jackson would say, “motherfuc…”
I have to take a second here to mention a conversation I had with my kid earlier that morning. He had expressed that he didn’t find me funny and he didn’t understand my humor and that I was entirely too negative in the way I talked about things. I felt hurt that he had said this, and yet I couldn’t disagree. I mean, negativity is my default. It’s the filter through which my life is lived. But it did hurt my feelings that he might think of me as nothing but a negative person. So, I had made a vow (that I hoped to live up to for more than 24 hours) that I would try to be more positive in general and not dwell on the things that drive me crazy. This was the spirit in which I had entered the night’s festivities.
Alas, I did not make 24 hours in the world of Pollyanna, and the late concert start was the catalyst to my downfall. I was no longer in the moment, no longer cared if music ever played, and just wished that at least the lights go down so I could close my eyes and take a little nap. And as soon as I thought that I was going to explode, the lights went down and the spotlights started swirling like a tornado. I felt a little disoriented and a little skeptical that something was actually happening. An army, I swear, an army of band members swarmed out from backstage and took their places at their instruments. My eyes began to sting and then water from the occasional blinding light that focused straight on me. A crescendo of music screamed from the speakers. I jumped to my feet and began to swing my hips. Everyone started screaming. The excitement flowed through the entire crowd and my grumpiness tapered off. This was going to be good.
And it was. For twenty minutes we danced to the rhythms pulsing through our bodies and swayed to the music. I’d love to say that we sang along, but we really only knew one of his songs from the radio and it was the only one in English. Everything being thrown at us was Spanish and it was awesome. So much power, so much passion, so much of everything. Unfortunately, my poor ears started ringing and I started to get a little frustrated that I couldn’t understand the words. I stopped trying to watch the performance for my own entertainment and began to enjoy it for everyone else’s. For the two guys in front of us that knew every single word to every song. For the various fans throughout the place that were holding up flags from Mexico and Puerto Rico. For the couples dancing in tight rows of chairs because they just couldn’t help themselves. It became a whole new event for me.
But as much as I wanted to keep people watching, the music was just too loud and I was just too frayed to sit still through the various ten minute solos of electric guitars and bongo drums (but man, once upon a time…). We gave it another few songs and decided to call it a night. I honestly don’t even think we made it a quarter through of what was planned. It was quite obviously only the beginning of a special time for most of the people there, and they were bound to have an exceptional kick-ass night. It just wasn’t going to be that way for us. The hubby and I took advantage of the empty restrooms and quiet streets outside the arena as we made our way to the car.
And I’m not ashamed to say, that as festive as the concert had been, it was the absolute best time of the night.
© DRB 2021
Photo: Vishnu R Nair