A couple of weeks ago, Ret and I relived our 1970s youth at a KISS concert. What a blast – literally! I’ve been to my share of rock concerts over the years, but this was my first experience around pyrotechnics that melted my mascara.
The show was an exhilarating, playful, nostalgic joyride from start to finish. You could almost forget those were elderly men on stage (serious makeup) until you realized they didn’t jump around in their seven-inch platform shoes the way they once did. It didn’t matter. Those four old guys electrified us anyway.
Always in control
In the Fantasyland corner of my mind, I’m a free-spirited, adventurous woman. I really am, sort of… I mean, I can be spontaneous as long as I plan it.
The truth is, though I hate to admit it, I’m a bit of a control freak. It’s partly because I’m the big sister, the oldest of five girls in my family. I don’t have hard data on this, but most of the firstborns I know have an oversized sense of responsibility. We’re the dependable ones, the ones who always floss our teeth and make our beds, and we like being the sage everyone calls on to help bring about order from chaos. And on this occasion, let’s just say I was tested.
Best seats in the house
Ret has a knack for scoring great seats at ball games, concerts and plays. Thanks to this talent, we had the thrill of seeing one of his all-time favorite bands from about the seventh row on the floor, close enough to feel the heat of the pyro effects (hence the melted mascara) and actually see the faces Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley made at each other and us. Pretty cool.
One downside of seats on the floor is that it’s crowded. Our folding chairs were wedged together and the distance between each row was pretty tight too. Whoever set up this seating arrangement apparently had no concept of personal space. Another downside is that the rows are level, unlike seats in the other sections that rise from the front to the back. This matters a lot to a short person like me. I always have to stand through the whole show because, well, the tall people in front of me are standing.
A pair of young red-haired men, obviously brothers, were in the seats directly in front of us, and of course they were taller than me. To their left was one brother’s pretty blonde girlfriend. The guys were ordinary enough; apart from looking like twins, they blended in with everyone else.
Distracted by the sideshow
The girlfriend was doing anything but blending in, dressed to kill in a black midriff top, microscopic shorts, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. Oh, and she watched most of the show through her white Wayfarer sunglasses.
Her most significant accessory, however, wasn’t the shades or the fishnets. It was the many long, tall beverages she waved in the air as she hopped up and down, dancing on her flimsy folding chair. Sometimes it was a ginormous beer, sometimes a cool frozen concoction, but she was never empty-handed. As she consumed one drink after another, her balance in those killer heels on that rickety chair became progressively more precarious. It was worse when she pulled out her smartphone to snap a few selfies – yes, selfies! Phone in one hand, drink in the other, teetering and gesturing, she was in her glory.
OMG, I thought, this chick is going to fall on me!
While Miss Wayfarer was weaving, the exuberant guy to my left kept hugging me. “Best night of my life!” he shouted joyfully, throwing his tattooed arm around me and managing to capture Ret in his embrace too. It was surprisingly endearing. He was a friendly guy having a great time. And once, when Miss Wayfarer did fall, feet slipping through the back of the chair as her face pitched forward toward the row of chairs in front of her, he leaped to action to help her up. Then, unbelievably, she jumped right back into position, dancing on her chair, whooping and hollering as if nothing had happened. Maybe she forgot about it. Her boyfriend and his brother, eyes riveted to the exploding stage, didn’t seem to notice.
Well, I noticed. Completely distracted by the sideshow, I found it hard to look away, which is incredible when you realize Miss Wayfarer was competing with a legendary rock band and incendiary devices for my attention. The mom in me wanted to take her aside and say, “Sweetheart, really? What are you doing?” My dark side wanted theater security to escort her out. Her antics brought out all of my big-sister tendencies. And she was getting on my nerves.
Rock and roll all night
An old friend once told me there are two kinds of things in life: those you can do something about, and those you can’t. Obviously, when you’re surrounded on all sides by dancing revelers, ginormous beers and loud music, there’s not much you can do to prevent a tipsy young woman from falling on you. It’s futile to worry about it.
So, I let her go and turned my face to the stage, shouting out lyrics I know by heart. The music of my childhood washed over me and for a moment, I was in eighth grade again. Lighter. Freer. Ready to rock and roll all night!
And who knows? With enough planning, I might even party every day.