Saturday, August 2, 2008

Boston Concert: Past and Present Collide

Way back when in 1978, a bunch of us underage Boston fans rented a bus and went on pilgrimage to see our favorite band. Some us were funded by our parents and others were funded by growing weed under the park roller coaster. No matter who was buying, we left our parents at home to listen to Bobby Vinton, watch Quincy M.E. on TV, or do what ever else ‘old farts’ might do while home alone.

About 30 of us hopped on a decrepit old school bus that had no heat. The exuberance of youth kept us warm despite the cold November night. Some one brought their portable 8-track player. Of course, Boston played over and over all the way to the concert and back. Our chauffeur, a true to life version of Otto the bus driver from the “Simpsons”, dropped us off in front of the arena. Really… what other type of person would willingly drive a bunch of unaccompanied minors to a rock concert late at night?

Back in 1978, Boston was at the top of their game. All the original members were there. No one had yet died, quit or gotten fired. Their career as rock stars was just begining. Their own youth and exuberance was infectious and highly entertaining. They were great.

My experience was so cliché. I leaned on the stage the entire night cheering them on. Tom Scholz, Brad Delp, Barry Goudreau, and Jim Masdea pranced and paraded around the stage singing, playing and tossing their hair. Every now and again, one of them would lean down and slap my hand or toss a guitar pick into the crowd. The stage was dusty and Brad Delp’s sweat would splatter as he tossed his head. From a kid’s perspective, it was thrilling.

Mom gave me $15 for expenses and told me not to spend it all. I remember standing at the t-shirt booth in quite a quandary. Should I spend the entire 15 bucks on a t-shirt or be a good dooby and spend 50 cents on a Coke-a-cola for the ride home? I knew I would get in trouble for spending it all on an over-priced piece of fan wear. Did I want that shirt bad enough to accept the consequences? When last call for the bus came, I finally made my decision. I had to have that shirt. Thirst and consequences be damned.

Which brings us to just the other day – 30 years later.

Boston came to my home town and of course, husband took me to see them. One last time, I washed out the old 'in concert ’78' t-shirt. It barely fits and it's totally beat, but I wore it anyway. My mother, who last time paid the bill only to be left home, came with us too.

As Boston says, “…time doesn’t wait for me, it keeps on rollin.”

Time has replaced all the members except for Tom Scholz. There’s a woman in the band now, which to me, is wrong. The new singer sounds good, but he looks like the Maytag repairman and has less stage presence. The exuberance of a new and exciting career born of youthful dreams has faded. They seemed tired. Maybe they were. Being on the road like that at our age, has got to be tough.

I will never hang on the stage like that again. Even if I still had the desire or the fortitude, it’s no longer permitted. A barrier kept anyone from getting too close. Bic lighters have been replaced by photo-snapping cell phones. Security guards now patrol en-masse keeping a very tight ship. I’m sure that decrepit yellow bus has long since hit the junk yard. The roller coaster was torn down 20 years ago, and the infamous plants growing beneath it disappeared even earlier. I saw no one from that bus ride so many years ago. If by chance they were there, we didn’t recognize one another. Nor do I remember their names.

The concert wasn't nearly as thrilling in 2008 as it was in 1978. I suppose though, that's to be expected. Despite their flaws, I still enjoyed seeing them again live. It was nice to share the experience with husband and mom. And yes, I bought another t-shirt. Maybe I did it because I could; without guilt or quandary. I don’t remember how much trouble I got in over that shirt, but it doesn’t matter now. My mother understands the lure of the ‘in concert’ t-shirt. She bought one too.
Time does keep on rolling, and trying to re-live one's youth never really turns out quite right. Experience changes those people and places we once knew. Even though I can't stop time, I certainly can look fondly upon those experiences that touched me as a kid and appreciate doing them 'again' with the freedom that comes with adulthood. And now, 30 years later, stage dust is dirt in need of a mop and splattering sweat is really gross.

“I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away”


NWJR said...

Precisely why I'm glad ABBA won't reunite. ;-)

Glad you had a good time.

Mom said...

Unchaperoned? This is the first time I heard that it was unchaperoned! The pot growing under the roller coaster…that I knew about.

Most of those kids I knew and had even had the parental talks with them about sex, drugs, and drinking. For some reason they weren’t afraid to talk to me about most things. They were all good kids, most got good grades in school. None of them had ever been in trouble. Although Eclectic was probably the youngest of the group she had maturity, wisdom and common sense way beyond her years. It never dawned on me to ask if there would be an adult other than the bus driver. Looking back over the last 30 years; my intuition was correct.

I loved having my kids and their friends hanging around the house. I loved hearing the giggles, whispers and laughter as they enjoyed what ever was popular that week. There would always be music whether they were dancing, practicing their band instruments, twirling, or just sitting talking listening to music. No matter what else, Boston always seemed to dominate the music side of the gathering.

When Eclectic asked me if she could go with the others, to a Boston concert in a big city many miles away, I never hesitated one moment. I knew how much she loved Boston. Secretly I loved Boston just as much. Oh how I wanted to go too. As for the Boston T-shirt…that money was slated for something else, but I was secretly glad she bought it.

When I found out that she and Black had tickets my excitement really surprised her. I had waited 30 years for my first rock concert. I was finally going to see Boston in person.

I sat there in what I considered the best seat in the house clutching my Boston shirt to my chest. Styx’s was great, but when Boston started to play silent tears of joy slid down my face. I was grateful that it was too dark to see. I was at a Boston concert. Maybe it was the sounds from the past and some of the happiest moments of my life that brought such joy. It doesn’t really matter why I felt the way I did. I was filled with joy and happiness. And isn’t a happy life made up of happy moments.

Dade said...

Boston was a great band, but the problem is that they only made one album and then rereleased it 3 times!

Glad you had fun.