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Texas | Columns | "Quips and Salsa"

My rock
still tries to roll

by Jase Graves
Jase Graves

Recently, my wife and I joined some friends to attend our first "rock" concert since the COVID pandemic temporarily made fun illegal. It was great to be back in that electric atmosphere among a crowd of excited music lovers, about 90% of whom were younger than my lawn mower.

Ed Sheeran headlined the concert—with Khalid and Dylan opening. I was really excited about this lineup, mainly because with two opening acts, there would be plenty of restroom and refreshment breaks. Better yet, our friends gave us the tickets, and they also drove us to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which meant that I could nap in the car.

I didn't know much about Ed Sheeran prior to the concert, other than he sang a couple of popular romantic ballads and he had ginger hair that looked like he styled it with a package of fire crackers. My wife and I both worried that we might have trouble staying awake if all of his songs were slow and being performed after 8:00 PM. Oh, well. More napping!

A few hours before the gates opened, we decided to have a late lunch in downtown Arlington at Babe's Chicken Dinner House, where the food is served family-style, most of it is fried, and everything is "all-you-can-eat." (Did I mention the chance for napping?)

The atmosphere in Babe's was cozy and dark, probably so we couldn't see each other making total pigs of ourselves as the massive Lazy Susan on the table doubled as a rotating trough full of fluffy biscuits, greasy fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and a few other vegetables that I don't remember much.

Once we had traumatized our waistbands at Babe's, we were off to the concert. We arrived early, which gave me a chance to scout out the food vending (including a jumbo hotdog I had my eye on) since the long walk to our seats was making me hungry again.

Probably because our tickets were free, they were high enough in the stadium to be right next to the Lord's throne room, which was fine with me. Up there, we were among other adults who had the good sense to stay seated.

The first performer was a new rock artist named Dylan. She was young, incredibly energetic, and almost certainly had never eaten at Babe's Chicken Dinner House. I thoroughly enjoyed her music, but she made me exhausted just watching her. When she was finished, I felt old-and hungry.

Next up was Khalid, whom I can only describe as "totally cool." His voice was cool, his walk was cool and his songs were cool. I couldn't really make out most of the lyrics, other than one song called "Young, Dumb & Broke." Now, that's a song I can relate to—parts of it, anyway. Khalid's coolness made me feel really uncool—and still hungry.

Finally, it was time for Ed Sheeran. I was excited to discover that his performance included lots of fast, "rocking" music, and he delivered a terrific stage show. There were striking visuals, exploding fire and best of all, I finally got my hot dog.

We had a great time at the concert. Ed Sheeran and friends were extremely talented musicians, so much so that when the concert ended, I felt really untalented, but at least I wasn't hungry—until the ride home.
Jase Graves
"Quips and Salsa" 6-13-2023 column



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