many Americans allergic to adulting, I often zone out on Facebook
when I should be doing something more useful-like scooping the litter
box or lecturing my children about the dangers of social media. Inevitably,
I come across one of those surveys posted by Facebook users who are
probably planning to hack into my account and steal my pet selfies.
I recently saw a survey that asks you to identify various rock concerts
you've attended, and since my teen years were in the 1980's, attending
rock concerts was a rite of passage that ranked right up there with
cursing at your Rubik's Cube and sporting your first fuzzstache.
So hold on to your Hacky Sack, and let's do this!
In August of 1985, a friend's parents dropped off two of my fellow
fifteen-year-old nerdlings and me at the legendary and slightly dilapidated
Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, LA, for the "World Infestation"
tour of the hair metal band Ratt-with Bon Jovi, ironically, as the
opening act. As we sat at the back of the venue's top row seating
with our mouths agape, we could actually feel our undeveloped mullets
standing on end as we were initiated into the world of live power
chords, drum solos, and overly excited girls with impressively permed,
crimped, and teased hairdos as far as the eye could ogle.
Since my wife and I are now the parents of three teen daughters who
would rather fold laundry while watching Wolf Blitzer discuss geopolitics
on CNN than hang out with us, we've caught a few concerts on our own
over the past couple of years. Our most recent event was the Billy
Joel concert at Globe Life Park in Arlington,
Texas. The show was fantastic, and it was great to remain comfortably
seated with hundreds of other boring, middle-aged couples singing
along to hits from our teen years while waiting for an opportune moment
to take a bathroom break.
I witnessed the epitome of 80's British metal and poor spelling when
Def Leppard performed in Shreveport for the "Hysteria" tour in 1987.
Not only was I amazed by the laser show and Leppard drummer Rick Allen's
inspiring one-armed performance, but standing near the stage in my
sleeveless Union Jack shirt, I was surrounded by hundreds of squealing
teenage girls who didn't seem to mind that I was there-or that I probably
forgot to wear deodorant.
Nothing against the R&B legend, but I only went to see Keith Sweat
in 1988 because the girl I was dating at the time liked Keith Sweat.
I've got about as much rhythm and blues as Mr. Rogers on his least-funky
days in the neighborhood.
Most Surprising Concert
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the 1988 Rush concert in Shreveport
was a true revelation-despite the relatively small number of bodacious
babes in attendance. From Neil Peart's phenomenal percussion work
that demonstrated what a truly inadequate drummer I was, to the Toronto
band's cerebral lyrics, the show left me feeling exhilarated, more
respectful of Canada-and slightly smarter.
The concert that probably contributed most to the fact that I often
can't hear my daughters asking for money was the 1988 Texxas Jam "Monsters
of Rock" festival at The Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
The lineup featured such eardrum-slaying legends as Van Halen, Scorpions,
Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come. Van Halen's Sammy Hagar actually
lost his voice at the concert-and I lost my ability to tell the difference
between the smoke alarm and the microwave beeping when my chicken
taquitos are ready.
It's nice that my wife and I can still occasionally get away to see
elderly 1980's icons taking advantage of the fact that their fans
are now old enough to carry a line of credit. But these days, I mostly
get my head banger fix from the praise band at church. And if I'm
feeling particularly nostalgic, I'll rock out to Def Leppard on my
iPhone while I scoop the litter box and take a few pet selfies.