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FLASHBACK/Memphis: Summer 1982 April 23, 2008

Posted by glenhooks in Flashback.
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In one day, I will have a thirteen year old son.  Whoa.

Thirteen was a big year for me, especially that summer.   T’was a summer of spending a lot of time with my dad at his place in Memphis.   For a boy from Gravel Ridge, summer there was paradise.  Pops lived in a townhouse complex with a pool and an assortment of randy teenagers.   I was the kid from out of town, but in a good way–novelty, fresh face, etc.  One of my favorite summers ever.  Endless days of straightup lounging, arguing about how to spell Def Leppard, stolen kisses in the deep end of the pool, and wondering if this was the summer it was finally going to happen (answer:  no).

More importantly:  it was the summer of my first real concert. 

I’d been on my mom for years, asking if I could go to concerts that rolled into Barton Coliseum.  Foreigner?  No, you’re too young.   Loverboy!  Forget it.   Ozzy!!  No, there’s too much pot at those shows.  Imagine my frustration when my neighbor–a year younger–won two tickets to see Rush and I was denied (“that’s Devil Music–it stands for Roots Under Satan’s house”).  T’was a grim morning when I saw Chris Kenner wearing a Rush shirt the next day.  It glowed in the dark, he said.   Much like my fury the night before, lying in bed knowing that a sixth-grader was at Rush and I, a much more mature seventh-grader, was…not.

Mom’s rules, apparently, did not apply when I was at Dad’s.  So when Dad asked if I wanted to go see CHEAP TRICK, I swam through the cartoon noises in my head (ahh-a-eee/ahh-a-eee/ahh-a-eee!!) and said YES!  A concert!  Sweeet!  Who the hell is Cheap Trick?  I don’t know any of their songs!  But it’s a concert and I’m going!  Right on!

After what seemed like a year (but was really only about a day), we were there!  I remember it being an outdoor show, we were down near the front, and I was vibing hard on the energy of live music.  Instantly addicted to what Jeff Bebe would call “the fucking buzz, man!”  The details still stick with me:  the smell of sweat and cotton candy, the extra heartbeat in my chest from the bass and drums, the sweet raw pain in my throat from yelling, me wondering why all the mohawked guys near us (actual mohawks! wait’ll I tell the guys at school!) kept screaming “She’s Tight!” 

Wait!  I do know some of their songs!  “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender,” “The Dream Police”!!!!  I didn’t know that was Cheap Trick!  Yeahhhh!!! 

I remember thinking that Rick Nielsen must be the greatest guitarist EVER, especially when he brought out a double-necked twelve-string guitar painted up to look like him (the necks were legs, the body was, well, a body)).  

To this day, CheckOneTwo has a soft spot for Cheap Trick and will always, always, always turn up their radio cuts and sing along.   Thanks, Dad, for that show and for all the others we went to in Memphis (Adam Ant, Billy Idol, Springsteen…too many to count).  My mommy’s allright, but–in this way–my daddy’s really allright, even though they both seem a little weird.




1. Mark Wyers - April 23, 2008

My first was Metallica in ’91 at Barton. I had just turned 10, and I was incredibly surprised when my parents said I could go with my older brother, Mr. Micah. Micah had been going to concerts since 1987, a whole four years more than me. It was great! I’ve since been to a bazillion shows, but that one will always stick out in my mind.

2. suziparker - April 23, 2008

Oh, how I long to confess that my first was a loud, raucous hardcore show. But alas no. It was Rick Springfield and Corey Hart. But hey, I was in love with both of them and convinced if I made it to the front row that Rick or Corey would ask me to be their lover and take me on a whirlwind trip around the world as they played arena after arena. No dice. But I did make it to the front row. And the guitar player in Corey’s band flirted with me all night. The old biddies who had loved Rick Springfield during his first go on the rock scene back in the 1970s pushed me out of the way when Rick came on stage. But I didn’t care. I was fickle, what can I say? I had fallen for the guitar player before Rick belted out his first note.

3. Miss Mona - June 19, 2008

I am pretty sure it was in Pine Bluff and it might have been Destroyer tour or the one just after. I have no idea. I got a Gene Simmons pick, which of course I used when I practiced my guitar, so these days it is just a white pick. My sister and her husband took me.
I have seen Cheap Trick 3 or 4 times and they always put on a great show.
My first an always true love will be David Bowie, though. I did not get to see him live until the late 80’s when he was doing a greatest hits tour and stopped off in Dallas. My x-boyfriend, Curt, took me to see him…which was very sweet now that I think about it. I was so worked up about the show that as soon as he walked off the stage after the the last encore – I got an instant migraine headache! Ha!

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