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Posts Tagged ‘youth’

The Who’s album Tommy was one of the first rock ‘n’ roll experiences of my young life.

Growing up in Detroit, we all listened to CKLW, sure, but that was Motown and all the pop hits of the day. I doubt there was much hardcore British Invasion. I specifically remember the song Winchester Cathedral and thinking it was cool, very cool. I would stand on my bed and play my tiny suitcase like a guitar and sing that song. At least I think that really happened.

I remember being a young girl when I first saw the album Tommy and paging through its mind-blowing, well, pages. When I was about 4 years old, an English woman, named Linda, who must have been in her 20s, came to live with our family. We sort of sponsored her, as she was a nursing student at the same school in Detroit where my mother was also studying to become an LPN. Linda had a cache of albums, 2 of which I can still picture in my mind. The album I am sure about is Tommy, but I couldn’t tell you without some research what the other one was. It must have been 1969 or 1970.

Say what you will, but no one writes rock lyrics like this any more (as if anyone ever really did; by which I mean, very few bands were able. The Beatles come to mind for pure poetry though….)

waking up on Christmas morning, hours before the winter sun’s ignited

it’s sort of beautiful, you know?

Fast Forward: 2011. Daltry is 67 years old in this video, which is amazing in and of itself. He’s accompanied by Pete Townshends’s [much younger] brother Simon who does a DAMN FINE job on this song. He looks and sounds so much like Pete.

What a bod on that Simon. Where has he been all my life? Oh, right, I’m almost as old as he.

I get a little weak in my knees (and I’m sitting down) when I watch him, which I seem compelled to do over and over and over…..

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Hubby, my older daughter, and I went to see Gogol Bordello in Boston last night. I figured out a little bit more why this is the best live band I’ve ever seen, and, when you go, the best live band you will ever see. It is their interaction with and inclusion of the audience in every move they make on stage. That’s not the only reason, but it’s one of the overarching ones.

One of my favorite things last night happened after the concert. We were driving back home on I-90 and we stopped at a rest stop to grab a bite to eat (I try, I really do. I had a cooler and food bag packed with healthy stuff, but McDonald’s fries and coffee won out in the end). While waiting in line, a 20-something man noticed my [new] Gogol Bordello t-shirt and asked, “Were you at the show?” He was in a state of bewilderment, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, a halo of bliss above his head. I answered that yes, I’d been at the show. We began to chat. It was nice to see the reverence in his face, the gears clicking in his head trying to figure out how it was possible for such a band to exist.

I also struck up a quick conversation, still in line at McDonald’s, with a teenage girl (14-years old, maybe) who had the same happy, dazed look on her face.

“Did you just come from the concert?” I asked.

“Yes. Weren’t they amazing?” she asked.

“Yes.” I answered, and: “Had you seen them before?”

“No, have you? Does he tour a lot?”

It was all so endearing.

♦ ♦ ♦

Just 2 hours ago, I bought tickets to see Gogol Bordello on Lake Champlain for a mid-August concert. This time, I’m going for it. Up in front of the stage with all the pretty young women and raving young men. RIGHT UP FRONT. That’ll be me backstage, the only sober person in a throng of groupies trying to share a bottle of wine with the band. Maybe Eugene will let me massage his hands. Or forearms. Or the twisted erector spinae muscles of his back. Yeah, that’s how fantasies work around here: me massaging famous rock stars.

It’s like my kid, clucking at me to Stop it, Mom when I was bounding, fleet-foot, up the aisle last night, dancing around, twirling my new t-shirt in the air. Nobody cares, Violet. Nobody cares what I am doing. They are not looking at me. She danced next to me the whole concert, her face glowing and carefree, safe with her parents, buoyed up by the good will all around her.

I’m here to be happy, to fill the empty spaces with energy and heat and vibration. Just like that band up there, biding our time and asking everyone to join in the ecstatic moments.

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