There’s this thing about public gatherings, especially concerts. They are noisy and messy, complicated and exciting. They can be wonderful adventures or terrible disasters but they always, always yield a tale or two, sometimes what happens at a concert can change your life forever--that guy in row thirteen, the t-shirt vendor from LA, the scalper who upgraded your shitty ticket minutes before the warm up band started.
But sometimes, attending a concert doesn’t change your life- it merely alters it for a short while- kind of like LSD.
Last night, I went to see Neil Diamond at a newish arena by my house. The four gal pals I went with have all been there for other concerts. We are all old enough to figure shit out and basically knew what we were getting into- and except for failing to make restaurant reservations, we thought we had the thing nailed.
As always, hindsight is 20-20, so let me offer a few tips:
- Parking across the street in a grocery store parking lot is a good idea- if it's not raining and you are not wearing new spike heeled boots AND have not just drunk 3 pitchers of Texas Margaritas in less tha an hour.
- You should know: The average age of Neil Diamond concert goers is approximately 95. (Think walkers, oxygen tanks, blue hair and the subtle undertones of urine-stained pants and imminent death.)
- Even though the signs and the site and the tickets say no cameras or video or water bottles, you can still sneak all that crap in and take pictures with your phone and make very very funny voice recordings while waving your phone in the air like you don't care. the video camera light might be a giveaway...
- Floor seats are great for dancing and for getting up to go the bathroom, but there is no place for your coat and you won't find a cupholder on the back of a folding chair, which means you will definitely spill your $12 drink.
- Those leather pants you bought to wear to Duran Duran five years ago are probably not going to get the same attention at the Neil Diamond concert. Just sayin'.
- You may want to think twice before helping Neil sing. Like when he starts to sing a soulful rendition of Play me.. "She was morning And I was night time I one day woke up To find her lying Beside my bed I softly said..." and a big pause here...
in which you yell in your best cheerleader-from-the diaphragm-20 rows back voice: COME TAKE ME! Your friends and only the cool people will laugh and hoot.
- Double Premium cocktails in tall plastic cups get you more drunk than single generic cocktails in fancy glasses.
- Old guys in front of you do not want to hear you scream "WOO! Woo-Hoo! We love you NEIL!"
- Old guys in front of you will get their arm smacked by their old wives when they turn around and say to you, "Lady, is that really necessary?"
- You will find this so funny that you will continue to do it-- all concert long much to the amusement of the two cool chicks behind you.
- Old guys who tour stick to the same playlist as previously published. No surprises.
- You finally figure out that you need a better cover story when trying to get backstage, or more money to flash around.
- Try to remember that while you are in party-mode, the rest of the world is in school and work tomorrow mode and your tiny little boring Georgia town will not have a decent bar open for miles, even when you press your face against the glass door of the bar in which an employee meeting is taking place and beg. ( We still love you, Bob.)
- If you end up at a smoky bar on the outskirts of town, be sure to feed the jukebox, text friends in other time zones, do tequila shots off body parts and always, always, dance with the dorky dude in the striped shirt.