Last night I finally got to see my first rock concert when I was 14.
Let me explain that: when I was a kid, I was never allowed to go to concerts. There were — allegedly; I never found out — lots of drugs, drinking, and sex going on there, which meant that I was never allowed to go. By the time I was old enough to decide to go, I either didn’t have the money, or didn’t care enough about the band to actually go.
But Styx was one of the bands I wanted to see at a concert when I was a youth, just leaving the 1970s. I was a huge KISS fan, and knew all the Styx songs. I wasn’t a real fan, but I knew they were a great group, and did some great music. In fact, I knew most of their songs (I thought).
For most of us growing up in or near Indianapolis, we all assumed Styx was a supergroup, because all their songs were on the radio. Little did we know that we were experiencing the joys of album rock radio, who would play songs off albums, because it was cool and they didn’t have corporate overlords telling them to play what the focus groups liked.
So fast forward to last night. Last night, at age 46, I was finally able to go to the concert I wanted to see when I was 14. And there was no sex or drugs that I could see anywhere, since most of the people there were in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, and they had their kids and grandkids with them.
It was an awesome show, and I finally got to feel like a real teenager for a little while, never mind that my own teenager was standing next to me. And I was driving, so I couldn’t drink anyway. And, well, I’m 32 years older than the last time I really liked Styx.
I always used to feel bad for bands that were “reduced” to playing at fairs, county, state, or otherwise. These were bands that had packed out stadiums in the 70s, and here they were playing to a bunch of middle-aged Hoosiers.
That’s what I thought as I rode the shuttle bus to the fairgrounds. Then I saw the crowds. There must have been 8,000 screaming maniacs who were all there to see one of the bands that defined the 70s for the long-hair crowd. This band wasn’t reduced to anything. Maybe they couldn’t pack out a stadium like they did 40 years ago, but man oh man, the energy at the Marsh Stage was palpable. Styx played every song we knew, and we all sang along with gusto. Even I, who barely sings in church, was bellowing along with Come Sail Away, Lady, and Too Much Time. And was thrilled when Chuck Panozzo came out for a few numbers at the beginning and end of the show.
We were standing fairly close to the sound board, which was actually pretty convenient for me, because as soon as the last song of the encore (which was practiced and scheduled), I made a beeline to the sound board, pointed at the set list, and the woman working the board smiled and handed it to me. My night was made. My fair was made. And I finally got to see the rock concert I’d waited 32 years to finally see.
I just hope my mom doesn’t get on my case for missing curfew.
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