Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Concerts 1982

Greg Kihn Band ATP Tennis Ampitheatre 1982
Rick Springfield ATP Tennis Ampitheatre 1982
Nazareth Hara Arena, Dayton 1982
Billy Squier Hara Arena, Dayton 1982

In the summer of 1982 I got my driver’s license and a brand new bitchin’ Camaro--red with grey pin-striping—and christened it several weeks later by hauling some girlfriends to the Greg Kihn/Rick Springfield show. There was Dawn, who had procured the tickets, Alicia, Cyndi and myself, and although I can no longer remember what we wore (although day-glo micro-mini’s spring to mind) I remember that we thought we looked, like, totally bitchin’ to the max. Fer sure!

Springfield was riding high on the success of the “Working Class Dog” album, in particular the tunes “Jessie’s Girl” and “I’ve Done Everything For You.” The added bonus, according to Alicia, was that he starred in some daytime soap (was it General Hospital?) and was, like, OHMYGAWD dreamy, totally!

A couple of things stand out in my mind about the show: Opener Greg Kihn wore the coolest pair of Chuck Taylor’s and I was FREAKEN GAGGING for them; Rick Springfield wore a linen blazer with a t-shirt— long before Don Johnson copped the look for Miami Vice; the show took place in a tennis stadium with our seats right on the court; and it was a gorgeous evening for a show.

We all bought t-shirts (white with teal three-quarter-length sleeves) and mine sold for a small fortune on eBay a few years ago.

Fast-forward several months:

My girlfriend Dakni produced Nazareth/Billy Squier tickets for my birthday. We’d heard that Hara Arena was a cesspool with a parking lot akin to a smash-up derby, so the bitchin’ Camaro was left at home. Dakni “borrowed” a beat up baby blue pick-up truck from a relative or neighbor or someone and away we went. It had to be started with a screwdriver (or at least that was the story) and was banged up enough that it wouldn’t matter if a few more dents appeared during the course of the evening.

Nazareth was awful. Dakni and I had pushed our way right to the front of the stage, only to find that the lead singer was dogbutt fugly, and was wearing tight white satin slacks with no underwear. We could pretty much see it all, and we didn’t want to.

During the intermission, some BAGYOURFACE drunk guy kept telling Dakni she was wearing the wrong kind of shoes. When someone knocked into us and a bucket of beer spilled all over her pink satin ballerina slippers, we realized he was right.

When Squier hit the stage (wearing grey parachute pants and a ripped white t-shirt) the crowd went nuts. At the time I weighted 90 lbs soaking wet, and as such really got pummeled by the stampeding, heaving mass of humanity. Long before the days of barricades, a line of burly bouncers stood at the edge of the stage with the single purpose of beating the living hell out of anyone they took a dislike to. Dakni and I got separated in the melee, and a bouncer snatched me up, flipped me sideways and began using my body to push back the surging, sweaty swarm.

Finding it increasingly difficult to catch my breath between screams for help, I managed to twist my head around just enough to bite the fucker on the arm. It had to hurt, which was the intention, but instead of simply turning me loose, the bouncer heaved me into the air and I sailed about thirty feet before crashing hard onto the shoulders and heads of fans, who parted just enough for me to slip onto the slimy concrete floor.

Knocked around and stepped on, I felt myself suffocating and panicked that I’d be trampled like those poor fans at The Who show in Cincinnati a few years before.

And then an angel scooped me from the floor and held me aloft, gasping for air. When he set me back down I was shaking so much that my legs wouldn’t hold me, so he did. He asked my name and was amused when I told him. He and his mate dubbed me “Miss_K” for the evening, and evaded my repeated attempts to find out theirs. When told he looked familiar, he asked who he looked like. I said, “I dunno. A little like Mick Jagger. Taller.” His mate roared.

Some drunk chick, reeling like an intoxicated elephant, plowed into us and somehow I managed to momentarily lose a Nike. My hunky savior tracked it down, slipped it on my foot and said, “Hey Miss_K, I ain’t fit to tie your shoes” or something along those lines. His friend chimed in with “she’s sassy, she’s brassy” and then together they sang “but above all she’s classy.” I couldn’t help but giggle.

Finally I glanced up at the stage, and to my surprise Dakni was sitting on the edge of the stage with Billy Squier holding her hand, singing to her. “Holy crap! That’s my friend up there!” I yelled to the guy. “No man, that’s MY friend up there on the stage!” he hollered back. I just grinned and rolled my eyes at him, all the while pulling him toward the stage.

Dakni saw me in the throng and leapt from the stage into my arms, squealing with the type of delight only young teenage girls can. I turned to introduce her to my mysterious savior, but he was gone.

A year later I’d see him again, singing on MTV.

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