Beatlemania! · Beatles · driving parents crazy · memories · music · ticket stubs · writing · young girl fun

ticket stubs and memories

A couple of nights ago, I was up in my room looking through my books and I started to look for a ticket stub I’ve saved since 3000 years ago. Or, as many of us know it, 1981.

I knew the ticket stub was tucked inside one of 3 bigger Beatles picture books I’ve owned for the longest time. I flipped through the pages, coming across loose pages, and black and white Xerox pictures of George and Paul that my sister and I had made on the copier at our local library.

‘Twas a different time, kids. You had to go places to make copies of pictures. And it was a glorious time, I’ll tell you.

Anyway, I found the ticket stub.

It was for the show “Beatlemania”.

The time was the beginning of the year 1981. I was in 8th grade. My best friend was also in 8th grade. My sister was in 7th grade. We had just discovered the Beatles right before John was murdered. And after he died…do you remember? The Beatles were everywhere again.

And that Fab Four media explosion was just what we needed to fuel our new interest and turn it into full-blown love affairs with the music and the men who made it.

So, if I remember correctly, and believe me–I am reaching way back here–I think we found out about the Beatlemania show the day of the show. And we asked our moms if we could go. Amazingly, my mom said she would take us and my best friend’s mom said she could go with us.

Looking back on it, this was nothing short of a miracle. It was a school night, my mom had to work the next day and it was January (there had to have been snow on the ground).

But sure enough, we 3 silly girls and our hero of a mom went to the show and we had really good seats in the front of the loge at a popular concert venue here in our city.

Beatlemania was a Broadway musical featuring four dudes who dressed like the Beatles and played the same instruments as the Beatles and took their audiences on trips through the 1960’s with images from the times flashing on a screen while the band played the massively incredible and world-changing song catalog.

It was a show designed to take you back, or in our case introduce us to, and enjoy.

 

Beatlemania wasn’t, however, really a show designed to make you get out of your seat and dance.

Keep that in mind as my story goes on.

To say we loved the show is an understatement. We were located just far enough away from the guys on the stage to help us imagine that they could really be the actual guys if we pretended hard enough. And believe me, we did. Also, the show on the screen behind them was pretty cool, full of headlines and pictures from times before and right when we were born. My BFF brought her camera with her and snapped a few pics throughout the show. We needed documentation of this momentous occasion. I texted her last night (we’ve often talked lately about what if we would have had cell phones and texting back when we were young?! That would have been fucking awesome! But we didn’t, so…) and I asked her if she could remember details from that night.

I laughed out loud when she texted me the following photos:

beatlmania 2

Are these not the greatest photos in the history of photokind?! I remember we were so excited to get these pictures back and when we did we were so bummed out. Hey, at least she tried. After the initial disappointment over not being able to see anything besides the heads and rail in front of us, we laughed and laughed at these snapshots.

We’re STILL laughing about them! I can’t believe she still has them!

So, back to my story….

As we sat with my mom that night so long ago, we really got into the show. People all around us also enjoyed it from the comfort of their seats. It was all a very lovely and civil experience, jamming to the tunes of the BEATLES…

…til we got to the very end of the show and then something happened. My sister, my BFF and I could no longer contain ourselves.

We got up and danced in the aisles.

I am sitting here as I write this, racking my brain trying to remember what song we danced to and for some reason, Revolution keeps coming to mind. I’ve done some Googling, and for the life of me, I can’t find a list of the songs in the order we heard them that night. I’m almost positive it was Revolution.

This would get most people up and dancing, am I right?!

But here’s the funny part–I do remember my mother was not happy when we did this. I think she must have been totally embarrassed. But that didn’t stop us. We kept going. It was like we couldn’t help it. We were young girls possessed.

And it totally RULED.

The thing is, the other audience members didn’t seem to mind. In fact, I think they were digging the 3 young girls shaking it for all it was worth. Hell, they probably wished they could join us.

The dudes playing the Fab Four on the stage saw us too.

I like to think they congratulated themselves after the show on a job well-done. Those crazy kids up in the loge were losing their minds.

And having a blast.

And taking silly pictures.

And loving every minute of it.

And making their mother mad.

BEATLEMANIA indeed!

And from there, our love for the Beatles grew.

What a great memory.

It still makes me smile.

All these year later.

ticket

birthday party · music · Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band · The Beatles · turning 50

Happy Birthday, Sgt. Pepper

Every June 1st, I celebrate the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. You could say I treat it like a birthday. A celebration of my record-album-kinda-sorta twin. June 1, the record’s birthday. 2 months later, July 31, my birthday. 1967.

Which I realize doesn’t make us official twins, but close enough, I say.

And this year we’re calling it a cool half-century.

Everyone knows Sgt. Pepper is a fucking awesome album. A real piece of musical innovation, then and still today. I watched a little you tube clip this morning that featured “elders” listening to the record again. It was entertaining.

Want to see?

By the way, I’m totally like the chick in the purpley-blue top. Her love for the boys is apparent. You can see the young girl in her come alive again while she’s listening to that music. I love that.

You should know that Sgt. Pepper isn’t my favorite Beatles album, though. It’s not even close. I’m going to place it, off the top of my head, around #6. Which makes me think I should take the time out one of these days to rank the albums from my fave to my least fave. That seems like something I should have done a long time ago.

So even though it’s not my favorite, it’s still dear to me. And this is a milestone birthday, you know. 50 is a big deal. Lucky ass album. The cover still looks as cool today as it did back then. Album covers don’t wrinkle. They do fade or get moldy if not stored properly, I guess.

Anyway…

So I hope if anyone actually reads this post that you’ll be inspired to take a moment today and listen to any track you like from Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Hell, go whole hog, light a few candles and listen from start to finish. It can only make your day better. Add in a piece of cake and a glass of wine and you’ll have a party that you’ll find yourself wanting to celebrate every year.

Happy Birthday to you, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Here…before we go, enjoy this little clip I filmed on the epic night I got to see Ringo inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by his friend Paul.

Good song, huh.

You bet your sweet ass it is. ❤

Detroit · Horses · Horses album 40th anniversary · Lenny Kaye · music · Patti Smith · Patti Smith Group · Royal Oak Music Theater · weekend getaway

Patti Smith and her Band–HORSES

Back in early March, Bill and I packed our bags and drove a couple hours north to Detroit.

Why did we go to Detroit, you ask?

Why, to see the amazing Patti Smith and her band perform the groundbreaking 1975 record album Horses, that’s why.

Okay, folks. I have to explain something before I get into all of this.

This particular adventure was one of my dreams come true. I love Patti Smith. She is one of my idols. Let me give you a little background on some of the reasons why.

Back when I was a girl growing up in the 1970s, I remember seeing Patti on the cover of an album called Easter. I remember people saying she looked awful because she had hair in her armpits. But besides the fact that I thought she looked beautiful with her black hair, white skin, and angelic skinny arm pose, the hair under the arm was fascinating to me. Even though I was just little, I knew that was different and that somehow this pretty woman was not behaving the way ladies should and that it made some people cranky.

It seemed to irritate my mother as well.

Because Patti was pretty, because she had hairy armpits and because she made people talk I remember thinking–I dig this person.

I didn’t own that record Easter even though everyone knew the song Because the Night. I was more of an Osmond Brothers, Tony DeFranco, and Bay City Rollers kind of kid.

I don’t think I would have been able to comprehend or appreciate the beauty of the music that the Patti Smith Group made back then.

As luck would have it though, years later when I was in my 40s, I would rediscover Patti through her writing and by then not only could I comprehend and appreciate her art, I was ready to submerge myself in it and use it as balm and inspiration on a daily basis to, as Prince once said, get through this thing called life.

I read her book Just Kids when it came out in 2010. Bill and I were poking around Barnes & Noble and I picked it up and said “I think I’d like this.” That turned out to be an understatement. I loved that book. Reading it lead me to pick up the documentary DVD Dream of Life. I loved that too. Dream of Life lead me to pick up the album Horses.

And that record rocked my world.

It also opened the door to all her other music for me.

When I rediscovered Patti, I was a mother of an 18 year old son and a 17 year old daughter I had dedicated my life to staying home to raise. My old job of “stay at home mom” was quietly coming to an end and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after the kids took off. I had always had an interest in making art. Back before I met Bill, I was a college student training to be a school teacher. While taking classes for that, I took an art class for elementary school teachers taught by one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. (interestingly named Dr Easter! ha. I just realized that.) I LOVED that class. I excelled in that class. The teacher asked me one day near the end of the quarter—why aren’t you doing this instead? By then, I had been in college for 3 years. Changing course would mean staying in school longer. I couldn’t bear it, so I dropped out. I never graduated. But I never forgot all the cool things Dr. Easter taught me and the boost of confidence she gave me when she told me I was an artist.

I’ve also always loved writing. When I was the same age I was when I saw Patti on the cover of Easter, I won a contest at school to have a story I wrote about Christmas printed in the local paper. That was one sappy-ass story. But I knew people would love it. I like doing that–making people feel emotions with words. When I was a little older, I discovered writing what we now know as “fan fiction”. My personal experience with writing fan fiction started when friends and I wrote stories featuring the Beatles.

God, I love the Beatles. I’ll tell you all about that some other time. Believe me, I have lots to say about the Fab Four.

But back to writing fan fiction. When I was 13, that was all I wanted to do. I wanted to get my stupid school work done so I could break out my special notebook and write the next installment of whatever I had John, Paul, George, Ringo and me and my girlfriends up to. It was GREAT. One of my favorite memories of all time was the day school was cancelled because of snow and I spent the entire day writing and listening to Beatles records. At one point, I took a break and sat in the window seat of my bedroom that night watching the snow fall in the light of the streetlights while listening to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The song A Day in the Life always takes me back to my window seat that snowy night. Always.

I’m rambling, aren’t I.

So yeah. Writing. To this day I still enjoy reading or writing a good fan fiction. I have so many journals and notebooks and word documents all over my room full of stories or poems I’ve written over the years. I’d love to be published, but I admit I’m dealing with trying to get over my fear of putting my work out there for others to scrutinize.

I know what Patti would say about that. Or I think I know. I think she would tell me to quit being such a chicken. If I have something to say, say it. Screw what other people might think. She says she writes all of the time. And one thing I really love about Patti is that she left the music world in 1979 to go with her hubby Fred Sonic Smith and stay at home to be a mama to their 2 children. I love hearing her talk about how that was the hardest and most important work she ever did. It’s nice to hear someone like her say that. I feel validated by that. Also, I’ve heard her say that even through all the years she was a mama at home, she still had the need to write. She writes every day.

Me too.

So….incredibly long story (not really) short…Patti Smith-the musician, the writer, the poet, the artist, the mother, the wife, the person-inspires the hell out of me. I really would like to be more like her.

I believe that has been true since I first laid eyes on her nearly 40 years ago.

SO….anyway, let’s get back to our trip to Detroit!

Back in 2014, Patti announced that she would be touring and doing the Horses album in its entirety for the record’s 40th anniversary. I told my husband then–I’d give my left eyeball to see that show.

So, imagine my bummed outedness when for the longest time I only ever saw tour dates in exotic foreign locations. I can’t say I blamed her. If I was the Godmother of Punk, I’d like to go all over the world and see all kinds of cool people and places too. But it made me sad. I thought maybe Horses would never come anywhere near my hometown smack dab in the middle of the Midwest USA.

It wasn’t like I didn’t get to see Patti at all. Back in 2015, Bill and I traveled to Chicago to see her do a Spring Awakening show at the Old Town School of Folk Music and that was incredible. That was my first time seeing her live. The same year we traveled to Cleveland for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and concert where we got to see, among many other amazing things, Patti induct Lou Reed.

But the Horses anniversary tour continued to elude me.

Until earlier this year.

Imagine my happiness when I finally found on Facebook a list of venues Horses was going to be performed right here in my neck of the woods. Finally, I thought. I saw the Detroit concert listed first and thought–Patti and Horses in the city where she and Fred met and raised their family.

It certainly couldn’t get any better than that.

Thank god my husband said yes when I asked if he’d like to make a weekend getaway out of it with me.

So back when I first heard about the Horses tour, when I was in the dreaming about it state,  I invented the idea that if I ever did get the opportunity to go, being in the front row would be the ultimate experience.

The day the tickets went on sale, I was poised at my lap top and on my Ticketmaster app and like a giant bird of prey, I swooped right in and nabbed row A on Lenny Kaye’s side.

Something you might find interesting about me–I am an excellent ticket buyer. It’s one of my gifts.

So, off Bill and I went, to the great Motor City that sunny late winter Saturday.

We stayed at a hotel in the city but the concert was in a really hip little town on the outskirts called Royal Oak. We checked in and started getting ready to go to the show.

I was a nervous wreck the entire time I was getting ready. I told my husband I was freaking out because I had waited so long for this experience and now it was upon me and soon it would be over. I fretted like a maniac in that bathroom. I was happy when we finally left to go to the show.

We thought maybe we’d have a little dinner before the concert in Royal Oak. First of all, it was freezing up there. Bill and I parked our car, put our arms around each other and took off for the main strip. Interestingly enough, people were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Royal Oak, so one of the first things we saw there was a couple emerging from a bar and the girl barfing her guts out all over the sidewalk while her boyfriend watched. That was pretty gross. We moved along, looking for any restaurant we could get into. I was distracted by the many cool shops. But we had to concentrate. We ducked into several places, all of them packed. We gave up and headed to the venue to wait for the doors to open. There was a restaurant next to the Royal Oak Music Theater. It was packed, of course.  But there was a small lobby right next to it and it was heated so we stood in there with another couple also there to see Patti. They weren’t very talkative, so it was kind of awkward being in that little space with them while we waited.

The venue opened the doors at 6:30 instead of 7:00 which was a welcome relief.

The Royal Oak Music Theater is a cool venue. Bill and I went straight to the merchandise table and I picked out and bought a Patti t-shirt and poster.

pattiposter

 

Then we bought a couple double Jack and Diet Cokes and went to find our seats. Front row, Lenny’s side, last seats in the row. That didn’t matter…there were only 5 seats to begin with and the usher pushed all the chairs more toward the middle so we were set up pretty darn good.

I was in heaven there in my seat with my drink waiting for Patti and her crew.

At 8:00 the lights went down and the crowd cheered. Lenny, Jay Dee, Tony and Jackson came out on the stage. I stood up. Everyone stood up. And then, there she was–Patti Smith, in the flesh, looking cool as fuck. The place went crazy. Patti stood in the front of the middle of the stage and took a look around the crowd. Her eyes made their way along the front row in front of her and then moved down our way. When our eyes met, Patti smiled.

My husband said to me–“She smiled right at you!”

And I said, “I know, right!?”

That was one of my favorite moments of the evening. Even though I’ll likely never get to say thank you to her in person, she knew all of us there that night love her and her music. The girl in the braids and cats eye glasses at the end of the row included.

Speaking of the music, when the first chords of “Gloria” started not long after I got the smile, I nearly died. Patti sang, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine”, and I lost it. We were off and running.

The whole album Horses unfurled in front of me with 3 of the original people who played on it way back when in 1975. There were stories laced throughout, there was lots of singing along, there was dancing. Toward the last half of the show, Patti’s daughter Jesse joined the band on stage at the piano.

As the night went on, the crowd began to push toward the stage. Bill and I were already up there, so I held tight my spot in front of Lenny as best I could. Patti told the security people to lighten up after a while and let people come on down. We all gathered together as a sweating adoring mass to hear the last songs of the night. Elegie. Dancing Barefoot. Frederick. Ghost Dance. Citizen Ship.

Because the Night.

People Have the Power.

By the end of the show, a couple of younger girls had made their ways down next to me in the thick of things at the front of the stage. Which was fine by me. I’m always happy when I see people from younger generations loving the music I love. That way I know the music will continue to live on, you know? I was feeling reflective by the end of it all, amazed that I was able to experience this night of music.

Patti and the guys finished up the encore with People Have the Power and I was dancing and singing along, turning every now and then to look at my husband to see if he was basking in this as much as this as I was. The show was coming to an end and people were standing and cheering and I was sad because it was all but over.

Lenny Kaye walked back by the drum kit and reached into a little container and came over to the side of the stage where I was standing by the young girls. He passed out plectrums to the 2 girls next to me and I remember thinking–Oh please please please give one to me.

and then he did. He put it right in the palm of my hand and walked off.

I was so happy. I held the blue pick up in between my hands and gave it a kiss.

That was my other favorite moment of the night.

The show was over and the band left the stage.

I’m a lucky girl, I know.

That show was a dream come true.

I got to see the 40th anniversary tour of the record album Horses.

And I shall never, ever forget it.

Bill and I walked out of the venue that night into the freezing cold. We were starved by then. Lucky for us, the hip little joint next door that had previously been super-crowded now had a table for 2 available for us.

We sat by a window with a big full moon shining down from outside on to our little table where my blue Lenny Kaye pick sat and we ate the only meal we had in Detroit that weekend.

I just went to ask Bill what he ate that night and he said he doesn’t remember.

I had enchiladas. One chicken, one bean and one chorizo.

They were damn good.

So was that concert.

I love Patti Smith.

I love the Patti Smith Group.

I love Horses.

I always will.

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lennykaye

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empty-nesters · grown children · home redecorating · homeschooling · music · owning a business · pets · summer of love · tattoos · turning 50 · writing

light my fire

Hi there. And welcome.

You’ve gone and stumbled upon what I like to call “my new blog”.

I used to have a blog I loved writing not too long ago. I had to give it up, though, because we got a new puppy last February, and let me tell you–my life turned upside down when we brought her home. After having our old dog (she passed away) for so long, who was a complete gem and totally easy to care for, having a puppy in the house again was rather overwhelming. I was frustrated a lot by all of my free time things I liked to do–blogging being one of them–having to go by the wayside in exchange for puppyhood antics and basic training.

But give my hobbies up I did. I’m happy to report that puppy has turned 1 and life in our home has settled considerably and things have kinda gone back to normal.

So now I’m back and ready to write stuff I have no idea anybody besides me will care too much about.

But let’s give it another whirl, shall we?

Here’s a fun twist. Along with my new calmer life and fresh start to my blogging career, I am adding the fun-filled event of turning 50 years old to my line up of things to do this year.

You heard me right–50.

In July.

I am a Summer of Love baby (hence the blog name). I dig that about myself. But now here I am, getting ready to click over to an age that kinda freaks me out. I’ve never been freaked out by aging before now. In fact, I love my birthday. I love all birthdays. After we meet, I will remember your birthday way before I remember your name. I like to make big whoop-dee-doos over birthdays.

This one I find myself dreaded months way ahead.

Friends and family I’ve discussed this with blow off my apprehension and tell me–Oh, you’re young!! Well, okay…I know I’m not like 90 or anything, but I still feel like 50 is a number to be reckoned with. You can’t really claim being “young” anymore after you’ve hit the big 5-0. And, truth be told, my body is starting to pull shit on me. Painful heel, knee twinges, backaches. That kind of stuff.

Let me tell you a story real quick:

This past Saturday I went shopping and as I made my way into Macy’s, my shoelaces weren’t tied very tight and my (painful) heels were slipping around in my shoes. I found myself thinking–I hope when I get in this place there’s somewhere I can sit so I can retie my shoes.

I’ve never had to consider pre-planned sitting before. I mean, not for myself at least. And don’t you know, there was nowhere to sit inside the store doors. So I thought-screw it…I’m going to bend down and tie these shoes. I can do it!

There was an older lady standing there putting on her coat and gloves and scarf. I thought, okay–if I get stuck on the floor she can help me. So I crouched and started untying and retying. It took some effort on my part, but I did it. Then I was off and shopping and it all worked out okay.

But what the hell was that?!

I’ll tell you what that was.

That was me…hot on the heels of 50.

So yeh. These are the kinds of stories I plan on telling here.

Admit it.. you’re hooked, aren’t you.

If you’re not totally convinced yet, here’s a little more insight about me and the kind of stuff you might find me discussing here…

I made my career out of being a stay-at-home mom with our 2 kids. We homeschooled with the exception of the one year our son attended kindergarten. After that, we took off on our own. Those were some great-ass years. I was a really good mom. I still am, I guess, but the kids are grown now. They only need me here and there, and that’s good–the way it should be, you know? Hubby of 100 years and I are now empty-nesters. We own a small business we started on a shoestring. My husband runs that operation with some help from me. It’s just the two of us and has been for the past 14 years. We’ve lived in our house, which is tiny and adorable and really fun to redecorate and keep uncommonly immaculate now that there are no children around, for the past 24 years. We have pets I will more than likely mention way more than most people might enjoy. But what can I say, we think those furballs are the shit. My husband is a guitar player. I like to think someday I’ll write something good enough to make it on to a bookstore shelf. I’m covered in tattoos, love clothes and music and books and am hellbent on feeling as young as I can for as long as I can.

Which brings us back to that whole turning 50 thing. Remember?

I definitely remember.

All right. If you’ve read this whole thing I’d like to say thank you. Come back again if you want. Say hi.

I’m going to go fill up my coffee cup again and take a cruise around to see if I can find some interesting other blogs to read.

It feels good to be back. 🙂

Til next time, please enjoy this rockin’ tune–the Doors’ mega-hit that was #1 song on the charts the day I was born.

Pretty appropriate for a Summer of Love baby, don’t you think?