Well, yesterday was the saddest day of the year.
Why? Because, June 26th is the day I have to stop yelling at people to take down their Christmas lights. They are no longer lazy slackers. Now, as of yesterday, they are over organized and ahead of the rush.
But, that aside, on Wednesday I got to go to Summerfest, the world's largest music festival. I love Summerfest, which I know surprises most people. It's a lot of lines...a lot of noise...a lot of people who probably haven't taken down their Christmas lights, all stuff I hate. But I LOVE Summerfest. The music, the food, the people watching all makes up for it.
Oh, and Rick Springfield was playing. So, yeah, I was getting there.
I know those of you who read this blog must picture me as a grumpy old woman who yells at random strangers, and most of the time you'd be right. But today, I wanted to share a GOOD Five for Friday.
5) I wonder if she made it out alive.
I always take the bus down to Summerfest. Since my car accident I don't like driving, and I've never loved driving in a downtown setting. I'm from the suburbs. I want wide streets, short buildings, and free and ample parking. So I take the bus. Since I was going with Peaches and one of her friends, I wound up sitting next to a woman who looked like a deer in the headlights. I asked if the seat was taken and she said no. So I sat down. She opened with, "I'm so glad you're not a kid."
Turns out Becky was going to Summerfest for the first time. She wasn't from the area but she was taking four young teen girls down to the opening day of the biggest music festival in the world. And she was going really early for a show that started at 10 Pm.
She was probably going to die.
I spent the twenty minute bus ride giving her tips and pointers on how to manage Summerfest. She asked about lines (long) and food prices (high) and liquor availability (ridiculous). She asked about the return buses at night. I gave her as much knowledge as I had, but some things you just have to experience...and she was NOT dressed warm enough for a cool, gray, Lake Michigan day.
A success for her, would be if she managed to return with the same number of children as she left with. Not the same kids...we can't hope for miracles.
4) Lord of the Dance he is not, but gold star for effort!
After getting ditched at the gate by Peaches and her friend, I was on my own. That's fine. I love wandering and watching people. It was a lovely, breezy, chilly day, so I wasn't sweating like I normally do. I had eight hours to kill before Rick hit the stage, and I was on my own.
Like all children of the 80's, the sound of any 80's music is an irresistible siren song to us. So, when I caught the intoxicating notes of "Don't stop Belivin'" on the wind, I followed it to one of the many stages. There was an 80's revival band. They were pretty good so I stopped to take in the show. Like others, I was enjoying the music, tapping my feet to the beat. But there was one guy who was really enjoying things.
Tie-dyed shirt, high waisted jeans (WITH A BELT) this guy was ten shades of uncool...but he did NOT care. He was dancing, and dancing HARD. I would describe his moves as a cross between disco, River Dance, and some twisted polka/fox trot. He travelled up and down the aisles, dancing continuously through song after song. By the time the band started a sixth song, (Kashmir by Led Zepplin, not exactly a dance hit), the dancing dude's energy sort of felt like a guy at the end of a dance marathon. he was still moving, but had lost much of his zip and was looking at the band as if praying for them to finish. the band was good. Lord of the Dance was great.
3) I'm a FAN (but not of bad behavior.)
I always come away from Summerfest loving a new band and this time around was no different. I got to take in three bands that caught my attention: Skinny Lister, a delightful sort of folk band from England, a sort of family friend Pogues-esque band rocked the crowd, especially the 7 year old girl next to me who clearly was familiar with their work. Then there was Dehli to Dublin, a techno/drum jam/love mother earth band that completely had the crowd going. (Which is saying something because the Rick Springfield fans had marked their territory and were camped out so to be NOT RICK and still get the crowd going was really something.) as a former percussionist, I gotta say, I loved that their drummer seemed to be the happiest guy ever. Never stopped smiling. (Oh, and the lead singer...super HOT!)
While waiting between bands, I got into a conversation with two gents who were NOT there for Rick, but instead were friends of the band right before Rick: The Trews. They explained to me why The Trews were awesome and I explained to them why the front seven rows of the venue were packed with older women who knew nothing about The Trews. After listening to The Trews, I am a FAN!
What I wasn't a fan of, however, was the behavior of some of the Rick fans...or rather, the Rick fans' husbands. After sitting on hard metal benches for six hours or more, it was clear that a couple of the husbands were losing their patience with the experience. It was cold, it was damp, it was Wednesday and it was getting late. (Not going to lie: Rick starting a concert at 10 PM is sort of getting late for many of his fans...and I'm including myself in that.) By the time The Trews were doing their sound check, one of the gents had lost his patience, and his mind, and started yelling "we don't care what you sound like...just start playing!" (Oh, like if they got going and got done sooner, Rick would maybe get on the stage BEFORE 10 Pm and we'd all get out early? Sorry, dude, Summerfest doesn't work like that.) And then there was the guy who got into some sort of argument with the guitarist. (I'm guessing the dude said "You suck." That's not something you want to yell at a man with a microphone.) The guitarist suggested the gent come up and play better, but then wondered aloud if perhaps the gent wouldn't because he was clearly trying to cover for the fact that he had a small manhood. So, the guitarist gently suggested that the gent either come up and play or perhaps remove himself and then perform an act of pleasure on himself.
Which brings me to the MOTHER of the young girls sitting next to me who started complaining about the language.
Sweetie, it's Summerfest. There's a ton of drinking, a lot of smoking, (and not all of it tobacco and e-cigarettes) and a lot of bands, although none of them, the last time I checked, were Christian bands. Yes, there's a kids area at Summerfest. This stage was not the kids area. And if you're going to insist on dragging your two precious princesses to a ROCK CONCERT that is going to take place AFTER THEIR BEDTIME just so you can hear JESSIE'S GIRL LIVE, then you can expect this sort of thing to happen. I'm not one to cuss in public...but I mentally cursed her out while giving her the death stare. And she paid me back by dragging the princesses past me a dozen times to get food/drink/bathroom. And then the princesses decided that the balloons and beach ball that were being bounced around the crowd were theirs. (Again, if your kids don't know how to behave according to the rules of the venue...don't BRING THEM.)
But I enjoyed chatting with the two guys and I loved the bands.
2) Yes, Rick is on stage...is that extra 12 inches really going to be worth the pain you'll have in your hips tomorrow?
Seating at Summerfest is all benches. Metal benches about a foot off the ground and about eight inches wide. For reasons I'll never understand, everyone stands on those benches during a show. We all stand there, balanced on those metal benches, because hey, being 12 inches higher is going to make it possible for Rick to see us, to love us, to take us home with him and make us his queen and rule in his universe.
I got it when we saw Shinedown...I mean, Shinedown's fan base at the time was young white guys who were going to stand on the benches and be cool.
But Rick fans are a bit older, a bit more frail, and a bit smarter, right?
I told the guys behind me that NO WAY would this crowd risk HIP DAMAGE by standing on the benches.
|If only you would stand on the benches...then I will see you|
and single you out...and take you home with me.
"Ya know, if we all stood on the ground, we'd all have exactly the same view of the stage as we have now," I said aloud. Princess' Mom nodded with exasperation. But I couldn't help thinking...the people who were REALLY exasperated were the people who had to stand behind Princess' Dad...who was about 9 feet tall and standing on the bench.
I'm a fairly fluffy girl in my mid forties and I'd been on my feet for ten hours. Standing on a bench was killing my knees and my lower back. So I decided, about two thirds into the concert (which was great, by the way) that I couldn't deal with it anymore. Gingerly, I stepped down, which made me eye level with butts and genital regions as I made my way to the outer edge of the venue where there was bleacher seating. I climbed to the top of the bleachers and sat down. I had a better view, better sound, and was sitting. Sure, I was surround by Rick's more ELDERLY fans, the ones not willing to sit in one spot for six hours...mostly because their oxygen tanks had to be recharged...but I had a blast. So...next time...row seven will not be for me. You'll find me sitting comfortably on the bleachers, singing in key, and pretending I'm really Ramona from my novel "Dream in Color."
1) The funniest thing I heard all night.
Summerfest is a large gathering of people...so bathrooms are well, or not so well, used. And those of you who read this blog know I have an issue with public bathrooms. But, at the end of the park where I was, there was a delightfully huge bathroom that wasn't horrible. So, at the end of the evening, before getting herded onto a bus, I hit the restroom one last time.
Am I glad I did.
As I was using a stall, the young woman in the stall next to me was experiencing some issues. her friends were outside the stall yelling, "hurry up!" She, however, was going to be there a while.
"All of my shit fell out of my purse and into to the toilet which is full of shit!"
(Apologies to my younger readers for the language.)
Yep, somehow this young lady had managed to unload the contents of her purse into a toilet after she'd used it but before she'd flushed. (NGTJ and I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out how that could happen, but we failed.) I wanted to stay long enough to hear how that problem got resolved, but I had a bus to catch...so I had to leave poor Precious there, with images of a pooh covered iPhone dancing in my head.
So, see? I can go places where there are people and I can have a lovely day and not get into a huge rage. Summerfest runs through July 6, so maybe check it out!
Of course, today I have to go to the Sam's Club Pharmacy...
BTW, if you live in SE Wisconsin, I'm doing a book signing TONIGHT at Martha Merrill's Books from 6-9. Come on down and see me! All books are discounted!