Saturday, February 7, 2009

A New Direction

It's been hard for me to think up blog topics lately. I've had what seemed like some good ideas, but they either fizzled out as I tried to write them, or I didn't have the technical know-how to make them work.

Everyone says that you should write about what you know, and the thing that I know best is, well, me. I have been going through a great wave of nostalgia for the 80s lately, since I reconnected with a bunch of old friends on Facebook. So, without further ado, I am going to present a semi-regular series of posts called:

Why I Loved the 80s

Part 1: My First "Real" Concert

In the 80s, I pretty much lived to watch MTV. Oh, I went to school, hung out with my church youth group, had a part-time job, babysat, and all the other things that teenage girls do, but all free time was devoted to MTV. And, if you were watching MTV in 1986/'87, you know that there was no escaping Bon Jovi.

To say that my stepsister, Melinda, and I were obsessed with Bon Jovi would be an understatement. We had the tapes and the posters; knew all the words to all the songs; and went into fits of ecstasy when the videos aired on MTV. When Melinda and I heard that Bon Jovi would be appearing at Rupp Arena (in 0ur hometown of Lexington, KY), in March of 1987, our joy was quickly eclipsed by despair, because we knew that we would never be able to afford tickets. Neither of us had jobs at the time, and it took a LOT of babysitting hours to buy a concert ticket. We were disconsolate.

The day of the concert arrived: March 21, 1987. Anguish, gloom, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, various other forms of melodrama, etc. (no one does despair better than a 16-year-old girl, after all). Midway through the afternoon, my mom came in and told Melinda and me we should start getting ready to go out. We asked why (gloomily, of course), and she said, "You want to be ready for the concert, don't you?" In what was probably their single coolest act ever, our parents had bought us tickets for the show.

Oh, how the air filled with AquaNet then! We quickly put together our coolest outfits, pushed our hair to the limits of poofiness, and headed out to Rupp Arena. I had been to a couple of concerts when I was little, but this would be my first "real" show. Excited? You have no idea. We got there early, found our seats, and settled in. The opening act was Cinderella, who I loved at the time. (They must not have left much of an impression, though, because I can't remember a single song they sang.) We screamed, but we were reserving most of our excitement for the Big Moment.

Bon Jovi hit the stage with "Livin' on a Prayer," and the screamfest was on. The only time we settled down was during "Never Say Goodbye," and I was worried at that point that the dude behind me was going to set my heavily sprayed hair on fire when he held up his lighter. (The lighter wasn't the only thing that guy fired up during the show, but I was too naive at 16 to pay attention to all the people around me smoking doobies.) Melinda and I screamed pretty much nonstop through the whole concert, and had the time of our lives. We didn't stop discussing it for weeks.

I couldn't speak, at all, for four days. My choir director was fit to be tied, because our Easter program was the next weekend and I was supposed to sing a solo. Despite a very stern lecture about how screaming can damage the voice (and the fact that I totally lost interest in Bon Jovi a couple of years later), I still count that concert as one of the best times of my life. And that's one of the reasons why I loved the 80s.


JD at I Do Things said...

I LOVE the 80s too! What a great idea for a series of posts.

My MTV obsession came around 1982-83, I was in my early 20s, and the band was U2. Otherwise, the story is much the same.

Great post!

Kathy said...

Oh, man. Great concert post! The best one I ever saw was Genesis, circa '83. It was in Philly, almost a whole day of bands leading up to them. The only one I can remember was Flock of Seagulls. The experience was mind-blowing in more ways than one.

Oh, and Aquanet? I cannot imagine the number of cans I went through in the 80s. I was keeping someone in business.

absepa said...

JD: Thanks! My younger co-workers make fun of me for my love of all things 80s--they'll never understand. My MTV obsession started in 1982 as well. I wish I knew how many hours I spent watching.

Kathy: Thanks! Bon Jovi wasn't the best concert I ever saw (that was U2, in 2001) , but it was the most memorable. I can't believe you saw Flock of Seagulls! That just might qualify as the ultimate 80s experience.