Sometime in high school, I made the implausible leap from gangsta rap-lovin’ yo-girl to a classic rock hussy. One particular band I had an intense liking for was .38 Special, of all bands. I would listen to the classic rock station all day with a blank tape on the ready, waiting for “Caught Up In You” to come on so I could dive into some finger-stubbing “record” action.
My friend Lisa, who was into more alternative music, was probably the happiest of all my friends when I retired my gritty urban flava mix tapes in favor for music that didn’t scare, offend and irritate her. So in 1997, when I asked her to go see .38 Special with me, she was more than happy to agree.
I’m sure it didn’t hurt that my mom was buying the tickets for us.
The day of the show, my boyfriend Psycho Mike came to my house. He didn’t want me to go to the concert and thought that starting a fight with me would suddenly make my head clear so I could understand the error of my ways.
“You’re going to end up fucking some drunk guy!” he yelled, his eyes getting that crazy glint to them, like the time he told me he was going to poke out my eyes and shove them up my vagina. “Maybe even more than one!”
Yes, Mike. You’re right. Foiled again!
He left in a huff. Soon Lisa had arrived and we left for the Rostraver Ice Garden. Not surprisingly, we were the clear winners in the “Youngest Concert-Goers” category, and probably the only one who didn’t have the Harley-Davidson logo somewhere on their person.
During Molly Hatchet and another opening band that Lisa totally loved but I can’t remember anything other than their wildly crimped and Aqua Netted manes, we took in the sheer frenzy of shaking mullets, over-sized tie-dyed shirts, and leather-vested bikers showing off prison-quality ink on their forearms. I loved every second of it. It was fun and the energy of the crowd was contagious.
During the bands, we made friends with a completely blitzed cradle robber named Nelson and his slightly sober and calmer sidekick Nick.
Sadly, if I were to revenge-cheat on Psycho Mike, Nelson and Nick were probably the cream of the crop from that crowd. I think Nelson sloshed his beer on Lisa.
Goddammit I loved that shirt. It was metallic! I didn’t love that hair though. I remember I had gotten a horrible hair cut at Fantastic Sam’s of all places (the only time I ever deviated from the fluffy salons I usually go to and immediately learned why I pay so much to get my hair done – so it will look GOOD) and spent the next month and a half pulling what was left of my hair back into ponytails.
Side bar: A few years ago, I was riding in the car with Henry, my mom and Corey after a night of haunted houses. “Caught Up In You” came on the radio and I shouted, “Yes! I love this song!” My mom, ever so casually, goes, “Huh. This is the song that was on the radio when I was driving to the hospital after your father wrecked.” You know, the wreck that killed him 27 years ago, no biggie.
When I came home from Cleveland at 3:00 this morning, I was about to pass out on the couch when I noticed I had a voicemail from Lisa. It started out with her humming something vaguely discernible before belting out “So caught up in you, little girl!” She went on to sing for a few more seconds before stopping to add, “So I’m at a supermarket right now and this song came on; I had to call and sing it to you.”
Not going to lie, that kind of meant the world to me.