Were you there on Sunday? See, the fun part about events is that no one can live the life that can only be filled by your shoes. No one can see all the random, beautiful, ugly that you see or do. That is just for you. But. When it comes to a show. That is a moment we can all share.
And something about getting soaked in the rain, refusing shelter, adds to the glory that is a rock-and-roll moment.
Last night, was like a link conjoining what is the beginning of my musical experience timeline. I was a newborn on the lawn of what used to be call the Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, FL. I was thirteen years old, wearing a Gap tank top and Old Navy bottoms. I had no cell phone. I’m not even sure I had money. I hitched a ride with four dudes from my Broadcast magnet class, all skater boys, with one dad driving the mini-van. I didn’t tell my parents I was going. I was “sleeping over at a friend’s,” which I would.
That night changed me. I had no idea who Green Day even was. The following weeks, months, and years, I would listen to their album, “International Superhits,” memorizing all the lyrics. No longer a newborn, but a full-fledge adult, I was FINALLY belting out the lyrics with them live. Why has it been 19 years since I’ve seen them? I couldn’t tell you. Probably the house-head-dom of Miami drowned out the voices of the skater boys, and I swapped bands for DJs. But you know what I realized after last night? You can’t take the Rock out of the Rock girl.
I was dancing ska – moves I have NEVER before in my life pulled out. It all flowed out organically, musically. I was bopping up and down the aisle and no stadium seating could stop me. I’m not sure what my date thought, but that’s the joy of a good date – you just enjoy the experience while being yourself, and you feel accepted as-is. No acts. No shaming. No expectations except mutual respect and honesty. It was a great date, if you can even call it that. I feel like I just climbed Mt. Everest.
I took my shirt off to put on a tour shirt that he bought me. I soaked that one, too. It was so hot. Sweat was running down my legs from my forest green corduroy mini-skirt to my black converse chucks. I asked him, “Do you mind if I take my shirt off?” And he shakes his head no, offering the explanation, “It’s hot out here!” So I join him shirtless in my black sparkly bra. And i’m rocking and rolling just like the women I first witnessed 19 years ago – when bands like Green Day and Blink 182 could corral women in the crowd to take off their shirts. (Something that would not fly in today’s world.) So I did it voluntarily. And there we were, a shirtless couple making a dash to the front stadium seats to get cooled off by the oncoming rain.
It just so happens that as the rain started, Green Day performed “Wake Me up When September Ends.” A magical moment suspended in time. The lyrics go like this:
“Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are
As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends”
And we got those stanzas twice. It was utterly the coolest rock show I have ever been to in my life. Not that I have been to a ton, but this has to be the definition of what legendary rock shows are made of.
And there I was, making out in the rain with my hot date, us both shirtless, to my favorite band. I’m not sure to what song. But I remember the bliss. We have only kissed up until this point, so the air of innocence and purity and love and joy and rage too, because we’re at a show! All that came up, and again wove right into the fabric of what this show meant for me.
I walked out of that stadium wringing the water from my two French braid pigtails, still in bra, with nothing dry to wear, walking hand-in-hand with my date through a massive exodus. Smiling to the heavens. Luckily the rain had stopped at this point.
It was surprising Green Day didn’t do the tease of coming off and then on again, as is so customary with live music shows. They chose to be different, a one and done type of deal. I suppose there was no way to top the performance as it stood. Not from my angle. As a fine artist knows when his workmanship is complete, so did they.
I got home, saw my thick black eyeliner had smudged it’s way to my cheeks. The markings of a night in reckless abandon, in praise to rock idols. We came and they conquered. It’s now Tuesday and my head and heart are still on cloud 9. Sufficiently bruised up and still tired as the emotions have been riding high since that night, I write to pay homage to that evening. A metamorphosis of sorts took place for me. So much has happened in my life since I was 13 years old. But I’m still that girl. And as Life would have it, I’ve seen the immensity of both beauty and pain. And I had no idea what that would entail. But I made it. I’m here. And so are they. And that’s the beauty of a musical journey in life. We get cut up, bruised up, soaked, thirsty, hot. But then, there’s this bliss. This simple transcendence of harmony. As if everything is right in the world.
That’s what occurred Sunday night. We got that taste of transcendence as if God alone could only make that moment happen for us.
I’m a firm believer that there is a Guiding Hand. And I’m so happy He watched over us that night. That’s one for the books, if there ever was.
And I haven’t even mentioned Weezer or Fall Out Boy who opened for them, who deserve praise in their own right. But this post is about my journey with Green Day. And how I get to share music with you all today with them as the finite kicking-off point.
Thanks for joining me on this ride.