Summer concert season is here, and it’s become one of our favorite times of the year. My husband is a dyed-in-the-wool music buff, his range spanning from head-banging rock to jazz, pop to classical. I enjoy listening to songs from my youth, nicely remade by some very talented tribute bands.
A few years ago, a band named Mother’s Finest played in Snellville at Briscoe Park. My girlfriend and I were so excited about the show, we made a point to bring our husbands along for what promised to be a fantastic evening. All four of us were in our twenties back in the 1980s, so Mother’s Finest was one of those iconic bands who played much of the soundtrack of our lives through our late teens and twenties.
That evening, we dressed in our fun summer concert wear (not quite the same as it was 30 years ago, but today comfort matters more than style!). Our guys looked good (we couldn’t convince them to wear their parachute pants, but we sure tried), and heading over to Snellville, we felt transported back in time, high on some of that giddy excitement we used to feel as young adults headed out for an evening on the town with our guys.
We arrived at Briscoe Park about fifteen minutes before the show was set to start, giving us time to drag our lawn chairs and coolers to just the right spot, dead center of the stage and about halfway back through the crowd. Getting situated, my friend and I took in as much people watching as we could. Ever notice how these outdoor concerts elevate the sport of people watching to an Olympic level? If not then trust me; they do.
Well, even though the band was a bit late arriving to their own show, they sped across the grass and right up to the stage. The music ramped up quickly, as one old favorite after another blared and thrummed from the stage and throughout the amped-up audience.
We were all grinning from ear to ear, trying to talk over the music every now and then to share a memory or shout our approval, when a group of women wandered over our way and took up residence about 10 feet in front of our little encampment. They were dressed in tie-dyed tee shirts and denim shorts, but what really caught my eye was their big 80s hair. Remember that? Like everything else in the 80s, the bigger the hair, the better.
These women were dancing with wild abandon, screaming the lyrics right along with the vocalists, and throwing down some dance moves I hadn’t seen in, well, 30 years. Watching them was delightful, and I had to smile. They were having the time of their lives. From this angle, they looked and danced a lot like I imagined my friend and I might in another 10 years or so. In fact, I elbowed her and told her so, and we both had a hearty laugh at my clever remark, “Look, Tam, that’s us in about ten years! Heaven help us!” And along those same lines, I remember looking around at the crowd and wondering what in the heck all those old people were doing at a Mother’s Finest concert. Didn’t they know this group was THE premier band of a much younger generation? Of OUR generation?
And then the women in front of us turned around. When they did, Tam and I went from grinning and laughing to staring and stammering. And as if on cue, we each turned to the other and exclaimed, “They’re our age, maybe even younger!” And at that last, we couldn’t help laughing at ourselves.
I may never forget that evening; specifically, I may never forget that very moment. We went from looking at the women with jovial humor peppered with just a bit of good-natured pity, to realize we were looking in a mirror, all in just a split second. I think it was only then that I understood that age really is just a number and that in our heads anyway, we are a whole lot younger than the calendar suggests we are.
A glorious lineup of summer concerts awaits us this year in Gwinnett. Let me just offer a word of caution before you don a favorite old concert tee and pack up your lawn chairs and coolers: before you eye a couple or group of people and make whispered remarks like, “Oh, aren’t they cute, “ or “Wonder why they’re at a (fill-in-the-blank) concert?” take a good look at them. It can be quite an eye opener.
Incidentally, anyone out there knows where I can find a pair of shoulder pads, purple tights, and leg warmers? I’m uh, well I’m asking for a friend.
Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL (Apr 2016, Skyhorse Publishing), was recently named the Finalist for 2017 Georgia Author of the Year in the Detective/Mystery genre. Her previous three books are written with Southern humor. Carole often appears on network television talk and news shows, as well as on national true crime radio shows. Her books can be found in bookstores, on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and at www.caroletownsend.com. When she's not writing, Carole travels throughout the southeast, talking to groups about women, writing, family and life in her beloved South.