WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER

“Think we’ll ever go to another concert?”, he asked Sunday morning.
“Probably not,” she replied. “Breakfast is ready.”

I’ve always loved music. (Ed. Note 1: The nerd days of teendom found me charting songs on the radio, computing their playtime. Truth be known, it continued in college. With a pad on the passenger seat I’d jot down the stats even as I drove ‘cross PA to New Jersey. Sadly, the binder of weekly standings was among other erstwhile treasures “lost” in the Lomaz garage). Ah, but from Anka, Avalon and Rydell on ‘HK to the early Beatles of KYW, and even the changing sounds of “The New WCOL” in Columbus, I just loved music!

Until psychodelia, of course—when I hit a brick wall—when (for me), the music was over. (Ed. Note 2: Sure there were still sounds I liked. Even in my personal diaspora. Let’s see: after The Partridge Family there were Manilow…and Bare Naked Ladies…and…oh…Plain White T’s).

—-Nor did I ever really get into concerts—

There was a prerequisite (back in high school) to going to a concert: one I never had. It was called a “date”. For the most part, that’s what kept me from live music ‘til OSU. (Ed. Note 3: There was a second reason that never quite mattered. My Dad, you see, told me I wasn’t allowed to go to Leo’s Casino, the Euclid Avenue venue Motown groups played. He said the neighborhood wasn’t “safe” and in rare instances when I may have found a date—Heck, no one would turn down The Temptations—-I still honored father). (Ed. Note 4: Brother Hal, of course, was in the process of morphing from Nemo to “Wild Nemo”. He went to Leo’s. More than once, I think).

Our father though, got me to my first rock concert.

Summer ’67. He was living in Inkster, Michigan selling home study off leads from the back of matchbooks; I was mired at MSU; and Hal, “Little Herb”, was in from Cleveland, to see his father….

I don’t know where Dad went that day — after all, it was the 4th of July —but he planted his boys at The Upperdeck, upstairs lounge overlooking Detroit’s famed Roostertail. There we sat that day watching Sam The Sham And the Pharoahs (“Little Red Riding Hood”), Tommy James & The Shondells (“Hanky Panky”), Keith (“Ain’t Gonna Lie”), and The Royal Guardsmen (“Snoopy vs. The Red Baron”).

There was a prerequisite also, to concerts in college. Well, it wasn’t so much requirement as my sense of discomfort. Seeing Peter, Paul and Mary at ‘68’s homecoming I hated being the only one there not smoking dope. A year later, bolstered by car and contacts, I began dating Grace Slick. The rest, shall we say, is history.

—So imagine my angst when in March, my only brother, (the one I thought would never let me down, the one who in virginal days sung along to “Wooly Bully”), emailed inviting us to see Hall & Oates.— Say it ain’t so, Little Herb!

(Ed. Note 4: No sooner had I opened his missive then I wrote back NO!).
(Ed. Note 5: No sooner had Carried opened his note then she wrote back YES)).
(ED. Note 6: We bought two tickets).

Well, as Grandma Bogart once said, “Time matzahs on.” March became April became May and the evening was looming. For a sheer instant it appeared I might dodge it and head to Chicago. Stacy was busy, though, and the beat went on.

It was daylight Saturday as we headed downtown. Public Hall is many things, but a venue for rock it is not. The bad news is, it was oval shaped; the good news is, I sat at the far end.

Hall & Oates were ok, Carrie says. I know not. Watching it on a giant screen didn’t quite cut it. (Nor did they, frankly. One of them kept eyeing his watch, but I couldn’t tell who).

Me? I didn’t have a watch to eye. (It’s not a Bogart thing). I did have a cellphone, though, and I used it for many things. During “Sarah Smile”, for example, I computed the number of glass tiles in the overhead ceiling. (Ed. Note 7: 7 x 9 x 48). (Ed. Note 8: How bored was I? In nary a set I achieved what in Park Synagogue’s Main Sanctuary had been a lifetime goal!).  Was not my ennui understandable?  Heck, I didn’t like the ’70′s the first time I’d lived them!

Ah, but there were things to watch. Like the always-fat women clogging the aisles and dancing all night. Why ALWAYS are they bigger than me? And don’t they have mirrors at home? And what’s with the skinny blonde, perpetually upright and ALWAYS in the row in front of me? Someone should tell her that she’s good from far, but far from good. (I can say this, Brad Pitt that I am). Ah, but I shouldn’t complain. At least she was blocking the giant screen.

—And I’m not complaining at all, mind you. Not at all.

I spent the night, you see, with a smiling brother. Ours was quality time—-not a song out of tune.

And I woke up on Sunday, Ocean Eyes at my side.

And she agrees with me: that the music’s over.

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