Friday, June 03, 2011

The One That Got Away


I knew it was a stretch. But I didn't think that rubber band was going to snap.

By the time I was a junior in high school, I had been to a ton of rock concerts: Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Yes, Rush, ZZ Top, Depeche Mode, 10,000 Maniacs, OMD, and Tom Petty, to name a few. I was lucky to be the younger sister of a completely devoted music fan and an indulgent mother. We lived on the Oregon Coast, less than two hours' drive from Portland, and for some reason, my mom figured that my brother would get into less trouble (ie. refrain from smoking pot) if he was accompanied to concerts by his little sister. Drugs were not my brother's scene, but I wasn't about to disabuse my mother of the notion if it meant I got to tag along to such cool shows.

So when U2 announced a concert and my boyfriend's older brother managed to get a block of ten tickets, I figured I was golden. Asking was simply a formality. Oh, did I neglect to mention that the concert was in Vancouver, BC? Roughly an eight-hour drive and requiring an overnight stay? But my boyfriend's brother (who was at the Naval Academy and, by all accounts, a very responsible semi-adult) was going to drive and chaperone. It all seemed perfectly innocuous to me. They were my favorite band at the time - idealistic, with powerful lyrics and songs that were also fun to dance to. They were also my boyfriend's favorite band and that would probably have been enough on its own, but I was desperate to go. This was the closest U2 had ever come to Portland and, with the intense conviction that this was probably going to be the ONLY chance I would ever have to see them LIVE in CONCERT, my mom had to say yes.

Only she said no. I was stunned. But not for long. I quickly went into negotiation mode, followed by anger, pleading, more negotiation, utter breakdown, and hatred. I'm pretty sure those are the seven stages of teenage angst: stun, negotiate, anger, plead, negotiate again, tearful breakdown, hate your parents. Yup, that's it.

For some reason, she thought the drive across the border into another country to see a rock concert attended by tens of thousands, followed by an overnight stay in a hotel chaperoned only by my boyfriend's college-age brother was a bad idea. Huh. I can't say I saw her point. In fact, I don't think I spoke to her for a week. And when my place got taken by another of our friends and I had to suffer through the description of the entire weekend they had all together without me I was certain I would dissolve in my own churning stomach acids. And my only consolation was that my mother would feel really bad if I did.

I held that grudge for about a decade. Honestly. I am certain that until the moment I first held my newborn baby girl on my chest at the hospital, feeling that fierce mother-love slip its tentacles into my every morsel, I still hated my mother for not letting me go. And now I look at Eve and get it. What the h*%# was I thinking even asking? What the h*%# was my mother thinking letting me and my brother drive to Portland alone together to go see KISS in concert? There were people sitting in the row in front of me whose gallon-sized popcorn bucket held both the salty treat and their drug stash, tucked inside a plastic baggie. They had purchased said baggie just outside the coliseum, along with several dozen others in the crowd. Am I likely to let my girls go to concerts alone? Insert snorting laughter here. Not. Bloody. Likely. I'll drive them, drop them, and pick them up right outside, yes I will. And I won't give a damn if they hate me for it.

But I digress. Last year, U2 announced another concert tour and, having heard this story several times before I forgave my mother, Bubba rushed out and spent a fortune on tickets for the two of us. Ahh, sweet redemption. And a sweet husband. And then, one month before they were to be in Seattle, Bono threw out his back and they cancelled the rest of the tour. WTF? Was I destined to be denied U2?

Until tomorrow, anyway. Tomorrow night, barring any magnificent horror the Universe throws at me or the band, I will be sitting outside at Qwest Field in Seattle grinning from ear to ear and soaking it all in. I'm sure there are more devoted fans. I'm certain I'm not the most fanatical U2 groupie (nor do I aspire to that). But I will finally get to see U2 live in concert, more than 20 years later. And, Mom? I forgive you.

2 comments:

chris said...

It never hurts to try? Going to shows in Portland from the coast was a part of growing up down there. A rite of Passage. Glad you'll finally make it & enjoy!

Deb Shucka said...

What a great story! I hope the concert was everything both you and your inner adolescent needed it to be.

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