Music and Memories

Last night a dear, sweet friend took me on a date. Calm down! It wasn't that kind of date. This was a chick date. She had tickets to a benefit concert here in the fair city of Minneapolis at the famed bar, First Avenue. The concert was to help raise funds for a sound guy who had been hurt in an accident (good cause) and featured some amazing acts. Among those performing were a couple of groups made up of some guys who went to my high school. Back in the 80's and 90's they were in a band called Trip Shakespeare, and they ROCKED MY WORLD.

I'm not a psycho-crazy uber-fan, but I loved, and still love, their music. I have all of their CDs (all of Trip Shakespeare's, that is, and most of their other "separate" works). Play them in the car almost constantly. My kids know most of the old Trip stuff, enough so that they roll their eyes and quickly reach for the knobs in the car to turn off my old fart music and find something more hip like Rhianna or Justin Bieber or Eminem (and shhh don't tell them but I do love Eminem).

Last night was like laying on a beach. A beach that butted up to a sea of memories. And from the second my friend and I walked through the entrance of the bar, I was pummeled with wave after wave of them. My friend and I found the spot under the a/c vent and got ready to be entertained...and as we waited, chatted, I remembered.

I remembered walking into that bar for the first time to see The Violent Femmes back in 1985 (all ages show, don't think I was into that whole fake ID thing. Not me, no! Never. ). And I remembered the last time I'd been there...Big Daddy and I had gone to see a Trip Shakespeare reunion concert right before things got really bad between us. It was the last time I remember enjoying his company.

Then I started running into people I knew. A girlfriend from high school and her husband, another girl from high school who I'm pretty sure doesn't like me, still. Another girlfriend and another husband (this particular girlfriend was a major, major part of my life, love her. And she bought me drink. Really love her). And then a tall, lanky bearded fellow approached me and said, "Jenny!". I had no idea who he was until he introduced himself and damn if it wasn't the boy I had taken to a Sadie Hawkins dance back in the day. He then positioned himself ahead of me and slightly off to the right, so for the rest of the concert every time I looked up and off to my right I was awash in memories of giving my first hand job. Nice, huh?

And then. Then the Golden Wilson boys took the stage together and played two little morsels of their wickedly good old stuff. And the very first song was one of my favorites. I really, seriously teared up a little. Listening to the music, I had a slideshow playing in my head...blurry faces, muffled conversations, the feeling of being young and free...all of it surrounding me, demanding me to recall every last delicious bit.

For a few transcendent minutes I was hurled back in time. I closed my eyes and I was 20-something again, standing up in a packed bar, singing along to songs I loved. Leaning back into the arms of a boyfriend, making eyes at cute boys, standing next to my beloved girlfriends, crying in the bathroom, wondering if there was going to be an afterparty at someone's house, bumming smokes, scrounging up a couple bucks for one more beer...it was heavenly.

And then the music stopped. I opened my eyes and I was 44, wearing comfortable shoes and mom jeans.

But I was happy. And the smile has been on my face all day, the music playing in my head, my ears ringing and my feet sore from standing on the hard floor for so long, even in my sensible and comfy Danskos.

The present and the past slammed into each other last night, and it was sublime. In fact, it needs to happen more often.

Rock on.


  1. What a great friend and what a wonderfully melancholy in a sad and oh so happy kind of way night. Been there. Done that. Always leave wondering if I was happier or more sad than when I came...and I think the answer is both. Anyway, I think strong feelings are good and make us alive, or at least remind us what it is to feel alive. You have such a wonderful way with words so now I will put in my weekly plea to have you pursue some sort of official published writing....thing.....for money. There is a future for you.

  2. Thank you Laura! I left very happy. I agree, strong feelings are the barometer of life. The more you feel, the more alive you are. That's why I couldn't stand anti-depressants. I'd rather feel pain than nothing. As for published? I'm trying! Just waiting for Julia Roberts to find my blog and make a movie...ha.

  3. I agree with Laura. If I were a rich publisher, I would pay you!

    And two things:

    I was at that same Violent Femmes show. It must've been an underage show, or I used my teenage charms because I was only 16.

    And you invited Charlie and I to go see Trip Shakespeare with you and Big Daddy that time. Charlie loves Trip Shakespeare, but I have to be honest when I say that "Tool Master of Brainerd" makes me want to poke my ears with sharp sticks. I'm pretty sure that's why I declined. But I distinctly remember you saying how it would be so fun for us to start doing stuff together as couples....but we know now that Big Daddy was, ummm, preoccupied.
    Just so you know, Charlie would go see Trip Shakespeare with you any time! He's cool like that.

  4. It was such a treat to see you and hang out. I too was reminiscing of an earlier, more care-free time. Do you realize that I went to the Violent Femmes with you in 1985?????

  5. Oh my gawd, Danielle and Gail, how freaking funny. Gail, I had a fuzzy memory of you being there with me. Was it just the two of us? And Danielle, you tell Charlie that the next time I hear of Trip Shakespeare playing he's going to come with me. He's the designated driver!

    Gail it was AWESOME to see you. I miss you. And I adore your hubby, what a great guy. Talk to you soon!

  6. How in the world did I not see this post until TONIGHT?? This is great Jenny! TS were my favorite local band forever back in the early '90s...and the first time Greg asked me out was to go see them at First Ave. June 11, 1990...holy crap, is it really almost 25 years??


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