June 23, 2018
I’m sure Paul Simon never intended to rattle around in my brain when he was writing all those songs that have narrated our lives. But that’s where he has been lately ever since we went to his concert Tuesday night. I’ve had some of his songs on my playlist for awhile, and my Middle Schooler Lauren even plays You Can Call Me Al on the morning ride to school. When I reminded her that’s one of my songs, I got that blank stare and dismissive response “uh…like…yeah…whatevah!” That’s her way of distancing herself from mom’s 1986 hot jam while maintaining respectability among her friends.
So off to the concert Tuesday night. We met up with friends in the parking lot for a little tailgating fun before walking into the venue. Paul Simon has been around so long, his crowd was from 10 years old to 80, and our little group tilted to the older side of half way.
Jen gave me orange juice in the parking lot before the concert. I think there was something in that OJ. While the guys were talking about something, cars maybe or guitars, Jen and I talked about EOG scores, summer reading, puberty, bullies, crushes, and boobs. We are moms and even though our kids were at home, they were our conversation until the music started. “I only know the songs from the Graceland album,” she said, but I think she knew more than she thought she did.
Her husband was next to her. You know Mark. He’s been to all the concerts you’ve ever been to. That guy that yells “YOW OW OW OW OW,” at the concert…that’s Mark. He was wearing his ball cap and ONE of his Pink Floyd shirts. He’s got bins full of concert T-shirt’s, and every ticket stub from every concert he’s ever gone to. Good guy, that Mark. He paid for our parking so Paul didn’t even have to slow down at the gate.
Then there was my husband. Paul Mauk, not Paul Simon, was the only reason I was still wearing my contact lenses and shoes after bedtime on a Tuesday so late in the evening. He’s been to several concerts with Mark and Dustin separately, and he always (usually) asks me if I want to go, and I don’t. But this time, he just bought me a ticket and told me we were going. Well played, Paul. Well played.
Last in our row was Dustin. He was Paul’s sneaking out at night buddy when they were younger and had cooler hair. I suspect Dustin knows some stories I’m glad I don’t know. But he was there on the double date when Paul and I met, and he’s been constant through miles and milestones ever since. We lost Dustin to the rhythm near the end of the concert as he wandered down to the front row for a better view. But just like the night long ago when Dustin decided to literally hop on an open train car just because he could and just ride it for awhile without knowing where he would end up, Dustin doesn’t stay lost for long. And we heard from him once we were in the parking lot ready to leave.
We had great seats with the stage straight ahead of us. That was helpful since the giant screen let us see better than what our aging eyes could have seen unassisted. But at least with the screen, we could see how old Paul Simon is. No judgment. Kudos to him for rocking it and getting paid for it.
PS commanded his band just like you’d expect an old pro to do. They were tight and flawless and incredibly talented. And I wondered if they find themselves star struck on stage with a legend. Does it cross their minds how crazy it is that instead of them paying PS for concert tix like the rest of us, PS is paying them to jam onstage with him?
I don’t tend to get star struck over celebrities just because of their fame. I’m impressed by the memories they inspire when I listen to their songs. The concerts that have meant the most to me have been the ones that repaint colors of my childhood across my fading black and white memory. Kodachrome. Paul Simon knows what he’s talking about.
I guess it’s possible that in 35 years, my girls might be meeting up with old friends for Justin Bieber’s farewell concert tour. I’ll go on record that IF that happens, I’ll buy the tix (if I’m still around). I’d pay to have an old Bieber repaint memories for them. Even better if their kids like retro-Bieber they way Lauren likes my Paul Simon.
The next thing I remember
I am walking down the street
I’m feeling all right
I’m with my boys
I’m with my troops, yeah
And down along the avenue
Some guys were shooting pool
And I heard the sound
Of a cappella groups, yeah
Singing late in the evening
And all the girls out on the stoops, yeah