I Wish That I Had Jessie’s Chair…

Where can I find some seating like that?

Where can I find some seating like that?

     I have an admission to make.  Up until a week ago, I’d never been to a rock concert. It seems weird even to me.  I love music and I rock out in my car as much (or better) than the next guy.  But growing up, it wasn’t something my parents encouraged even as I heard my friends brag of seeing Bon Jovi, Judas Priest, Foreigner and other bands of the Eighties. Plus, being a sucka with no self-esteem, I’ve never been one of those “shake it in public” sorta dudes.  Wallflowers represent!

     So, somehow I’ve managed to get through 45 years of life without live rock.  A couple of months ago, the family was driving somewhere when Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield came on the radio.  My wife is a huge fan, and I casually mentioned, “Oh, I heard he’s coming to Birmingham in September.”  An hour later, after arriving home, we had two tickets to the concert, which was to be held at something called “Iron City.” She already had an overnight baby sitter lined up.  The date was set.

     In the intervening weeks, there was some vague discussion between us about the venue (which I’d never heard of) and we were both looking forward to the concert.

     The day of the concert, (last Sunday), we dropped the kids off with their aunt and uncle around 1PM and went for sushi.  We then did some shopping at the Galleria mall in Birmingham, and had dinner at the Bone Fish Grill, which my wife constantly (inadvertently) referred to as the less-than-appetizing, “Fish Bone Grill.”  But hey, she was looking pretty hot, so she can call it what she wants, right?

     She mentioned that Iron City had a menu, so we thought, “We’ll get there a little early and get dessert.”  “Yeah,” I said, “then we can get good seats.”  Somewhere, Dr. Evil was smirking and saying, “Righttttttttttttt.”

     We arrived at Iron City about 6:00–the concert was to start at 8:00.  Interestingly (to me,) there was already a line down the block.  “Hmmmm,” I thought, “who knew?” So perhaps we wouldn’t be getting dessert.  I also noted that Iron City was kinda small from the outside.  I was expecting something more like a concert hall…once again forgetting, “Google is your friend.”

     We parked and got in line. Apparently the doors were to open at 7.  If you know anything about Rick Springfield, you might guess that the demographic of his fans is heavily in the 42-50ish female category.  There were a few husbands but probably 85% of the people in line were ladies. Pretty much all the girls I wanted to date in high school but was afraid to ask.

     After awhile, my wife struck up a conversation with two women behind us.  I was vaguely paying attention as they talked about other concerts they’d attended at this venue.  My wife asked, “So what’s the seating situation?” Imagine my surprise when the brunette says, “Oh honey, there aren’t any seats…you have to stand up.”

     Do what?  Exsqueeze me?  Baking powder? She proceeds to describe the situation as, “Basically a big mosh pit.”  And, “there’s seats on the balcony but those are like $75 extra each.”  Hmm.

     Now, if you’ve read my other stuff, you might recall that I was medically discharged from the Army with a lower back injury–basically a squooshed lumbar disk.  I’ve also struggled with knee problems of late which includes some pretty significant arthritis in my right one. I’ve found at various school functions in the last few years, or in church, that my ability to stand for long periods of time is limited. In particular, nerve pain in my back travels to my hips and my entire pelvic area starts to go numb, yet continue to hurt–like when your foot falls asleep and wakes up–only more knifey.

     And worst of all, I’ve had episodes where I get so numb, I feel like I might (but luckily never have) lose control of my…umm…bowels.  Sorry for that image.  I’m just trying to say, “I’m kinda messed up, but I get by.”

     So, as you might imagine.  The wheels in my head are starting to spin.  I probably looked a lot like Milton from Office Space…I was told there would be seats. I started to worry to be honest.  I did the math and realized I was looking at about 4 hours on my feet. The last time my back went out (albeit, thankfully, a decade ago), I ended up screaming in pain in the ER until they shot me up with Demerol. I didn’t want to relive that moment in front of an Eighties teen-heartthrob and his throng of adoring fans.

     And then things got a little ugly.  Quoting my favorite line from The Wedding Singer, I casually commented to her, “Gee, this is information that would have been useful to me YESTERDAY!” My wife looked me in the face with her cold, cold eyes and said, “Deal with it.”  Well, I’m not proud to admit that flew all over me and things got worse from there.  Because now I was mad and she was mad that I was mad.  Our fun-filled date night was quickly circling the bowl.

     When we eventually got into the bar, we took up position on the railing around the mosh pit (or whatever they call it) directly center stage.  Having something to lean on saved me because I could manage to take some weight off my back and knee.  That was 7PM and I didn’t move from that spot until 10:30.  Much like Houdini or ancient Japanese ninjas, I apparently have the ability to slow down my bodily functions.  So no pee-pee breaks, no drinks.  I just stood there. Mad. Deal with it?  You deal with it.

     As the opening act came on, I had kinda cooled down.  I mean, I didn’t blame my wife, I was mainly kicking myself for assuming there was seating.  And I didn’t want to ruin my wife’s fun, although clearly that ship was sailing out of the harbor on a stiff breeze.

     To make a long story short, I made it.  I was sore as Hell by the end of the concert but all’s well that ends well I suppose.  I actually enjoyed Rick Springfield.  Dude just turned 65 and he can rock it out.  At one point, the girl to my left, apparently noting my likely ever-present grimace of pain, asked, “I take it you’re not a fan?”  “Sure,” I said. Actually, I have several of Rick’s songs on my iPod.  I told her, “I’ve just got a bad back and standing here is killing me.” She says, “Well, it’s nice of you to bring your wife.” Hmm.

     The show wrapped up with Jessie’s Girl and a shirtless Rick Springfield–and lots of iPhones held in the air snapping pics–including my wife’s.  I was pretty relieved that I hadn’t ended up going out on a stretcher.  And let me add that whatever Rick does in the gym, it’s working for my man.  Kudos to you Zac Adama. Kudos.

     Things were still a little icy on the hour-long drive home.  Kinda in a “let’s never speak of this again” kinda way.  There’s a documentary on Netflix about Rick Springfield’s loyal fans called, An Affair of the Heart.  There’s a scene where one of his hardcore fans’ husband says something to the effect of, “Yeah, I guess it’s a little weird for my wife to be drooling over this guy, but hey, it always works out for me after the show…if you know what I mean.”   Oh yeah? For me? Not so much. Let’s just say there was no Human Touch that night.

     Needless to say, I think my bar-crawling concert career is probably over. And that’s probably the best for everyone.  Until next time…stay nerdy my friends.


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