Joe Camel meets Robert Smith

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I had an extremely unusual simultaneous love of Euro Trash music and Heavy Metal, as a young woman.  I still do.  It makes absolutely no sense.  I can pop around to Dead or Alive one minute, and then blast some Guns n’ Roses the next.  Switch from the dead fish dance, to the head banger.  I can’t head bang any more though, it hurts my neck.  My chiropractor has warned me.

My absolute favorite concert in the history of my life was seeing The Cure at the Leysin Rock Festival, in Switzerland, in 1990.

I was so excited the entire day leading up to it, that my stomach started a series of seismic eruptions.  I couldn’t eat.  More importantly, I couldn’t drink.  I was going to see my favorite band of all time, completely sober.  What a blessing that turned out to be, because I remember it!  yay!

We walked down the mountain to the concert arena.  There were massive amounts of people and I promptly lost my group.  Normally, that would stress me out.  Not on this night.  I wormed and wiggled and squirmed and crossed my fingers ferociously that my stomach would behave.

Robert Smith did his silly British floppy dance across the stage, with his geisha-caught-in-the-rain-and-promptly-electrocuted-style make-up and hair.  I couldn’t move.  I was a mere 25 feet away from him.  I stood still while people bounced against my stiff body.  I was transfixed.  I’m sure I looked like a complete loon, eyes bugging out, trying to watch the entire stage at one time, but being constantly drawn to the bouncing white boy in his oversized shoes.

Boy's Don't Cry

When the concert ended, I found the people I had gone there with and I floated back to the dormitory that I was staying in.  I climbed up to my top bunk, put my Greatest Hits tape in my bright yellow Sony Walkman, and I listened to The Cure all night long.  I made a list of each song they sang, in the order they sang it.  I wrote my boyfriend a letter, and shared the playlist with him.  Poor guy.  That was probably not the most endearing love letter.

“I love Robert Smith.  He’s so great.  He was awesome.  I love him.  Oh yeah, I love you, too.”

The next concert I went to was about a year later.  It was Guns n’ Roses.  In Tacoma, Washington.  What a difference.  Instead of walking down the mountain to see some European glory, we drove down the highway in my loaner car to see America’s kings of white trash.  I should have known it would be a strange day in my rain soaked bubble when we started out at the gas station and I proceeded to smash the car door into the gas pump protection post.  Whoops.  That’s why those posts are there.  I made my sister drive.

When we were nearing the Tacoma Dome (no longer in existence) we got stuck.  For a long long time.

Here’s where my penis envy and white trash horror collide.

A man in a car in front of us got out of his car and peed into a bottle.  Right in front of us.  Wow.  I had to pee too.  I hope he remembered to dump it out.  Or do I?

We found our seats in the Tacoma Dome, way up in the nose bleed section.  We had exams that morning, and our friend Amy (who has such an awesome super hero power of falling asleep absolutely anywhere, anytime) promptly laid her head down and started snoring.  My sister and I gawked at the ladies wearing their tiny half shirts and acid wash jeans.  There was even a forty-plus-year old wearing a prom dress.

Americana.  Nice.

To our mounting dismay, the opening band began.  Motorhead.  Have you heard Motorhead?  Well, when I said I was a fan of Heavy Metal, I meant the pop-ish kind of Heavy Metal. Not Motorhead. This was pure noise, with fingernail on chalkboard  undertones.  And screaming.  Wow.  I actually plugged my ears for their entire set.  The next band was Metallica.  I didn’t really like  Metallica until I saw them perform.  They put on a hell of a show.  The mullet sporting dude in front of us thought so, too.  He was fist pumping and head banging.  I was so glad that Amy was awake now, because I had to point out his fabulous jacket.  He was wearing a high school letterman’s style jacket, with Joe Camel on the back.  Underneath the graphic of Joe, instead of saying ‘Joe Camel,’ it said, in bold letters, ‘Camel Toe.‘  Once I pointed that out to the girls, we proceeded to laugh so hard that somewhere under the words ‘Camel Toe’ we managed to bedazzle that jacket with at least one snot bubble.

Finally, Axl and the gang came out on stage.  He performed his side to side hip thrust, sporting black spandex pants, a bandana holding back his stringy red hair.  It was phenomenal.  True white trash glory!  While I loved the performance, I did not go home and recreate the playlist in my head.

Had I grown up?

Well, not really.  I did dress up as Axl for Halloween that same fall, hair dye and head band in place.  I crashed my sorority’s dance, solo, and reenacted the side to side hip thrust next to the romantic slow dancers.  Someone’s date drove me home in that same loaner car.  As we neared campus I woke up, only to toss my guns n’ roses right out the window and down the side of the door.  Man that loaner was destroyed when I gave it back.

I have a certain yin and yang to my music personality.  I admit, neither one is Mozart.  But I still find it helpful to fill my ears with different tunes, to wake up with some Justin Timberlake dancing in my brain.  My bubble is always bouncing with a good beat.

Every bubble needs a soundtrack.  It keeps things interesting.  You should get yourself one.  I won’t judge it.  Unless it’s country.

Thank you my seester, for reminding me of the loaner car and the G n’R concert.  Memories.  I know you have a soundtrack too, I can hear it all the way over here at my house.  It’s rockin’.

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