Everything Old Is New Again In My Memory

Last week I had the absolute pleasure to go to the B52's concert at La Zona Rosa. Austin has such lovely clubs.

The B's were my first rock concert. I don't remember the actual date but it was in Athens, GA and it was on the UGA campus and we all snuck down from our nosebleed seats up close to the front row, by passing a ticket back and forth. I have no idea how we pulled that off, but we were young and ingenious and I'm sure the security guards were baked.

I was too young to truly appreciate the music of Athens when the scene was exploding. Under 18 I couldn't go to the clubs that REM, Pylon, Guadalcanal Diary, Kilkenny Cats, Widespread Panic or a millions others would have performed.

My friends and I were townies and we dressed the part in vintage wear mixed with thrift store goods and wack haircuts. My mother looked on disdainfully, for the most part. We tried to get into shows, by pretending to be older, some of my friends even went so far to get fake ID. I tried to convince my older cousins to get me in shows, but they were wise-fearing the wrath of their mother and mine, they refused. When that all failed, we waited around for the free ones, out at Legion Field on campus (where I first saw REM).

So, it was a weird experience to see the B52's in their 60s, all rockin out the same hits that I remember dancing to (on vinyl) at 8th grade spend the night parties. I had some odd reactions. One was...I want to hear new music. The other was, damn they must get tired. Another was, what a nice mix of old fogies, middle agers, 20 somethings and also kids of the middle agers. Lots of costumes, gays and straights, boas, goth girls, nerdlet teens. Finally, I was kind of impressed at how strong their voices still were, but how bored the back up band looked. I guess to them it was just a gig probably, not a psychic family reunion.

Dancing, with a fair share of drink in my system, I had memories. A lot of late nights, record albums at Wuxtry, Go, The Potters House, Clarke Central High School, Serendipity and the old old man who used to play piano, The Chocolate Shoppe, The Grill, trying to get into the 40 Watt, Memorial Park, ACT and theater, magnolias and dogwoods and 50's dresses. Athens, Athens, Athens.

Funny, how at such an incredibly sad time in my life, I was able to actually not realize it was sad. I look back and I can see two lives, mine and mother's. So very odd to see myself as a really fucking wounded kid, and also having the time of my life vintaging out and falling in love for the first time and listening to Murmer, and Chomp and Wild Planet, running around downtown Athens and now, looking back through my mother's eyes wondering what the fuck she was doing during all that.

I have this feeling of dread more and more that one defense mechanism I developed back in the day, was that so long as I was "having a good time" then everything was ok, even when it wasn't. While I suppose it was a natural reaction for a bouncy ebulliant performative kid to develop at the time, I don't think that's served me very well as an adult.

Music, pain, love, happiness, memories, neuroses. All that wrapped up in a concert and a few vodka tonics. I work double time for you people, even when I shouldn't.

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