You want to know what you should do the next time you have a frustrating week? Go to a concert. No, not any concert, but a rock concert, and preferably metal/grunge/hard rock whatever if you’re into that kind of thing. I was just thinking last week how I always used to hang out with guys, mostly because of the people that I went to school with (musicians and audio engineers, and then later programmers and computer geeks). I sought close friendships with women during that time because I felt I didn’t have it and then it turned out to be really hard to find. I’ve only developed close relationships with women in the last 5 years or so.
But you know what I realized? Sometimes you just want to hang out with the guys. I think that’s what I really needed last week. And at an Alice in Chains concert at the Madison Square Garden? Even better. Totally last minute and unplanned, Ben, who is a good friend and a dad in the neighborhood, and I met up after work and took our time walking up to the Garden because walking around Manhattan on a crowded, balmy Friday night was just something that neither of us do that often. We got ice cream after dinner and didn’t have to think about licking the sides of our kids’ cones so that it wouldn’t make a hot melted mess and then we just people watched at the entrance of MSG for a good hour before going in.
Back in the early 90s, Alice in Chains got lumped into the whole Seattle grunge thing, but they’re a fairly heavy band and the 2 opening acts (which we didn’t go see in favor of people watching) were definitely metal bands, so the crowd coming into the arena was all leather, tattoos and black t-shirts. A lot of ladies wore spiky heels, fishnets and tight, short dresses. There was definitely a moment when I was standing there among all these rocker dudes and chicks and wondering if I totally looked like a mom. I mean Ben and I were trying to pick out all the people who looked like they were from Jersey, so who knows…maybe someone was standing there looking at us and saying, “dude, those people…look like…parents”. There were lots of old people around though as Alice is kind of a nostalgic act, so I didn’t feel like I was the oldest person there which seems to happen to me a lot lately. At least I knew the guys in the band on stage would be older than me for sure. I haven’t been to a concert since, what…2001? And I think I must have changed my outfit 4 times getting ready (I’m a girl, ok?).
As for the concert, Ben sat next to a middle aged, single woman with big hair and eyeliner who came to the concert by herself. She was chatty and kept calling us Ben and Jen. I don’t think she was trying to pick my friend up or anything like that, but she definitely lit up when she saw that there were people next to her that she could talk to. When she told us that her name was Daneene, we both looked at each other and just about died because Ben’s wife’s name is Janine and you just can’t script this sort of thing. It was like some kind of Seinfeld bizarro moment. I let Ben enjoy the company of Daneene because on my side was a really enthusiastic rocker lady who warned me more than once that her shirt might accidentally fall off. She did actually end up flashing us near the end of the concert, which is something that I didn’t need to see and I think I averted my eyes too late, but she was really REALLY into the show and was therefore *AWESOME*.
As for the band itself, they were great and don’t even need to replace Layne Staley because the audience sings all of the songs word for word anyway. They looked like they haven’t aged in 20 years, at least from where I was sitting, plus the bass player has the perfect, most amazing ringlets of long lush dark hair that I’ve ever seen that just seemed to grow more perfect and halo-like as the show went on. Seriously, it was amazing hair. Jerry’s hair didn’t look so bad either.
As for me, I hurt the next morning. HURT. And not because there was excessive partying going on, but because despite the fact that I still feel no different inside from my once younger 20s self, I’m practically an almost middle aged woman and my body feels like it. All that standing around for hours at the show and people gawking outside the Garden did terrible things on my back. I now officially feel old.