Asheville NC

The 70’s Rock Concert That Didn’t Rock

By Cathy Green (With contributions from guest blogger and concert attendee, Ginny Callaway)

Here’s the scene:

Two couples. All four of us in our 60’s. Feeling good. Going to a Three Dog Night concert under the stars at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC. Reserved seats, only 6 rows from the stage.

Here’s what we expected:

We’ll have dinner at a nearby restaurant at 5:30pm, park close to the concert venue, get a glass of wine and find our great up-front and personal seats.

The concert will start at 8:00pm sharp.  We’ll hear our favorite TDN songs from the 70’s … Celebrate, Joy to the World, Easy to be Hard and many, many more. We’ll feel like young 20-something’s again. We’ll stand up, we’ll clap and, with other members of our peace, love and rock and roll generation, cheer until we bring the guys back for an encore. We’ll have smiles on our faces as we exit the concert, we’ll catch the bus to the parking lot talking about the great music we just heard, and we’ll all be home no later than 11:00pm.  A perfect night!

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Here’s what really happened:

Dinner was great, but we made the mistake of telling our young waitress that we were on our way to a Three Dog Night concert.  “Oh, I’ve never heard of them” she said sweetly. Our first feeling old moment.

Although we were “sure” that we had timed our entrance to the concert perfectly, we were directed to the furthest lot where we parked and got on a bus to take us to the stage area. During the 20 minute ride, we began to discuss skipping the encore so that we could get out of there more quickly. Our second feeling old moment.

Walking to the concert from the bus, we all had to go to the bathroom even though we had recently used the facilities at the restaurant. Of course, the restrooms were about a mile away in the opposite direction from our seats. Nothing closer, we asked?  Our third feeling old moment.

The weather forecast called for a chilly night. Although the temperature never dropped below 75, we were prepared with long pants, jackets, scarves and gloves packed in shoulder bags. All around us, younger women wore cute sleeveless tops and long flowing skirts and young guys wore shorts. Our fourth feeling old moment.

Although there were many people in long lines buying drinks, we had had our drink at the restaurant so it was bottled water for us. Yes, bottled water at a rock concert. Our fifth feeling old moment.

And… then it happened.  There was an opening act, a southern rock and roll band. They began playing. Actually, they began screaming. In the sixth row, the sound was overpowering.  Three of us quickly stuffed plugs in our ears (Ray refused to look quite that old). The music was still loud, and now totally distorted.

We lasted in our seats about 30 minutes and then walked to the back of the venue, behind all of the reserved seats, to stand with people who had paid less than half what we paid for our tickets and who seemed to be there primarily to drink beer and talk.

We knew only one of the songs these opening act guys sang … but they sang for a full hour and a half. We impatiently waited for them to stop (three encores) and when they did the roadies began a 30 minute stage re-set.  We realized that the earliest that Three Dog Night would begin to play was 10:45. We quickly calculated that we wouldn’t be home until well after midnight. And, we all had to go to the bathroom again.

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That’s when we looked at each other and had our final, ultimate feeling old moment. Want to leave?

That’s right, we left BEFORE THREE DOG NIGHT PERFORMED!

We were the only ones on the bus riding back to the parking lot, which was a good thing since our ears were ringing. Once in the car, we found a fast route to the exit and were home by 10:45 … about the time Three Dog Night was beginning its set.

We learned some lessons that night:

1.) Two rock bands means a very long concert night for older music fans.

2.) Sitting up front at a rock concert is for younger people.

3.) Mentioning a 70’s band to a young waitress is not something you should do if you want to feel good about yourself.

And….

4.) Getting a good night’s sleep is at least some consolation for missing a concert.

 

Cathy Green

 

An Introvert and Extrovert Go Bra Shopping!

Patty and her husband visited with us last week. On Thursday, we caught the Lazoom Comedy Bus Tour (a fun thing to do if you find yourself in Asheville, NC)

Here we are:

Patty and Cathy in Asheville

 

As Patty chatted with people on the bus, we were both reminded of a story I wrote about the two of us going bra shopping in Arizona. It was published in June of 2011 by the Tampa Bay Times. Here it is… enjoy!

The Girls’ Unexpected Day Out

Catherine Green

©Tampa Bay Times – June, 2011

“I need to buy a bra while we’re here.”

Patty and I had just had lunch at the Sprout and Ivy or the Olive and Fig or some other trendy restaurant in the fashion district of Scottsdale, Ariz. We had salads, of course, chosen from an entire page of elaborate creations featuring cranberries, goat cheese, figs, microgreens, heirloom tomatoes and organic porcini mushrooms.

With an hour to kill before checking in for our ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ spa adventure, Nordstrom — just steps away — seemed to beckon.

“I could use a new bra too,” I replied.

In retrospect, I should have considered more carefully this little expedition with my friend of 30 years. Whereas Patty is the extrovert, chatting up cabdrivers, waiters, police officers and people walking their dogs, I am not. I talk to people when I have to.

So here we were, looking for the lingerie department. Most department stores have similar layouts, so I headed to the escalator. Not Patty. She headed for the cosmetics clerk.

“You’re looking for Lingerie? I’m new, let me ask Lois,” she said. Then loudly, “Lois, where is Lingerie?”

We now had two sales clerks involved in the hunt for unmentionables.

“Take a right at the top of the escalator. You can’t miss it,” Lois said from across the aisle. “There’s a large sign that says Lingerie.”

Up we went. The lingerie department was under a large sign that made good on its promise. I walked directly to the racks of bras. I knew my size. All I needed to do was find a couple of styles that I liked, take them to the dressing room, try them on and make my selection. Then off to the spa.

But this was not to be.

Without warning, Patty had found a “bra fitter.” Our bra fitter was 16 years old. Well, okay. She was probably 24. Blond, beautiful, statuesque and pencil thin, she had a tape measure draped around her neck, its ends dangling from her perfectly shaped breasts.

She smiled sweetly. “Do you ladies want to share a room? That could be fun!”

“No,” I said.

“Yes,” Patty said.

So, one room it was.

Pencil Blond closed the door behind us, whipped the tape measure off her neck and looked at us expectantly.

“Blouses off, ladies,” she said, beaming. I felt the urge to throttle her. “Let me measure around your chests.”

Oh, Mother, I thought. In spite of her admonishments when I was young, I didn’t have my best bra on. In fact, I had noticed when I put it on that morning that the underwire was starting to poke through. I didn’t know that I would have a bra fitting today, I silently whined to my mother.

“Hmm.”

Pencil Blond studied my bra. Actually she studied what was spilling out of my bra. Then she studied Patty.

Same story.

“What sizes did you say you are again?” Again we told her.

“Hmm. Let me bring a few sizes for you to try,” she said, and skipped out of the room.

Patty and I looked at each other. Sizes?

PB returned with several bras on each arm.

“Okay, ladies. Bras off!”

Oh my God, I thought, she’s going to stay with us while we try them on. And then Pencil Blond said the one thing guaranteed to ruin our spa retreat.

“I think that both of you will be much more comfortable in a larger size.”

Oh, the humiliation.

When Patty and I met as fellow sales reps in the late ’70s, we were 28 years old. We were professional businesswomen, making good money and fending off the guys. We were slim and wore our stylish clothes well. Our bra sizes would confirm that.

Over the years, as we moved up the career ladder, our bra sizes moved with us. But that was fine. They still served us well under our St. Johns and Eileen Fisher’s.

But now this. There was no sound in our mutual dressing room.

Pencil Blond hooked the bras around our backs, pulling and prodding.

“Yes. Nice and snug. Perfect!”

She was right, unfortunately.

The rest of our bra-fitting experience was a blur as we tried on various styles, Pencil Blond never far away. Finally we each chose one, handed them over the door, dressed and slunk out of the dressing room.

“Enjoy them, ladies!” Pencil Blond trilled as she turned to another unsuspecting victim.

At the escalator, Patty whispered, “Did this just happen?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so.”

A long pause.

“Let’s keep this between us, okay?”

Quite the introvert.

Keeping Music in My Life……

I attended two concerts this past week in my newly adopted home town of Asheville – one bluegrass and one rock. I also bought tickets for four live music events coming up in July and August. It made me think about music and its place in my life.

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When I was young, my dad sang with a barbershop quartet and with the church choir. He had a wonderful, deep bass voice. My mother played the piano and sang with a lovely Johnny Mathis “trill”. My brother played guitar and sang during high school and became a professional musician for many years. (At 56, he still does gigs with several groups around Cincinnati). When we were in our early teens, Dad and Mom would take us to hear the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra a few times a year and to occasional musical theater productions like my favorite, West Side Story. I loved these outings.
 
I sang with the church choir, I played the accordion, I was the band director in grade school, I sang in several high school plays, I learned to strum the guitar in college, and I even sang with a trio at an early 70’s company talent show.
 
Then, I lost music for awhile in my 20’s and 30’s. I was very busy with a career and I “didn’t have time”. I also didn’t have someone in my life who shared my musical interests.
 
When I met Ray, our romance began with a dance. Soon after, we were sharing music on “tapes” (remember those?) We painstakingly compiled favorite song tapes (not easy 25 years ago!) and sent them to one another. We went to jazz clubs and local beach bars. We saw as many live performances as possible … local musicians as well as nationally known artists. We watched concerts on tape and later on DVD. We hired local musicians for company parties and for our own parties. We always entertained with music in the background.

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Over the years, I’ve been able to see James Taylor, Elton John, Lyle Lovett, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Phil Collins, The Steve Miller Band, Joe Sample, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Willie Nelson, Kenny G, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Ray Charles, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Sanborn ….. and many, many more. Next month, I’ll see Sheryl Crow and Boz Scaggs in North Carolina. In December, it will be jazz (Fourplay) in the Big Apple.
 
I admit it – Ray and I are probably a little over the top when it comes to listening to music and attending concerts. Hearing loss issues – both our own and some of our other “mature” friends – keep us from turning up the volume too much during cocktail parties. But we still crank it up when we’re alone.
 
I believe that music helps keep us young. It definitely keeps our brains active. Who knows, it may even be helping to slow down Alzheimer’s!!!!
 
Here’s a wonderful quote that I like:
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” – Confucius

But here’s the one Ray likes:
“Play it fuckin’ loud!” -Bob Dylan

Cathy Green
P.S. Does music play a big part in your life these days? If so, let us know about it.

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