My mother was a huge fan of the Australian group, Air Supply, in the early 80's. She had a number of their cassettes, one of which I distinctly remember had a picture of a hot air balloon on it. When, a few months ago, I learned that they were coming to town, I asked if she'd be interested in coming. She said she would.
I initially wasn't planning to bring my wife (she had seen them in Vegas a few years ago), but she convinced me to let her tag along. In addition, I asked my friend, Shanon, if he'd want to go. He said he would, so all was set as I told my boss earlier this fall that I'd be in a tad late as I had a morning "appointment" (to go on Ticketmaster). I went to the site at the exact time that the tickets went on sale. Thankfully, there was no pre-sale, so I wound up getting the best seats I've ever had for a concert; 3rd row, dead center.
Before heading to the civic center last Saturday, we had a delicious meal at Friday's, a restaurant I'd not eaten at in a number of months. With some time to kill before the show, we browsed at the downtown Barnes & Noble before taking the skywalk to where the Aussies would be playing.
As an usher scanned our tickets and we entered the staging area, a number of Beatles tunes (Do You Want to Know a Secret, A Little Help From My Friends, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da) played.
Me and Shanon did some walking around on the upper level remembering concerts we'd seen there before. He munched on a malt cup as we looked at the souvenirs and cash bar. I gave seat assignments to my wife, mom, and Shanon that weren't as dead center as my own. I was glad when the people in the front row didn't start the show standing; I just assumed we were going to be standing throughout.
I couldn't believe how close we were. I put my feet on the rack of the seat in front of me and leaned down a bit as the show began. The two men named Russell were literally larger than life. It reminded me of when my twin half-sisters had super-close seats for a Sesame Street Live show in LaCrosse at the age of two and were so scared at seeing the Cookie Monster, Big Bird, etc, so gargantua that their father asked some people a few rows back if they'd change places with them.
Here are two pics I took as the show got underway:
Unlike a show which has a solo performer, I was torn over which of the singers to look at. I generally preferred the one that was doing lead vocals. When they both sang, I usually stared at the better-looking one. During one of the first few songs, I felt certain that the main singer (Russell Hitchcock) looked at me. Shanon later said that he gave an air fist bump to him and he returned the favor. Dori said he had winked at her.
Having sensitive ears, I'd brought ear plugs with me and asked Shanon before the show if he wanted some. He agreed, but a half hour later, as the show was getting ready to start, he said he'd accidentally thrown them away, so I had to give him another pair. I asked my mom and Dori if they wanted plugs, but they had no interest; my mom changed her mind two songs into the show. I kept my plugs mostly sticking out, so that I was exposed to probably 80% of the music, just needed to reduce some of the overwrought static.
My mother felt a bit confined in the folding chairs. I had no issues as there wasn't anyone sitting to the left of me. They rocked a bit harder than I was expecting, having young guys on guitars, keyboards, and drums. I had to physically stay interested in the show at all times as Hitchcock noted people in the audience who were crossing their arms and not getting into it. I didn't want to be one of those people. Thankfully, Shanon took some of the pressure off me by audibly singing along to most of the songs.
Most of the tunes took me back to 1980 and 1981. Those were some of the happiest years of my life and it was hard to believe that 30 years later, I was here with my mom seeing them for the first time. The intermission came up fast. It felt like they'd only done a half dozen songs, but I knew that some of their best were yet to come.
We stretched our legs and headed out to the concourse where Dori bought bottles of Dasani for the lot of us. My mom and me headed to the bathrooms upstairs where the lines were much shorter; the upper deck where we'd seen Vince Gill 18 years prior (my first concert) was like a mausoleum. On the way back down, I did something that I'd not done in many years, but something I did frequently in my college days.