A week ago tonight, I attended a concert in the park, something I haven’t done in years. The first entertainer was a young forty-something singer called Daniel Powter, a world-renown Canadian, who looked younger than his age. I wasn’t familiar with his music but my friend Susan was and I enjoyed the music. By the time his set finished, his voice should have been hoarse but he fooled me. He hadn’t strained it after all.
I haven’t been a teenager in well over a half-century plus, and have never been to a rock concert. I thought I would die from the all-encompassing electronic explosion of blare and boom. My eardrums complained, then gave up. The crowd hadn’t begun to swell yet and while we watched the stage and Daniel, the throng broadened and redoubled surrounding us.
After the first set, Sue and I fought the crowds, hip-to-hip and elbow-to-elbow to get to the food area. I settled on a Pizza Pizza Slice at a reasonable price. Sue bought large fries for five dollars—what I call highway robbery with a smile. As we struggled back to our chairs, the highly anticipated show we’d come for had already begun. I gawked up at the overhead screen with disappointment. Chubby Checkers had reverted back to the fellow we had first known as teenagers.
“Crap, he’s put all that weight back on again.” I had no idea my mouth blurted aloud what my brain considered. Susan grinned and we both rubbernecked to sneak a peek at the stage but the masses had multiplied yet again. Our chairs were still where we’d left them. Whew. Fans danced on the grass and blocked our view of the stage without guilt. Between gyrating bodies, I managed a glimpse of Chubby and he looked nothing like his on-screen projection. On-stage, he sported the signature baby blue jean jacket, jeans and red T-shirt. My preview proved him slim, trim and fit. Overhead on the video, he appeared overweight by a good 40 pounds.
“I don’t understand why the difference?” My friend didn’t know the answer either. Daniel Powter hadn’t been replicated as heavier but the same. For a better view of the stage, Sue darted closer to the stage. I followed. She’d worn a fanny pack. Smart lady. I had my old lady carry-everything-I-hold-sacred bag over my shoulder. Can’t look cool shaking what my Momma gave me with my house on my back like a turtle. Now I know why they don’t dance—or can’t.
We were lost in a sea of gray hair and wrinkles, a few walkers, hearing aids, and toupees. A guy on crutches with a steel cage attached to one leg sashayed back and forth as he leaned against the barricade in front of the stage. Everyone and everything—and I mean everything—rocked and swayed, shook and wiggled like jelly. I wondered why all the people who can’t dance always make their way in front of everyone else to show off their best moves. Does that mean the good ones are behind me?
Yes, many young(er) concert-goers attended too. Some of them couldn’t dance either. I marvelled they even knew what The Twist was, let alone do it, or who CC was?
The night turned cool enough for a sweater. I had come prepared. The mosquitoes mustn‘t have liked the loud music because they were absent. Small mercies are always welcome. We danced and jiggled, stomped and clapped and sang for an hour. By then, with ear drums blown, my back screamed for a sit and I tried to quash the drum set hammering in my body. The end of the show was almost a relief. It’s a wonder the sound system hadn’t interfered with all the pacemakers and hearing-aids in the crowd.
“Look at him. He’s not even doing the real twist.”
I howled with laughter. “Neither are we, Sue.”
Fifty-three years ago, The Twist and Mr. Checkers had hit the charts. Fifty-three years? Already? For a seventy-one-year-old, he put on a fast-paced show. Of course he didn’t do The Twist quite the way he had all those summers ago but I can’t complain about the performance.
Chubby Checkers almost in my town. I was a kid again for almost an hour—long enough to break a hip but I did not. Why hadn’t I packed my camera? A senior moment perhaps.
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If you have come this far, thank you for sticking with me. I have strived for 500 words, more or less, but today went over by more than 200+ words.