I took my mom to the Melissa Etheridge concert. You know, the one I won the tickets to? Getting there was an adventure itself since Eddie had my GPS in his car since I'd moved it when I brought my car to the shop before it exploded and I kinda knew how to get to Westbury but totally missed the exit off the Northern because it's mixed in with two other exits. My mom kept asking, How will we get there? And I kept saying, I'm looking for a sign that just says "Go this way." Sure enough, when I got off the the exit after the right one and looped back around, at the end of the off ramp, there was a sign with an arrow pointing to the right that said NYCB Westbury. See? Signs just for me.
Parking was another adventure. My mom sometimes has a hard time walking distances so I wanted to park close. She has handicapped parking. In situations like these, we use it. When we pulled up to the first group of parking attendants, they waved me through to talk to "the next guy." I went to him and he told me that handicapped was all filled up. Then he said it wasn't filled but it was for wheelchairs. Then he said, You don't happen to got a wheelchair in there, do you? I was like, um, no. He was like, you know, just go ahead to "the next guy" and I'll forget everything. Um, ok. We went to "the next guy" and he first told us to park in the VIP parking. Then he stopped me mid-park and told me to park in the other handicapped spot, but to back in. I got skillz so I backed into the spot in two seconds.
After all that, I told my mom to make sure she appeared handicapped and she said not a problem as she slowly crept out of the car and up to the entrance. Her usual pace.
Our FREE seats were all the way on the side of the stage. Okay, practically behind it. The section was pretty empty. These people came and sat in front of and behind us. One of them was wearing really gross perfume. The guy who said in front moved behind and started telling a story about how he doesn't eat ice cream because he worked in Friendly's. Then he began another story but immediately stopped it with Oh no oh no. Apparently, he'd spilled coffee on himself and the woman next to him.
Seeing that the seats were not exactly filling up quickly, and seeing that my mom was about to pass out from the perfume and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to control myself once that guy came back from the bathroom and started talking about allergies or something, we moved to where we could be actually side stage instead of behind stage. Don't get me wrong, we spent most of the concert looking at Melissa Etheridge's butt, but it's a nice butt.
The concert? Was amazing. This woman, who is 51 (and I know that because she said it about 23 times), can rock it hard. I found myself wanting to be her with every song. I'd forgotten how good her songs are, how bluesy and cool. I was sent back to when I used to play my cassette tapes from end to end, singing along with every lyric, hitting the harmonies sometimes. She played a lot of new stuff that I don't know but I want to know. She even gave away a free copy to someone wearing an I Heart Kansas shirt (because she's from Kansas, you see).
So then I decided, I need to be Melissa Etheridge. Here's how I'm going to do it.
1. Learn to play harmonica.
Every cool rock person knows how to play harmonica. She had her regular mic set up but it has several attachments for a water bottle and an extra mic. It also has a place to put her harmonica, and when she picks it up, she plays like no one's business (hey! I haven't used that phrase in a long time and I STILL don't know what it means!).
2. Learn to play other people's instruments.
Now that sounds dirty, but it's not. A lot of the songs had musical interludes that were uh-maze-ing. Towards the end, she tore off her jacket, took out her drum sticks, stood behind the drummer, and played WITH him simultaneously on the same kit. THEN she went to play the guitar by standing behind the guitarist and doing the same thing.
The ability to growl at the perfect moment in a rock song is key to success. Melissa Etheridge actually has a variety of growls. Long ones. Short ones. Low ones. High ones. Ones that work themselves into a scream. Others that work themselves into a trail of notes. I can growl. So, check!
4. Wear cool boots and a sparkly shirt and a cool jacket and not sweat.
I have a variety of cool boots and sparkly shirts and two cool jackets. I'm working on the sweating part. She also was wearing black jeans and I have black jeans and I think we could trade clothes if only she were a bit shorter.
5. Do a little bit of Bruce.
In the middle of one of her songs, she started singing "I'm on Fire" and it was again uh-MAZE-ing. She could have done more Bruce or more covers or more of her own songs, but she talked a lot. A whole lot. Like between every song, she gave a therapy session about loving yourself, loving someone else, and how sex feels good. Lots of times. Over and over. You know, a good way to bond with your mother. I get that she wants to talk about how she's been cancer free for nine years on the lead in to that "I Run" song, but all the other stuff? The songs say it all, so I don't know why everything had to be a very long conversation. Still, she rocks so that makes up for it.
She ended the concert with "Bring Me Some Water" which is the song that made me fall in love with everything that is Melissa Etheridge. It also made me love Joan Osbourne because one very late night of tv watching when I was probably in junior high revealed a taped intimate concert with the two of them singing and that's the song that stayed in my head for years. Even now, I can see them singing it clear as day. I rocked out and danced and then they went backstage.
The lights didn't come on and I was wondering, what the heck is gonna be the encore? She did every song I know, which means she did every song that was popular.
Oh, wait, no she didn't. I actually forgot about one of the best songs not only by Melissa Etheridge but one of the best songs ever.
End note: I'm so patting myself on the back for refraining from entitling the post Lesbians! Seriously, when I won the tickets, I thought, there will probably be a lot of lesbians there. Then I reprimanded myself for stereotyping and kind of forgot about it. Then when we got inside, I was like, whoa there are a lot of lesbians here, which didn't get lost on my mom either, who noted, hmmm I think there are a lot of lesbians here.