Concerts Up Close

I’ve been going to concerts for the past 35 years. I saw Peter Frampton in 1976, and Lynrd Skynrd when they were all still alive (“Free Bird!”). I’ve seen Jackson Browne too many times to count, Bob Dylan twice, and Keith Urban four times. I’ve been to U2 concerts a few times and, yes, even seen Coldplay and Madonna. And while I’ve had a few up-close off-stage run-ins with rock stars, I’ve mostly seen them from a distance—
somewhere off to the side, in the way back or dead middle. And I’m comfortable with that. In fact, there is a pleasure in being anonymous in a huge crowd and just dancing and sweating and feeling the music in every cell. But for some reason, this summer I’ve seen every single concert up close. (I think it has something to do with!)

I was so close to Jason Aldean in Hershey, PA, that I actually touched his leg! I also did the do-si-do with some very handsome and fresh-faced farm boys wearing checked shirts during one of his songs.

I was so close to Kenny Chesney (I was in the “sandbar”) at the 50,000-plus Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia that I could see his armpit hair.

I was so close to Keith Urban that at one point he was only two rows away. He wears Levi’s and a sparkly belt! And yes, he is cute up close.

Then there were the Courtyard Hounds, who played at the Bethlehem Steel Stacks Musikfest Café. The Courtyard Hounds are the Dixies (Martie Maguire and Emily Robison) without the Chick (Natalie Mains). There were only about 200 people there, and I was right up front. They smiled at me!

This is the point where you either expect me to say, “It was awesome!” Or, “It wasn’t worth it!” But really, it’s just different. It’s harder to dance like a crazy person if you think that Keith Urban might actually think you ARE a crazy person, because he can SEE you…even look you in the eye. I have this funny image in my head of all of them getting back to Nashville for a fall picnic, and talking about this weird, old, frizzy-gray-haired lady who was up front at all their shows and looked them in the eye as if she knew them and sang along to every song. I’m just one of those summer concert tour oddities, I suppose.

But then, when I look around at all the other people I’m standing with, I realize I’m not the oldest, I’m not the craziest, I’m not odd at all. I’m part of a large group of people who are looking for joy, release, and fun while listening to the music we all love. Up close, farther back, it really doesn’t make a difference. It’s all good.

Next up…Sugarland at the Allentown Fair!

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6 Responses to Concerts Up Close

  1. Amy Freitag August 15, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    it’s always great to start the week off with something fun from Maria!

  2. Mary Ivan August 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Hey Maria! Glad you are enjoying yourself and to know that I am not the only one who loves the excitment of live music after all these years. My friends seemed to have “outgrown” going to concerts, but I thoroughly enjoy seeing and hearing the music live!

  3. Steve August 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Speaking of close brushes with fame I had several of those myself back in the 80’s. Thanks to the gererosity of your family I was employed by the Pennsylvania Stage Company at the J.I. Rodale Theatre in Allentown and every few months a new cast would come in featuring wonderful actors from all over the country. I still see many of these people in films and on TV all the time and it always brings back fond memories of the theatre. I wish you and your family all the best and I hope you remain aware of the huge influence you had on us all those years ago.

    Best Regards,

    Steve Lind

  4. Mary Ann August 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I always enjoy your posts, Maria, but this one seems so odd in light of the terrible tragedy at the Iowa State Fair. Seems like it was not so lucky for those that were close to the stage.

  5. maria (farm country kitchen) August 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Dear Mary Ann,

    You are so right. What a horrible tragedy for everyone involved. This post was written before I went on vacation and before the devastating accident. I’m so sorry for the unfortunate timing of this post — and my heart goes out to everyone.


  6. Donna in Delaware August 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I wish that I can say that I enjoy concerts of that sort. I’ve only been to one in my whole life. That was a Marvin Gaye concert in the late 70’s or early 80’s. Although I somewhat enjoyed it, it was not the greatest thing for me. I actually went because my aunt wanted someone to go with her. I don’t really know what all of the hoopla and screaming is about!! I do enjoy listening to the music on cd’s, but that is all, or seeing the videos. Maybe I’m just odd! Glad you are having a wonderful summer!

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