It all started on April 16th, when Dear Jay’s brother M posted on Facebook that he had two tickets to Rush
at Summerfest that he was looking to sell. He and his wife P had decided to splurge on a package that included a pair in the
pit (like row 2! Alex’s sweat would spray on them!) so he wanted to sell the
ones he’d originally bought. Now, I know how big a Rush fan Dear Jay is. And I’d just been abruptly laid off from my job only
three days earlier. And we’d just done our taxes and I had some nice money coming back from my return. And my attitude was
all WTF-my-life-has-been-knocked-ass-over-teakettle-again. So I said to Dear Jay,
I said, “Hey. We should see if M will sell us those tickets.”
And he did.
Now those of you who have known me for donkey’s years will understand, but for those of you who haven’t, when I was
younger I was not exactly the fest-going, concert-attending, party girl type. Au contraire,
mes amis. In my family, a “big concert” was when my church’s choir would present an evening of Christmas hymns, or when
all of the performing groups in the music department in my high school put on the three to four hour extravaganza we called
the Pop Concert. You know the type: they would put up round tables in the gym with tablecloths and candles and folding chairs
and free cookies and bars (oh, those free cookies and bars. It was all-you-could-eat heaven),
and the grand finale would be the concert band blaring out the theme from Star Wars. The types of concerts where the most
dangerous ingredient in the brownies was the vanilla extract.
Then I went off to college in Iowa and, c’mon, who tours Iowa? Pantera live at Pig-fest? Not exactly a wild party-fest-concert scene. After graduation
came a succession of low-wage, crap hours jobs; buying concert tickets that cost a week’s wages or more wasn’t really an option.
Friend C took me to Kenny Rogers, ex-BF E took me to Amy Grant, and date T took me to Sinéad O’Connor, and that was the extent
of my concert-going youth. My parents definitely didn’t have anything to worry about.
So when the opportunity presented itself to go to a Real Rock Concert at a Real Music Festival, I decided to indulge
my inner sixteen-year-old, and go for it.
how to get from Madison to the Milwaukee
lakefront? I really didn’t want to drive, especially through that snakes’ nest they call the Marquette Interchange. (Seriously,
look at it. It’s enough to scare your knickers off.) But then we heard about
Badger Bus’s Summerfest special: round trip for $25. Ride in air conditioned comfort and no parking fee? Sold.
Yesterday was the Big Day. We packed our money and our tickets and our sun block and our cell phones and off we went.
We did not pack our cameras. The Summerfest website listed all kinds of dire consequences for taking photographs, stopping
just short of having our cameras crushed under the heels of their jackboots, being banned from the festival for life, and
then getting tossed out on our asses into the middle of a gang of drunken Hell’s Angels. We decided not to risk it, so that
is why there are no photographs in this blog post, only links. Even though just about everyone
else there was snapping photos with immunity. Dammit.
left our car at the Park & Ride lot and got on the bus. (Imagine a red motor coach with a big Bucky on it, like this one, only a double decker!) We sat upstairs. We arrived in Milwaukee and walked the four blocks to the Summerfest grounds. We ate burritos. We drank
beer (okay, Dear Jay drank beer; I had a Diet Pepsi). We hung out with M and P. We experienced three and one half hours of
guitar, drum, and bass virtuosity. We held up our lighters during “Closer To The Heart”. We bought tour T-shirts and a program. We met so many people - in the line at the tour souvenir booth,
in our seats at the concert, waiting for the bus to take us home – everyone was so nice! It was like we’d taken a mini-vacation
with a group of good friends we just hadn’t met yet.
We got home at 2:30 am, sweaty, hoarse, half-deaf, and so pumped up that we didn’t go to bed until the sun was up.
For a day, I could forget that my life had been turned ass-over-teakettle.
It was totally, totally worth it.