So some of you may know that I went to a concert last week. In New York City. Near the piers. To hear a band that was together for 15 months in the early 1980's and never toured for their second album.
And it was at this concert that I learned I was not their biggest fan. By a long shot.
I was also suppose to go to the concert with one of my dearest friends. A friend since college. We hosted the 3am-6am show on the college radio station on Friday mornings our last semester. A friend who was in my wedding. Who tolerates my mommy life while she continues the kid-free adult life. Who rearranged her life to come to this concert with me.
And then a dear high school friend of hers lost his dad to cancer. And the funeral was Thursday morning. But she had it all planned out. A 40 minute plane ride leaving at 3:20 would get her back to NYC in plenty of time to meet me at the hotel and ride the taxi to the concert. We planned to get there before the doors opened so we could be right up front.
4:00pm. Her flight still hasn't taken off. 4:30pm she calls to tell me she'll meet me at the show. 6:00pm I'm waiting for a cab outside the hotel and she calls to say she doesn't think the flight will ever leave. I get in the cab and the driver argues with me that the address I gave him doesn't exist. I hand him the actual ticket with the address printed on it and he repeats back to me exactly what I said and ends tersely with "Why don't you say that?"
She calls back. She won't make it in time. She's crushed. So am I. I promise to dance hard for her.
The cab driver turns a corner and the street goes under the expressway. There is a huge line, over 100 people, starting on one side of the street and then going to the other side due to construction. "Is this the club?" I ask. "I don't know" he replies.
I pay him, get out and ask folks in line if they are there for the Yaz concert. They were. Quickly the line stretches past me. It is half an hour before the doors are suppose to open. At one point a woman walks by and declares "Are we going to end up in f*cking Jersey?"
Everyone around me is with at least one person, some in groups. I figure I traveled the trains through Europe alone. I traveled through South Africa alone. I can see Yaz alone.
I learned that some of these folks had been standing outside the door for three hours. I thought I was so with it by getting there a half an hour before the doors opened. I finally get in, grab a beer (I needed some fortification) and realized the crowd at the stage was only 4 people deep and I was taller than all of them. I was in good shape. Now I only had to wait until 8pm for the show to start.
I was still standing at 9pm.
And then these young children, who clearly hadn't been born when Yaz existed, tried to cut ahead of me. Only two got by. I blocked the third. I wouldn't let him past.
A second one went back behind me (that's a good little boy, I thought) but the first one, the one who was so excited that he had cut ahead of us wouldn't budge. And he was just the right height to block my view.
By then the only other person who was clearly alone made some space for me. He said he felt bad that he was blocking my view. Chuck from Connecticut was my fill in gay friend for the concert. Not that he took the place of a best girlfriend but he made the remaining half an hour of standing around fun as we talked about Yaz, our favorite songs and other concerts we had been to.
Then, a little after 9:30, bliss began. Alison Moyet and Vince Clark came out in all black, she sporting to the cutest pigtails and he completely bald, and they played 19 songs.
1. Nobody's Diary (The crowd went nuts as the first notes were played.)
2. Bad Connection (How appropriate since my dear friend's plane never made it.)
3. Mr. Blue
4. Good times
5. Tuesday (which was only released in the UK and I was the ONLY PERSON WHO KNEW THE SONG!!)
6. Ode to Boy
7. Goodbye '70's
8. Too Pieces
9. In My Room (Alison sang this song from a comfy chair clutching a pillow with a video of a swinging light bulb behind her. She sang it with a crazed look in her eyes.)
11. Walk Away from Love
12. I Before E Accept After C remix ("played" on a big reel to reel tape player as Alison and Vince walked off the stage for a short intermission. Once again, only the die-hards - like me and Chuck from Connecticut - knew what this was)
13. State Farm
14. Sweet Thing
15. Winter Kills
16. Midnight (Alison started to sing and then stopped saying "Sorry. Sorry! I lost the beat. I figured it would be terribly rude to continue and not be honest. Can we start again?" The audience insanely cheered for her and proceeded to sing with her louder than any other song up to then.)
18. Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I) (I told Chuck before the show that this was the one song I really hoped they would sing. When it started he turned to me and gave me a big grin along with a high five.)
19. Don't Go (We went collectively nuts.)
They then met at the center of the stage, hugged, then turned to bow. They walked off and the stage stayed lit and the club remained dark.
That's when I realized I truly wasn't their biggest fan. Large pink paper hearts were suddenly being passed from the very front row back into the crowd. I got one as did the folks around us. We weren't quite sure what was going on.
Alison and Vince returned and we all waved our big hearts over our heads. There were over 100 in the crowd. She just stared out and then said "We had nothing to do with this. This is lovely and I am overwhelmed but it would've been weird if we did this so I just want to make it clear that we didn't do this."
Only their biggest fan did. And I loved that whoever it was let me be a part of it.
20. Only You (and yes, we swayed to the song waving the pink hearts high in the air.)
21. Situation (and did we DANCE!!)
So with my brown concert shirt in my bag, I left the dance club with the crowd, talked to Amazing Guy on the cell phone the entire time it took me to find a cab (over 3 long city blocks) and desperately wished my friend was with me. I had no one to talk about the concert with.
Pink hearts and a bad connection. The bad connection in the song was about a phone call. Hers was a plane.
Bad Connection sung by Yaz at Terminal 5, July 17, 2008. Dear friend - how I wish you were with me.
Tell me a music story. Anything you want...