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Rockin jams and rollin good times remembered
Em and Thatcher

GAYS MILLS - One of my favorite trips down memory lane is recalling my first concerts.

I’ve been recently using my free time, in the shower or on my long drive to Boscobel thinking about all of the concerts I’ve attended. This is probably in mental preparation for a concert I plan to attend next month.

At the end of September, Chasca and I will be stepping out on the town to see Modest Mouse. It seems as though, no one has heard of them. Even though they were incredibly popular in our teenage years with their smash hit ‘Float On.’

It has long been on my to- do list to go and see them, but the opportunity didn’t happen to show it self until this last Mother’s Day. Conveniently, Thatcher forgot his wallet and stuck his dad with the bill at the ticket office, so he has to stay at the babysitters, while mom and dad go to the show. Which is fine, he doesn’t like wearing earmuffs anyway.

He is however a music lover and will dance to any old tune he hears. When Chasca and I were in Mexico and I was only about six months pregnant, Thatcher attended his first musical act.

The bar across the street from our hotel in Playa del Carmen was hosting a local musical act. It was kind of unique because it was a group of young men, playing Ska music. Extremely lively and fun, it was a far cry from the romantic melodies played by the mariachis you commonly see roaming around.

Tired from a day of exploring, Chasca opted to stay inside and read while I meandered across the street to the music. In that moment, I must not have looked very pregnant for the saxophone player in the band, named Bruno, who looked to be about the same age as me or perhaps younger, took a shine to me. He handed me his sax almost immediately, while he executed a well-performed wild dance with his band mates.

Following the boogie, he preceded to hand his sax off to another band mate to play and grabbed me “Quieres bailar?” he asked.  “Do I want to dance?” I answered in English instinctively. I hardly had time to udder “Si,” before he grabbed me and swung me, and my little fetus Thatcher, around on the cobblestone street.

He attempted to teach this clumsy Americano an elaborate two-step to their energetic version of ‘La Bamba.’

After the dance was over, he looked at me in that sweet dreamy way that boys do, and told me “Uno momento!” as he ran to the bar.  It was then that I slipped away mysteriously, thinking it would be easier than explaining in my poor Spanish that I’m pregnant, my beloved boyfriend is in the hotel across the way, and sorry I can’t indulge in that shot of tequila.

Thatcher’s first concert earth side was a lot less wild. We attended the Gandy Dancer Festival in Mazomanie, which has since disbanded, unfortunately. It was there we saw a band called Iron Horse, which does bluegrass covers of popular music. Funny enough one of their most popular albums is bluegrass covers of Modest Mouse.

Chasca was thrilled because he got two helpings of a bluegrass cover of Ozzy Osborn’s ‘Crazy Train.’ For me, they played a unexpected cover in their encore of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man.’ A song that will forever choke me up because of my mom’s longstanding love for Sir Elton.

My mom actually took my brother and I to our first concert. A lot of people laugh at me, and are in disbelief when I tell them it was Ted Nugent.

But, you have to put it into context. My mom was a rockin’ gal in the 1970s, and in the 70s Ted Nugent was pretty damn cool.

We saw him at Beloit River Fest, which frequently hosted bands that were popular in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Other notable acts we’ve seen there included George Thurgood and Blue Oyster Cult.

The crowd was a sea of bikers and no-goodniks. And my mom and her two kids, who were probably around ages seven and eight or so. I’m pretty sure we were the youngest ones there. Which had its advantage, all of the old crusty biker guys seemed to think we were pretty cool and had no qualms with letting us put our little folding chairs right in the front row.

The entire ride there we BEGGED our mom to let us say the ‘B’ word, which we knew, was a pinnacle point in the hit ‘Strangle Hold.’ Being the awesome rocker mom she was, she allowed it. ONLY for that one moment while we were singing along to the wild jams.

A couple of years later, I had another concert of note when my Uncle Neal took my cousin and I to see Willy Nelson at the fair in Janesville.

The grandstand was packed due to the epic downpour that was happening. The only place to be was in the standing general admission area. People were tucked safely under umbrellas, but not us. We had neglected to check the weather forecast before we went. This however did not scare Uncle Neal, who commenced to dig out cardboard boxes from the nearby dumpster. He threw or handed them to my cousin Brittany and I and that was that. We joyfully danced in the mud to ‘On the Road Again.’

So what was your first concert like?