My view of the stage. Photo by ME!
Last month, I went to see the rock group Genesis perform. It was a heady experience. I use the word heady in the exhilarating sense, not in the marijuana sense – although there was plenty of that around.
The concert was at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where it’s legal to smoke weed. Manhattan was pungent. We smelled it as we drove through the Mid-Town Tunnel. Either that or the Mid-Town Tunnel is infested with skunks.
Even prior the covidian lockdown, I hadn’t been to a concert in several years. I’ve seen Bruce Springsteen in the last ten years. I saw Adele when she played the Garden in 2016. I went with a couple of hockey pucks to see The Killers at Terminal 5 in Manhattan in 2018.
That show nearly killed me. No seats! Not easy for a short, fifty-something year-old with no knee cartilage trying to be the cool mom.
It was Mr. Hockey’s idea to go to Genesis. He was a big Genesis fan back in the day. I didn’t recall this until we got into the Garden, and he insisted on buying t-shirts – he chose the ugliest two – and then enthusiastically bobbed his head along to every song.
I wasn’t a huge Genesis fan. In the late seventies, they were a progressive rock band. You know, the type of band that makes conceptual albums with songs including six-minute instrumentals that your older brother listened to in his room when you couldn’t get a contact high on 34th street.
Back then, I was more of an ABBA fan. You know, when in sixth grade you sang incorrect lyrics to “Waterloo” into a hairbrush, and you thought the word “weed” was reserved for dandelions.
I didn’t get into Genesis until their late eighties, pop phase. In fact, in 1987, when we were both in grad school, Mr. Hockey and I saw Genesis’s Invisible Touch Tour at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.
To buy the tickets, I had to call the ticket hotline seventy-four times. Thankfully, phones had redial back then. This technological innovation saved us from phone-finger-fatigue whenever our favorite bands came to town.
When we got to the stadium, we found our seats were obstructed by lighting equipment and I was angry our tickets hadn’t been discounted. I probably contemplated suing. I was in law school, so I often contemplated suing.
As we drove to the concert last month, Mr. Hockey and I reminisced about that show. I suggested we listen to some Genesis songs to get psyched for the show, like we did in 1987.
We didn’t have any Genesis cassettes in the car, or, alas, a cassette player. Instead, we got psyched listening to NHL hockey radio. I think the contact high we got from the Mid-Town Tunnel helped.
My view was obstructed at this show too. Our seats were in the last row on the floor. I don’t think Mr. Hockey remembered that I’m four-feet-eleven and can’t see past normal-sized adults or the random nine-year-old standing on her chair. (Have you noticed there is always a random nine-year-old at every concert?)
I’ll forgive him. A lot of people are surprised when they hear how short I am. I have an out-sized personality that makes me seem taller. Sometimes even Mr. Hockey forgets.
I didn’t know half the songs the band played, giving me ample opportunity to go to the bar. I loved hearing the songs I knew. I got a bit weepy during “Follow You, Follow Me”. Everyone waving their iPhone flashlights like lighters in the old days made me wistful. Also, I was two rum and ginger ales in.
The band sounded great, but the band members have aged since we last saw them. Keyboardist Tony Banks’s flowing mane is white. Phil Collins, the lead singer and drummer, no longer drums. His son Nick has taken over that role. That night, Collins wore a black track suit and sang while sitting in a bar-height Eames office chair. He looked like a favorite uncle holding court at the pub.
Mr. Hockey and I are not our 1987 selves either. I have no cartilage in my knees, and I was relieved to sit through the songs I didn’t know (when I wasn’t at the bar). Earlier that day, I had pulled a ligament in my back when I sneezed, and it was painful raise my arms over my head. It hurt to put my hair in a ponytail, clap above my head, or indicate when someone made a field goal.
Mr. Hockey also has ailments, but my editor won’t give me more space here to go into them. Mr. Hockey plays hockey. He’s lucky he can still walk and has all his teeth.
Let’s just say we both thought Phil Collins’ chair looked quite comfortable.
Although everyone inside the Garden was considerably older than the last time Genesis toured – except for that random nine-year-old – the experience was invigorating. It occurred during that sweet spot between the end of the Delta variant’s peak and the appearance of Omicron, when everyone was vaxxed, boosted, and elated just because they were out of their houses.
The Genesis concert felt like a new beginning.
As Mr. Hockey and I walked out of the Garden, my cholesterol-ladened heart was pumping with joy. We were thrilled to be there. Or anywhere, really. I think the contact high we got from 7th Avenue helped.
Published in The East Hampton Press on January 6,2022