“CALL NOW TO WIN!” Skid Roadie was screaming. I reached to turn off the radio, but as I did, I heard something about Aerosmith. My love for Steven Tyler trumped my dread of crowds and loathing for DJs with stupid names, so I dialed.
“You’re a winner! You’ve scored Aerosmith tickets! Listen Monday morning when we draw for the VIP prize!”
I didn’t listen Monday morning. My employer didn’t allow such frivolities. But I won- upgraded tickets, parking, and a hoodie signed by the band.
My boss said he was going too. I took pleasure in the fact that he had lawn seats five miles from the stage. For one day of my life, security would keep him away from me.
He wanted to buy my hoodie to score points with his girlfriend. He should have considered this prior to my last performance review.
I invited my daughter. “What’s an Aerosmith?” she asked. Then I invited my coworker, whom we shall call Marlene.
On the night of the big show, I tied my sweatshirt around my waist, hoping to look young and hip (if only from the back), and we were off to the Route of All Evil Tour. The boss called to say he was parking, and to look for him. We wanted to look for him as badly as he wanted to give us two days off at Christmas.
The amphitheater was packed - with old people. Except the teen seated next to me, whose dad had brought her along as paybacks for taking her to see the Spice Girls.
We got $10 beers in Dixie cups, swore we wouldn’t pay that price for more, and out came Motley Crue to open the show.
Motorcycles revved onstage to “Louder than Hell.”
A racy video played as they sang “Girls, Girls, Girls” and just as I was thinking, Hey, I have those same underpants, Marlene suggested we go for another $10 beer. We did, but we swore we wouldn’t pay that price for more.
The boss kept calling my cell. Ignoring him, well…rocked.
Back at our seats, the Motley Screamers were wrapping up and the fans were fired up with Aerosmith anticipation.
“What’s that smell?” Marlene said too loudly. A guy behind me that looked like my uncle Norbert tried to pass me a joint, and spilled his drink on my autographed shirt. Aerosmith took the stage and opened with “Cryin.”
Marlene poked my arm and showed me her phone; seven missed calls from the boss. When the band got to “Eat the Rich,” she hit the call back button and dropped the cell in her purse.
I found my lighter and waved it, before realizing that not all of those iPhones in the air were snapping photos. The kid next to me looked nervous, like I might be getting ready to set her hair on fire. So I decided to go get a couple more $10 beers. Marlene stayed put, to guard my booze-soaked hoodie and wait for a song she recognized.
As I squeezed out of our row, Tyler sang “Baby Please Don’t Go,” and I knew he loved me back.
Ten minutes later, I returned with our beers. The crowd had shoved forward. I couldn’t spot Marlene. As I made my way along trying to count rows, a security guy (dude looked like a lady) shoved past, telling me to stay back.
Where my seat used to be, there was a pileup. It looked like a football game and the guys on the bottom were wrestling for the ball. Tyler was crooning, “I don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” Marlene must have missed this by going to the restroom.
Security circled the pileup; first they pulled the guy that looked like Uncle Norbert from the stack. Next was the father-daughter team, then people that used to stand in front of us. Finally, just as Aerosmith started “Jaded,” Marlene and our boss were dragged to their feet by a couple of buff young men, who led them away. Clutching my hoodie, Marlene mouthed, “Meet me at the car.”
The show was ending- I chugged my $10 beer and Marlene’s too before the lights came up.
The final encore was “Walk This Way.” I was 22 again. I danced, I sang, I understood life. Then I was off to find Marlene.
Heading home, Marlene explained that she was just standing there trying to figure out Joe Perry’s hair when she was grabbed from behind.
“I thought it was the old stoned guy! ‘Til he grabbed your hoodie and tried to climb into your chair – then the chair collapsed and I swear I was just gonna help him up and get your hoodie off the nasty ground, but then all those people were on us.”
She mentioned I’d have to cover her next 37 sick days without complaint.
Monday morning, we were called to our boss’s office before the coffee brewed. We each got a rave albeit impromptu performance review, and a large bonus, too. If we promised to sign a confidentiality agreement.