I do love America…but I’d never seen them in concert. I also love Bread, but I missed the boat on that band…two key members died of cancer shortly after they did their 25 year reunion tour in 1997. As you know, I’m 50…so I was just a child, between 6 and 7, when America hit the airwaves, three American boys with British moms in England…they named themselves America so no one would think a bunch of British kids were pretending to American musical roots. I call their music, and that of Bread and CS&N (or CSNY), American Folk Rock. I love it. I love the stories, the melodies, and the sweet, melodic rock. I love America.
Detroit puts on a series of riverfront rock concerts each summer. Last year, I learned about these concerts at the end of summer with the last of the concerts, America. I wanted to go, but had no one to go with. I thought of taking my kids, but was still intimidated with the endeavor…I have a night-vision problem and when you combine that with taking an unfamiliar path to an unfamiliar place…well, I chickened out. That night there was a huge thunderstorm, and the next day I learned that the concert had been canceled. At least, I thought, I didn’t miss anything.
This year, I looked over the summer concert schedule, but with my younger daughter’s travel basketball and travel softball schedule, I would certainly miss most of the concerts. Additionally, I hadn’t addressed my concerns with driving downtown in the dark by myself. I semi-resigned myself to not going. Then one day, I mentioned it to a friend of mine and she told me she was all in! Not only that, but she offered to drive.
Suddenly, going to the America concert was a reality. In the end, three of us went. Although the concert was free, a restaurant on the riverfront offered an inexpensive buffet with “VIP” seating. We were too late to get reservations, but we did get reservations at the same restaurant “on the patio”. This turned out to be temporary sidewalk seating. They were pleased to let us sit there for hours so that we could enjoy the show.
I learned a lot, to be utilized next summer. Eating on the patio was pleasant, but quite expensive. Next year, we’ll get the buffet tickets (although they are inside). We had access to the restaurant’s restroom…highly desirable compared to the port-a-john alternative. The VIP seats that went with the buffet appeared to be right next to the stage. Truly VIP seats! We also discovered the best parking…validated by the restaurant for a 40% discount and just two quick turns from the highway home.
The concert? It was ideal. America has been playing a hundred concerts a year for 44 years…talk about knowing your stuff! They’ve long passed Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours to mastery. I taped Ventura Highway on my cell phone. The video portion was lackluster, but the audio is great. Two days later, when I woke up after my younger daughter had gone to the One Direction concert with her dad, we traded recordings. She played a selection which featured a lot of screaming girls with a song in the background. I played her my recording and she marveled that it sounded like I was playing the radio.
The best part of the concert was staying until the last encore was over…a luxury I’ve been denied for decades. So, let me leave you with that song, A Horse With No Name. It tossed me back to my youth…ROCK ON!
Find the Joy in the Journey…A journey that never ends!