By Lori DuVall-Jackson
Going to concerts in my post-50 years has lost some of its cachet. I was thinking about this as I cooled my heels, along with my two best friends, when we were stopped at the Canadian border for an identity check.
We were on our way to see U2 in Toronto, and for the first time in decades, were told to pull over. As teens, it was a rite of passage. As 60-year-olds, it was worrisome as we fretted over being turned back.
My friends decided I was the guilty party (my name had recently changed), and started discussing how to get me back home while they carried on. Fortunately, our identities checked out and we were allowed to proceed.
This was a ladies’ only road trip, featuring the two best friends a person could ever be blessed with – the conversation about leaving me at the border notwithstanding.
I have known both of them since my teens (the “wonder years”) and we have managed to stay friends into our impending dotage (the “wondering years”).
I’ve been going to concerts with one or the other for years, but it’s been a long time since the Rich Stadium days. We would start out early getting a vehicle loaded, and trying not to talk about being in the same condition later, as our parents hovered.
Much like a Bills game, we would meet other friends, tailgate and get psyched up for the three or four bands we would be seeing.
Once inside the stadium we would be there for hours, watching the openers playing in the afternoon sun and waiting for the headliners, who didn’t hit the stage until dark. Those were the days, and nights.
As the years passed we still went to concerts, but now we had husbands and families, and the days of partying for hours at stadium concerts were a hazy memory. We attended lower-key events, which had the added attraction of watching those peers who carried on as though decades hadn’t passed.
Dancing before the bands even started wasn’t really that attractive back in the day, and now I can definitely pass on the flabby, shirtless, sweaty guy gyrating to preconcert music on a sound system.
At least the U2 concert was a mixed bag, audience-wise, and not what my son calls the “dinosaur rock” crowd.
The opening act was a great young band that we looked forward to seeing. Instead of the usual outdoor summer shows I’ve attended in recent years, we had actual seats.
I haven’t been to a concert in Toronto since the CNE stadium days, and it was a bit different being the outsiders. The Canadian fans sitting around us found out we were Buffalonians, which triggered some good-natured teasing: “How ’boot those Sabres, eh?”
I caught one of the guys trying to photo bomb us while his friend took our picture. “Just get in here,” I said, laughing, so one of our pictures includes some grinning guy with his arms around us. It turned out to be a great time.
The concert itself was phenomenal, with the Lumineers killing it and U2 being, well, U2. Afterward, we schlepped back to our hotel (fighting foot traffic was a novelty that quickly wore off) and arrived tired, sweaty and thrilled with the evening.
Just like the olden days we practically collapsed, although now it was due to exhaustion and not from other activities.
Although a lot of things have changed over the years, one thing hasn’t – I’m a lucky person to have the same friends to share these experiences with.