A 75 degree summer day. Thousands of 17 year old boys in white “Cocks” (University of South Carolina) hats. The girls wearing crop tops, jean skirts and wedge shoes. The crack of a bud light can quickly being opened and quickly poured into a red solo cup. The smell of Pot filling the air. Music blasting from every fifth car you pass when you are hurrying to find a tree to piss behind. Sometimes, if you are like me, you didn’t know or care what band was playing that night. It was just about being in the parking lot before whatever concert there was. I have seen the Steve Miller Band like 10 times and I still can only name 2 songs. If you had a girlfriend back then you probably fought about something extremely dumb. Lots of breakups and makeups during those few hours drinking and waiting to head into the show. I probably fell in love 50 different times during a summer.
Meeting 10 cars in a parking lot in my town so we could all sit in traffic together on the way to the show. Organizing coolers and making sure you had a road soda ready for the car ride. Making sure their was enough towels and random shit to cover the cooler so that the Cops or parking lot staff didn’t find your beers. Finally getting to the lot and taking that first step out of the car, stretching the legs because of course their was at least 5 people in that tiny car, looking up, seeing the sun and smiling at just how awesome life was at the moment.
Those are the days and nights I remember the most growing up. Those are ones when I smell a burger cooking on a grill I go back to. I remember waiting in the port-a-potty line in the concert, then pissing and opening the door and not remembering if my friends were to the left or the right. Guessing the wrong way, but making your way into a new circle of random people. Wandering around a little more until you run into a friend and thinking how you were so lucky and happy to see them. The universe just sort of took care of you on days like this.
At Great Woods or whatever you called your outdoor summer concert venue it was way cooler to have lawn tickets, or general admission, than it was to have an actual seat to see the band. The lawn was where the party continued. As I approach 40 my only rule with myself related to concerts is that I won’t go anywhere unless I have a good seat. The lawn has passed me by. I don’t want to be the oldest guy at a frat party anymore. I want to hear the music, drink a freezing cold beer and relax. I don’t want to weave in and out of drunk people while drinking a room temperature Budweiser.
If I could go back for a day and be 17 or 18, I’d go back to one of these summer days. I’d probably stay the next day too because I didn’t even know what I hangover was back then. But, I know I can’t. So, I will do the next best thing and blast some Dave Mathews Band while I do 8 hours of yard work tomorrow. Each time I stop to take a sip of my ice coffee I will mentally disappear for a few minutes back to that perfect summer day, only to be pulled quickly back when the dog escapes out the front door and I’m chasing him down the street swearing about how much I hate him…