Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Message to you, Rudy

True confession time. I absolutely love Ska. I mean, I will go to the ends of the earth to see some of my favorite Ska bands. I honestly believe I was Jamaican in a past life and immigrated to Birmingham, England, the home of Ska. I wasn't, but I want to believe!

When I heard the English Beat were coming to Boston to a concert on the Esplanade, you couldn't pry me away. I was so there! And it was everything I had hoped and more. So much frigging fun!

It was a gorgeous day, sunny and hot. I got up at the crack of dawn. OK, I lied. I never really went to sleep. I was too excited. But I did get up ridiculously early for a Saturday. Early because I needed to get a parking space on Storrow Drive, an almost impossible feat. I woke up the kids, but the Boy just wasn't getting out of bed. So the Girl and I left, got the best frigging parking space in the entire world (on Storrow right before the Fiedler footbridge). I know! It was like a gift.

We dumped our stuff right up front and sat and waited for the bands. We had a couple of hours to wait, so I started reading Moose, Stephanie Klein's newest book. So far I like it.

The Girl wasn't feeling well, so I packed a very light snack of hard cooked eggs, carrots, raisins, and apples. She drank some gatorade and promply ran to the nearest garbage can to barf. With that done, she felt a lot better.

A ton of people in yellow shirts that said "The Help" started arriving. There were many old folks in the yellow shirt crowd. Turned out that they were the family of the first band, a local band that had won a contest to play this concert.

They did a very short set, and then the crowd started to thicken. Soon it was really crowded, and more and more people were packing in around us.

There were a lot of booths giving away free stuff. We love free stuff, so the Girl set out on rounds to find what there was on offer. She got a T-shirt, a PCB-free water bottle, 2 adorable rubber duckies and a rubber whale, a salad with blueberry dressing, Cape Cod chips, some vile healthy drink, an impatiens, and a couple of free sport bags. She's a good schnorer, my kid.

Then the next band, The BoDeans started to play. They were outstanding. I saw them in the early 80's in Chapel Hill, and liked them a lot back then, and they have really improved with age. They played a lot of what I guess is rockabilly type music, but they did a great job with a really tight set. And I'm a fan of bands with accordions. I know, sad but true.

When the BoDeans finished up, the crowd was really huge. It went down as far as it does on July 4th, with boats in the water and people lined up on the bridges. Not only was it huge, it was rowdy. One of the giveaways were blowup beach balls (thank you Subaru) and there were hundreds of them in the air at any given time.

People were going nuts with the damn beach balls, and I must admit that I'm a bit of a grumpy old lady about them. I think they're so distracting when a band is playing, especially if there are so many in the air. But I digress.

Soon it was time for the English Beat and I was SO excited I was about to plotz. The crowd in front of us was so thick with the scent of what the Girl called Mokin Spot, it reminded me the old days. When I first saw the English Beat. In the 80's at the Channel. Best concert I've ever been to. EVER.

Then they came out and started out with Rudy, and then just pummeled their way through the set. The crowd was pogoing like I haven't seen in 20-something years. There was a lot of crowd surfing, a lot of the damn beach balls, and a ton of people bopping up and down like their life depended on it.

They invited a bunch of people from Whole Paycheck to come up and dance with them. The Whole Paycheck folks were all wearing lime green shirts and they were having a blast up on stage.

Me, I was right there with them. The Girl said she had never seen me bouncing up and down for a full hour before. Yeah, because I really don't have the stamina. But I did with the Beat playing.

The only song they didn't play was Twist and Crawl, and the crowd was begging for it, but alas, they were whisked away. No encores at these group concerts, I guess.

The funny thing was, the crowd was really mixed, with a ton of college kids (of course) and high schoolers galore, many of them with their parents. The parents were all singing along, gray hair and wrinkles. Most of the kids really didn't know the music well enough to sing along, but I sure did, and I was belting out the songs. It was so awesome.

I don't get to go to many concerts. I can't afford that kind of expense. But this was a free concert, a gift to the city of Boston, and it was just the most energizing, fun thing I've done in many years. I can't believe how much I loved being there, dancing and singing my all time favorite music. It was as if the years just sloughed off, my heart was healthy again, and I was young and full of life. It's unusual for me to feel like this nowadays.

I must admit that I'm totally exhausted, though. And sunburnt. That goes without saying! But so jazzed!

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Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Almost went to this today! Sounds like a great show.

24/5/08 9:48 PM  
Blogger MissMeliss said...

While I can't say I've heard much Ska, I've enjoyed what I've heard. An outdoor concert seems like a delightful thing for one - I haven't seen one in ages.

And I confess - I love the BoDeans.

-- MissMeliss

25/5/08 12:22 AM  
Blogger Daisy said...

Fabulous. Love that the Girl went with you -- maybe she'll inherit your taste in music. :)

25/5/08 4:21 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

I went through a serious Ska stage in undergrad. Now, whenever I hear it, I get terribly nostalgic.

26/5/08 1:15 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Now I have The Specials stuck in my brain!

28/5/08 2:49 AM  

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