It took more than twenty years, but we finally managed to make it happen. I go to see a fair number of concerts, not as many as I did in my youth, but I like to think that I still enjoy getting out and hearing some live music now and again. The same could probably be said for my younger brother, with whom I attended my first big rock and roll show, Elton John in 1975. I was thirteen. He was ten. Elton was twenty-eight. My older brother and his girlfriend chaperoned us and we sat in box seats in the newly constructed McNichols Sports Arena. The place rocked and all three brothers spent the next day with a persistent ringing in our ears.
Which did not stop us from going back. Not necessarily for Elton John, but Jimmy Buffett, and Talking Heads and The Eagles and on and on. On football fields. In field houses. In intimate theaters and sprawling arenas. Somewhere along the way, our paths diverged and we went our separate ways. We had learned to be fans of live music together, and now we were on our own. Me with my Bruce Springsteen fixation, and my younger brother?
The Pixies. His litmus test for people he met in those days was two questions: Do you know the film Repo Man? When was the last time you listened to the Pixies? The preferred answers to this interrogation was, "Yes. I love it!" and "On the way over here."
Which is why, when the opportunity presented itself late in the second decade of the new century for the two of us to take in a show together once again and the Pixies were on tour, it really didn't matter how many miles we had traveled since way back then. We were headed back to a sports arena to watch and listen as Frank Black and friends attempted to tear the roof off the building where the Golden State Warriors play basketball.
The band roared through a twenty-plus song set, and my younger brother and I bobbed and sang along, provided our own confused choreography from our seats near the back of the hall. And I had to confess that I was pleased and happy to have been introduced to this music so long ago, and to finally have a chance to bond over it. As have. As we did.
A magical night.