Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Tale of Two Concerts, Part 2: There was a high school reunion at Wolf Trap and it was actually fun

High school reunions are supposed to be fun right? That's what movies teach us at least. You go to your reunion, have a few drinks, take a look at how everyone has aged, and realize you're doing okay. You didn't like most of these people in high school but they turned into decent people that you don't mind seeing every five years. I haven't attended any of my high school reunions so I don't really have any personal experience with this. I imagine that every high school reunion is a cross between Romy & Michelle and Grosse Pointe Blank.

I was thinking about this as I sat at Wolf Trap waiting for The Psychedelic Furs to take the stage to open for The Go-Go's. Since almost every reunion movie I've seen is about people who graduated high school in the 80s, this is the soundtrack of their lives. The Psychedelic Furs are probably best known for the song "Pretty in Pink." It was used as the title song for the Molly Ringwald/John Hughes film Pretty in Pink. The song wasn't written for the film; Molly Ringwald was a fan of the band and suggested that Hughes use it in the film. He did and the song and the movie became forever linked. The song was actually re-recorded to better fit the film because it's actually not about an innocent high school girl who falls in love with a popular boy. It's about a girl who sleeps around and thinks everyone loves her but they don't. Not really high school love triangle/prom themed.

I've always liked The Psychedelic Furs; "Pretty in Pink" was the first song of theirs I ever heard but I've come to love "All This And Nothing", "Love My Way", "Heartbreak Beat", and "Heaven" (definitely rock and roll love songs). The Furs were part of that post-punk era of British bands that lead into New Wave so all their songs are a little moody, arty, and sound much sadder than they actually are. Watching the crowd last night, I could see them all in their bedrooms as teenagers obsessively listening to these songs and attaching them to someone - the boy they secretly liked or their first love. Or maybe "All This And Nothing" or "Heaven" was the song at their prom but they stayed home or didn't have anyone to dance with. I don't know everyone's life but I definitely felt like I was magically transported to 1986.

The high school reunion feeling continued as The Go-Go's took the stage. By this time we had moved passed the "I'm Erin and I'm a (fill in the blank) now. No I don't have children. Yes, I was in theatre in high school" phase of the reunion and into the "everyone has had a few and loosened up and are dancing" phase.
I could spot the popular girls, the punk girls, and the artsy boys. And they were all dancing together and singing along. Everyone was getting along and having a good time because that's what happens at reunions - everyone gets along. Anita even got her wish for a Belinda Carlisle song (although I don't think it was the one she wanted) and there was a sort of odd/sort of awesome mash-up of "We've Got the Beat" and "Rock and Roll All Night." I'm also not entirely sure that Belinda Carlisle has aged at all. We were pretty close and she looks exactly the same. She also danced around like a pixie the entire time. Jane Wiedlin will always be my favorite Go-Go; she looked like she was wearing a Star Trek uniform. She and the bass player (new member) had some awesome moments. The Go-Go's are the band you want to be friends with.They could probably teach me how to correctly apply eyeliner.

Maybe live concerts serve as some sort of catharsis for people. When you hear "Love My Way" live you come to accept that high school wasn't that terrible (or was and you're glad it's over) and you're a better, more interesting person now. Listening to "Head Over Heels" or "Vacation" or "Mad About You" may remind you of the awesomeness/agony of crushes and first loves and "We Got the Beat" reminds us that it's all about having fun and being amazing. Regardless, sometimes it's fun just to be nostalgic and dance like no one is watching.

I'm off to Paris on Monday for a much needed vacation. I'm going to try to post a few times while I'm there but I make no promises. Au revoir Island readers!

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