When Was the Last Time?

Last New Year’s Eve, my 7-year-old great nephew Austin went to his first rock concert. He, along with his dad and mom, saw a rock band called 311. I confess I had never heard of the group prior to learning that this 7-year-old was going to be up a heck of a lot later than I on New Year’s Eve 2017 at a rock concert. I still don’t know much about the group. What I do know, however, is that I didn’t see my first rock concert until I was considerably older than Austin.

The group I saw was the Doobie Brothers. I was 18 years old, and had just started college. I remember exactly two things about that concert: 1) The Doobie Brothers opened up the show with an AWESOME rendition of China Grove; and 2) there was so much marijuana smoke in the air that it was almost impossible to not get high, even when you were an innocent college freshman.

Since then, I have been to a handful of live concerts in my life (not to include symphony orchestra performances). I remember seeing  Dan Fogleberg at Red Rocks. I saw Jesse Collin Young and Firefall. A few others. It’s safe to say, however, that I haven’t been to a live concert for 20 years or more.

But since this is the summer in which my motto is “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” it isn’t surprising that Bill and I agreed to accompany my sister Jen to a live concert. And who better with whom to break my 20-some-year concert fast but Keith Urban!

We’ve had our plans in place since this past February, when Jen Face Timed me while I was grocery shopping. Hey Kris! I just found out that Keith Urban is going to be at Fiddler’s Green on July 14. Do you and Bill want to go with me?

Without even consulting Bill, I gave her a resounding YES and she was immediately on the prowl for tickets. I didn’t have to wonder if Bill would be game for a couple of reasons: 1) Bill, too, is a fan of country music in general and Keith Urban in particular; and 2) Bill is game for just about anything.

I must shamefully admit something. While I, of course, have long been familiar with Keith Urban’s name, I didn’t really become familiar with his personality and his music until he became a judge on American Idol. Give me credit. I just admitted to two embarrassing things in one sentence: an unfamiliarity with a very well-known musician and the fact that I watch American Idol.

In the past three or four years, I have gotten extremely fond of country music, particularly the more contemporary stuff that doesn’t sound a lot different than other contemporary music, but generally with lyrics that I am willing to let my grandkids hear. Keith Urban quickly became one of my favorites because his music is mostly upbeat and I love, love, love to hear him play guitar. All of that provided great hope that it would be a wonderful concert, which it indeed was.

Fiddler’s Green is an outdoor amphitheater that is only a short distance from our Denver house. Even a concert neophyte like I know that outdoor concerts are the best, at least as long as the weather cooperates. And the weather was perfect – a cool night, just breezy enough to blow Keith Urban’s hair perfectly. We got there early because we’re senior citizens and that’s what senior citizens do……

But there were lots of other people there ahead of us.

Speaking of senior citizens, we were well represented at the concert, but there was a great mix of folks, ranging from families to young adults to, well, us.

Before the concert started, Jen and I decided we needed to enjoy an adult beverage. We made our way to one of the many outdoor venues selling a variety of beverages. We selected one with the shortest line. It happened to be a margarita booth, with — randomly, we thought — beverages that all contained bananas. While we were somewhat distrustful about a margarita with banana, we were pleasantly surprised.

As we waited in line, we began talking to the young man who was ahead of us. He was probably in his early 20s, and was clearly waiting in line for what would NOT be his first drink of the night. He couldn’t have been nicer to us. When someone tried to cut in line, he quickly scolded them, saying not to get in front of his two aunts. When we finally got to the front of the line, he bought us our drinks, which was a pricy undertaking. But it became a win-win when we learned that he was looking for a job as a financial advisor, which happens to be Jen’s line of work. She gave him her work number, and while we both wondered whether he would even remember the conversation, he in fact called her early the following week.

As with most live concerts, the audience was on its feet for the entire concert. Kelsea Ballerini opened up and sang for an hour before Keith Urban made his appearance at 8:30. It was 11 o’clock when we left. I think we were his favorite audience. In fact, I’m sure of it.

This is what Austin looked like at the end of his first concert…..

I think it’s safe to say that’s about how we all felt. But it was a great night.

First Time

When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Yeah, let yourself go, follow that feeling
Maybe something new is what you’re needing
Like a real life, let your hair down, feel alive
When was the last time you did something for the first time? – Darius Rucker

Before we even got back to Colorado, I had begun thinking about my summer. I decided that I was going to issue two edicts to myself when we returned to Denver. The first was that I was going to make my summer work easy. My days of pulling hoses around the yard are over, as I tripped over the hose too many times last year.  This meant that I changed the foliage in our front yard to drought-friendly plants. My flowering plants now are in the back yard where they are easier to manage.

The second edict I issued to myself was to take the words of Darius Rucker’s song to heart: When was the last time I did something for the first time.

I don’t know exactly what this means, but – as they say – I’ll know it when I see it. As a matter of fact, we’ve already started. A couple of weeks ago, we got tickets to see a comedian at the Comedy Works. Bill and I both like comedy. Bill, in particular, loves watching good comedy specials on television or via Netflix. Netflix, in fact, is where we came across the comic we saw – Nate Bargatze. By the way, should he visit a comedy club near you, get tickets. He’s family friendly and funny as hell. We both literally laughed until our sides hurt.

We also have arranged to do something in which we have been interested for some time. In July, we are boarding an Amtrak train and taking the California Zephyr to San Francisco, where we will meet up with Dave and Jll and the kids who, as you know, are driving around the western United States in an RV. I am always eagerly optimistic about train travel, never failing to picture Hercule Poirot in a tux in the dining car. My limited U.S. train experience thus far hasn’t met those expectations. Still, it may happen this time. We have a sleeping car arranged, which includes our meals in the dining car. We won’t go so far as to put on a tux or a gown, but we nevertheless have high expectations.

We are tentatively planning on traveling with the McLains from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, and will board an airplane to return to Denver. By the way, the McLains are unaware of any of this, so if they are reading my blog, well….. Their itinerary may change!

I can count the number of big concerts I have attended in my life on two hands (maybe one, sigh). But a few months ago, Jen called me and said, “Would you and Bill like to go see Keith Urban at Fiddler’s Green in July?”

It only took a few beats before I said, “Hell to the yes!” I am packing my flat vodka pack and Bic lighters as soon as I finish this blog.

Finally, as you read this blog post, I am busily doing what is perhaps the kookiest thing I will do all summer. Jen and I are flying today to Tulsa, Oklahoma – where the wind comes sweeping down the plain – and getting in a rental car to drive to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Tomorrow morning, we will drive to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, where The Pioneer Woman lives, films her Food Network television show, and operates her store called The Merc. We will spend the day shopping at The Merc, taking a tour of The Lodge, from where her TV show is filmed, and being all-around cowgirls-for-a-day. We will return to Colorado Thursday night.

When I question my sanity, I remind myself about doing something for the first time.

Stay tuned for stories about our adventures. In the meantime, Nana’s Whimsies will not be posted for a couple of days. See you on Friday.

And ask yourself, when was the last time you did something for the first time.