May 21, 2024

She Calls For You Tonight To Share This Moonlight

Part of the reason that I keep this blog is that I have a terrible memory and I want to preserve things while they're still fresh in my mind.  My memory issues are no more apparent than when it comes to names and faces.  My friend Kate picks on me all the time about this.  When she tells a story that involves someone at the drive-in who isn't a part of our inner circle of friends, I often ask who they are, and her reaction is usually to look incredulous because it's someone that I've talked to more than enough times that I should remember them.  Names and faces eventually sink in, but it takes me a lot longer than it should.

I didn't forget the name of the woman who this story.  She never told me her name and I didn't tell her mine.  We met for the first time in 2018 before a concert in Philadelphia during the last few weeks of the venue still being called The Electric Factory.  The show was called Lost 80's Live.  It was sort of an ensemble show that included Gene Loves Jezebel, Annabella Lwin, Dramarama, Naked Eyes, Animotion, When In Rome, Wang Chung, and A Flock Of Seagulls.  We were both standing close to the stage and we talked for a while before the show started.  She had come to the concert by herself because she said that she couldn't find anyone who would go with her.  I guess that could sound depressing on the surface, but she didn't seem to be sad about it in the slightest.  As someone who regularly goes to movies by myself, I thought it was pretty rad.

She mentioned that she was a teenager in the 90's, which makes her roughly the same age as me.  She said that she always gravitated towards 80's music even when her friends in high school had moved on to other bands.  I thought she was pretty (her face reminded me a bit of Lea Thompson in Back To The Future), but when the show began and she started dancing to the music, she was absolutely beautiful.  It wasn't like a sexy dance or anything like that.  It was just a raw, unrestrained expression of pure joy that I was immediately attracted to.  She was standing about twelve feet in front of me and to the right and I could hardly take my eyes off of her to watch the concert.  I swear, it was like she was fucking glowing.  When Wang Chung took the stage, they told the audience that they would be giving away two t-shirts to two different fans who had the most energy in the crowd.  They ended up giving both of them to her.  How could they not?

Fast forward six years to the other side of the pandemic at an Echo & The Bunnymen concert in the same venue.  I was standing in the front at the center of the stage waiting for the show to start.  The first two people who I noticed that came in after us stood to my left.  It was a guy and a girl.  She looked vaguely familiar, but no alarm bells went off at first.  The guy was kind of quiet, but I overheard her talking to some of the younger girls who were in our general vicinity.  She was telling them how awesome she thought it was that teenagers are still into 80's music in 2024 and how she was a teenager in the 90's and was the only one she knew who still listened to bands from the 80's.  The pieces were starting to come together in my head.  Do I know this girl?  She seems so familiar.  She started dancing a few hours later when the band took the stage and it all fell into place.

The way that Echo & The Bunnymen's 2024 tour is structured is that they performed for about an hour and then went to a brief intermission before coming back out for the second half of the show and the encore.  The band sounded great during the first half of the show, but Ian McCulloch has a very thick Scottish accent so none of us could understand what he was saying when he talked to the crowd between songs.  I joked that I was going to need closed captions, and the girl overheard me and told me that she was thinking the same thing.  I figured "what the hell, what harm could it do" so I asked if she happened to be at this venue before the pandemic to see the Lost 80's Show.  Her eyes lit up and she said yeah, and we started talking about that show and how she won the two t-shirts and gave them away to someone else at the show because they weren't her size.  It was definitely her.

The show started back up a few minutes later.  When the band played Lips Like Sugar, she looked over at me with a smile and eyes that I swear to god were sparkling, then she reached over across the guy who she came to the show with and grabbed my hand to dance with me.  I thought for a second that Angie or the guy that she came with would get upset, but neither of them seemed to care.  When I told Angie about it after the show, she thought it was cute.

I'm not the type of person who forms crushes easily, but I am human and I absolutely crushed for her.  It wasn't fueled by anything sexual or romantic.  I was attracted to her energy.  The closest comparison I can think of is when you're watching it rain outside and you hear a thunderclap before a strike of lightning that's so bright that it freezes you in your tracks and you can't look away.  If I met her in another life, I'd spend as many nights as I could looking at her bright eyes and manic smile while we jammed out to our favorite music and danced together like the world was about to end.

It's going to take a minute before she fades from my memory this time around.