Cheap Trick were going to play just a couple miles from my house. They've always been a favorite of mine and I wanted to see them. The downside was that they were opening for Boston. That was a deal breaker. Forget it. I'm not going.
I forgot it, that is, until the day of the show. About an hour before the concert was scheduled to start, I had a change of heart. I decided to do what I had done at several previous concerts and sporting events - just show up and expect that someone will be outside of the venue trying to unload unwanted tickets at a greatly reduced price. It worked. It always works.
Sitting in my seat before the show, I had a few minutes to observe my surroundings and perhaps have a moment of self-reflection. One observation concerned the absolute silliness of e-cigs. Okay, most people agree that those Vicks VapoRub-scented, blue-blinking, surrogate pacifiers are just another example of manipulative mass hypnosis targeting highly gullible people. When I first became aware of e-cigs, I assumed they were some sort of legitimate smoking cessation method and tolerated them for that reason. I felt compassion for those trying to break their addiction. Now I realize that e-cigs are just another trashy fashion accessory and I feel free to ridicule them. What drew my attention to this embarrassingly trite topic was an e-cig victim sitting in front of me. This person was not inhaling, but they were trying to make it look like they were - it was just like being behind the backstop in 7th Grade. So, in short, they were pretending to smoke a fake cigarette. I felt bad that I was the only one to appreciate this little nugget of irony.
If I had invented the e-cig, would I be rich enough to buy off the guilt about it? Probably.
Okay, that part is way too long but I won't edit it. I believe every word is gold.
Now it was time for self-reflection. I have lived in three different states - California, Washington, and now New Mexico. While waiting to for Cheap Trick to take the stage, I realized that I was about to see them perform in all of the three states that I have called home. Finding this bit of trivia more interesting than e-cigs, I tried to think of other bands that I have witnessed live at all three major stopping points during my journey-in-progress. Foraging through the archive of random information that I call my brain, I was only able to come up with a hillbilly handful (6) of results. Here they are, in roughly reverse-chronological order: Cheap Trick, Agent Orange, The Blasters, X, Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys, and Social Distortion. They certainly do not represent my entire musical scope but they might indicate a constant. Five out of those six bands originated in California, as did I, so obviously there is some degree of regional bias. Three of the bands on the list (Agent Orange, X, and Social Distortion) I first saw in High School, which could either mean that A) I am stuck in my ways, or B) I refuse to grow old in the mind. I am also lucky enough to know a few people directly or indirectly associated with some of these bands that let me weasel my way into their shows for free. Yes, I'm cheap and my frugality is certainly a factor. My wife said I squeak when I walk, but that could mean several things. That's enough about that.
Cheap Trick played and I have some blurry phone pictures to prove it. They were very good. Toward the end of their set, it started raining. After they finished, it started raining hard. It was raining cactus and dogma.
I did not stay to see Boston.
Post Script Addendum: I should probably add Brian Wilson to my tri-state list. I've seen him as a member of the Beach Boys in two states and as a solo artist in another. That's close enough.