It's official. My seventeen year old daughter is a groupie.
This isn't something I planned for. Who does really? We all want the best for our children, and here in suburban New England, most moms like me have rather lofty goals. A lawyer, maybe. A veterinarian. A journalist.
Not a groupie.
What immediately comes to mind is the movie Almost Famous. Suffice it to say, the film included plenty of sex and drugs as well as rock and roll.
Of course, I went to my share of concerts in high school. But, growing up in New York City, two subway stops from Madison Square Garden, I tended to see really big shows. Elton John, David Bowie, Wings, Billy Joel, even KISS. Would I have liked to "hang out" with the boys in the band? Um ... probably. But, at that venue and with those headliners, it would have taken a much more enterprising teen than myself to get backstage. (Plus, I always had too much homework waiting back at the apartment.)
When I think about the girls who used to follow bands back in my day (that would be the late 70s, early 80s), I picture free spirits in those skirts that looked like table cloths. The first week of freshman year of college, I met a girl who had followed The Grateful Dead around the country the entire summer before. Her greatest accomplishment was sleeping with an assistant lighting guy.
Probably not what her mother had planned for her either.
Years later, I was taking a bus from Boston down to visit my then boyfriend, a medical student at University of Connecticut. A group of hippies stepped out in front of the bus as we left the highway and headed into Hartford. The Dead were playing at the Civic Center and they needed directions. I got the sense they had hitched (or walked) a long way. And hadn't bathed in a while.
See above comment about parents' hopes and dreams.
So this past weekend, when my daughter explained that she and her BFFs were heading into town at noon for their 7:30 concert, I was a little concerned. Why so early? I really didn't relish the idea of them sitting on a sidewalk outside the club all afternoon.
"No," she explained, "The band is going to tweet where they'll be before the show so we can meet them."
Back in my day, as a fan, you took the initiative to sleep with roadies or step in front of buses. That's how you got the attention of your idol (or got an STD or worse). Well, times have changed, apparently. Today's bands stay in touch with their fans through Facebook and Twitter. They let them know where they'll be and when.
Granted these aren't the equivalent of the huge rockstars I mentioned earlier. But, these are bonafide recording artists and their fans are just as loyal and starstruck as we were (and they're shrieking just as loud too). I have seen the iPhone videos, trust me.
Of course, once I understood the reason for going in early, I became a practically perfectly paranoid parent. I launched quite suddenly into a list of all the things the girls should be sure not to do. Like take anything, smoke anything, drink anything. Go anywhere with anyone at any time.
My daughter rolled her eyes. "Our bands aren't like that," she explained. It was my turn to roll my eyes. "That's what you think," I told her then.
Here's what I think now. She was right.
My daughter had an amazing night — and I couldn't be happier to have been mistaken.
We assume that "back in our day" was better. Not always. Not this time.
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