On my drive home from work last night I succumbed to a craving for chocolate. After “grilling up” a hamburger on my trusty-yet-grimy George Foreman and downing leftover stuffing, I got comfortable on the couch to continue reading “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff. With the rain and wind and fog outside my window, I deemed it a perfect evening to stay indoors with a good book.
I put down my book around 7:30 p.m. to prepare a boxed brownie mix to assuage my chocolate fix. After mixing the necessary ingredients of water, oil and eggs with the prepackaged mix, I preheated my oven to a toasty 350 degrees.
As I poured the mud-like mix into a greased 9×13 pan, my cell phone rings. It’s my boyfriend calling.
“Get dressed as quick as you can,” Matt says.
Immediately I think something terrible has happened. But his voice doesn’t sound panicked, and he leaves me little time to worry.
A heartbeat later he puts my fears to rest.
“I got four tickets to see Lynrd Skynrd tonight. Meet me at the Mid-America Center at 8.”
Filled with glee, I agree to the night’s plans, quickly change my clothes, turn off the oven and hop in the car to drive the 20 minutes to the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs.
Matt arrived later and we were joined by our friend Monty, and Matt’s brother, Ben. After Monty treated us to zealously overpriced cocktails, we ventured inside the arena as “Simple Man” blared through the speakers.
The place wasn’t filled to capacity, but those who attended were certainly of Skynrd’s die-hard variety: lots of patriotic gear, lots of leather vests adorned with lots woven patches, lots of long hair (on men and women) and lots of beards (on men, and some thinner versions on women).
In our great seats on the arena floor, the four of us sang along to Skynrd’s signature songs, pounding our fists and swaying when appropriate, and commenting on the aroma of marijuana in the air.
It was exhilarating to hear (and see) some of my favorites performed live by a band who looks a little worn for wear but still rocks, I would imagine, just as good as they did 30 years ago.
Shortly before 10 the band exited the stage only to return a few moments later for the obligatory 10-minute rendition of “Free Bird.” Often at Matt’s shows and other concerts I’ve been to fans demand “Free Bird” simply as a way to get laughs from other concertgoers. But possibly some of the same assholes who called for “Bird” last night meant it – and got what they asked for.
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