Mae’s First Concert Rule

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been places I don’t belong.  Usually it’s not so much that I truly don’t belong, as much I don’t appear to belong.  I am sort of an old soul chameleon.  I enjoy having different hobbies and interests that don’t necessarily mix amongst themselves.

When I moved to California and became involved in a few different scenes, whether it was music, surfing, desert camping or antiquing, I found that as long as you play the part and believe that you belong, you can generally avoid standing out.

The first time I met the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I was at a charity event with a friend/date; I’m not sure what he was, honestly.  I bought my way into a small show, but there was a clear segregation between invited celebrities and ticket holders.  My “date” was clearly more interested in mingling with the bartenders while I was interested in making my very first attempt to score a couple minutes with the Peppers; any of them would do.  So while my “date” and I went separate ways, I found myself locking eyes with another fan who did not dress the part.  I mean, I had clearly been prepared in a sparkly pink sequin shirt, leather pants and spiked heels.  He was in a Chili Pepper t-shirt and Dickies.    Still, as I stood alone, as did he, at least we knew we had something in common; Chili Peppers.

After the usual introductions, he quickly asked if I’d been into the forbidden area of the evening; the main house.  I likely replied with something goofy like, “but we aren’t allowed in there”.  Fan Boy had a hint of trouble in his eyes, said “come on” and grabbed my hand.  As we approached a kitchen area, which had a wide open door to the back of the mansion, he stopped me and looked me dead in the eyes and said “if you act like you belong here, no one will question you.  Act like you own the place”.

So in the door we went, amongst buzzing kitchen workers, up the back stairs in stilettos I could barely function in and there we were.  We were in.  This was my first concert rule that I’d keep branded in my mind for all time; act like you belong and no one will question you.  It works because we clearly did not look the part, but we acted like we did…until we approached the band Continue reading

Rockin’ With the Chili Peppers

I spent some time tonight writing a commentary on my experiences with the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was younger. I say that like I’m old, but skipping work for concerts seems like a lifetime ago.

I won’t bore you with all the stories of mayhem; backdoor crashing, wristband making, concussions, “just in case” cigarettes and debt-building concert tours; (unless you ask me to).

What I will share, is that these were some of the happiest days of my life…so far. They are a band I followed since I was eight. And it became much easier to have access to shows and special events while I lived in Southern California after I graduated high school. I was foolish with money, spent time with some weird people and looked up to musicians who did a lot of drugs. I did not condone the drug use, but I did find solace in the music and theirs became a soundtrack to many years of solid memories and friendships.

Some people hate them, some people love them and I’m not here to debate that. I used to try but really, what is the point of trying to convince someone to alter their taste? I personally have a connection to them, which is that I feel happy when I hear them. My hips rock to Flea’s bass and my feet tap to Chad’s drums. I can’t resist singing along, even when the lyrics don’t make logical sense and no matter who is playing guitar, there is a hauntingly soulful sound on most tracks that just make me…happy.

I’ve posted a shot of me when I was 18. I just moved to San Diego and went up to Los Angeles for a charity event that the Peppers would be playing at. I snuck into the celebrity-only area and met the band for the first time. I’m smiling so hard that I look scary in this picture, while Anthony was in the middle of asking my photographer when to smile. My words to him did not make sense that night, and it was the first and only time in my life I was wordless…imagine that. I stood there in my leather pants and platinum hair and grinned for what felt like days. What a doofus, I think now. But what naive joy there is to be that young and happy without a care in the world.

You lived where?

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I recently read a fellow blogger’s account of San Diego. We lived there for seven years, but relocated three years ago to the Philadelphia tri-state area. I thought of all the great experiences my husband and I had there, from Legoland to Los Angeles daytrips. I realized that all my life, I’ve lived in places that people pay good money to visit.

We heard Sea World’s fireworks every summer night from our apartment and viewed the San Diego Harbor from the top of our street. We were within minutes of the Gaslamp Quarter and the famed beaches. We enjoyed each special place lesleycarter noted in her blog but San Diego simply never felt like home to us. I guess we weren’t California people.  As beautiful as it is, it is expensive as well. We often worked so hard to live, that we actually rarely lived at all.  Sure, we hit all the main highlights over the years, but we probably have seen the beach more by visiting now, then we ever did living there.  Yes, it’s regrettable, but there is no going back now.  We will always remember what we did do instead.

There was one place missing on Lesley’s list.  Sunset Cliffs was a special place that I miss the most. The eroding cliffs stand tall over jagged rocks with, you guessed it, gorgeous sunsets as the backdrop each evening. The regulars were so varied; the occasional homeless but harmless wanderer, the rich jogger, stoned surfer and eclectic photographer. The weekends brought pale tourists and couples taking their pups for a long stroll. It was free and beautiful, while expanding just long enough to find an escape from the crowded San Diego freeways and neighborhoods.

We are now lucky enough to live within a short drive of every historical and prominent city on the East Coast.  The amount of cultural and geographical points of interest is simply astounding.  Still, there’s no doubt that when the snow starts to fall, people will ask, “You moved from San Diego?  Are you crazy?”

Now, we make an effort to incorporate ourselves in as much of the culture as we can here, without taking it for granted.  So one day, when we’ve worn out our welcome or find a new destination, we can look back and say that we really lived.

Check out the referenced blog:  Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #5 San Diego, United States of America. By LesleyCarter

*Sunset Cliffs photo courtesy of www.toomuchwinetoolittletime.com