Music, like fashion, has always been a huge part of my life, starting with my first transistor radio. That led to purchasing my first 45 rpm record, and now, listening to those same songs on Sirius XM radio.
I have been attending concerts since grade school. Some memorable bands have included The Beatles, performing at the Indiana State Fair in 1964, and last year's Paul McCartney concert that closed Candlestick Park. Another noteworthy experience was seeing Barbra Streisand perform her comeback concert in 1993, at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. I'm not sure what was more entertaining, watching Barbra ham it up on stage, or seeing the who's who of the entertainment industry parade by on the way to their front row seats.
Encountering Kathy Lee Gifford in the women's restroom during intermission provided an exchange of compliments for what we were wearing, and how she liked the show, leaving her wondering who in the heck I was! Through the years, I have also seen Madonna, Cher in what she proclaimed was her last tour, Bette Midler, Neil Diamond and this past weekend, Chubby Checker. Say what?
My husband Scott decided, on the spur of the moment, to make Memorial Day memorable by attending the Bakersfield Rock & Country Music & Art Festival. One day, seven stages and fifty amazing performances was how the event was promoted. Scott had the day planned—concentrating on the classic rock and legends’ stages, making sure we didn't miss performances from bands of the past. Some highlights included Badfinger's Joey Molland, who worked with The Beatles, Denny Laine of the Moody Blues, Starship minus Grace Slick, and Foreigner’s Lou Gramm.
Watching these former rock stars, who are now in their mid seventies, can be a bit depressing. For the most part, their voices remain strong and the songs recognizable, but the life of a rocker has taken its toll on most of them. Dyed hair, wigs and loose fitting shirts have replaced the tight jeans and flowing locks from 50 years ago. The stand out of the day was Chubby Checker, who, according to a quick Google search, is 74 years old, and is acknowledged for his contribution to pop culture with “The Twist.” In 1960, when the song and the dance came out, I remember everyone doing the twist, including my parents. However, my refined Grandmother thought it was immoral, and proclaimed it would never last.
Checker still knows how to wow the crowd, coming off the stage to dance with the audience. As he approached us within a few feet, I was impressed with how good he looks and how much fun he was having, which was contagious.
The day in Bakersfield was a blast from the past, and a reminder that rock and roll is still alive, as long as you can get out of your chair and twist the night away, then go home and take a nap!