The year was 1981. My father was wearing his walkman, probably listening to some kind of sporting event, and my sister and I were giddy with excitement at the thought of seeing our beloved Rick Springfield in concert. The venue was Brendan Byrne Arena, which is in the Meadowlands. After months of watching my beloved Rick perform on Solid Gold, singing “Jessie’s Girl” and “Love is Alright Tonight,” and then also being able to see him as Dr. Noah Drake on the soap opera “General Hospital,” I was going to see him in person.
And it was just as magical as I had hoped.
I held on to the program, probably because nothing ever gets thrown out in my childhood home. So now, 27 years later, husband #1 took me to see Rick in Englewood at bergenPAC. When the show was over, I went to the stage, with my program from 1981 in hand, and the stagehand brought it backstage and Rick signed it “Thanks for waiting 27 years….”
He loves me, he really loves me.
For my 40th birthday, husband #1 surprised me by taking me and a few friends (of course of those friends, I am probably speaking only to half of them, because that is how I roll) to a Rick concert in the city. Again, magical, because this time, I got close enough to get kissed on the cheek by Rick. And there are pictures to prove it. A few weeks later, I stood on line for three hours or so to meet Rick at a bookstore in Ridgewood, so he could sign his autobiography. He remembered me from the concert as the girl (middle-aged woman) wearing the stupid birthday hat.
He loves me, he really loves me.
Some time after that, Rick and I had to break up, because I had read that he got arrested for a DUI. Come on man, you are 66 years old, you know better than that. I was really disappointed and the few concerts that had been advertised after that came and went, because I refused to support a man who doesn’t know that drinking and driving is very, very bad.
But, like with most things, time passes and you learn to forgive. Husband #1 asked me what I wanted to do this summer, and I told him that I wanted to go to the newly opened Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City. Years ago, we went to the one in Hollywood, Florida, and it was amazing. Music playing 24/7, memorabilia from various artists all over the hotel — really, really cool. A few minutes later, he called me back and said, “You will never believe who is performing….” It was destiny.
I called my sister, she was going to meet us in Atlantic City, and my big vacation was planned.
The weeks have been passing by, and finally the day of the concert was upon us. Husband #1 went to work, then he went to Mincha, and then we were off to Rick and the Hard Rock Hotel. After an uneventful drive and a reasonably decent dinner at some restaurant called Bubby’s (how bad can it be if Bubby is cooking), we were on line with all of the other chubby middle-aged women, waiting to see our Rick.
But it wasn’t meant to be. Something with technical difficulties with the ceiling, something fell on the stage, or some nonsense like that, and the concert had to be canceled.
The crushing blow of disappointment was quickly cushioned with a very enjoyable peach/mango cocktail and an entertaining walk on the boardwalk. But, while we were walking through the lobby, my sister nudged me, “Look. Look. LOOK!!!!” And it was Rick. Walking with his “entourage.” I went right over to him and gave him a hug. Pictures were taken, words were exchanged, my niece finally got to meet the man we had been gushing over, and husband #1 was happy that at least I got the consolation prize of seeing Rick close up. Close enough to smell the alcohol on him. I guess he still hasn’t learned his lesson.
But, sometimes, when you have had a crush on someone for more than 30 years, you have to let some things go. And hope you are never driving on the same road with him….
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck got half of her room comped and a credit for beverages. Husband #1 was happy that he saved a lot of money…. As for the rest of the Hard Rock Hotel experience — give them a year to get their act together… it’s sort of a disaster…