Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wish You Were Here

It was my first concert. I'll never forget the easy coolness of a late spring evening. May, 1988. We walked to Camp Randall stadium a group of four giggling girls at sixteen, trying way too hard to look older, edgier, cooler.

I had the cassette tape, Momentary Lapse Of Reason, which I listened to over and over again, memorizing and analyzing lyrics. How many times had I sang along to "Learning To Fly" while crouched in front of my full length mirror, curling iron in hand, practicing a pout of a much older girl? Too many to count.

The first thing I did upon entering the stadium was pick out an overpriced, oversized t-shirt.  I think I still have it to this day, packed away. Black with laser beams shining this way and that. How psychedelic.

We found our seats, four girls in concert t-shirts and jean jackets, in front of a group of what I assume were young college kids. They groaned at the sight of us. We were babies. But I didn't care. That feeling, the night air, the music which I felt defined me, made me feel alive.

Dogs of war and men of hate
With no cause, we don't discriminate
Discovery is to be disowned
Our currency is flesh and bone
Hell opened up and put on sale
Gather 'round and haggle
For hard cash, we will lie and deceive
Even our masters don't know the web we weave
One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
At 16, bobbing my head up and down, not questioning what drove a man to write such hardened lyrics, it spoke to my teenage angst. Singing along with thousands of Pink Floyd enthusiasts I felt a part of something.
There was smell in the air I was not yet familiar with, pot, one of my more savvy girlfriends informed me with a wink. Could we find some? We could not. We were too straight laced and obedient. We may have been the only stone-cold concert goers there, but it didn't matter.  I was literally high off the experience. The experience of being young, but on the cusp of something. The new found freedom of being allowed to go to a concert sans parents, the air so crisp, full of stars and promise.
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found
The same old fears.
Wish you were here
When they moved into Wish You Were Here,  my eyes welled up with tears.  A song so hopeless, left me feeling so full of hope. Such happy anticipation for the years ahead.

And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?
No, I thought. No! I would not. I was going to do great things. I was going to be something. No walk on parts for this girl. That night. That fabulous, beautiful night, I felt like the world was mine. Screw the college kids behind us poking fun,  screw the fact we couldn't buy beer or find weed, we were there. We were free. We were just beginning.
Wish you were here. Sometimes I wish I was there. Back in 1988, that teenage girl full of magical anticipation, my whole life still unwritten.  Here and there I experience moments that take me back. Whether it's hearing a song on the radio, meeting someone new, watching my children or awakening from a sweet dream. 
I suppose that was one of those coming of age moments. One that I will treasure, and take out every time I am in a bar or my car and a Pink Floyd tune comes on, taking me back to that magical moment in time.


  1. Still to this day I love driving at night, in the dark, with pink floyd blasting. Some nostalgia that I don't think I will ever outgrow....

  2. Ah, some of your posts nearly make me cry. A soft breeze on a summers night - as I lug groceries to the car - can be all it takes to evoke those lost nights of a life just about to begin....