Monday, September 10, 2012

Still Awake at the Midnight Hour

My children keep trying to help Audrey and me become more hip. In my case, this is often a failing proposition. The latest attempt was on Thursday night when the kids treated us to a special anniversary present—tickets to see Madonna perform at Yankee Stadium.

I know that I can be a prude sometimes. It shows up in strange ways. For example, I have trouble dealing with the “F”-word spoken too often in public. I’m sure that this goes back to the time when at age 6, I asked my parents what a word I had seen written in the school bathroom meant. The F-word, of course. Their response was not a definition but an admonition: “Don’t ever use that word!” I had to find out the meaning from the “street.” And recently, when a friend asked if I like the show “Veep” on HBO, I said that couldn’t enjoy watching it since I had a problem with having the Vice President, and especially a woman VP, using the F-word constantly. To be fair, I was just as upset when in the movie “Game Change,” the actor playing John McCain uses the F-word liberally.

But to get back to Madonna, who, by the way, did not use the F-word in her concert, as far as I can recall. I was concerned that my prudishness might come into play again. And it did early in the show when she sang songs about shooting you dead and enjoying it while blood splatters went flying across a screen on stage. I also had some internal response to sacrilegious images that opened the show, but Audrey reminded me that I should have expected those and to get over it anyway. I did, however, love when she made an instant change from her sleek black outfit that had been revealed beneath a monk’s robes to a drum majorette costume. It brought me back to my high school band days and my friend Ronna Waldman.
Long before my worries about being prudish, however, was my annoyance that Madonna arrived on stage at 10:25 for a concert slated to begin at 8 p.m. To be fair, Brett had alerted us that we needn’t show about before at least 8:30 or 9, since Madonna probably wouldn’t either. But 10:25!!! And this was after a 1-hour light and sound extravaganza by Amicii, who I learn is considered one of the world’s best at his performance medium, which would appear to be playing loud music and flashing his stage name across the screen thousands of time a minute. Not knowing anything about Amicii, I figured the name was either a subliminal message designed to make people in the stands buy lots of beer or a Madonna product line that we were being mentally prompted to buy. And you wonder, why some people feel I am not hip!

But to get back to Madonna. The show was staged impressively, choreographed originally and excitingly, and timed to the second. So much so that she was singing “At the midnight hour, I can feel your power” from “Like a Prayer” when the clock struck midnight. Audrey figured that’s why she couldn’t begin until 10:25. I thought that she could have started earlier and just added a few songs to fill in the time to midnight, but what do I know about rock concerts? I’m more the hootenanny type.

The real show was in the stands, however. Some people dressed up, other dressed way down. Lots of bopping once Madonna was on stage. And a lot of love emanating from the audience to the star. (And not a single boo or sound of annoyance at her late appearance).

While I will admit that I did not break into dance at any time during the concert, I did sing along enthusiastically with some of the old songs that I know and love. I can belt out “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Open Your Heart” with anyone. And Audrey, while also not dancing, was much more into the spectacle of the evening. I think she felt a little reluctant when I suggested getting a headstart on the rush to the subway right after “Like a Prayer” ended. I understand that we missed only one or two songs and did avoid being crushed on the D Train.

So did the experiment to raise my hip-ness level succeed or fail? By many measures it probably failed. However, there were not that many couples of our advancing years in the stands at all that night, so that should score us some points. And we now know who Amicii is, even if we don’t yet appreciate why he is so famous.

What’s next?  We’ll be attending a third Barbra Streisand “final concert ever” next month at Brooklyn’s new Barclay Center. And we’ll be arriving by limousine thanks to another gift from our children. How hip is that! And we’ll be reaffirming our own belief that people who need people are the luckiest people in the world, even if those people sometimes use the F-word or keep us waiting to begin a concert until it’s almost our bedtime.

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