Some of these dates in history take me right back to childhood, and this one is one of those. On this date in 1985, Power Station played at Irvine Meadows, in Irvine, California.
What is remarkable about this date, at least as far as I’m concerned, is that it was my very first concert. Ever.
There is very little I can share with you about the show, because my memory is horrible. I can remember sitting back pretty far—not quite grass—but certainly not orchestra, and I know that I went with my cousins. That in and of itself is strange, because at the time, I lived in Glendora, and my cousins lived all the way in Van Nuys, which is probably an hour and a half from Irvine. (I know I fell asleep on the way home from the concert, that is for sure!)
I had spent the week with my cousin Patty, who had a massive crush on John Taylor at the time. Since my particular brand of Taylor was not a member of Power Station (Roger, in case anyone cares!), I pretty much just followed her lead. She was a year older, much more worldly, mature and wicked cool, so I figured she’d just know. Know what, I am not entirely sure….but I just knew she was on to something. The day before the show, there had been an appearance at a record store in Van Nuys. I remember this because we’d convinced her mom—my aunt—to allow us to take the bus down to the store and wait in line.
I can tell you right now that my mom and dad would have never allowed such a thing. So, it was a good thing I was staying with Patty. Her mom worked during the day, and Patty was on her own. My parents also worked, but somehow, I didn’t have quite the freedom she did. I had a lengthy list of chores to do each day during the summer, and had to answer the phone whenever my mom called (she would ring, hang up and ring again so I’d know it was her) as well as babysit my younger sister – who is five years younger. Patty had none of that. She was free to ride the bus, sit out by the apartment complex pool….and talk to much older men she probably shouldn’t have about things I am positive my parents would have freaked out about.
Maybe my parents had something there, after all.
Anyway, I digress. We had gone to a lot of trouble to bake chocolate chip cookies in the shape of the letters “J” and “T”, with the full intention of taking them to John that day at the signing. I really don’t know what in the hell we were thinking. I suppose we naively thought we’d just walk right up to him with food and that there wouldn’t be a line or security or any of that. I didn’t know any better. I don’t even know how we were thinking we were going to transport the cookies without breaking them while riding the bus and holding our Power Station albums to have signed. In hindsight, it’s a good thing that the cookies were not only too thick and looked nothing like the letters “J” and “T”, they were also slightly burned.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I don’t bake.
We agreed to leave them at home, not embarrass ourselves, and just go to the signing. I can remember how hot it was waiting there. It was all fun and games at first until we realized the line was several blocks long and that unless John was planning an overnighter, he’d never get all the way through the line. We probably should have left much earlier – like the night before – to get a better spot. Even so, teenage optimism prevailed, and we soldiered on. It wasn’t too long before the line seemed to really move, entirely way too fast I might add, and then word got to us that John had just sped off, safely in the back of a limousine.
I felt so dejected that day. It was awful. I didn’t cry or anything, but it was then that I first realized how unfair fandom can be. Even when you have all the information you need, someone is always going to be there first. I don’t think that’s really changed much since 1985. Amanda and I experience it nearly every time we tour. We’ll choose to do one thing, and others will choose another, and typically – we choose wrong. (We are very good at that) We’re rarely in the right spot at the right time, and while sure, there have been times (some frighteningly recently) where I’ve wanted to kick myself for deciding to drive home rather than use the information I’d been given to go and see if I could find the one person I wanted to see, or turning around to go back to a city we just left because someone tweeted their own whereabouts, overall I just have to laugh. It’s all luck. Someone is always going to have better luck, more accurate information, or just have “more”.
I’m glad I didn’t give up on being a fan that day. It wasn’t John’s fault, of course, and in some ways – I’d give anything to go back to being that naive, very awkward 14-year-old standing in line for a signing. Sometimes 1985 doesn’t seem that long ago, and then other days, like today, it feels like a lifetime ago.