Dave Berg asked for your first concert. His was Styxx, and I said mine was Emerson, Lake and Powell. 1987ish. but that wasn't the whole story....

The story happens less than a year after I graduated, so me in the bow tie above is a pretty close approximation of how I looked at the time.

My friend Blaine said, 'Hey...let's get tickets to see Emerson, Lake, and Powell, and drive downstate to see the show! We can stay with my brother, and even hang out with McCabe!"

The only problem, was a promise I made to my girlfriend.

Downstate meant  from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Grand Rapids Michigan, in the Lower Peninsula. A real road-trip for a couple just graduated dudes.

His brother = John. I have a brother John, too, but Blaine's brother John lived in the right town, worked construction, and had a tiny, but free, place to stay.

Emerson, Lake, and Powell = Awesome Classic Rock Band with a small hit in the 80's that I loved.

My girlfriend = a high school senior, expecting to go to homecoming with James Rabe.

The problem was the concert and homecoming were on the same weekend!

What did I do?

I told her, "Look...here's the deal. I've been working and sweating  getting my parents retirement home ready. I've been digging clay for months, and moving huge rocks just to get to the point where I can jump into a ditch to spread tar. I need a break. So I'm going to the concert."

She said, "But that's the same weekend as homecoming. You promised to go with me."

Which is true.  I did. 100%. And my mother taught me, no matter how  much you want  to do the other thing, you ALWAYS stick with your promise.

"But if I go to homecoming, I'll get the night off...if I go to the concert, I get four days off this house project."

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Which is true. But if my mother had heard me say that, she would have raised holy hell. So I didn't tell her anything about homecoming.

And I went to the concert.  Which is bad enough, right? But it gets worse.

I had time to try and fix it (I thought), so I asked to of my friends to take her to homecoming for me. The three of them were good friends, and they agreed. Problem solved, I thought! How clever I am to have solved the problem so easily and reasonably. Now I can go to the concert guilt free.

Damn, I was so 18.

The solution was not well received. There was anger. There were tears. But the worst? It was the hurt. I could see I hurt her and it made my heart ache. I felt guilty all the way to Grand Rapids.

Felt better during the concert, felt WAY better during the college party after, where the woman danced on the piano bench in her unders. And then we went home.

And being 18, until I rang her doorbell, I had no idea I was still in trouble. The weekend was over, we were all good right?

She opened the door, looked at me...and as I stepped in the house I knew we were not all good. Not all good at all.