Fitness pioneer Bonnie Prudden says, “You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again.” Okay, that was back then. Nowadays we live in a digital world and clock-winding has gone the way of the typewriter. However, Bonnie was right on the money. Last month I, and about 2,800 other folks, rewound the clock — way back to the 70s.
I was lounging around (a rarity for me,) skimming through the Sunday paper, when I noted in the entertainment section that Jackson Browne was performing at a venue in Westbury. I called out to my gentleman friend who was in another part of the house: “Jackson Browne is playing in Westbury.”
When he entered the room he looked a tad startled as he caught me doing “Ceil’s happy dance”—a fusion of funk, rock, with a little bit of the hustle and who knows what. Like I said “my” happy dance! For the record, this gal of a certain age has never outgrown her love of music, concerts and dancing—and I don’t intend to slow it down anytime soon.
My gentleman friend laughed and said, “So I guess you want to go?” I gave him one of my “are you for real?” looks. He smiled and said, “Let’s order the tickets.”
That same evening we were having dinner with my sister and her husband. I casually mentioned that Jackson was playing on Long Island. Before I could utter my next sentence, my sister turned to her husband and said, “We gotta go!”
I ordered the tickets the next day.
The Sunday evening of the concert, the four of us met at an Italian restaurant. Eating at this restaurant was a gastronomic delight—although I don’t remember what I ate. My sister and I were too busy yacking about seeing Jackson in concert. We wondered what he looked like, if he still had it, and if he would he lip-sync as I’ve seen some performers do.
When we arrived at the theatre for the concert, the parking lot was jammed with middle-aged folks driving late model cars. Most of the guys were balding or grey, some had pony tails. The gals wore varied looks; however, there was one “look” that was universal: I saw animated faces and heard the excitement in their voices.
Shortly after we found our seats the lights flickered…then went down. The silence became deafening—for a moment. All of a sudden the spotlight was shining on Jackson and his band as they made their way onto the stage. The applause became deafening. He looked the same and not. Same shaggy hair, only a little older. Aren’t we all?
Jackson still had it! He opened with some of his more soulful downbeat songs; it brought me back to a time when I had young kids. Lordy! I don’t know how I did it, working by day and attending college at night. My husband was a very progressive man and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Back in the 70s, working wives were not in vogue. I expressed these sentiments to my sister. She said, “I remember, sister Ceil.”
With tears in her eyes, my sister shared a story that was rebooted in her memory. As I looked around the theatre, I spotted other folks who seemed to be catapulted back to another time and place—a place we can only return to in memory.
Folks were shouting over the music to request a favorite song, perhaps wanting to rekindle some long ago remembrance. The music was electrifying. The audience of a certain age was rockin’ on down: dancing, clapping singing and making the V-peace sign. We were all back there, somewhere, young again.
For some sorrow had not brought them to their knees, yet. For others a lost love was recalled and for many the music represented a carefree period before the weight of life’s challenges became backbreaking. (It’s no wonder why folks of a certain age complain about their backs!)
Jackson’s last few songs were the upbeat songs of our younger days. He brought down the house with “Somebody’s Baby.” When Jackson played and sang an extended version of “Take it Easy” everyone was on their feet clapping and singing the words: “Take it easy, take it easy, and don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy.” The collective exhilaration we felt was palpable and took on a life of its own.
After he did three encore songs, the house erupted in earsplitting applause. All good things must end, as we know. After the lights went on, I saw folks with tears in their eyes; many with happy smiles and some with pensive expressions on their faces. We poured out of the theatre, returning to our cars, returning to our really-real lives. But, for two hours we were back there, somewhere.
Arriving home I was too wired up to fall asleep immediately; I knew I would have to get some shut-eye; Monday morning comes fast for this working gal. Jackson’s words from one of my favorite songs “The Pretender” ran through my head as I was drifting off: “And when the morning light comes streaming in, I’ll get up and do it again. Amen. Say it again, Amen!”
And so I did.
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in ‘retirement’ — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.