Long ago, when Stacy Shaw invited me to go with her to the Peter Frampton concert, I wanted to go.
I mean, I really wanted to go.
I had no idea who Peter Frampton was, but I had heard about concerts. According to my cousins, strange things happened at music concerts — and my cousins knew things. They told how loud the concerts were. They told me your ears hurt when you left. They told me people passed funny-smelling cigarettes down rows, and everyone was expected to join in.
It was 1976. We were 12.
I had lived a sheltered life and couldn’t imagine any of it. I wasn’t planning or wanting to participate in any shenanigans, but I didn’t want to be left out. The whole event was an opportunity for an information gathering expedition. A chance to unlock mysteries. All I knew was that I was wanted to go to the concert.
My mother not permitting me to go played a role in whatever it is that happens between 12-year-old girls and their mothers. Looking back, I’m sure it was an easy decision for her, but at the time I was certain my mother didn’t know or understand whatever it was my cousins were talking about. (And I think I was right.)
Back then, I never admitted that I had no idea who Peter Frampton was.
Our whole class talked about the approaching concert for weeks. Everyone kept saying, “He makes his guitar talk — or sing.” And I would nod my head in agreement.
When the big day finally came, Stacy and our friends went. Somehow, they all got to go backstage and met Peter and his band.
I heard about it for years.
Every time I’ve gone to a bona fide concert since, I’ve thought of the night I didn’t go see Peter Frampton.
Last week, I accompanied my 12-year-old daughter to what I believe will be the last music concert I ever attend. (Trust me when I tell you that I gladly embrace however old it is that that sentiment makes me sound or feel.)
While Taylor Swift put on a great show, there was a long while when all I could do was sit and wish I had brought some earplugs. My ears went through several phases — shock, pain and finally numb.
As I sat there beside my daughter who sang every word to every Taylor Swift song, I was happy to share the moment. Taylor Swift’s country-crooning-girl-power-it’s-OK-not-to-fit-in-there-is-life-after-junior-high messages are a far cry from the Peter Frampton scene of 1976.
There’s much ado about the difficulties of growing up today — and, certainly, those challenges are very real. After all, every generation has its tests.
Even still, and I mean nothing against Peter Frampton. But, given the choice between the two influences of then versus now for my daughter and her friends — I’m thinking, regardless of the decibel levels involved, I’m going with Taylor Swift.