Saturday, July 5, 2014

Three Bands Are Mentioned in This Post, and One of Them is From This Century

Let me say this up front: I know that many of you won't think this is cool.

And I'm OK with that. I have decades of experience with people not thinking I'm cool. In a way, that's what this entire post is about.

Through? Whatever, DEVO.
Forty-six years and counting of never even
getting to cool. So there.
Here's the thing. Every year the family goes to see fireworks on July 3rd rather than July 4th. That's because the best fireworks in the area are in Farmers Branch, and they have their celebration on the 3rd, for whatever reason. (And yes, this Farmers Branch. Apparently an offshoot of institutionalized xenophobia is a form of patriotism that results in bitchin' Independence Day festivals. I can compartmentalize.)

And since July 4th was nice enough to fall on a Friday this year, it was going to be great. See fireworks Thursday night, stay out late, then enjoy three-day weekend.

Wait, is that target a living, sentient being?
At least it made its will before being shot
in the...whatever the thing in the middle is.
But I wasn't counting on having the 11-hour day from hell at work on Thursday. There is nothing quite as exquisitely demoralizing as the moment you realize that not only are you not going to slip out early on the day before a holiday, but even though you skipped lunch and everyone else left an hour ago, you're still not close to being done with the shit work that got piled on you that nobody thanked you for staying late to do for clients who left for vacation five minutes after they requested it.

Still, this is not a Shit My Job Says post. Another time, maybe.

Maybe when I'm back at my desk.
When I got home Thursday night, I was tired and grumpy and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a field with several thousand people and listen to a terrible local band sing old Kool and the Gang songs while waiting for the fireworks to start. It just wasn't happening.

You all know what a people person I am.
So we stayed in, and I promised I would find us a fireworks show to attend on the 4th. On Friday, I looked at all the listings in the newspaper for local celebrations, and I spotted this:

In case you're wondering, Flower Mound, Texas
gets its name from a big old mound.
It's covered with flowers.
Fireworks AND a free concert by legendary rock band Kansas? Fifteen minutes from my house?


If you grew up in the seventies, you heard a lot of Kansas. Maybe you were a fan, maybe you weren't, although I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to live in America if you can't bellow the chorus to "Carry On Wayward Son" on demand.

That would make border crossings a lot more rockin'.
Personally, I love me some Kansas. They are the great American progressive-rock band. Yes, their lyrics were faux-profound and their songs got a bit long-winded (I mean, sure, you you can fit several songs on one side of a record, but wouldn't it be better to just make one song that's really, really long). Still, they rocked, and they have their own violinist. Boom.

Kansas is exactly the kind of band I didn't see in concert when I was young. You know who saw bands like Kansas? Stoners and longhairs and kids who drove around in ratty old American cars and skipped classes and saw all the cool bands when they came through town.

I was never one of those kids. I was never one of those adults. I would have given my right arm to be one of them, but I never could, so I pretended I didn't want to be. And the easiest way to pretend was to not do anything they did, like go see cool prog-rock bands.

I never had a concert t-shirt until I was in my twenties.
And then it was fucking Sting.

So on the 4th of July, we went to see fireworks in Flower Mound, Texas. But first we got to hear Kansas play.

It was amazing.

Seriously, those guys still rock. The level of musicianship was off the charts, and the songs - even the arty, pseudo-spiritual-but-really-we-know-our-audience-is-mostly-wasted ones - held up.

Oh my gosh, it was fun.

Precocious Daughter wanted to be embarrassed by her parents' old seventies music, but she really enjoyed it, too. Although she insists that because it was a) outside and b) free, it doesn't count as her first real concert. That honor will be held by Bastille, whom she is seeing in November.

Bastille is a British indie pop band who actually
make quite good music. Twenty-five years from now
they will be playing a free concert at a fireworks show,
and Precocious Granddaughter will grudgingly enjoy it.
The 4th of July turned out to be a really good day. And yeah, this 46-year-old suburban mom is stoked that she finally got to see a band like Kansas in concert. I'm totally aware that it's been years since Kansas has been remotely cool. I don't care. I'm a huge fan of better late than never.

Because all we are is dust in the wind, man.


  1. My girl was none too excited that her first concert was New Kids on the Block at the AAC when she was 11. Now? She's kinda proud of that because she finally came around to her mom's way of thinking.

    Though I think she would have rather have seen Kansas, honestly lol... Glad you and PD had fun, especially after a craptastic day.

  2. Never even *heard* of Kansas before this.

    My first concert T? Motörhead. Lemmy for ever, bastards!

    1. You really *are* a heathen, aren't you? Go YouTube them, godammit.


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