When I was first married, my in laws, my husband at the time, and I decided to head down to New Jersey to Six Flags on a family trip. This was one of those old fashioned trips- close enough to home, but just enough to need an overnight, stopping for pee breaks and lunch along the way as we made our way towards an adventure.
The thought of going to any amusement park these days makes my skin crawl, but in my late twenties, this was an exciting trip that I looked forward to. This was in the land of BEFORE. Before we had our son, before my brother was diagnosed with cancer, before my father died. Life was that time ahead, in front; AFTER hadn’t happened yet.
When we got to the park, it went as planned. Roller coaster after roller coaster, screaming and more screaming. There was a distinct moment on the Batman roller coaster as I found myself upside down in a spiral twist when I realized what an incredible stress reliever roller coasters were. Screaming at the top of my lungs with the noise and the sounds of the whooshing, staring at the feet of my fellow passengers and thinking, This is way better than therapy.
Children have it made. When they need to express themselves they have an unwritten permission slip to scream, shout and stomp their feet. Unless one wants to end up in a mental institution, adulthood eliminates this from our backpack of life tools and at some point in our young lives, we stop the stomping and screaming. We figure out other ways to relieve our frustrations and stress. Sometimes grown up ways, like therapy, yoga or talking about our feelings, sometimes drinking or drugging, but seldom screaming and shouting.
Roller coasters partnered with the age of fifty four are no longer a good match. I could basically vomit looking at a roller coaster. I get dizzy way too easily and unfortunately have to leave the roller coasters to my viewing pleasure if I were to find myself at a theme park. This is highly unlikely and the next time there will be a theme park in my viewfinder, would probably be when I ever have the privilege of a grandchild. Thankfully, this is a long way off. So what is a closet screamer chick to do? Where else could a grown woman stand up and scream her brains out for a few hours of glorious stress relief that no downward dogs and tree poses could ever compete with?
How about an outdoor concert with three thousand people on a lake in the middle of Massachusetts watching a Led Zeppelin tribute band for the second time, GET THE LED OUT? The name alone commands screaming. And screaming we did. In a little town called Webster lies a campground with a lake and an outdoor concert venue called Indian Ranch. And it was here last night that my friends and I made our second annual pilgrimage to tailgate, to eat grinders and chips, and pump our fists and scream like we were kids again.
My partner, who is seventy two, is not a Led Zeppelin fan. Music shows our age difference for sure. When he was seventeen the top songs were I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles and Hello Dolly by Louis Armstrong. A little different then The Lemon Song and Robert Plant screaming, “When the juice runs down my leg..” When my boyfriend was seventeen I wasn’t even born yet. This cracks me up. But he is a cool cat and has no problem with me calling up my childhood friend, Joe, to be my fake date at the fake Zeppelin concert last night. Get the Led Out is one of my favorite evenings out. It is a blast from the funnest side of my past and I love going to see them.
When Led Zeppelin first hit our ear waves, we were in grammar school so basically, we were raised on Led Zeppelin. Stairway to Heaven came out when we were six and when All My Love came out in 1979, we had just started going to middle school dances. This was definitely the go to song for slow dancing. I know every single word as did every single attendee at the concert last night.
My friend bought us all Led Zeppelin t shirts and we along with the crowd danced and sang and not a single person there was in 2019. We were transported in a magical time machine back to THEN. Then. The times that we can easily say were easier just like our parents and our grandparents say when they reflect back. Looking back is fun because like a bad relationship, it is so easy to have any of the bad magically disappear. The good seems to reengineer and become sensationalized in the reflections and it is a lovely respite from our busy brains.
I looked to my friend, Joe, who I have been friends with since sixth grade and I said, “Everyone here is so old. Is this how we look to everyone here?” The air guitarring and drumming, the pot smoking, legal now, and the rock and roll clothes of yesteryear found their way to every fifty something soul screaming our brains out to lyrics from songs like Dazed and Confused, that would have the metoo movement shudder. “Soul of a woman was created below…” and every sex dripping lyric brought me to my knees (seriously no pun intended), as I danced and sang and rocked out old school with one of my dearest friends by my side.
I can’t speak for every person in attendance last night, but besides the cell phones and their inordinate amount of use, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that is was the year 2019. We were definitely living last night in the past. And it was so fucking fun, I didn’t want it to end. I got my led out, but as my old Led Zeppelin loving boyfriend from yesteryear said last year when I sent him some pictures from the concert, “Alayne, no one ever truly gets the led out.”