JBJ and Judy

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I got to be a teen-ager once again last Saturday night.

A thirty-something friend of my two daughters who grew up with them in New Jersey and who lives here in Orange County had the opportunity to go to an invitation-only concert that Bon Jovi was giving on a back lot at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. It was part of the MasterCard “Priceless” series. She mentioned it on Facebook and I was on that like tomato sauce on a pizza. Some of her friends from the old ‘hood posted they’d fly out for it but I took a chance and just wrote, “Um, I’m a local!” and God bless her sweet and generous soul, she made me her “plus one.”

OMG! I have always loved Bon Jovi but never saw him in person. My girls have annual summer outings to his performances in the Garden State, complete with tailgate, usually to Giants Stadium (now MetLife Stadium) in the Meadowlands but that wasn’t something that I thought would be an appropriate venue for me to tag along so I never even asked. Who needs their Mom with them at something like that? and it’s a sell-out with something like 75,000 fans in the stands.

I didn’t feel the least bit cougar-ish to go to such a thing since Jon Bon Jovi (“JBJ”) is 50 so he’s almost up there with me in age. (By the way, Bruce Springsteen and I are both 63, only three days separates our birthdays. Mick Jagger is older than me…and I think he looks a lot older than me…but I digress.) Besides, it was a very small venue and it would be dark so I may not even get noticed as probably the oldest person there.

I was so excited that day that I actually had butterflies in my stomach. The only other time I can remember feeling like that going to any kind of performance was when I saw The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965, the year I turned 16.

First problem…my usual “fashion crisis.” It was going to be outside, we’d all be standing the entire time and there was a better than even chance it would rain (which it never does in Southern California, so just my luck.) It would be too warm to break out the Burberry (which has not left the closet since I moved here almost five years ago) so I decided I’d hope for the best and worry about the outerwear as the time for departure grew closer.

I had no idea what to wear. I didn’t want to try to dress like the young people because I always think people my age look ridiculous when they do that. So I did what I usually do when I have a dilemma like this. I asked my friends on Facebook. (Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for being my go-to guy when I need to clothe myself appropriately.)

Suggestions ranged from T-shirts with “Jon’s girl” (really? not at my age!) to jeans with boots, etc. Now, I am not that fashion conscious when it comes to my feet. I learned long ago that there are no heels worthy of all-night cramping no matter how “long” they make my legs look…which is actually a small fete of magic since I am a short, chunky Italian woman.  Then I remembered! I had the Uggs!!! Flat, warm, comfy to walk in…but what do I wear with them? They look stupid under slacks…like you’re wearing slippers with dress pants. Thank goodness leggings are in. I had a pair made of denim and a tunic top to hide the amplitude between my head and my boots and that would work. I looked in the hall closet and found my World War II “SS” leather three quarter coat and that would be just fine both in rain should that happen as well as just be warm enough for the cool evening air in Hollywood.

I was good to go.

I had to  meet up with Nicole and one of her friends in a Wal-Mart shopping center that was enroute to the event. If my stomach was fluttering before, it was in knots by the time I arrived since for some bizarre reason (I honestly don’t know why I say it’s “bizarre”…it’s really the norm) the traffic was bumper-to-bumper going north on the 5 at 5 p.m. on a Saturday night. But I made it in time and off we went!

We cruised past the gate where we’d enter to get to the parking lot that was designated and there was a small line waiting in the wet. We were fine; it was still early enough to be able to get in and get a good spot.

Of course we had to go through a metal detector and have our purses inspected…one of the necessities of the age we live in with so many crackpots out there who feel compelled to make their statement. Then we walked for probably ten minutes through the studio alleys, past the enormous sliding sound stage doors, the buildings that were really offices by day and tenements or apartments in the background during filming. I was so excited that here I was where they filmed some of my favorite shows, like NCIS, Rizzoli and Isles…of course, nothing was going on then because it was Saturday night at 7:30. I so love the whole entertainment thing here that this informal tour was just a bonus on top of getting to see JBJ.

The mist that had been plaguing us suddenly became a steady rain. We hadn’t brought umbrellas but many other people did which posed a problem for me at 5’3″…being able to see the stage with all the bumpershoots blocking it.  It wasn’t cold at all (in fact, I was a little warm in my coat…it crossed my mind that maybe this wasn’t good for the leather but then I remembered that cows stand in the rain, so how much damage could I be doing?) There were bars (where of course you can only pay with MasterCard!) so we each got a drink and went in to find a good spot.

Well, we decided being back a little further on the slight slope upward was a good place to be since there were really so few people. So there we staked our ground.

Then the stage went dark for a minute, there was the flashing of klieg lights, fireworks and  suddenly all the umbrellas went down!!! And there they were! Right there, maybe 75 yards from where I was standing. And I realized I was standing alone. The girls had moved away from me (I don’t think on purpose; it was just the crowd moving) There would be no one I knew to witness my foolishness!!!

That was when I became 16 again.

For the next 90 minutes non-stop they did all their hits (all my personal favorites!) even though they were getting soaked like the rest of us.  JBJ was wet through and through by the end…yet, they came out and did two more songs as an encore. I sang along at the top of my lungs, jumped up and down, did the “heavy metal” sign, the pointing in the air, took pictures with my phone…I was in heaven.

Through a couple of phone calls, the girls found me and at the end, the three of us looked like drowned rats … but we were happy rats.

I got home by midnight and dragged myself to bed.

The next morning I felt like I’d run a marathon. My knees hurt, my shoulders hurt, I was a little hoarse, I had bags under my eyes you could pack groceries in…I didn’t feel 63…I felt like I was 103.

But it was so worth it!! Thank you, Nicole, for giving this “old” lady 90 minutes of being young again.


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