Two girls from Santa Maria dance their asses off at an English Beat concert in North Carolina

(Originally posted April 2008)

On March 4, I was 16 for two hours. So was my friend Liz.

Liz is my best friend from high school with whom I just reconnected after 20 years (and we both ended up in NC in the same year). We are about to be 40, but we got to be 16 for an evening.

And we have my real estate agent, Ed, to thank. When we were here in NC househunting in January, we got to talking about music and discovered we were both English Beat fans. So, in mid-February he emails me that they’re playing in a tiny club in Chapel Hill on March 4. We were flying out March 1. Perfect. We weren’t getting into our house until March 11, so we’d still be at my brother’s house. Babysitters!!

M&LEnglishBeat2The first person I called was Liz. We lived and breathed The English Beat and General Public in high school and college. And we’re both still big fans.

“We are so in!” she practically screamed. Later she told me that everyone she told about the concert looked at her like she spoke Spanish. “The English… what??”

“Mirror in the Bathroom” never made it to Goldsboro, apparently.

So we get there to find that it is a TINY club… couldn’t be better! We listen to the end of the opening band’s set, and as the crowd disperses we make our way up to the stage where we proceeded to dance our asses off for two hours. The show was SO good. Dave Wakeling still has that cool voice, and, although the band members are different,  the music still took us back.  We belted out every song from “Rough Rider” to “Save it for Later” to “Tenderness” and “Never You Done That”.  So did the rest of the 30- and 40-something crowd.

During a lull between songs, I yelled “See, we’re 40 and we still know all the words!” Dave replied, “Thank God for Aracept. Did I take mine today? I’m not sure…”

I had no idea what he was talking about. Then two days later I saw a commercial — it’s Alzheimer’s medication.The_beat

I think everyone should have the chance to be 16 again. For both Liz and me, it was especially cathartic. We needed to let loose together in the warm hug of a well-loved soundtrack. Liz’ in-laws, who had been living with them since Thanksgiving, just left. Cris and Max and I, after burning the candle at both ends since Thanksgiving,  had just completed the first half — and roughest part — of a cross-country move. And what better a launch party for the adult phase of our friendship?

Still incredulous that we actually made it to North Carolina, Cris said in the car: “How funny. Two girls from Santa Maria dance their asses off at an English Beat concert in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.”

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