The concert story

In high school, I discovered the ’60s band Tommy James and the Shondells.

I loved all oldies — Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Supremes, The Beach Boys— but Hanky Panky was one tier higher in my book of brilliance.

Because I was the one with the car, my girlfriends knew all the words to Tommy James’ complete discography, liked it or didn’t.

We would pile in my little ‘Smo-mobile,’ roll down the windows and sing along — unreasonably loudly. We bounced with such vigor, people would see us at stop signs and start bouncing in their cars, even if we were holding still at the time.

The summer after high school, I saw an ad I couldn’t believe. Tommy James and the Shondells was to headline at the Greek Amphitheater, with The Turtles, Herman’s Hermits, The Mamas and The Papas, Tommy Roe and my other favorite, The Grass Roots.

I borrowed money to buy the most expensive seats, which were $50 each — a fortune — and worked extra shifts to raise the money. I was taking my best girlfriend as a birthday gift to both of us.

That would be My High School Best Friend, who turns 42 today.

On the morning of the concert, I went to an employee swim party at a coworker’s house, about 20 minutes out of town.

It was August, and it was hot. I drank a lot of watermelon punch.

Unbeknownst to me, there was everclear in it, which at the time I had never heard of.

By late afternoon, I was in a sorry state.

One of the waiters took me to his apartment, where I spent a lot of time throwing up. Somehow I managed to remember that My Best Friend needed calling, and even relayed the phone number.

I remember being surprised when she showed up to get me.

She drove me to my house to get clothes and the tickets. I waited in the car.

We got on the freeway, and my head was coming pretty clear. As we neared L.A., we started realizing we were ill prepared for the concert.

By that I mean we didn’t know where the Greek was, and I didn’t have any shoes.

My Best Friend turned the car around, and took me home.

No Hanky Panky, no Sweet Cherry Wine, no Draggin’ the Line.

But there was a lot of moany moany.

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