Navigating Under The Influence


Recently, my son, Hank and I were fortunate enough to be given 2 tickets to a concert at Blossom Music Center. We saw the Edgar Winter’s Bad, Alice Cooper and Deep Purple. The concert itself was good. We really enjoyed Alice Cooper. He still sounds great and puts on a very good theatrical stage performance that keeps your attention the entire time.

What was even better than the concert was the group of veteran rockers seated behind us and to our left. This group consisted of 3 men and 2 women. We were seated first then they came in behind us halfway into the opening act. We didn’t notice them immediately. It wasn’t until the slight breeze brought the unmistakably strong smell of marijuana into our nostrils that we looked to see where it was coming from. It was from this group to our left. Along with their left sweet leaf, as Black Sabbath sang, they were enjoying their alcohol just as much.

Our first interaction with this group happened when the taller man in the group was yelling over the music at the people 30 yards ahead of us to put a grounded beach ball back up into the air. His request was falling upon deaf ears. I looked over at him after his many feeble attempts to get the other concert goers to put the beach ball back up in the air and suggested he may have to go down there and just do it himself. ‘Tall Man’ explained to Hank and I that back in the 70’s that ball would have never touched the ground. He let us know also that back in those days when you would look up at that beach ball coming towards you and you’d think and I’ll paraphrase, “Wow man, there is a planet coming towards me.” Hank and I looked at each other and laughed. Hank suggested that maybe Tall Man had been under the influence of a little more than booze and marijuana in the 70’s.

A while later, Tall Man brought us their binoculars to get a better look at Alice Cooper’s stage and all of the props that were present. We’d made a friend.  

Hank and I really particularly enjoyed Tall Man’s buddy, ‘Leather Jacket’. He was a trip. I believe he came to the concert cloaked in his weathered leather jacket already quite inebriated because he seem to be very unstable on his feet as he tried to navigate the hillside. What amazed us about Leather Jacket was that as unstable as he was on his feet to begin with, he continued to get worse. He’d drunk-wander but never get lost. Hank or I would watch Leather Jacket with a beer in his hand stumble down the hill weaving in and out of groups of people and into the darkness. Approximately 15-20 minutes later the man would weave his way back up into our general area. Those in his group would catch sight of him and yell out, “BUDDY!”  Leather Jacket would holler back, then the group would again yell “BUDDY!” and Leather Jacket would make his way safety back to the pack.

After being back with his group a few minutes it was time for Leather Jacket to go a few feet in front of us and play some air guitar or possibly even drums.  Then he disappeared down the hill into the night again. Just like before he stumbles up the hill, his group yells, he yells back, they yell again, he navigates to them, hangs out with them a few minutes, plays his air guitar and drums and back down the hill.

I’m sure Leather Jacket woke up the next morning with very little, if any, recollection of the concert and definitely no memory of me and Hank.

To the contrary, though, Hank and I will never forget Tall Man or Leather Jacket and the entertainment that provided us that evening as we were creating memories.


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