Your first concert, you’ll never forget it. It’s burned into my retina: Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation Tour, Ahoy, with a lover and his mother. I looked at the stage holding my breath. Those costumes, those dance steps, those dancers. I can still remember almost every detail, until it was back on the subway, my hands clenched tightly around the poster I’d scored for fifteen guilders. It was magical.
After I bought tickets for Michael Bublé (Ouch! Ribs Out of My Body), I asked Pook who she’d most like to see live. She’d already gone to Friends of the Amstel Live with dad, but a concert by someone from her own playlist, which was definitely extra fun. “Harry Styles,” was his reply. “Or Katy Perry.”
I searched for his favorite on Songkick, saw that Harry was coming to the Netherlands soon, and blindly bought two tickets. Another rib came out of my body (ouch!), but apparently that’s part of it these days, those exorbitant prices. When the time came, Pook borrowed a pink boa from her favorite BSO teacher, painted a heart on her face, and wore cowboy pants that I’d specially ordered online for the occasion. She was ready for this.
We left extra early, ate fries at the square and admired all the beautiful birds of paradise parading there. We sipped apple juice, scanned our tickets, took our seats and looked at the feathers, glitter and hats in the audience until the supporting act broke up.
in a swoon
The music was so loud that the fillings were moving through my teeth. “What a twig noise, intolerable”, I shouted. Pook shouted back: “If you put your fingers in your ears, you hear better”. I’m sorry I couldn’t bring earplugs. Fortunately, this was the only discordant note in an otherwise faultless logistics.
Finally he came on stage. Harry. An inch long, so far. I warned Puck about the screams of the teenage girls, but the noise and violence almost killed him. Luckily, my girl didn’t reveal herself and very quickly fainted herself.
She waved her boa, kissed me on my cheek, sang along with what she could, had a few good turns of tiredness. She ate a chocolate bar and kept dancing. “Don’t tell Dad, but I want to marry Harry,” I shouted into the air.
crushed and ringing ear
That sea of lights, the throb of the crowd in front of us, the pounding sound of the bass on our chests: we were crushed by all the impressions. We leave the room hours later, madly in love with Harry. Totally broken, but also totally satisfied. We took those scruffy ears for granted. (And next time just bring a palette of earplugs).
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