I have a much younger friend who is crazy about K-Pop. That’s not a new breakfast cereal, folks, although a few crumbled-up Pop Tarts couldn’t do anything but improve the taste of Special K, which we all know is reconstituted, ground-up cardboard.
K-Pop is short for Korean pop music. My friend’s favorite group is EXO, and her bias (aka favorite) is a guy named Suho. She is about to have a heartthrob attack because after weeks of wishing and planning and nail biting, she has tickets to see EXO on their first American tour. Never mind that the concert is in mid-February in New Jersey, and she is a Texas girl used to windbreaker weather.
I don’t get K-Pop but I am excited for her. You see, decades ago I had a chance to see the Rolling Stones on the second stop of their first American tour. It was June 6, 1964, at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. The blonde Brian Jones was still in the band, and Keith Richards was still gorgeous.
And my best friend ruined it.
Every summer Gwen and I spent a week with my aunt and uncle in San Antonio. They pulled out all the stops, providing big-city experiences for us little country mice. In the summer of ’64, the hottest experience was a week-long event called the Teen Fair. (I thought it was an awful name. I still do.)
The music line-up was jam-packed, but we could go to only one show. I had my heart set on the Rolling Stones. I loved the Beatles with their bouncy hair, sleek gray suits, and upbeat music, but, oh, those Stones! Could anybody move like Mick Jagger in those days? Can anybody move like Mick Jagger these days? No, and no.
My friend didn’t agree. I don’t recall the entire conversation, but her side of it mainly consisted of “nasty,” “dirty,” “weird,” “gross,” and “yuck, no, never.”
This is where I should mention a rule we had back then: Company Chooses. Since I was a relative, I wasn’t company at my aunt’s house, but because I had invited Gwen to come along, she was. That was her interpretation of the rule, not mine.
We ended up at the Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas concert. (“Who?” you ask. Funny–that’s what everybody says at this point in the story.) I pretended to like the show, just like I pretended not to be upset when a picture of the Stones and the twelve people at their concert appeared in the newspaper a few days later.
Incomprehensibly, the event organizers had paired the soon-to-be rock icons with country singer George Jones. The twelve people who stayed after Mr. Jones left the stage got a private concert, a meet-and-greet, and a family heirloom in the form of a newspaper clipping of them and one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever.
But I’ve forgotten about the whole thing. Really.
I hope my sweet friend has the time of her life. I hope Suho autographs her arm with a permanent marker. I hope he invites her backstage and asks her to tag along when the group goes to dinner.
And I hope she likes me enough to let me know if the Stones ever roll back into town.