We went to the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater expecting to be wowed by the live performances of Yes and Peter Frampton. Somehow it turned out that Mike and I were equally impressed with the two guys sitting close to us. I’ll call them Larry (his real name) and Moe (we didn’t catch his name).
The lights came on for the intermission after Peter Frampton’s segment. The guy sitting behind us, Moe, tapped the shoulder of the guy sitting beside me, Larry. Moe pointed at Larry’s Pink Floyd shirt and asked if he was at Roger Waters’ last concert. Larry gave an enthusiastic nod and asked Moe the same question. Of course, he was there. They promptly got into an animated conversation name-dropping bands and members and the shows they’d seen.
Larry (he said he’s 52) claimed to have been to about 400 live shows because he used to work for a broker who had access to these rock and roll bands. He said the first concert he attended was by Derek and the Dominos back in the 70s. He also said he caught live acts at the Filmore East and Madison Square Garden. He even had front row access to a concert by Queen. Back then, cameras were still allowed, so he now shows off his framed photos of Freddie Mercury on the walls all over his house.
Maybe the most impressive thing about Larry is the colored tattoos he has on both arms — the cover art of all the albums of Pink Floyd! Naturally, he was one of those who followed the band on tour across America. He has also seen Yes in concert more than five times. And he thinks the best live act he’s ever witnessed was by Prince.
“I love going to concerts,” Larry said. “It’s what I live for!”
Moe, on the other hand, confessed, “I’m a Deadhead. I love everything Grateful Dead.” He had followed a Dead tour, and across the country too. He said he and his wife saw close to 90 bands in concert last year and hope to top it this year with at least 100 bands.
“How many bands have you seen so far?” I asked.
“Oh, we’re at about 40 now.”
Of course, Moe also noticed that Mike was wearing an EC shirt. He asked us if we were at the Clapton concert at the Amway Arena last Feb, and when we said we were, Larry and Moe chorused, “I was there!”
The lights dimmed again for the Yes segment. We all went back to our screaming, clapping, and dancing to the music. On our way home, I realized we will never see Larry and Moe again; we didn’t even get the chance to exchange names and hometowns. But for that short time over intermission, we didn’t care who we were in real life; we were just happy to tell our concert-going stories and share the music-lover’s pride that at that historic live performance, we were so there.