Do not go gentle into that good night…Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas
You’ve gotta fight for your right to party. – Beastie Boys
Anyone close to me knows that one of my biggest fears in life is getting old (and, by extension, dying). I’m not bothered so much by numerical age because what’s a number, really; it’s all the other stuff that comes with it: physical ailments, wrinkles, 8pm bedtimes…I fear slowing down, losing my energy, my gusto, my excitement for life, for fun, for all things raucous. You know those status updates on Facebook that tout the joys of sitting in on a Saturday night under a Snuggie, drinking coco, and catching up on old episodes of Dexter? That’s my worst nightmare realized. I never want to stay in. I never want to sit still. Truthfully, I never want to grow up.
Which explains why I had the best time ever at The Legwarmers concert last night at the Trocadero. The group itself is nothing special; they’re an 80’s tribute band, so it’s not like you’re getting anything new here, at least musically speaking. But what you are getting is an experience – an experience of being in a room where time has stopped in 1986, where we’re all kids with side ponytails and Keds, where we jump up and down repeatedly and call it dancing, where anything goes because we’re invisible behind our neon slotted sunglasses (that, yes, we’re wearing at night).
I saw more popped collars and blazers than I could shake a stick at.
One of my friends even had on a classic Swatch watch, which, as soon as I laid eyes on it, instantly took me back to the 4th grade when I was sad because everyone had a Swatch but me.
The band members themselves did not disappoint, rocking the Tiffany-style crimped hair and short skirts and the white jeans and red bandana ensemble a la Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. They set the tone early, opening the show with “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!),” which moved everyone to do exactly that. The set list was one pop hit after another, slowing down only for the obligatory lighter-in-the-air moment with “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” In the midst of all the classic one-hit wonders, they even played The Boss (“Glory Days”), which I believe was a psychic nod of approval, letting me know that this is exactly where – and with whom – I belonged. Whether we knew it or not, we came to this show in solidarity to be transported backwards in time as a protest against our inevitable end; we were occupying life.
Everyone deals with aging and death differently: some people have kids, others go to church, and many more get Botox. None of these things appeals to me at this time, so this – dressing up in costumes, being silly, dancing so long that I can barely walk to my car at the end of the night, and singing myself into laryngitis – is what I need to do to deal with the fact that every day I wake up is just one day closer to the day when I will never wake up again. This is what I need to do to keep me young, not just in my memory but in my spirit – in my soul – here and now.
Photos taken by Kerri Schuster and Dana Resente