Friday evening there was an Elton John tribute band in the plaza. Since Yellow Brick Road is one of my all-time favorite albums, I thought, why not? My youngest, visiting from Boston, had plans to see her friends in Berkeley. It had finally cooled off a bit, and the smoke from the wildfires wasn’t blowing over our town.
Before I could even recruit anyone to go with me, I got a text from a girlfriend.
Are you going?
Then another married friend asked if I was heading to the local watering hole.
Nope, going to Blackhawk for Elton John.
I asked her if I could drop off the wheelchair she and her husband had loaned me for my sis.
I put on a cotton top and my jean shorts and a comfortable pair of tennis shoes, good for standing on cement. I drove to the married couple’s place and rang the doorbell. No one answered, so I left the wheelchair on the porch.
When I got to Blackhawk Plaza and parked, I was surprised that it wasn’t more crowded. I went into the plaza and found lots of empty chairs by the stage. I picked out two spots, left my bags on them, and moved to a chair in the sun. A guy named David, who was there saving seats for his wife, chatted me up.
Then I got two texts, one from the friend meeting me – We are bumper to bumper. I will be late.
. . . and the other from the wheelchair wife – You aren’t very dressed up for Blackhawk.
She has the Ring doorbell. She watched me on her phone when I rang the bell.
Are you spying on me? I texted back.
She was showing off her Ring-spying abilities.
After waiting 45 minutes for the friend stuck in traffic, I announced to David that I was going to buy a bottle of wine at the grocery store within the plaza. It would be cheaper than buying it by the glass.
“Don’t let anyone move my stuff,” I said.
David’s wife had shown up and offered to sit in my spot until I got back. By now the place was filling up, and people have been known to move stuff. It’s a competitive town.
“Thanks!” I said.
When I got back with the wine, a friend from the singles’ club was sitting two seats away from my spot.
“Hi, Dorothy,” I said.
Dorothy is a petite little thing. She likes to dance and shows up alone at most venues. She even wore her original Beatles shoes that she got when she was twelve when the Beatles tribute band played.
“Do you want some wine?” I asked.
Just then the stuck-in-traffic friend walked up, and then I had two buddies to sit with. It was a good thing, because the band was about to start.
The band members came out in full costume, including long-haired wigs on the two guitarists and drummer. Elton wore his white and silver jumpsuit, big glasses, and sparkly platform shoes. Elton sat at a grand piano and played while he sang.
I poured the wine from the brown paper bag, looking over my shoulder for a security guard who might not approve. The coast was clear.
The band played a couple of medium-strong hits, including Philadelphia Freedom, then Rocket Man as song number four. The aging crowd went wild. I noticed the men had gray heads, but all the women‘s hair was dyed, my two friends and myself as no exception.
Then some more medium hits, and then Tiny Dancer. The crowd went wild again. I looked around and saw most everyone singing along, even a young teen girl in the row ahead of us.
Then Levon, The Bitch is Back, and Candle in the Wind, the one about Marilyn Monroe.
The band played straight through their ninety minute set with no breaks. By now the bottle of wine was empty, and Elton invited us all to dance. The three of us stood up, two petite women and me at five feet, nine inches. We danced to Crocodile Rock and kept dancing in our places to everything else. I was fully aware that I am a tall woman and that I was blocking the view of those behind me, but after my two glasses of wine, I didn’t care. No one said anything to me. Maybe they were also standing up.
The band ended with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Saturday Night, and Your Song. Suddenly it was over, and the crowd got up to leave.
I went home to my empty house (except for the dogs), ate a bowl of ice cream, and called it dinner.
The next night, after driving my visiting daughter to the airport, I went to the town green in front of the library and sat with the HiknByke group to dance to a different cover band. Dorothy was there again.
More wine, more exercise, more familiar faces. I recognized a new couple from my meet-up group. We waved.
Summer is winding down. The music in the park will end by next month. Free entertainment. Friendly faces. Dancing to a sunset. All of it ending until next June.
Time to pack away the cooler bag, my folding table, and little red wagon. The lawn chair isn’t worth saving.
Maybe I can buy one at half off for next year.
Couldda Wouldda Didda
I came. I listened. I danced.