Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

If you asked Ed when we had our first date, he'd tell you the summer of '87. Huh? Is that right?

Kinda.

I haven't really gone into the "How We Met" story because for a long time, my blog was read by those who have known us IRL or from online. I won't go into the whole story, but we worked together at a gas station.

When you worked in the fish bowl, you couldn't have visitors. Either you were there with another employee (rare) or you were there by yourself. We listened to A LOT of radio, because we were by ourselves a lot.

Listening to radio that much, you ended up dialing in to hopefully be the 12th caller to win...well, you get the idea. In our tenure at the gas station, between us and my ex, we won:
*WNEW's musical jeopardy (I've got my WNEW mini locker around here somewhere)
*WBAB's grafitti sweatshirts, t shirts and various CDs (while another friend worked there, even)
*Pete Fornatele's Mixed Bag prizes at least five times that I can recall
*Four U2 CDs
*Tickets to several concerts, like Renaissance and David Bowie
*Tickets to Laser Rock

There were other things that were the rewards of having fast fingers and listening to the radio at hours that no one else was up, but I can't remember them all.

Earlier that summer, I won tickets to see one of Ed's favorite groups, Renaissance, play at Club Bene in New Jersey. Of course, I was going to take him to the show, and my ex and another friend also went. I'm glad we did, for it was their last live show ever.

A couple of months later, Ed was one of the grand prize winners of 2 David Bowie tickets from WNEW (Glass Spider Tour). The prize included backstage passes to meet Bowie. The announced opening act was Squeeze, one of my favorite bands. They later added another act that was a head scratcher to us, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. (Ron Delsner, WTF?) For Ed, there was no question of who was getting that second ticket-he asked me.

The concert was memorable for more than the events at the stadium. I had a POS car, a Malibu with electrical issues so bad that I had a voltmeter wired in and visible on the bench seat. I had it so that I did not shut the car off if the battery registered less than 10 amps-otherwise, it would not start back up.

Well, in our haste to get to will call to pick up our tickets, I shut that car off with the meter at eight amps. Also in our haste to get there, I brought my camera-but the film was left behind in the car. There is no record of what happened next.

We waited in a press room for about 45 minutes to meet with David Bowie, along with about 40 other winners of WNEW's contest. About ten feet away, with his packs of cigarettes and bottle of Jack was New York radio legend Scott Muni. Did I care about Scottso? No, I babbled to the jock next to him, Marty Martinez. Marty and Dave Herman were the ones I listened to daily.

You know how after the big Giants/Jets/your team here's football game, they have a press conference with the players who made the big play? You see a host of media types and the player behind a podium? That's where we waited.

Eventually, David came out. We each got to ask a question. What struck me was how SKINNY he was. He's 6 foot something and maybe 120 pounds! The other thing that was interesting is that he had one blue and one green eye. The meet and greet went on for nearly an hour, but it seemed like ten minutes.

Once they shuffled David off to get ready for the show, we hurried to the other side of the stadium to our seats. For a football game, they were phenomenal. For a concert, not so much. We were close to the 50 yard line, maybe 10 rows up from the field.

The whole time we were in the meet and greet, the other two bands played. So much for seeing Squeeze. That's okay, at that time, I think I'd seen them live six times already. I got over it pretty quick, while we looked at that huge spider that served as a canopy for the stage.

The show was good. It was the first time I'd seen a concert in such a large venue, and it left me wanting. Wanting good acoustics and no planes flying overhead. However, it was a good show, a long show. Worth every penny. Oh wait, I didn't pay for them, but I would have paid the going rate for them if it hadn't been sold out.

Bowie took the stage around 9pm and put on a show that lasted until well after 11pm. It was easy to see why the man is so skinny-he never stopped moving in that summer heat. Even well into a tour, his voice wasn't shredded, which meant the vocals sounded damn good.

After the show, we got out to my car, ready for the drive home. (Our voices were shredded from cheering so much). I turn the key in the ignition and found the dreaded voltmeter reading at 8. Oh, crap! My car will not even think of turning over.

We tried to get a jump from another concert goer, any concert goer. No luck. Eventually, we get Giants Stadium security to send one of their tow trucks out to give my car a jump. They don't listen to me that once they use my cables, I need them to sit for a good two minutes to bring my electrical system to 12 amps. As soon as my car started, the guy unhooked the jumper cables and drove off. The voltmeter was reading 10amps.

This began the scariest drive of my life. If a car has no juice, the first thing that suffers is the lights. I was driving some of the busiest roads in the world, at night, with headlights that were dimmer than a darkroom safe light.

I kept saying "We're gonna die" as I could see cars flying up behind me on the New Jersey Turnpike, then changing lanes at the last second once they saw my car in that right lane. At the toll plaza, the helpful toll taker informed me my lights were out. At the Goethals, the same thing happened.

Going over the Verrazano, I was thankful for no toll taker, but scared of going down the ramp on the other side if there wasn't someone right behind me to ward off the weekend crazies in a rush to get onto the Belt Parkway.

Obviously, we made it home in one piece. The Bowie concert was memorable-and for more than meeting the man himself.

BTW, I consider our first date to be one when Ed drove from Chicago to Maryland after we'd been dating long distance for six weeks about seven years after the Bowie concert. Not quite as memorable, though

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