There are songs from my youth that take me right back to a certain time and place. Foghat’s Slow Ride returns me to a concert at the Amarillo Civic Center in 1976, and perhaps the wildest night of my life.
My roommate, C, and I had won tickets to see Foghat on a call-in radio contest. I’m going to confess that I wasn’t really into Foghat. I was more of an Eagles fan–mellow country rock. But C was a huge Foghat fan, and rather than let her go alone I gamely put on a t-shirt paired with a pair of faded and flared hip huggers and let her lead me into that den of iniquity.
C and I carried in bottles of Boone’s Farm Wine underneath our jackets–her idea, and by the time the opening act came onstage we were already pretty tipsy. The Marshall Tucker Band opened for Foghat that night. I’ve often thought that was an odd combination, but it worked.
When Foghat took the stage an electricity like nothing I’d ever experienced lit the air. My good girl self got lost in a barrage of pounding drums and heavy metal guitar. Joints were passed. I might’ve inhaled. We passed our wine around. The whole night swam in front of my eyes like a fuzzy psychedelic movie. All the time my good girl self kept saying, “Just for tonight, kiddo. Just for tonight.”
Some random male in the crowd kept touching me inappropriately. Even in my out of body frame of mind I knew I needed to find a safer spot to stand. I elbowed C and motioned to a spot where we could have our backs to the wall. We began systematically making our way to the safe spot, but somewhere on our route we were separated.
I didn’t panic at first. We’d driven my car to the venue, so I knew I could get home. But there was no way I’d leave my roomie. As the band played their encores I began hunting actively for her. No luck. I stood around as the concert hall emptied. Still no C.
Nowadays we could just text or call, but back in the olden days that wasn’t an option. I feared the worst. Maybe the guy who’d been targeting my delicate femininity had grabbed my friend.
Finally I went to my old Ford Galaxy and stood there, hoping she’d meet me back at our starting point. I saw an old boyfriend. He suggested I go home and wait for C to call. And that’s what I did.
Sure enough, around 5 a.m. the phone rang. C had gone partying with a group she’d met and needed a ride home. I was relieved. And pissed. Did she have any idea how worried I’d been?
On the ride back to our rental I chewed her out a bit. She just grinned. She might’ve said, “Sorry MOM!”
I never had another night like that. Fun and crazy and a little scary. My good girl self knew she’d had quite enough. But oh, it was fun to be out of control for awhile.
Being out of control–that’s what I remember when I hear Slow Ride.