Memories of Manchester - & concerts past

I can't count the number of times my friends and I piled into a car, made the trek from our little town of Oxford, and found our way to the Spectrum for a rock show.

I don't think my parents ever once wondered if I would return home safely.

We'd make that hour-long trek, all the way up Route 1, down Route 322 (yes, I survived the killer Conchester), up I-95 before hopping off at the Broad Street exit and finding our way into the Spectrum. Yes, I am old. The Spectrum no longer is there. But the memories are.

And it was those memories that went through my mind when I first heard of the bomb blast that killed 22 young people and injured scores more at a concert by pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, England.

I have to admit I would not recognize an Ariana Grande tune if I fell over it.

But I know why those kids were there. They love her music. It's what kids do. It's certainly what I and my friends did. I saw them all, Bruce, Yes, Chicago, Grand Funk, Dave Mason, the Allman Brothers. Is it just me, or did Foghat open every show back then.

One thing we did not worry about was a terrorist blast. About the closest we ever came was the guy in the row behind us puking all over our back.

It's a different world today. I'm guessing there are probably a couple of those nights when my mother wasn't even aware that I was going to a concert.

All I can think about now is the pictures of those mothers in England, still waiting for their loved one to come home, not knowing if they are dead or alive.

As a parent, and as someone who did all those things and more as a kid, my heart breaks for them.

I'm glad I grew up when I did.