When you live in Myrtle Beach and don’t have a big Performing Arts Center, even though I have fought long and hard as the former Chair of the City of Myrtle Beach Cultural Arts Committee for twenty-five years, you pretty much have to go out of the area to see some big-name acts. However, I will give Carolina Opry, The Alabama Theater, the former Palace Theater, the First Presbyterian Concert Series, and the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art credit for fostering some really great concerts, many that I have had a chance to emcee.
My top favorite out of the area concerts were Paul McCartney who was my heartthrob in my pre-teens, Neil Diamond who I fell in love with during high school, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, a college favorite of mine, and most recently, Elton John in his farewell concert tour. They all took me back in time with memories good and bad that had me sobbing during the performances.
I looked around and no one else was crying. They were all happy, clapping, cheering, standing at times, and swaying to the music. My husband was quite embarrassed the first time this happened at the McCartney concert. He thought I was having a nervous breakdown. Heck, I thought I was too.
He swore he would never take me to another concert. But we all relate to music in different ways. The Beatles music takes me back to when my beautiful baby sister was born which was such a joyous time. Yet one year later, my new dad was transferred, and we had to move out of state away from my beloved grandparents who I had lived with for the first eight years of my life. Yes, all these memories came flooding back during the McCartney performance.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a very “up” and positive person, making people laugh and feel good. This crying gag is so unlike me, but I have purged tears during every single concert.
When I emceed the Lettermen show at the Alabama Theater – no not David Lettermen, but the fabulous vocalists, THE LETTERMEN – I knew I could not cry because I was going to have to speak to the audience after intermission. But who wouldn’t cry after songs like “Cherish,” “When I Fall In Love,” “More,” and the crying-est song of all times “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” I was a basket case backstage. I had tear streaks all down my cheeks. Luckily, I keep a make-up bag in my car for emergencies like these. TV people have to be prepared, right? But my nose was still red, and my raccoon eyes were hopeless.
Then there are Broadway shows that make me weep bitterly. Whether they are in New York or even local community Theater, I can’t help myself. I can’t even talk about “Les Miserables” without balling!
Over the years I have been fortunate to emcee the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art in October. It’s the best and you shouldn’t miss it. Most of the guest performers have been music from the times of our lives. And I can tell you, since I usually sit in the audience after the opening introduction, I’m not the only one totally losing it. A couple of years ago a woman who sat behind me was crying during Pablo Cruise singing “Whatcha Gonna Do When He Says Goodbye?” So, I handed her a tissue since I am always prepared at venues like these and she said, “Thanks, when my first husband left me for a younger woman, this song empowered me. But it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I finally found happiness.”
I truly believe that everyone has a jukebox of sorts in their head that is tied to their hearts that cause everyone to react differently upon hearing a song. Recently, my husband surprised me with Sirius Radio since I was no longer working for any local stations. I just love it. I have the fifties, sixties, seventies, Beatles, Broadway, and Classic Rock programmed so that if a song is sending me into a crying gag, I just press a button and I am taken back to a different time and place in my musical box of memories. But tissues are always close at hand.