There was a time when I absolutely loved a good road trip. The longer the better.
Nowadays? It's a considerable effort to drive to Wal-Mart.
Which brings me to a conversation I recently had with an old friend of mine. We were breaking down some of our favorite road trips through the years when we both realized most of those journeys included a concert. That, of course, led to another discussion about the best concerts we have ever seen.
My contribution to that part of the conversation was the following five concerts I consider my most memorable:
1. Bruce Springsteen: Unquestionably, The Boss put on the single-most impressive performance I have ever seen. This occurred in the mid-1980s on a hot August night in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the man played for four hours. I can't remember a louder concert crowd than when Springsteen, the late Clarence Clemons and the rest of the E. Street Band broke out "Born to Run."
2. Rod Stewart: Those who know me are probably surprised I don't have Rod the Mod at No. 1, since he has been my favorite artist for 47 consecutive years. This, in no way, diminishes the greatness of Sir Rod, it simply illustrates the majesty of a live Springsteen show.
I have seen Rod numerous times, including twice in St. Louis since I have lived in Quincy, and if anything, he has improved with age.
I have seen Rod during his disco era, during personal tragedy (the infamous break-up with Britt Eklund) and most other phases of his career. No one puts on a better a show, except maybe Springsteen on a hot summer night about 30 years ago.
3. Alabama: Yeah, I like country music, too, and I got on the Alabama bandwagon early in that group's career. I was fortunate enough to see them multiple times at the height of their career, at both indoor and outdoor venues, and their performances were always spectacular.
Along with hearing live versions of Springsteen's "Born to Run" and Rod's "Maggie May," there is no offering better to hear live than the opening bars of Alabama's "Old Flame." Singing along with "Love in the First Degree" with about 20,000 other fans is also a treat.
4. Milli Vanilli: To this day, I hold no grudges against Rob or Fab for lip syncing all of those great songs. The evening I saw them at the Richfield Coliseum (which, like their career, is now in rubble) was an electric night. They may not have actually been singing "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" or "Girl You Know It's True," but those guys put on a tremendous show.
And also to this day, "Blame it on the Rain" remains one of the songs I play each time I take a musical trip on YouTube.
5. Diana Ross and the Supremes: This was the first concert I ever attended, and it remains one of my favorites. Tickets were $5 for this late-1960s event at Ashland University, and my seat was about 15 feet from Diana Ross.
I have always told my children -- and now grandchildren -- I was lucky enough to see the best girl group in pop music history. There's not even a close second to the queens of Motown.