Boy. If I had a nickel for every person who has asked for my thoughts on the Pat Benatar concert last week, you know what I’d have?

I wouldn’t have a nickel, that’s for sure. Nobody gives a hang about my penetrating thoughts on Benatar, but I’m going to tell you anyway, and do you know why?

Because I’m a heart breaker, that’s why. I’m a dream maker, love taker don’t you mess around with me, no no no.

Also, I’ve been on vacation for a week and have no damn clue what’s happening locally, so Benatar it is!

The fact is, I don’t go to a lot of concerts. I saw Springsteen in D.C. back in the day, I saw Concrete Blonde a bunch of times and someone dragged me to a Live concert back when Live was still a thing.

I even caught the Indigo Girls at Bates that one time, but you’ll never get me to admit it publicly. And even if I did admit it, I went only to impress a girl and so just shut up about it, will you?

Don’t mess with me, fool. I’m a real tough cookie with a long history.

With this vast experience I have with rock concerts, the one thing I’ve noticed is that you see the same people at every show. I mean it, too. As far as I can tell, a small handful of dedicated stalkers is going to great lengths to follow me to rock concerts, even if I only go to a handful per decade. It’s diabolical. I don’t know their names and I barely recall their faces, yet I could easily pick these people out of a police lineup based on their behaviors alone.

The perpetual dancers, for instance. These arm-flailing, fist-pumping, pelvis-thrusting machines dance even when there is no music with which to keep a beat. They’re dancing as they pass through the metal detectors on the way into the venue. They’re shaking their groove thing as the boring emcee guy delivers his spiel about how there is no smoking, no drinking of alcohol, no flash photography allowed. They dance like men and women on fire from the start of the show to the end with no pause in between. I suspect they probably dance on the drive home, too.

These hip-swinging folks are not to be confused with the less audacious whose reaction to the music can only be described as nearly dancing.

You know the type. These are men and women who look like they are under strict doctors’ orders to refrain from all forms of dance and they’re trying with all their might to comply. Then Benatar launches into a raucous version of “We Live for Love” and … well, come on. Nobody can resist that.

The nearly dancing guy will bite his lower lip and bob his head up and down ever so slightly. His legs don’t move at all, but if you look real close, you can see one foot tapping up and down against his will. He’ll keep his hands stuffed deep within his pockets lest they fly off into the air and start swinging about with finger-snapping abandon. You can almost hear the poor head-bobbing fellow’s inner voice commanding: “MUST! NOT! DANCE!”

I’m afraid I might be one of these people.

At every concert, you will see the imaginary microphone guy or gal who sings every single song on the play list, and with more gusto than the actual artist on the actual stage.

Anything and everything will serve as a microphone for this guy. Beer bottle? He’ll belt out “Love is a Battlefield” into it at such volume that his previously cool Corona will begin to boil over.

Pack of smokes? Perfectly good microphone. Heart medication? He’ll crush that bottle and those pills into fine powder just so he can belt out “Fire and Ice” with all the lung-shredding force it requires. He’ll take off a shoe, if he has to, because this cat simply can’t croon without a sort-of-microphone-shaped item clutched in his trembling hand. There was a guy at a Journey concert a few years ago who so wanted to sing “Don’t Stop Believing” in just the right way, he ripped off his own thumb in order to use it as a microphone.

OK, not really, but doesn’t that sound like something that ought to be true?

At every concert you will find the person who shouts for the same song over and over, even if that song was the first one played.

“Play ‘Hell is for Children!'” this one older lady kept hollering before, after and even while Benatar was singing the song in question.

And the person who spends the entire concert telling everyone who will listen about other artists he’s seen and about how much better their light show was.

“Dude, you should have been at the Floyd show in ’79. Best light show ever, dude.”

There’s always at least one person who’s obviously on something a little stronger than Corona or garden variety pot. This is the lady who spends the first half of the concert screaming at Heart to sing “Smoke on the Water” and the second half complaining that she can’t find her fingers.

There are people who hold their hands to the sky and serenely swing their arms back and forth no matter what the context. I totally get it if it’s Neil Diamond singing “Song Sung Blue,” but dude! It’s Korn playing “Black is the Soul.” Put those arms away, already. Or at least give one of them to the microphone guy so he can shred some lungs.

And that’s what I thought of the Benatar concert, are you happy? Pat Benatar rocked, to the point where I was almost willing to give up that no-dancing order and shake my groove thing all across the Old Port.

Almost. Not quite there. Maybe at the Styx/REO Speedwagon show in Bangor next month.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. Send your groove-thing-shakin’ videos to [email protected]

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