They invited me to come along, but I honestly had more fun watching my two little sisters have a big night at the Phil Collins Genesis concert Tuesday night in Chicago.
My sister Jenny (who also goes by Jenna) called it a Jenna-Sis night and they live-texted me throughout. As I’ve written about before, I am four years older than my sister Kathy and seven years older than my sister Jenny. They were the tailenders in our family of six and we called them the Little Girls.
They shared a bedroom, a princess telephone they saved up money to buy and, inexplicably, a canopy bed. In a way, they also shared their taste in music, but that was mostly because Kathy, who used to ride her bike downtown to buy 45 RPM records every week and recorded songs off the radio onto cassette tapes as often as she could, played her music all the time. Even though she was a speedy little thing, Jenny could not escape the constant onslaught of Genesis, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Earth, Wind and Fire, REM, INXS and Prince booming from the family record player and from the transistor radio Kathy took with her everywhere. So, Boomer became a fan too.
Tuesday night seemed like a magical trip back in time for both of them.
“I just had to buckle Jenny in to her seatbelt. #alwaysherbigsister,” texted Kathy as they made their way to the United Center.
They were giddy as they described necklaces they received made from cymbals Phil had played, and even a little emotional as Phil and the band took them on a trip through their childhood. Kathy sent me a video of Phil singing “Throwing It All Away” and the background could have been a scroll through her high school cassette case.
“LOVED the cassette background,” Jenny texted. “Brought me right back to our bedroom with our dumb shared canopy with the radio between us.”
Among other highlights, Kathy texted that her favorite part was, “Hearing Jenny sing the songs I annoyed her with as a child.”
Both Jenny and Kathy texted about how cool it was to see Phil’s son Nicholas Collins playing the drums behind his proud dad.
“I loved when the stage camera caught him singing as he drummed. I also loved that Phil kept turning around to watch him drum. He seemed like a very proud dad,” Kathy wrote.
“The drumming was incredible. As the guy behind us pointed out. Because it was Phil, every song centers on the drums. I can’t believe Nicholas could do it!” Jenny later texted.
Kathy reminded us about a road trip she took with her friends back in 1985. Just 16-years old at the time, she drove her friends Brenda and Jeannie to Chicago to see Phil Collins perform. The girls stayed at my college apartment that night and met my then-boyfriend (now husband of 35 years) Vince.
“I don’t know what your father and I were thinking,” my mom said as we chatted the next day. “Did we really let her do that?”
They did it, without cellphones, GPS or XM radio, just a tape deck and three very happy, young fans.
I love live music and I love the way it stretches the memories it makes in a single performance through decades.
And, I love my sisters.
They tried to bully me into going to the concert and, when I declined (because I really can’t be driving to Chicago on a Tuesday night in November), they insisted on live texting me throughout. The thing is, I thoroughly enjoyed it.