When I went to see Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on Saturday night, I walked down to within about 20 feet of the stage. Close enough for a decent picture, I thought.
When she took the stage, I pulled out my phone and took a crappy picture. Then another crappy picture. I should have known better. The Paul McCartney picture I took last summer turned out somewhat decent only because I shot the giant video board and not Macca himself.
Lots of other people were taking pictures on Saturday night, as you’d expect. One guy provided a vaguely surreal experience. As I watched Joan Jett live, I also saw it on the small screen on the guy’s phone. Both were in my line of sight.
The night before, on Friday night, I was sitting in the left-field corner at Miller Park in Milwaukee, not all that far from where we sat for McCartney. My friend Doug and I got to talking about keeping a scorecard at ballgames. We used to do it all the time. We don’t do it anymore. I’ve gone to dozens of ballgames since the ’70s, but I remember few of the details. Too busy keeping score.
Which is why I deleted all but one of my Joan Jett pictures on Saturday night and put my phone away. I wanted to soak in the show and remember its essence, and to not have a crappy picture as my lingering memory.
Joan Jett sounded great, looked great, had a tight band, and looked like she was having fun, even on a cool Wisconsin night when she wore a lightweight hoodie until she warmed up with the first couple of numbers. Can’t ask for more.
Of course, one of those lingering memories will be all the phones whipped out by the faithful.
As will the lighters whipped out by a couple of old-school folks toward the end of the show. There you go. That’s more like it.
You know all of Joan Jett’s hits — and she played most of them on Saturday night — so here’s one from their most recent record, “Unvarnished,” which came out a year ago. It’s called “Soulmates To Strangers,” and was written with Laura Jane Grace. The band in the video is the one that played here.
Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.