When I was in high school thirty-some years ago, I was obsessed with Pat Benatar. And I was lucky to have seen her in concert in 1981 in a huge auditorium in upstate NY. But she was the size of an ant on stage, which left me wanting more from my concert experience, and I was a bit sad even though it was a great show. After the concert that night, my friends and I decided we would wait it out in the parking lot until all the cars left so we wouldn’t hit any traffic jams on the way home. Well, about an hour later we were getting ready to leave when we heard screams from the auditorium a half mile away. We were in the farthest-out parking lot. We saw a limo leave, turn onto the street next to where we were parked, and then stop at a red light right in front of us. Well, of course I yell Pat!?!?!?!?!?!? And the window rolls down, and it’s her. Nobody else was around except for my friends and me. We made a dash for the limo. If you could have seen her face as I ran toward her. . . . Her husband/guitarist, Neil “Spyder” Giraldo, suddenly yanked her away from the window, and the limo sped off through the light and into the night. But I did get my wish to see her up close!
Exactly thirty years later, last Monday night, I had the pleasure of seeing her perform again at B.B. King’s here in New York. Two hours of pure heaven, and she was only twenty feet away from me, if that. Her voice is still huge and amazing, hitting every note. And she is 58 but looks like she is not even 40 yet. Crazy! I even said jokingly to my friend–what if they looked into the audience, saw me, and then remembered me as the crazy fan from thirty years ago? I imagined they would rush her to the safety of backstage, crushing my hopes. We kept laughing about it!
Anyway, during the two-hour-long show, they performed the classic song “You Better Run.” She and Spyder performed it together acoustically, a kind of “unplugged” moment. (On a side note, the video for this song was the second video MTV played, right after “Video Killed the Radio Star,” when the network debuted in 1981 . . . I digress.) Right after the song, which was amazing!!!!!!, Spyder tossed his guitar pick into the audience. It flew over everybody and landed directly in my lap (I didn’t even raise my hands to attempt to catch it, because I didn’t think I would), and then Pat gave me a peace sign. I could not have asked for a better Monday night.