One of the best concerts I have ever attended was by Elvis Costello and the Attractions on the "Armed Forces" tour in at the Uptown Theater in Milwaukee in March of 1979. I was a month shy of 17 years old, and yes, I wore red shoes. My main recollection of the show was that it COMPELLED me to get up from my seat and MOVE. Everyone was up and dancing and singing and shouting and bouncing. There was so much energy in the room -- hard, raw, good energy -- something you see at only the best of the best shows. The happy crowd even coaxed a few smiles out of the mysterious Costello, at that time known mostly for his intelligent acid-tinged lyrics and moody behavior. I left the show sweaty and thrilled, still laughing and dancing on the street outside the theater with my friend Margaret, and we kept talking about it in superlatives on the ride back on I-94 in her mom's car, headed back to Waukesha for the night.

So 30 years and 4 months later, I find myself again seeing Elvis Costello in concert in Milwaukee, and this pleases me tremendously. During those years, I saw him play all around the country, wherever I was at the time, with whomever he was playing with, in whatever musical style. I never missed a tour and he never let me down. I have seen him play so many times that I truly cannot recall how many exactly, but considering that he is quite prolific and seems to enjoy touring, over 30 years it must have been a whole lot.

Last night, as he strode upon the stage at Summerfest in a natty dark suit and a purple fedora, I smiled at my old pal. At least he feels like an old pal to me in that way that you relate to someone whom you have seen over a very long period of time, how you can mark changes in your own life with his music, his changes. I kick off my heels to stand on the skinny metal bleacher bench so I can see him -- I have not gotten taller in 30 years, I am sorry to say. I stand balancing for the 2-hour show, ready to guard my space from interlopers, drunks, fiends, assholes, and pushy bastards who want to take my prime 2nd row place. Not tonight, retards; Elvis and I have this 30-year-anniversary date going on and if you bother me I will elbow you so hard that your eyeballs will pop out and some giant-ass bitch from West Allis will put them on a stick, cover them in melted cheese and call it SNACK TIME.

The show was excellent, and I particularly enjoyed Elvis' nastay electric guitar playing, loud and jittery and endearingly quirky, like how I would like to play lead guitar if I were a competent guitar player. I would like to do a lot of things as well as Elvis Costello does, as he is aces in my book: smart, funny, clever, talented, thoughtful, fearless, musically rich. Out of all the musicians I admire, Elvis holds two "Most" spots: Most Intimidating To Meet and Musician I Would Most Like To Sing With. I have actually met El a couple of times over the years -- nothing more than brief introductions and exchanges -- and he was always completely gracious. Silly me. I don't know why I have this thing about wanting to sing with him, but I do. I don't at all go around wanting to sing with anyone, but this has always been something in my brain. Who knows, maybe someday I will get cancer or something and the Make-A-Wish-For-Old-Bitches will coerce him to sing with me as I croak out one of his lovely harmony lines, hairless and decrepit but smiling.

I like that as Elvis and I motor around the globe living our lives, doing our things, we happened to meet up on a lovely July night in Milwaukee once more, the consummate performer and the very grateful fan, and the giant-ass bitch from West Allis who, as in 1979, could have kicked my ass but good. Thanks El. See you in August back in Seattle-ish!