The year was 1975. I was a senior in high school, and I was very excited because I was going to attend my first concert. My two best friends and myself had tickets to see the group Chicago. It was a miracle that we talked our parents into letting us go alone, because it was a two hour drive to Greensboro, NC where the concert was being held. But by some miraculous twist of fate, we were allowed to go.
It was wonderful. I had never felt so free as I did cruising down the highway on the way to what promised to be a very exciting evening. The concert was absolutely awesome....so much better than even I had imagined it would be. I have to admit that I was and still am somewhat of a closet groupie. Show me a man with a guitar and I turn to putty. So that night was no exception.
The concert ended around eleven, and we were sad to be leaving. But when we got to our car, we had a big surprise waiting for us. A flat tire. Well, this was a little situation we had not exactly expected or planned for. We had no clue what to do. We opened the trunk looking for another tire, but saw nothing.
So we decided to find the nearest hotel, and hope someone would have mercy on us...because we had a total of only ten dollars between us. We walked to the nearest hotel, and sat in the lobby for a bit. We explained to the hotel clerk our dilemma, but no pity was taken. My friend called her father and told him we had no spare. He asked if we had enough money to stay the night, and my friend told him yes, because she didn't want him to know she had spent so much money at the concert. So we were stuck until morning, when he said he would drive to Greensboro and bring us a spare.
After about thirty minutes of loitering in the lobby, a policeman walked up to us. Apparantly the clerk had reported us. Well, he was a very nice officer, and he took us for a ride in his police car, which we thought was totally awesome. It made us feel a bit naughty and rebellious to be in a bit of "trouble". After an hour of cruising with the police officer, he asked us what our plan for the rest of the evening was. I responded, "Well, we thought we would just hang out with you for the rest of the night." Of course, this made him chuckle and then explain how the police to not provide babysitting nor are they a cab service.
So we told him about our dilemma. No money for the hotel. And this nice policeman drove us back to the hotel, and paid for us a room with his own money. We were so happy.
And that happiness grew when we found out that Chicago was staying in the same hotel. We hatched a plan to meet them or meet their roadies or something before the night was over.
And sure enough, we met the roadies. We not only met the roadies, we spent a very innocent night in their room.....hearing story after story about things that had happened on the road. And I was also able to obtain some treasured items. An empty beer bottle that Peter Cetera had drank out of, half of a corned beef sandwich that Peter Cetera had eaten on.....as well as some other things....straws, tissue, you name it. Nothing was too gross for the groupie in me.
The next morning, we were exhausted but had such a good story to tell our friends. My friend called her dad to see when he was coming to bring us a spare tire, and we made plans to meet at a certain time. When he got there he wasn't very happy when he opened the trunk, and showed us that little secret compartment in there. Low and behold....we actually DID have a spare the entire time!
In my mind, the fact that we never discovered the spare tire the night before was a sign that our staying overnight in Greensboro was fate...pure and simple. We came to the city innocent country girls, and left with a great story to tell our friends. Did we embellish the story to our friends? Oh yeah. We made it seem like the policeman wasn't so nice....and we were in big trouble with the law. And we also let it be known that we "partied" with Chicago's roadies, and also with some of the band.
Regardless, it was a great memory of the first of many concerts I would attend. And no...I never became an actual groupie. Only in my dreams.