“Hey, do you want a ride back to your side of town?”
We looked at the 2000 person deep line for Express Muni tickets. We imagined the crowded conditions on said buses. We glanced at each other and smiled. Jackpot!
His friend, Pam, picked us up only a few blocks away from the park. He sat in the front seat, the four other women smushed in the back. We were studying the lilac flyers detailing live concerts in the area we had received walking out of the park. After discussing the shows we truly did want to see, we began ridiculing the ones we didn’t. “Poison – now there’s a band I’ve been wanting to see.” “No, I know you really want to see REO Speedwagon. Go on, admit it.” “Hey, Al Green, August 2, let’s go!” he exclaimed. We weren’t sure if he was serious or not. The name sounded familiar.
“Seriously. He’s awesome. Who wants to go?”
He turned around from his front seat position to face us. We returned his enthusiastic gaze with blank stares. Someone else broke the silence. “Who’s Al Green?”
“You don’t know who Al Green is? C’mon!”
The five women exchanged glances. “What does he sing?” I asked. He continued to expound on Al Green’s greatness, not naming any songs. “Details, I need details. Sing one of his songs,” I beseeched him.
“I can’t sing.”
“Hum it,” Amber demanded.
“C’mon… You’ve got to know Al Green.”
Needing more info, I challenged, “Just say the words to one of his songs. You don’t even have to sing them.”
“I don’t know. He sings, well, everything. I bet if we turned the radio on to any, ANY, Motown station right now one of his songs would be playing.”
The women all laughed. Pam, the driver, turned to him, “It’s all yours. Knock yourself out.”
He turned the radio on and Amber shouted “98.1” from the back seat. He fiddled until the notes came across strong and clear. “Good or bad, happy or sad…”
“It’s him! It’s Al Green! This is him!” He jumped in his seat, proffered a classic white man’s overbite, and began singing along. As did we all. “Why, why some people break up
Then turn around and make up… Ooooooooo….”