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The Beach Boys! Live! At the State Fair!

Columnist Steve Lange and his daughter have a pact. A concert pact.

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In July, daughter Hadley, 23, texted me the following. "Hey, what are your five favorite Beach Boys' song?"

I regularly make—and keep—such lists in my head.

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A few weeks ago, at a friends' house, someone casually wondered aloud about our five favorite sports movies and, probably too loudly and too quickly, I shouted "Number one: 'Bad News Bears,' the original. Number two: 'The Natural.' Number three ..."

So, when Hadley texted the Beach Boys' question, I could have instantly replied "Number one: 'Don't Worry Baby.' Number two: 'Good Vibrations.' Number three ..."

But I knew what she was really getting at.


"Well," she said, "The Beach Boys are playing at the State Fair. And, surprisingly, none of my 20-something-year-old friends seem to want to go."

Here's something: Hadley and I have a pact, implemented years ago. We both love live music. And we have agreed that if one of us wants to go to a concert, but can't find anyone to go, we'll go together.

I have seen, at Hadley's request, the Backseat Lovers at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Maroon 5. Someone called Neon Trees.

Hadley has gone with me to see America, The Rolling Stones, Dylan.

At a festival in Wisconsin, Hadley caught Rick Springfield’s guitar pick. While he was singing “Jessie’s Girl.”

It was lost on Hadley, but still.

We got home and told Lindy the story. It's one of the few times my wife has looked visibly jealous.

Hadley and I had seen the Beach Boys before. The first time was back in 2005, at Mystic Lake Casino. Hadley was 6. It was her first real concert, and she was so excited, she could barely sleep the night before.


She fell asleep during song number three.

But then, a few songs later, she bolted upright at the first words of "Kokomo" and danced nonstop for the rest of the show. I was not entirely sure she was awake, but her body was unable to stop moving after hearing "Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya ..."

Hadley has been hooked on live music ever since.

So, on that Monday night at the end of August, Hadley and I met at the State Fair, and ate Sweet Martha's Cookies, and I surprised her with second row seats.

Then we sang along with The Beach Boys to "Don't Worry Baby" and "Good Vibrations" and, well, on the other 25 songs they played.

Hadley may have been the youngest person at the concert.

I may have been the second youngest.

After the show, we said our goodbyes and I drove back to Rochester, thinking about our concert pact, and how oh-so-important it is that we follow through on this meaningful promise we have pledged to each other.


On a completely unrelated note, I am a fan of Puddles Pity Party, whose singer, Puddles, has been called "the sad, 7-foot-tall clown with the golden voice." He's only 6-foot-8, but still. Puddles performs as a Pagliacci-type clown, in full white makeup and a white costume with big black fuzzy buttons.

I watch his cover of Ozzy's "Crazy Train" about once a day. I have signed up for Puddles' email newsletter.

Separately, I am a fan of Piff The Magic Dragon, a comedian/magician who performs dressed in a cheap dragon costume with Mr. Piffles, described at "the world's only magic performing chihuahua."

I have never met anyone who has heard of either Puddles or Piff. Oh, and I bring them up in conversations to strangers.

In February, I received a special newsletter from Puddles announcing his new tour. And his co-headliner was going to be Piff The Magic Dragon. I seriously wondered if I was being punk'd.

I immediately called Lindy and breathlessly read through the nearest cities on the tour.

ME: They're playing in St. Louis! St. Louis is only like six hours away!
LINDY: Is that the clown guy you always make me watch sing that Ozzy Osbourne song? And that magician in the lizard suit?
ME: Yes! I know! We're so lucky! Somehow, there are still tickets available!
LINDY: Oh, shoot, I have to work that day.
ME: I haven't said anything about the day.
LINDY: Shoot. That would have been fun.

I bought two tickets to see them perform in St. Louis anyway.

I'm just waiting for the right moment to remind Hadley of our important, unbreakable pact.

Steve Lange is the editor of Rochester Magazine. His column appears every Tuesday.

Opinion by Steve Lange
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