It’s been a rough start to the year. Natalie Cole, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey all gone in fewer than three weeks. I was fortunate enough to see David Bowie live in 1990 and Glenn Frey with the Eagles last July. But these passings have made me think about other performers that I was never able to see before they died.
I’ve often thought about things I’d like to see or do if I could travel back in time: long lost places and buildings, historic events, concerts, Broadway shows…the list goes on and on. And continues to grow.
So when and where would I visit if I could turn back time? Here’s the current list.
Ancient Alexandria Egypt. I’ve been fascinated by the Great Library of Alexandria since I saw it featured on an episode of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” when I was 12. And I’m still appalled by its destruction and the loss of all the collected knowledge of the ancient world within it. I would love to walk through it and see it in its full glory. Plus, I would love to see the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria, one the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The 1939 World’s Fair. In my opinion, the greatest World’s Fair of them all! Incredible architecture, legendary displays, incredible energy and excitement. It was also some place that my Mom wanted to visit when she was a child.
The World Trade Center. I was in NYC twice before 9/11 and never visited the original World Trade Center. I wish now that I had.
Studio 54. Even when I was a kid, I wanted to see Studio 54. How cool would it be to go and see it at its peak and experience the epitome of late ’70s excess?
CBGB. A chance to see Blondie, Patti Smith, the Talking Heads, the Ramones, the Police, and the B-52’s before they were stars? Sign me up!
The Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. So here’s the thing about Abraham Lincoln. We know all about him. We know about his life, that he was a tremendous leader, that he delivered amazing speeches. But we don’t know – and never will know – what his voice sounded like. How amazing would it be to actually hear him deliver his two greatest speeches?
The U.S. House of Representatives, Dec. 8, 1941. The day after Pearl Harbor. The day FDR delivered his “day in infamy” speech and asked for a declaration of war against Japan. What an incredible amount of emotion and energy there must have been in the House chamber that day.
JFK’s Inauguration. Do I really need to explain this one?
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. An extraordinary day that I would love to see, hear, and experience. Plus, it would be the opportunity to see some of my heroes and idols in actions.
Dealy Plaza, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963. So I FINALLY know what really happened.
Apollo Saturn V Launches:
- Apollo 4 Launch, Nov.8, 1967. This was the first ever launch of a Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever built. The vibrations from the launch were so powerful, they shook the press buildings three miles away so badly that Walter Cronkite, who was covering the launch live, had to hold the window on the CBS booth because it was vibrating so severely. In subsequent launches, they used a water suppression system to cut down the vibrations. I would love to be there to feel something that no one else on Earth had ever felt before.
- Apollo 8 Launch, Dec. 21, 1968. The first manned flight to the moon. That would be great history to witness.
- Apollo 11 Launch, July 16, 1969. This one should be obvious.
- Apollo 17 Launch, Dec. 7, 1972. The final manned lunar mission to date and the only launch of a Saturn V at night.
Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall, April 23, 1961. Yes, this is stereotypically gay. But this concert is legendary and has been called “the greatest night in show business history.”
The Beatles at Shea Stadium, Aug. 15, 1965. Although it was impossible to HEAR The Beatles during this concert thanks to the screaming fans, this concert remains one of their live highlights. And the fact that they stopped touring for good just one year later only increases this concert’s importance.
Monterey International Pop Music Festival, June 16-18, 1967. The second greatest music festival of the 1960s, Monterey Pop would be the last gasp of The Mamas & The Papas and the launches of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Otis Redding, and Ravi Shankar. Who’d want to miss that?
Woodstock. Legendary bordering on mythical nearly 50 years later, the Woodstock festival was the pinnacle of ’60s music and flower power. With live performances by almost all of the major rock acts of the day, it remains a music lover’s dream.
1970s Concert Tours. Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Heart…all the big ’70s groups at the their cocaine-fueled, stoned-out-of-their-minds peak!
Broadway Performances. The original Broadway productions of “West Side Story,” “Company,” and “A Chorus Line.” Yup, I’m a theater queen. 🙂
So that’s my current list. I’m sure I can come up with some more points of call with more thought. But these are the times and places I wish I could visit.
While I can dream about this list, I am recommitting myself to see artists and performances and visit places now. I came very close to never seeing the Eagles perform live. I don’t want to risk that again if I can avoid it.