Tough to believe we've all been jamming at the Show Me Center for 16 years now. It seems only yesterday Steven Tyler strutted across the stage, Tina Turner shook her money maker and Barry Manilow put us to sleep. (Oh, who am I kidding. I love ya, Barry!)
I saw Robert Palmer there, God rest his soul, and Richard Marx, God rest his career.
All in all, it's amazing that a venue in a city of 35,000 people has attracted the artists it has. Yes, there were years the Show Me Center saw a lull in everything except classic rock and country, but those days are over, baby.
The Center is ready to rock again.
Consider the evidence: Nickelback in October. Fountains of Wayne and matchbox twenty in December. 3 Doors Down in January. "Cats" in April.
OK, forget "Cats." But the rest of those acts demonstrate a legitimate return to the music that catapulted the Show Me Center into our concert consciousness.
And that return is just in time for me to be too old to be truly ecstatic about rock concerts. I realized that while waiting in line with my friends on Sunday for matchbox twenty.
"Can I have the aisle seat?" I asked without thinking. "I like to be able to stretch my legs because of my bad knees, plus I'll probably have to pee a few times."
Arthritic knees? Overactive bladder? Are these the concerns that plague a true party girl? My biggest concert-related concern used to be whether I'd have enough cash to cover both the ticket and the beers I'd be ordering later.
I'm willing to accept my days as a viable groupie are over. And I knew I wouldn't be wildly throwing my sensible white Carter's briefs onto the stage. But even after realizing I've reached my post-rock age, I had a pretty good time at the concert. Matchbox twenty played everything I came to hear ...
... except one song. The most important song. "Smooth."
"Smooth" is what caused me to fall desperately in love with Rob Thomas, matchbox twenty's front man. His music pre-"Smooth" was part of the unavoidable Top 40 background music of our lives. We don't necessarily tune it out, but we don't tune it in, either.
"Smooth" is what caused me to Google Rob Thomas at work, defying company policy against using work computers for personal "business."
So I've got an open letter for Mr. Rob Thomas.
"Dear Rob (if I may call you that):
"I have loved you since the release of Carlos Santana's 'Supernatural' in 1999. I would say that your voice is supernatural. Also your hair. You looked as foine as ever at your concert in Cape Girardeau on Sunday. I was the tall redhead in Section 107, Row M. Perhaps you noticed me instead of that tube-topped trollop on the other side of the Show Me Center.
"Getting to the point: I was crushed that you didn't perform 'Smooth,' which is my favorite song of yours. Perhaps Carlos will not let you sing it since technically it was released from his album, not yours. Or, more likely, you don't share the same love for me that I share for you, so singing it wasn't important to you.
"As you might say, 'Give me your heart, make it real, or else forget about it.' If you don't respond to this soon, I will go back to writing your arch-rival and fellow Show Me Center visitor, Barry Manilow. Love (always?), Heidi."
Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.