He was my first crush. On a modern rock God. Pearl Jam, the first CD I ever bought. Using my own money, 10$ at Tower Records when I was 12. I have photos from that era where his influence can clearly be noted. Almost embaressingly so. My brother's baggy flannels, new but purposely wrecked mid lace doc martens, beanies, and the same ragged long hair hanging beneath. Sans all fiery sex appeal of course. I loved him but I also wanted to be him.
Eddie Vedder, the only boy I pined for at an age when real life boys didn't interest me in the least.
I got the chance to see him this past weekend at the Ohana Fest down the street from us in Dana Point. On a blanket with a friend last minute for free. As apparently the venue was designed to include. So beach goes and surfers alike could listen to live music on the sand same as those who paid to be there and had stacked bleachers, closer views and cold beer stands on their side. A frantic treck made specifically to catch Fiona Apple's set (another long term crush of mine from the old days) but ended up the igniting force behind my teenage crush on Eddie instead. Being reminded of the raw power in that voice, the humor in his banter, and the obvious humbleness in character that can't be faked. In a way I guess I fell in love all over again. This time as a women, not a girl, for a middle aged man playing a ukulele in the moonlight, not a growling snarl of hair inside a mosh pit like the brunt of those young snarling Seattle day images we use to tear from magazines to tape to our bedroom walls next to lyrics we sourced and claimed proudly.
It made me think how great it is to see the music you love change and evolve alongside you. And I was suddenly grateful for the own fumbling songs I hear on the Uke around my own house these days as young boys learn their way around one too. But mostly, I was just happy to see great taste doesn't expire. And some good things grow into even better things. And that free concerts under the stars are still a thing. And reviving new crushes on old rockstars isn't a bad way to spend a weekend. And that maybe, just maybe, now that the cooler weather is sneaking in, a few of those baggy worn flannels might be calling my name.