Songwriters: Glen Burtnik, Jan Hammer, Neal Schon
Original Release: Here to Stay (Schon & Hammer)
Definitive Version: Live Frontiers, 1983
Scott got a bootleg of a show from the Frontiers tour (I don’t have the official unofficial title), and I quickly made a copy and listened to it religiously in 1985. It amazed me that Journey played this song. At the time, I wasn’t aware of any other band—aside from CSNY, which wasn’t so much a band as it was a collective—that played songs from member solo albums. I always liked hearing the unmistakable voice of Steve Perry singing backup.
It was during this time that I had one of the most embarassing things ever happen to me, maybe even the most embarassing thing. The occasion was my 21st birthday.
1985 was the summer I decided to do nothing aside from my internship at the TV station (story to come). My thinking was I was going to working full time from then on, so I wanted one last summer of being an irresponsible kid. I cashed in my savings bonds, which gave me enough money for the summer, and lazed around, much to Beth’s consternation.
Anyway, when Beth got home from work on my birthday, she had me come over to her house. I can’t recall that we had specific plans. I would bet that Dad and Laura were going to take me and her out to dinner that next weekend, so I wasn’t really planning on anything special on my actual birthday.
Beth said she had an errand to run and would I mind driving her? (She finally got her drivers license that year but didn’t have her own car.) No problem. I can’t remember where we went, but afterward she said she remembered that she had to get something at Dad’s. OK.
We drove to Dad’s, which was a bit out of the way. Beth and I talked with Dad and Laura for a bit, and I figured that it was time to get going. Just then Dad took me downstairs to the basement. He was all excited to show me how good he had become at Mr. Do! (yes, the video game). Scott had set up our Atari under the staircase to Dad’s basement, so he would have something to do when he visited, and apparently Dad had taken to Mr. Do!
It was funny, and being a veghead, I liked watching a good video-game experience as much as the next person, but I started to feel a bit agitated after awhile. OK, this is all fun, but Beth and I have to get going. We left and finally headed back to the Condo.
Oh, wait, there’s one more thing I have to do … Oh, COME ON!
Why I was so adamant to get home in particular, I can’t recall, but I know I was tired of running around on a seeingly endless and purposeless string of errands. Beth was insistent. We had to stop at Food World and pick up something.
As we got home, I was steaming and lit into Beth. What’s gotten into you? She tried to explain, but I wasn’t having it. This is ridiculous. Beth got her Irish up, and soon we were fighting. As we walked in the door, I was yelling at her pretty good. All of a sudden, Mom, Steve, Mike, Scott, Jin and Erin jumped out from behind the staircase in the open living room and yelled, “SURPRISE!”
(Cue the clatter of a pin hitting the floor and the Southwest advertising catch phrase.)
Yes, everyone who was waiting to jump out and start my surprise birthday party heard me yelling at my girlfriend. I couldn’t have felt more like a bigger horse’s ass if I’d been the size of the one being carved into a mountain in South Dakota (foreshadowing, kids).
Ah, so that’s why Beth had me race all over town … Was Dad and Laura in on it, too, I asked dimly? Yes, Beth nodded with a you’re-getting-nothing-later-buster grin. I, who prided myself on being able to figure out plot twists and mysteries pulled the wrong time to turn into Clouseau.
I apologized profusely to everyone. Fortunately, I didn’t ruin the entire party. Everyone had made me a sign and gave me nutty gifts, like Duran Duran bubblegum cards, which I still have, and an awesome picture of Dee Snider in full Twisted Sister makeup and grimace. We had a birthday cake—yellow with chocolate frosting, my favorite—and then everyone except Mom went to Timeout to play video games.
After a few hours of video games, Beth was in a much more forgiving mood, but you can be certain that my indefensible and completely reprehensible behavior that day was filed away in the memory banks. I definitely paid for it later.