On May 21, 1983, my sister, Kim, married her longtime boyfriend.
And my other sister, Kristi, was upset.
Not over the marriage.
Kristi's role in the wedding ceremony -- bridesmaid -- had her up in arms, though. You see, for years she had been pining to see her most favorite band in the world, Styx, in concert. (You know, Styx -- come sail away, too much time on my hands, the best of times.) Smitten by their bass guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, Kristi had made it her lot in life to catch these rockers in the act when they performed in Omaha on May 21, 1983.
Unfortunately, Kim's wedding kept her from reaching her goal in 1983.
Years passed quickly, and the band parted ways without her ever catching a glimpse of them live. (Although, she did manage to see Tommy when he performed in the band Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent.)
A few years back, the band reunited with new members, including Ricky Phillips (from Bad English, the Baby's, Coverdale-Page fame), and last summer made a stop in our hometown, Norfolk, Nebraska. As the former entertainment editor for the newspaper, I had the pleasure of interviewing Phillips. After my phone conversation with him ended, Kristi's desire to see them spilled over to me.
I mean, I spent my childhood singing along to "Suite Madam Blue" and "The Grand Illusion." And now the guys who wrote those songs were coming to my hometown. I couldn't find a reason not to be excited.
I called my sister and said, "We're going to Styx in Norfolk." We even took Kim. And we had a great time!
"The Long Road" is set mostly in 1980 primarily because the story is about a musician, and I love the music of that era -- Styx's music especially. While I was only 6 years old in 1980, Styx's music has a way of easily transporting me back to the feeling of that era and helps me get into the mindset of my characters.
I used their greatest hits CD to pull me out of a two-week writer's block this morning. Now, I have a renewed ambition to get back into Heather's head.
In my opinion, the video posted above contains their best song. Released in the mid-1970s, Crystal Ball is definitely my favorite.