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Gross Point Blank

The most expensive birthday present ever

I love my best friend, really I do. But sometimes, she goes a little too far.

For my 38th birthday present this year, Maryann decided to buy me a ticket to Cruefest--a rock concert bonanza in Auburn this last weekend that featured five hard rock bands.

When she first told me, I didn't mince words. This is an exact quote of what I said: "This has got to be the worst birthday present in the history of birthday presents ever!"

For one thing, the concert began at 5 p.m. on a Friday, requiring me to zip out of work early.

For another thing, my back has been causing abject grief and misery for the past few months. Enough so that I've earned a disabled parking placard.

Lastly, I didn't like the featured band and Big Deal for the night: Motley Crue. They were huge when we were in our late teens.

She told me months ago she'd done this and for months I'd look at her and my other girlfriend sadly and say, "I can't believe that was your idea of a gift."

Then something occurred to me. I've never been to a rock concert (Jesus Northwest was the closest I've ever gotten to being at an actual rock concert). Neither had my son.

Aha! I thought. The perfect gift would be for Dennis to go too!

So I call up the best friend and tell her Dennis is going. She changed her mind about going.

That's OK, I thought. Two other girlfriends were going too, and my boyfriend was going to tag along to the west side of the mountains.

Suddenly my attitude about the concert changed. Instead of dreading it, I became a little more hopeful. Not to mention my son's enthusiasm. Or my boyfriend's delight at a weekend away from home.

Nothing could prepare me for what I was in for.

It's a long, long walk from the shuttle bus to the concert venue when the reason I have a disabled parking placard is because I can't walk 25 feet without serious consequences.

Then there's the frisking. I got frisked! And not in a good way, either. The security woman touched me in places that would have brought slaps to other people.

Then there's the prices: $12 to $18 for a commemorative t-shirt is what I had in mind. They were $35.

A soda in what LiveNation calls a souvenir cup is $6. One would think it was made out of plastic. I did and, in fact, bought one only to find out it's made out of paper. And it's a LiveNation promo cup, not a Motley Crue cup or any other band that played.

Beer is $8 a can. A 12 oz. soda pop is $4.

A single burger is $6. French fries are $5.

When it came to the actual music, it was wonderful. I learned that I'd definitely go to a concert with my son again. Experiencing a first together was priceless.

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