Girls’ night out

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 28, 2002

On Aug. 17, some of those who attended the Luther Vandross concert at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater did not go in vain, even if they did have to put up with a disruptive thunderstorm. A portion of those who went received free tickets from VIBE 105.3 FM to attend another mini-concert by a well-known recording soul artist, Keith Sweat, at the Broadway Club last Friday night.

In 1989, my son, Mark, had introduced me to the musician’s single, &uot;Make It Last Forever.&uot; That song meant much to him when he attended the former JFK High School and the school sent him to attend a STEP Summer Program at The College of William and Mary. That song stuck with him since he had so much fun. He had even said that he had wanted it to last forever! I began to love every song and CD that Sweat made. His recordings are clean love songs, and at least a person can understand what he is singing about. It is also pleasant to the ear.

I have seen Sweat on many TV interviews and music award programs and I also think that he is a clean-cut young man who is well mannered and wears a good image for a young person to follow.

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I hit paydirt because one of my best friends, Gail Hinton-Copeland, attended Luther’s concert and weathered the storm. She was also one of the lucky ones to receive a VIP ticket. The good part was that those tickets gave the recipient the option to invite a guest – thankfully, I was that guest! Of course Gail wanted another friend to attend, so she also invited Deborah Parker. We went on faith that things would work out and all three of us would be able to attend free of charge.

I was surprised at the convenient parking place that we were able to find since it was about 6 p.m. when we arrived and the concert time was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

There were two lines – one for VIP tickets and one for a $10 cover charge if a person didn’t have a ticket. We all got in the former line and, hallelujah, it was our luck that a nice young lady directly in front of us began to converse with us. We told her our plight, so she asked this gentleman in front of her whom she seemed to know would he mind a guest going in on his ticket. Bingo! We were home free when he said yes.

I had learned some time back that the majority of Sweat’s audience is usually female. I thought at that time that maybe I could get some fashion ideas from concert-goers for an outfit this weekend for my 40th-year class reunion.

We stood in that line for about 45 minutes. However, my friends and I began to scope out the fashions, and so we didn’t notice the hot temperature so much as the ladies walking up and down the tiny street trying to find a place in line. The age range was from 18 to about 60, but some of the clothes were out of mind and would have been much better out of sight.

I mean, what are these women thinking when they are dressing to go out on the town? Dresses on some were too short, too low or too tight and what wasn’t hanging off on some heavy women was hanging on. Splits are in but that night they were just plain ridiculous. They weren’t splits but wide slits that were too high and revealed legs that had no end.

I wish that women would learn that most men probably like things left to the imagination and that they respect the woman who portrays inner beauty and dresses as she respects herself and her body.

Before the concert began, a full-course meal was served that included coleslaw, shrimp, fish, wild rice, and potato salad. In spite of the crowd there was plenty and enough for seconds

When Sweat made his appearance, he made it plain that he was there to sell his new album and pleaded to the audience to go out and buy it. And, dig this, the one woman that he did go to the sideline to pick up and sing to was a small-featured one who was properly dressed. This should be a message to ladies that men still prefer the ones who don’t dress as if she were on the prowl for a one-night stand.

There were many negative points about the evening. I missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of taking a picture because we were sitting closer to the stage than I had imagined that we would be and I didn’t even think about bringing a camera. Everything would have been perfect if the air condition had been working properly because the temperature inside had to be at least 85 degrees. I began to say to myself then that those women who were scantily clad probably had some relief because I could feel perspiration running down my back. At one point Deborah went to get a cold glass of ice water and Gail proceeded to wipe her face and chest with all of the napkins that she could grab.

On our way to another event after that concert was over, I thought about the overall positives and the negatives, and came to the conclusion that at least three major positive things stood out and two negative things, which weren’t so bad for three hours of free fun.

Positive thing number one: we did get to see a famous recording artist at no cost to us; positive thing number two: we ate well; positive thing number three: I enjoyed being in the company of my two good friends, Gail and Deborah, and I hope they thought the same of me.

I don’t know about them, but I will always remember the two big negative points for a long time to come. Negative thing number one: most of the outfits at that concert were ridiculous and nothing like them will ever enter my closet; Negative thing number two, we lived up to (Sweat’s) name really well during that concert because when we came out of that place, we were soaked to the bone.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and regular columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald.