Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Red Rocks Concerts, The 80’s, and a Mullet

The 80’s and 90’s were good years to be young. When I was in high school, each year, from May to September, my friend’s and my preferred activity was getting drunk going to concerts at Red Rocks. It almost didn’t matter which band was playing; simply being there was a blast. Back then, we were allowed to wait in line at the gates, overnight, while passing bottles of beer and unknown Everclear-based punch concoctions around. The official rule was “no glass,” so we’d get an empty gallon-sized milk jug (or two) to fill with whatever we could pilfer from our parents’ liquor cabinets. Some combinations were more successful-tasting than others, but each did the trick.

Usually, we’d pass out for a couple of hours before sunrise, awake, and hold one another’s place in line while taking turns to pee and splash water on our faces in the disgusting bathrooms. Some peoople would be clever enough to have a friend meet them that morning with donuts and we’d gladly pay $3 (often, in quarters, because that’s how we rolled), for a single bite.

Red Rocks would open its gates around 11:00a.m., and we’d all run in to claim our spots in general seating, which were the best seats in the house if you were there early enough (hence camping out the night before).

Most concerts didn’t begin until close to sundown, so we had all day to drink, soak up a tan in our bikini tops, maintain a semblance of sobriety by consuming hot dogs and crappy fake-cheese nachos, and “mingle,” which is lady-talk for cruising while hoping to fall briefly in love.

U2-Redrocks concert in the 1980

This was the way in which I saw Billy Idol for the first time (years before he wanted to Rebel Yell with me), U2, Howard Jones, The Kinks, Power Station, Depeche Mode, and more. Seriously, if you’ve never been, and have an opportunity to see a concert at Red Rocks, it’s the best place for one, EVER. Oh and in case you’re wondering, the reason Metallica isn’t on that list is because I didn’t like them until the 90’s and then, they played at McNichol’s Arena and Mile High, both of which are now closed.


High school. Fun times.

There was one day in high school that wasn’t that much fun, although the memory remains burned in my retinas forever. It was the day after a Red Rocks concert, and my two brothers and I were staying at my mom’s house for the weekend.

She had a new boyfriend. At first, she tried to pass him off as 30 years old, but after he and I figured out that one another looked familiar, and ended up knowing some of the same kids from rival high schools, I figured out that he wasn’t much older than I was. Still, not my type. I mean, hello, he was having sex with my mother, and if there’s a bigger turn-off in a dude than that, I’d like to know what it is. And if you just thought of one? Feel free not to answer, because I just thought about it and am totally okay with not knowing.

Anyway, mom’s new boyfriend and she decided to take us to “the beach.” When you grow up in south Denver, “the beach” is one of two reservoirs. The one closest to us was Cherry Creek reservoir, and it was fun enough. It’s where I learned to waterski and to sail, although my sailing teacher later drowned, in a sailing accident, so I’ve since questioned the skills he taught me and don’t usually brag about having taken a class or claim to know anything about sailing.

It was fun to go to the reservoir. Plus, there was always a chance of sneaking away from mom while she groped her new manchild boyfriend, with hope of finding a manchild boyfriend of my own. Preferably one who had beer. I digress.

In order for you to understand the magnitude of the horror we were about to witness on this particular day, I need to let you know just a tiny bit about the area in which I grew up. To say that it was suburban and whitebread and a bit on the conservative side is a gross understatement but we’ll go with that, knowing that it’s enough that you realize that it was in no way edgy, urban, hip, or progressive.

Styling in my mom’s two-toned 280ZX with the T-Tops off, blasting music to make sure everybody knew how cool we were was just the warm-up. We had arrived. So we unpacked coolers, towels, and Baby Oil (because God forbid we protect our skin with sun block back then), and trudged up to find a good spot to lay down our towels and commence with the fun.

In fairly typical 80’s style, my mom’s boyfriend wore his mullet proudly, accompanied by plaid shorts and an un-buttoned white oxford shirt, probably to remind my mom what a sexy young stud she had found herself.

Mullet and boom box 80

At one point, while balancing all of our shit, he must have decided he was hot or something, as he took off his shorts.

He was wearing a thong. At Cherry Creek Reservoir. With my mom.

Aaaand, because he was wearing his stupid oxford shirt still, it hung just enough over his man thong that you couldn’t see the little triangle above the butt-floss, so he looked naked.

man in thong at beach funny in the 80

The rest of the afternoon was less than fun because rather than trolling for boys and beer, I pretended to sleep with a shirt over my head in case any of my friends were there.

The moral? Man thongs are not cool. Ever. And if you’re a mom and your boyfriend shows up in one? Leave him there. He can call a taxi, and that shit will scar your children for life. Trust me.

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Today’s sentence is “I went to a concert…”
Your hosts: Janine: Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Kate: Can I get another bottle of whine?
Stephanie: Mommy, for Real
Me (Kristi): Finding Ninee

  • Rachel - Where to begin? 80’s forever! Hilarious: pictures, “man-child boyfriend”, mingle = briefly falling in love. I’m jealous that your mom let you stay out over night to get concert tickets. Is it weird that I’m still jealous now?March 27, 2014 – 10:23 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Um, Rachel, to be honest, I’m not sure my mom realized that I was camping out to get concert tickets. My dad certainly wasn’t. I just said I was spending the night at a friends and that we’d be going to the concert from her house.March 28, 2014 – 4:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly L McKenzie - Pass the baby oil. Did you bring iodine? I forgot. Thankfully all the guys left their thongs at home. Yes – I’m with you that is a damn good thing.March 27, 2014 – 10:23 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - HAHA I forgot about the iodine. Ah the things we did back then to make my skin look worse now! 😉March 28, 2014 – 4:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - Now THAT is what I call great historical (and hysterical) material for a blog post…I think I’m actually jealous that you have stories like that to draw from. You may be scarred, but at least you’ll never be stumped for things to write about…start writing a memoir ASAP!!March 27, 2014 – 11:22 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - HA Emily! And yes, I suppose being scarred for life is worth being able to tell you about the day mom’s boyfriend who was only a few years older than I was wore a THONG to CC Reservoir. Sheesh! I need to do something on a book – or really want to anyway. I think I get hung up on wanting to write fiction when really maybe that’s not what I’m actually any good at. Are you actively promoting your memoir?March 28, 2014 – 4:55 pmReplyCancel

      • Emily - No, I’m not promoting my memoir because it’s not published yet — still trying the traditional route of finding an agent, etc. No luck yet, but not giving up!March 28, 2014 – 6:00 pmReplyCancel

        • Kristi Campbell - Ok shows what I know about the lingo – sorry. I actually meant whether you’re “pitching” (is that right?) to agents, and stuff. Like whether you’re still working on it, or “promoting it” – does that make sense?March 28, 2014 – 11:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Mike - You always have my undivided attention with the 80’s, Kristi! Thoughts (and comments) swirling in my head about your mom and the boyfriend.

    Concert. 1983 Day on the Green at the Oakland Coliseum. My best buddy drove down from Reno for it. I have pics of that! Had all of our booze as we waiting in the line for the gates to open with our 12 pack. Not knowing that everyone had to toss their booze at the gate. Needless to say the two of us slammed a 12 pack in about 5 minutes upon finding out. Best buzz ever until 7 p.m. that night when it all started wearing off and the main event hadn’t started yet.

    Journey, Triumph, Eddie Money, Bryan Adams…Journey’s final stop on their world tour. They played for 4 hours until midnight. Incredible 🙂March 27, 2014 – 11:44 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - That’s hilarious Mike that you drank all that beer in like five minutes! I’ll bet you were FULL. And that sounds like one amazing concert that you went to! Seriously!! Even sobered up!!March 28, 2014 – 4:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Kate (Shakespeare's Mom) - Oh. Mah. Gah. You poor thong. Oops! I mean thing. This story really sounds like it could be straight from an 80’s movie. I could feel your teenage embarrassment, and the picture is priceless.March 28, 2014 – 12:24 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Kate. It was truly a revealing day. Way too revealing. Nobody’s ass is that good, ya know? Especially nobody who my mom thought was hot. Sigh.March 28, 2014 – 5:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - FRIST!March 28, 2014 – 2:02 amReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - Glad you prefaced this with so much fun hearing about the concerts, because THAT ENDING! Aiiieeee! March 28, 2014 – 2:07 amReplyCancel

  • Kate Hall - OMG!!! That is hysterical! I’m picturing the Oxford hanging over the triangle exposing his rear on ultra-conservative beach and can’t stop laughing! And your reaction – hilarious! March 28, 2014 – 4:46 amReplyCancel

  • karen - Blaaaaah, I agree man banana hammocks are just nasty…shivers as I try not to think about them. I would have hid under the blanket too…((HUGS))March 28, 2014 – 5:34 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks for the hugs, Karen. I’ll be interested to see if this makes my mom laugh or be annoyed with me for outing her 80’s bad taste!March 28, 2014 – 5:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - That was an awesome story to start off my Friday. I mean, not awesome for teenage you, but awesome for me who it didn’t happen to. Now every time I thong about it today I’m going to smile. I mean *think* about it.March 28, 2014 – 6:52 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Ha, Dana. Have you been thonging a lot about it today? I have. Feeling traumatized.March 28, 2014 – 5:12 pmReplyCancel

  • Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama - So much awesome and wrong in one place! I thought it was bad when I saw an older gentleman with the generous beer gut strutting his stuff in a Speedo at the aquatic center last night. My two year old, who’s obviously a total genius, kept asking, ‘Mommy, what he doing?’ Even at her tender age, she easily recognized that this man had no business wearing so little! But…your mom’s BF takes back the award for sheer stupidity with a stringy vengeance!March 28, 2014 – 7:43 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - HAHA to your two year old knowing something was off. Hopefully, she’ll never see a man thong and realize what’s TRULY ickily off!!
      And yeah, mom’s boyfriend had some awards due for sure. My bet is that one of them has been a Darwin, at some point!!March 28, 2014 – 11:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Real Life Parenting - Wow, he had some balls … and you probably got a bit of a glimpse of ’em too!! Blurg! I thought it was gross enough to see my mom’s boyfriend (who became my stepdad) without a shirt on when he wore normal swim trunks … can’t imagine the scarring in my brain and eyeballs if I had ever seen him in a thong. Gag.

    Sorry you had to go through that, but, once again, it’s made for great entertainment for the rest of us!! 😉March 28, 2014 – 7:48 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - EW thanks YOU for making me wonder if I saw the balls and blocked that shit out of my head or not and NO I will NOT be exploring that in any future self meditation moments or anything else. Gross. HAHA to being grossed by your step-dad’s bare chest. Guess I won this round of nastiness gross outs huh? 😉March 28, 2014 – 11:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Giorgia - I miss 80’s too!!March 28, 2014 – 8:09 amReplyCancel

  • Claudia Schmidt - OMG, I agree man-thongs are so gross! And, I love your drawings, they’re so fun!March 28, 2014 – 9:34 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Man thongs are nasty. There is NO version of hot, to me, that justifies one. And thanks re: the stupid drawings!March 28, 2014 – 11:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Welcome to the Bundle - Are you kidding? You had me at “empty gallon-sized milk jug.” I nearly doubled over at the sailing accident. Then you threw in the “manchild boyfriend” and his butt cheeks. This is the kind of traumatic childhood experience that is an eventual writer’s dream come true. Hilarious!March 28, 2014 – 10:26 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I think it’s funny that you relate it to a writer’s dream come true. Mostly because so often, I sit here thinking “I’ve got nothing” and then remember all the embarrassing horrible shit my parents (and ALL parents) did and are. Thanks much for the visit and comment!!March 29, 2014 – 12:06 amReplyCancel

  • Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life - You have the best stories ever! EVER! And your drawings are absolutely hysterical. Would you believe I grew up in Golden, went to school in Boulder and never went to a concert at Red Rocks? Bizarre!March 28, 2014 – 10:43 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You grew up in Golden? OMG. We must have lived 20 minutes away from each other during highschool (except you are younger than I am I’m sure). STILL. You never went to Red Rocks??? You have to have to have to go. take a trip. Now. This summer. So WEIRD. And cool 😀March 29, 2014 – 12:44 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - what year did you graduate HS???March 29, 2014 – 12:44 amReplyCancel

      • Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life - We were neighbors? Now that is awesome! Graduated 87 but my parents moved my junior year, so I didn’t graduated there. I was actually at Arvada West, we were in that weird section of Golden that went to Arvada schools. We had our choice for HS, but since I was already in Arvada schools and my best friend lived right by the HS, of course I chose Arvada. When did you graduate?March 29, 2014 – 7:14 amReplyCancel

        • Kristi Campbell - Holy wow, Michelle! I graduated from Cherry Creek HS in 86! We were totally neighbors. That’s pretty cool!March 29, 2014 – 12:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - Oh. My. God. I’m assuming your mom doesn’t read your blog? I’d love to hear her version of things!
    And Everclear!!
    My husband has seen Phish a lot a Red Rocks. I’ve never even been to CO although there were a few near-misses.
    I want to go. With you!March 28, 2014 – 10:43 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - She actually does read it sometimes, and I’d love for her to read this one and let me know what she remembers. It’s not like I haven’t given her a hard time over the years about this same incident. Maybe I should invite her to reply!! She just had hand surgery but I’m totally going to and thanks for inspiring the idea.
      And I want to go to Colorado with you!! I can show you all around like my little sister (wife) 😀March 29, 2014 – 12:51 amReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Daigneault - I never lived in Denver but I went back and forth between Phoenix and there when I was working to hear you describe it I feel like i did! I ran into the most fantastic mullet I had ever seen when in Hawaii and usually when I see something so amazing I try to get a photo, but this guy was so skillfully elusive I could never get one! That was years ago and I still wish I had photographic evidence! Great post!!March 28, 2014 – 11:06 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m bummed you didn’t get a photo of that mullet, too! Because it must have been amazing! They really were cool in the 80’s and I even encouraged my then bf (and first husband) to grow his hair longer in the back. I did. 😀March 29, 2014 – 12:55 amReplyCancel

  • Elaine A. - So glad my parents stayed married. 😉

    Also, I’ve heard Red Rocks is amazing. My college roomie lived in Colorado after college for quite a while and she LOVED going to concerts there!March 28, 2014 – 11:25 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Red Rocks IS the very best place to see a concert. It’s amazing. In my humble opinion, anyway.March 29, 2014 – 12:59 amReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - This is hilarious! And the pictures? I want to know how to do that.

    I would love to hear your mom comment on this.March 28, 2014 – 11:30 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Stephanie. I’m going to ask my mom to comment or write her version of it. We’ll see what she says!! And the pictures? Photoshop, a lack of any real artistic talent, and a mouse because I have found that finger drawing on my laptop is just not the same. 😀March 29, 2014 – 1:15 amReplyCancel

  • Teresa Danner Kander - Loved reading about your concert experiences. The man thong story….oh man!! I was traumatized FOR you!!!March 28, 2014 – 1:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Joy Christi - Oh good LORD that would be terrifying for anyone, but your MOM’S DATE?? Ugh. I hope she’s made it up to you since then, that’s well, I don’t even KNOW what that’s like. That is officially it’s OWN THING. New saying: “I’m as uncomfortable as a kid looking at her mom’s date in a thong.” There is no comparison!
    I doubt this is comforting, but I JUST posted my 80’s prom picture on my FB page, complete with a MULLET and giant AquaNet mall-wall hair! March 28, 2014 – 2:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe - LOL – So, is that you or some poor innocent bystander on the right in the pink bikini gaping in horror?? 😉 Lucky for him, that was before everyone and their uncle had a cell phone with a camera and access to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram …March 28, 2014 – 2:50 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Chris, it’s totally meant to be an innocent bystander on the right and THANK YOU for noticing!! I sometimes feel like I spend so much time drawing this crap and nobody sees any of the little details so I very much appreciate you doing so!
      And HAHAH to it being the days before cell phones and Instagram, etc. So right (and it’s weird that I sometimes miss those days, right?). 😀March 29, 2014 – 1:25 amReplyCancel

  • Her Royal Thighness - What a hilarious story! Thank you so much for the laugh this morning! I hope mom’s taste has matured by now. Wow … a man in a thong? It’s 2014 and I’ve still never seen that. The image of him walking around with that oxford shirt, looking half naked is not one I will soon forget. That can traumatize a girl for life!March 28, 2014 – 4:37 pmReplyCancel

  • April Grant - OMG! I think I would’ve thrown up right then and there! Ewww! I’m not hot for man-thong now unless the behind is AWESOME! And I find that rare! March 28, 2014 – 5:27 pmReplyCancel

  • clark - I can address the issue of Red Rock (I know that John Tesh played there once… back when I decided that Entertianment Tonight would be my sole source of news and current event, from what I recall, he brought the house down)

    …the thong story…. two words: ayiiee! (I remain in awe of the Federico Fellini meets john Hughes nature of your growing up experiences… man!)March 28, 2014 – 5:32 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Entertainment Tonight was a totally viable source for news and I do hope you’re not suggesting otherwise. And yeah what you said (!!!) about my growing up stories. I think.March 29, 2014 – 1:26 amReplyCancel

  • Robbie - Wow..I cannot get that image out of my head…ick! ick! ick! Concerts sound fun though!March 28, 2014 – 6:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - hahaha…I am laughing hard just imagining you covering your face with your shirt and that guy in thongs….errrr!

    seriously, we have grown up Kristi 🙂
    Are’nt we glad!March 28, 2014 – 6:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Yvonne - Oh, my gosh, that would have been an embarrassing experience for a teenager. Loved your drawings. And so cool that you saw all those bands at Red Rocks (not that I know what Red Rocks is, but it sounds fun!) The only one of those bands that I ever saw was U2 – but it was a great gig in a tiny nightclub way before they were famous.March 28, 2014 – 7:34 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m jealous that you saw U2 before they were big!!! And if you ever get to Colorado in the states, Red Rocks is worth going to, I promise. Seriously.March 29, 2014 – 1:49 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - One thing I love about you is that I never know what to expect when I visit here! 🙂 Man things – gross!March 28, 2014 – 8:36 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Um, I’m going to go ahead and take that not knowing what you’ll get when you come here is a good thing, m’kay? because you know, you did say it was loved so that’s a good assumption right? Yikes.
      And yes, man thongs are just nasty. man things at times too ahhahaMarch 29, 2014 – 1:51 amReplyCancel

  • [email protected] Menopausal Mother - Dying laughing here!!! Geez, I remember guys down here in Florida wearing shiny satin speedos to the beach—-you could see EVERYTHING in those nasty “swimsuits”—that were really underwear. Gawd, no wonder you were scarred for life–a thong is way worse. Thanks for the 80’s memories of concerts—you saw some great groups!March 28, 2014 – 11:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Steck - Another Red Rocks Fan!! There is no place like Red Rocks to see a concert. I can’t believe you saw U2 there. What an incredible experience!March 29, 2014 – 12:28 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I agree. It’s truly the very best place ever to see a concert. Ever. I think it’s way cool we both wrote about it, too!March 30, 2014 – 10:53 amReplyCancel

  • Katia - Man thongs are very. Very. Very. Wrong. I would even go as far as paraphrasing Taylor Swift in saying that there is a special place in hell for men who wear thongs and a special place in heaven for people who had to witness this as children. I kind of feel bad toward child Kristi and her brothers for getting a kick out of this post but as always the illustrations were awesome and the storytelling made me long for the 80’s.March 29, 2014 – 3:30 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw the 80’s. I do miss them at times and YAY for there being a special place in heaven for those of us who had to witness the man thong in person. That might make up for it right there! 😉March 30, 2014 – 10:55 amReplyCancel

  • Julia Starr Arnold - This is so funny I don’t even know where to begin. I did NOT see the post going that way when I started reading> HAHA!.March 29, 2014 – 7:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah Almond - Oh my, I’ve been to two concerts in my life, and I can’t say that I’ve ever seen THAT! Fortunately I’ve lived a very sheltered life.

    On one hand, kudos to your mom for trying to get her groove back. On the other hand, boo for being permanently scarred from that experience!

    A man thong is very wrong… That could totally be a haiku!March 29, 2014 – 9:19 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - A man thong haiku! Who’d have thunk! And yeah, I guess it’s cool my mom got her groove back but yuck. Yucky yuck yuck.March 30, 2014 – 11:20 amReplyCancel

  • ben - Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Hahaha I can see the lighter that you’ve been waving.March 31, 2014 – 3:49 amReplyCancel

  • Alexa - I am laughing OUT LOUD at this post! Thank you for the laugh this morning. I can only imagine the horror. It also reminded me of when my sister was an exchange student in Germany her senior year in high school, and her host family took her to a nude beach. Can you imagine??? I guess you probably can!March 31, 2014 – 6:25 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG Alexa, your sisters host family took her to a nude beach!!?!?!???? That sounds unbelievably awful! Yikes! At least with my own mom, I could make fun of her but a host family, I’d have dug a hole in the sand!April 1, 2014 – 9:26 amReplyCancel

  • Jen Lauren Schneider Kehl - Ahhh!!!!! One more reason why I know we were always meant to be! I drove a 240sx!!!! Also, this is hilarious and exactly what I wanted to read right now 🙂 You know how I feel TTTx1billionApril 1, 2014 – 1:04 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - O.M.G.
    That is all. Hilarious.
    😀February 13, 2015 – 12:01 amReplyCancel

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