Rap concerts in Gary were few and far between, though.. in suburban Merrillville and beyond, certain theaters like the Holiday Star would advertise mainstream pop and country acts-- Toto, Kansas, Mickey Gilley, Starship, Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle.. but forget about rap, really.. and the Jacksons never, I mean NEVER, came back to Gary for any kind of homecoming concert-- the closest they came was Chicago during the Victory tour, and that sold out in like 3 hours.. but like a good soldier, I kept my Mike Jax posters on the wall... "He'll come back someday.. Just you wait and see..." whoo-boy... well-- Jermaine did once do an impromptu visit to their old family house, which caused a minor stampede, but I digress... Whenever I got to hear about some show, I either didn't have the money, didn't have a ride (mom went through about 4 hooptie cars between 6th grade and 9th.. the last of which sat rusting in the driveway until well into my senior year when she finally sold it as is to someone..), or both..

The first music concert I was, well, exposed to was in the summer of 1988, spending the summer vacation in Detroit.. Scott's church, which was United Methodist affiliated, was participating in the UMC's "Youth 88" convention summit, on the campus of Eastern Illinois university-- it was mostly us kids, with maybe 1/3rd grownups with us.. on the bus ride there, which started at midnight, one girl threw up barely an hour into the ride.. several hours later, we actually ended up bypassing the University by accident, going across the Miss. River into Iowa.. Stopped at a restaurant, it was like 7 in the morning.. Half of us bum-rushed a nearby Burger King and started ordering Whoppers and orange juice.. We finally turned around and made it back to the University.. Staying on the campus.. Crazy girls there from all over, but alas, none meant for me.. there was this fine-assed girl named Heaven (!), and she swore she'd send her photo to me when I gave her my address.. Anyway, The dorms we stayed in had this fucked up system where when you get on the elevator, you had to have a key to get to a specific floor.. each of us kids only got the key to our own floor.. we were going nuts calling each other on phones-- "Press the elevator button on your floor! I'm comin' up!"..
Oh, i did mention there was a concert here? Well, the first day consisted of different workshops of nice, but vaguely boring interaction with each other, bible study and more.. but at the end of the day, our first special guest arrived, as we had all gathered in the university's basketball stadium.. All to witness the coming of..



the show was still on the air then, and she was still a "star", more or less.. she proceeded to talk to us about her career and her faith life... and the fact that she doesn't go see R rated movies.. she even did a skit in character as Blair, and sang some maudlin Christian pop..

At least, on the second night, the special guest was Deneice Williams; she mostly did gospel selections, but she finally did "Let's Hear it For the Boy" at the end..


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