Written by Sherrie Locke on 7 Batz, December 22, 2014
It is with a sad heart that I say goodbye to one of my favorite musicians of all time, Joe Cocker.
I have a story about the first (of many times) I saw him live in Dallas, Texas. I was actually way under age, about 14. I had heard on the radio and noticed on the marquee when driving by SMU that there was to be a concert at Moody Coliseum (back when they actually had concerts there). I didn’t yet have a car, which I have been driving since I was 16, so this was way before.
I bought a general admission ticket for the floor area. I was most certain I would find some friends with a car so I could get there and go hang with them at the concert. To my surprise, no one I knew was going and on the day of the concert I had no way of getting there from Garland.
Of course, I had told my parents that it was all worked out and that some friends’ parents would be taking us and retrieving us afterwards. So when that wasn’t going to work, I decided to tell them some story about WHY their parents couldn’t pick me up and WHY I needed a ride to Moody and what time. Of course there were the requisite questions and the “should we call them,” and FINALLY my dad decided he would take me, after all he would SEE the parents…right? I knew the crowd would work for me and of course there were no cell phones back then. So I got myself there to see a show, by myself, by one of my very favorite artists.
Now I am inside, I get to the entrance of the floor area and wow, there were already a ton of people, standing room only, starting to pack up by the stage, even though the show was almost an hour away. I worked my way up to the very front by the stage. Then I realized the stage was at least two or three feet (that’s about a meter for you non-feet people) over my head, I was like hmmmmm, what to do? Move back so I could see, or stay up close hoping to hear his voice without the amps. I decided to stay put. Right before the set started and after Leon Russell did the opening act, I looked up beside me and there was a very tall guy standing there looking at me. He signaled and asked if I wanted to sit on his shoulders, I shook my head “yes,” and a couple of people lifted me up and sat me on his shoulders. I was right at stage level and could cross my arms on the edge of the stage. The lights went down and then, there he was, Joe Cocker, already sweating with a bottle of vodka in his hand. I was right in front of him and he came out on the stage and started out with “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” slugging on that vodka bottle and singing and flinging his arms around. I was not more than four feet from him. It was hot and crowded. Then I suddenly realized I was coated with sweat, spit and vodka. I was in Joe Cocker heaven! He was right there! My Idol, singing, and I could hear him with no microphone as he was having a fit of Rock and Roll and I was the recipient of all the wet stuff. *Heaven.
By the middle of the set I looked like a drowned rat, mascara running down my cheeks and smelling like a bar at 2 AM. I was smiling from ear to ear.
Needless to say, I never got to go out with “those friends” anymore, since I came out of the concert drenched in spit and vodka and I had to do the breath test for my dad to believe I was just covered in it rather than had been drinking it.
So I can say I became one with Joe Cocker on that night at Moody and for a long time had the clothes I wore stashed somewhere thinking I would save them forever. Alas, my mom found that dirty laundry one day, and then I only had the memory, but a fine memory it was and to this day my favorite Joe Cocker song was not what he opened with, not even “The Letter,” but the song he did for the encore, which was and still is my very favorite Joe Cocker song, “Unchain My Heart.”
Love You Joe Cocker, you were a huge part of my life and one of my best memories of my early teenage years.