As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to the turntable…
Growing up on a small farm in Eastern Washington, I saw very little of the world. My big adventures were an occasional visit to Spokane and Seattle. In my imaginary bean bag chair world, I was traveling the globe shopping and listening to music in exotic cities. Paris, London, New York City …Cleveland, Ohio. CLEVELAND?! The needle suddenly comes scratching across the vinyl record. Why would I want to go to Cleveland, when I could be eating dinner in Paris?
Even though I’ve been a flight attendant since people could light up cigarettes on airplanes, I’ve never been to Cleveland. Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from its opening in 1995. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, located on the shore of Lake Eerie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, recognizes and archives the history of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have had some major influence on the development of rock and roll.”
It’s been on my bucket list for quite some time. Every month, we create our own flying/work schedules. I noticed that there was a trip in May that had a 30-hour downtown layover in Cleveland. Perfect! When we received our schedules, I looked up my crew. There were 2 flight attendants who had about 2 years’ seniority, and then my friend Tonya, who has 19 years. She was the Flight Leader. I immediately sent her a message. “Want to know why a flight attendant with 30 years’ seniority is on a trip with a long layover in Cleveland? Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, baby!”. She stayed on the trip. And we had a blast!
Heart is one of my favorite bands. I have started my own Rock Wall of Fame in my house. This is what it looks like behind me, as I sit typing on the computer.
Tonya and I flew a trip to Amsterdam the week before our Cleveland trip. I told her I was going to wear my Heart concert t-shirt to the RRHOF, because I wanted to take a picture of me wearing it in front of Heart’s display (they were inducted in 2013). She wanted to do that, too! So, during her crew break, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, she went onto their website and ordered a t-shirt. The amazing power of current technology. I think it’s always more fun to add a theme/purpose to an adventure!
The day arrived, and off we went on our trip. Early flight departures and long days on either side of our Cleveland layover, but since we had a plan, it was okay. We arrived in Cleveland late at night. It was dark, so I really had no idea where we were. Our drive to the hotel took us by gigantic sports facilities, a large downtown area and we were let off outside a beautiful, old hotel. Completely opposite of what I expected for Cleveland. We made plans to meet the next morning, and headed off for a great night of sleep.
It was only about a 12-minute walk to the RRHOF from our hotel. A glorious 12-minute walk. When we left Seattle, it was 45 degrees and raining. In Cleveland, it was sunny and upper 70’s! To be honest, I hadn’t looked at a map to see where Cleveland was. It was a total surprise to me, to find out it was on Lake Eerie! The RRHOF is part of the city’s redeveloped North Coast Harbor. A beautiful setting, right on the water. It was not a crowded day, so it was a quick and easy entrance into the building. Everyone was nice and helpful.
The first display was of the 2017 RRHOF Inductees. Pearl Jam, Journey, ELO, YES, Joan Baez and Tupac Shakur. It was cool to see Steve Perry’s black tuxedo jacket that he wore in so many of the videos and pictures I have seen. Although I’ve seen Journey twice, it was with Arnel as the lead singer, not Steve. Like many fans, I was disappointed he declined singing with the band one more time at their induction ceremony.
And being from Seattle, it was a proud moment to see Pearl Jam’s display. I had Eddied Vedder on a flight this past winter. Nice man. And he pops up frequently as a surprise guest at many local concerts. Just recently he made an appearance at the U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017 concert in Seattle. And Mike McCready is an active part of the Seattle community, too. He jammed onstage with Heart at their concert here last summer.
The rest of the museum was a winding display through time and history. Elvis, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and the 60’s British Invasion, Michael Jackson… A little bit of everything. It was interesting to read their notes and see actual clothing the artists wore onstage. I’m a huge Beatles Fan. I’ve been in love with Paul McCartney for as long as I can remember. So, I loved their display.
And then….we came to the Seattle display. With a heavy heart. That morning, the world woke up to the tragic news that Chris Cornell of Soundgarden had passed away (apparently, suicide). A beautiful voice inside of a troubled soul. That is a challenging situation to understand. And ironic that I was here to see Heart’s display, and he was the one who had inducted them in. I know they were all hurting. He had just performed in Seattle this past November. One of many concerts that I now regret missing. See your artists when you have an opportunity, is the lesson learned. Life has a way of suddenly changing.
There were a lot of artists on display, who are no longer with us. But their music is! That last forever.
A fun surprise ending to our visit, was finding that in their theater, they were showing a 3D movie of a U2 concert! We put on our special glasses, sat down and watched. It was like they were performing right to us. OH, to just reach out and grab Bono’s hand! I loved looking at their display case, too. Especially since I had just seen them in concert a few days prior.
This is also the 50th Anniversary of the Rolling Stones Magazines. A whole floor was dedicated to their magazine covers and interviews. It is located next to their radio station. It’s fun to grab a pair of headphones and listen in to what is airing at that time.
An observation that we made, though, was the lack of women musicians being honored. Although, many have been inducted as part of a band, the lack of individual artists was apparent. It is quite shocking to do research and find out the women who have not been honored yet. Dolly Parton, Carol King, Bette Midler, Cindi Lauper, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Grace Jones, Pat Benetar[sn1] ,Kate Bush, Tina Turner (individually)Ella Fitzgerald, Janet Jackson, …just to name a few. That needs to be rectified.
And even though Heart was inducted in RRHOF in 2013, there was not a single display item up of them. I mean, HELLO! You can’t go anywhere without hearing ‘Barracuda’ or ‘Magic Man” or ‘These Dreams.’ Talk about trail blazers for the women of rock!
So, we took matters into our own hands, and created our own display.
Not only is the RRHOF an impressive place to visit, the downtown area of Cleveland has a lot to offer. Intriguing bars and restaurants, and a strong music scene. I look forward to my next visit.
Because I’m going back. I purchased a membership.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE