Every year about this time, I think of Yugoslavia and I feel a sense of loss.
It always starts the same: "Should we get tickets to the show?" a friend asks. And then we consult the cyberwebs and our date books and excitedly make plans to see whichever genius is currently capturing our inner struggles in a three-minute song. But just when it seems that all the stars are aligning—a breeze-cooled Midwestern summer day, a highly apathetic venue security staff—I remember that no matter what promise the year's perfect summer concert holds, there will be no Yugoslavians there. Because Yugoslavia disintegrated around the time I graduated from high school.
It's an expectation imprinted on me by my primeval Summer Concert experience. That first time, two older friends drove me down to see David Bowie in Milwaukee, a few hours away. What an adventure it was: There was lost-ticket drama, repressive-parent drama, dangerously distracted teen-driving drama; the performance itself paled in comparison. My ignorant high school self had little appreciation of the icon who would eventually gift the world with "Little Fat Man Who Sold His Soul."
Still, it was when the music stopped that the evening really picked up momentum. And by "the evening," I mean "my friends and I." And by "momentum," I mean "foreign dudes in the parking lot."
Curfews were missed that night and parents were lied to. Dawn broke with our joint social party still, unexpectedly, several counties away from home. But we helped bring two countries together, and isn't that—more than smoking up in public or relieving oneself in a parking lot or seeking carnal fulfillment in a port-a-potty—really what summer is all about? With that bit of cultural appreciation in mind, please enjoy our recommendations for the choicest showgoing experiences the Twin Cities have to offer. And if you can find a Serb, Croat, or even a Montenegrin to pull close after the set, so much the better. —Sarah Askari