Sometimes you have no recollection what you were doing during a life-changing moment in history, but I can tell you precisely what I was doing the night Lennon was shot.
I was in New York City.
It was the year I took off from college, 1980. I was living on the Upper West Side on Riverside Drive.
That night my former college sweetheart had asked if I wanted to come hear him play a solo show over at the East Side YMCA. I called up another college friend to see if she wanted to go with me to hear him play. We met over there. I believe it was on 72nd street? I think? I know it was directly across the park from the Dakota.
In any event, we met at the YMCA's auditorium. And we waited for Jim to come out on stage and start his show. There were few people there that night. We heard sirens scream past the building, which didn't seem that strange for New York, but I do remember these sirens, for some reason. The delay in starting the show seemed awkward as well.
Finally, Jim came out in front of the curtain that night and said in a bewildered, strained voice, "I don't know if you heard this, yet, but they say John Lennon was just shot." I don't remember if he played that night. I think he might not have.
I remember we all left sad and in shock.
A few days later the city held a collective moment of silence in his honor.
It was during the middle of the day. It was a bitterly cold, gray day.
Again, I was with Jim, in his apartment on 79th street. He was packing. His two guitars sat in their cases by the door. I was looking out the window. As the city stopped its clatter and motion for those few minutes, I noticed a very light first snow begin to fall.
We said nothing.
That was 30 years ago.