My wife and I are doing something tonight that we haven’t done in a really long time. It’s something we’re really looking forward to. I just hope she enjoys it as much as I do. Most of all, I hope she doesn’t get a headache. That would ruin everything. Because there’s nothing worse than sitting through a rock concert with a headache. What did you think I was talking about?
About a month ago, I mentioned that my wife and I were going to see Bob Seger. Well, tonight’s the night. For us, it’s like a trip down memory lane. The last time we saw Seger in concert was 1978. Suffice to say we were a bit younger then. Everybody was. Through the entire show, which included three opening acts, we stood on the field of the Miami Baseball Stadium forty feet from the stage, and nobody got tired. Music has an energy that never seems to fade.
The band has changed, so I’m told. Most of the originals have moved on, quietly fading into the sunset. The same is true of the audience. As I look at pictures of the stars who entertained us in the seventies and eighties, it amazes me how old they look. Funny, I don’t see that in the mirror, and I don’t see it in my wife. It’s like we’re the only two people who haven’t really aged.
But last night at the gym, my body spoke up and informed me in no uncertain terms that I’m not the spring chicken I used to be. It was a combination of heat and humidity (the air conditioning wasn’t working right) and sore muscles from a weekend of painting. And age. Regardless of what I see in the mirror, Mother Nature has the final vote and she’s about as tactful as Simon Cowell.
It’s funny, I used to go to concerts all the time. My first was Chicago in 1975, then in 1976 I saw Bob Seger and the Doobie Brothers. Over the next two years, I saw at least a dozen shows, with names like Boston, Kansas, Foghat, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Yes, Foreigner, Jethro Tull, and Blue Oyster Cult. These weren’t reunion tours – they were the original bands doing brand-new music back in the heyday when tickets cost less than most items at the concession stand.
A lot has changed since then. I’ve only been to a few concerts in the past twenty years, so I guess my perspective is a bit limited. And my street smarts aren’t what they used to be, either. I’m the guy who would be stupid enough to fight my way to the front of the stage, only to find out later that there’s this thing called a mosh pit and I’m right smack in the middle of it.
I guess I’ve never quite understood these things. I grew up in a time when Volkswagen buses were adorned with multi-colored daisies, peace signs, and slogans like “make love, not war.” Back then, the area in front of the stage was filled with people dancing, singing, and sharing things the police didn’t confiscate at the door. It was a setting of Utopian harmony. According to an online dictionary, a mosh pit is the scene of “controlled violence.” From what I’ve heard, it’s completely out of control.
But I’m pretty sure there will be no mosh pit at tonight’s show. Age has a mellowing effect, and I have a feeling gray hairs will outnumber purple tonight by about a million to one. And that takes into account the heads that don’t have much hair to begin with. As Seger has aged, so have his fans.
Several years ago, my wife and I went to see Elton John. There was no opening act, and no backup band. Just Elton and his nine-foot grand piano with a crowd of ten-thousand middle-age fans. When I say “middle-age,” I mean halfway between newborn and 100. At the concession stands, popcorn and beer had been replaced by granola and Ensure. And those diaper-changing stations in the restrooms were getting a workout. Use your imagination.
There were two young girls sitting behind us – I say that from the perspective of somebody who was old enough to be their father. I think they were there on a college assignment where you have to listen to your grandparents’ music and write a dissertation on the social implications. They studied the people around them as if we were lab rats about to be exposed to some kind of controlled stimulus. They were in for an awakening.
The first few songs were slow and mellow – he opened with the classic Your Song, followed by a few more easy-listening hits. At first we just sat there mesmerized. It was like being on another planet. Slowly, we began to snap out of our trance and move with the music. And as the tempo increased, we never skipped a beat.
About the time I was wondering how a sixty year-old pianist with no backup band could rock the house, he launched into an extended version of Honky Cat. And he set the place on fire. He did things on that piano that I didn’t think could be done. A backup band would have been a distraction at that point, something to take focus off the most amazing performance I’ve ever seen. It was truly incredible.
Halfway through the song, I looked at the girls behind us. All the old farts around them were jumping and singing and rocking out like teenagers, as they sat there in a state of utter shock. I think they were genuinely afraid somebody may have a heart attack and fall in their lap. The show lasted a little over three hours and we never slowed down. And the only pills being passed around that night were Geritol.
I often wonder if those girls enjoyed the show as much as the rest of us did. But even more, I wonder if they went home with a different perspective on older people, maybe even a sense of anticipation for their own middle age. I hope so. Most of all, I hope they realized that age isn’t the debilitating barrier some people make it out to be. It’s just a number. Our looks may change, but our ability to enjoy the moment never goes away.
People always say age is a state of mind. I guess that depends what you’re doing at the moment. Because when I take my body to the gym, age is a physical reality. That’s not to say I’m letting it get in the way – I refuse to give up that easily. But it’s safe to say my days of running a marathon are pretty much behind me. Or running the bases for that matter. I’ve tried running. It’s not pretty.
But when I take my body to a concert, or an amusement park, or a picnic, or a school play, I take my mind along with me. And my mind is as young as I want it to be. If I could take back anything in my life, those moments when I chose to act like an old man would be at the top of the list. Because age truly is a state of mind. We’re not as old as we feel – we’re as old as we allow ourselves to feel.
And tonight, I’ll take my mind back to 1978 when my wife and I saw Bob Seger together for the very first time. The faces may have changed, but the song remains the same. That’s the beauty of music. And we’ll be rocking like teenagers. If we happen to throw a few joints out of whack in the process, it certainly won’t be the first time. And even more importantly, it won’t be the last.
Copyright 2011 – Dave Glardon
Dave, I wish I was going with you and Kim tonight although I would want Bob to play “Old Time Rock & Roll” over and over again. That song is in my top 10 all time favorite rock songs. I hope you both have a great time. Hazel
Thanks Hazel. I’m sure we’ll have a fantastic time.
Love this one, we are never too old to rock. While both Bob Seger and Elton John were great in our day.. im still into the motley crue and Van Halen. But still not young enough to do that mosh pit thing.. But wow did I come to life while in front row watching Brett Micheal’s last year.
I’m sure we could have go through a few beers on this topic. Lots of great music from back then. And it’s timeless – music never gets old.
Of all the memories from my younger years, music is never too far from the center of things. I’ve played the piano and guitar since I was a kid, and always dreamed of being a rock star. And when I finally found my way to the stage, I was doing comedy. Go figure.
Hi Dave, I’m sure you and Kim will have a fun filled night. Bob Seger never gets old, that’s for sure. I can remember a time in the middle 70’s that you gave the neighborhood a concert of your very own right from your back yard, Smoke on the Water. You were pretty darn good then but I’m sure glad you went into comedy. Keep turning the page, Dave.
Thanks Renee. You brought back some great old memories. We just got home from the show, and he rocked the house. For an old guy, he sure can crank it out. And the rest of us old farts didn’t do too bad ourselves!
Wow Dave. So jealous of you seeing all those great bands. Bands I love – Bob Seger, yes, Kansas, Lynard Skynard…again Wow.
Glad those girls got to see the’oldies’ go for it.
My daughter (22) and I go to the concerts she wants to see but her friends don’t. The Police, Rolling Stones, U2 and it is great. i think it helps remind her I am not just a 52 year old Mum, that I have lots of dimensions and life in me.
Rock on Jo! I think it’s great that you can enjoy these things with your daughter. As you said, it reminds her that you can’t be completely defined by age or the fact that you’re a parent.
Another good post! I hope you two enjoyed the show. I’ve noticed an odd thing in the concerts I’ve been to lately. The crowd varies drastically in age. And you see families going too. Quite a change from our earlier years and I think a good one.
It was a really good show Ken. He performed for almost 2-1/2 hours, with a seven-minute intermission in the middle. He can’t hit the really high notes anymore, but the guy is 65 years old. I was thoroughly impressed, and loved the entire show.
And yes, I’ve noticed the family trend. I was a bit surprised last night, because I expected the average age to be around 45, but it was probably closer to 35. And all through the show you could hear 12,000 people singing with him. It was incredible.
Dave you kick your heels up and have a great time tonight.
I never say I am old, but I dont mind saying I am older.
We had a great time Bill. It was like a trip back through time. As I said, the faces have changed, but the song remains the same. And he played a bunch of ’em from 1968 through 2011.
I was stunned recently, to be awarded the Versatile Blogger Award from RoughWaterJohn the Pirate. He has the most incredible blog that I feel – WOW, blown away by it all. It comes with a few requirements though, all of which are reasonable and not too demanding.
The three requirements are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the reward.
2. List seven random facts about yourself.
3. Nominate fifteen new bloggers for the award.
Now John did not stick to the criteria, and I don’t believe I will be either. I have gone for quality rather than quantity. I think that your blog fits the requirements.
Congratulations Jo! And thanks for the vote of confidence. Years ago when I first started writing, I was a bit disappointed in some of the writing I saw across the Internet. But I have to say that with the blogs, I’ve seen a sharp increase in writing ability, from both a technical and content perspective. We really do have a lot of great writers in this world. Good on ya!
So sorry that I’m late to the conversation. Was Bob Seger as great as your expectations? Most recently I’ve seen Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon and the The Temptations. Every one was rocking from preschoolers to teens to young and old adults. Being chronologically gifted myself, I watched some with a careful eye, hoping that the EMTs were on hand. It seems everyone loves the moldy oldies.
Sharon, it was even better than I expected. As I mentioned in one of my earlier responses, he couldn’t hit the high notes like he used to, but he still rocked the house. I hope when I’m 65 I can still get out and move like he does. It was an awesome show.
I gotta’ tell ya’ you make my heart sing and my soul do ‘weelees! I am one of those people who have yet to realize they have just entered “Middel Age.” I mean seriously, I share clothes, and shoes, with my 16 year old daughter. Not to say I dress like a teeny bopper (and just saying that expression just propelled me smack into the middle of a Bob Seger concert) but I can pass for 21 with no problem, and sometimes it’s annoying when people treat me like a kid especially as I have more life experience then they can even begin to imaging and at other times it’s gratifying to be looked at as a young sexy lady.
Most of my friends are younger then I, and look up to me. I recently realized though, that they weren’t just thinking of me as a mature influence in their life they could could count on for advice and such, but that they genuinely admired my vitality and my attitude towards life. I sometimes lament about getting old, but it’s all really in amazement and disbelief that I AM that old!
Just keep going to concerts with your wife and enjoy life to its fullest. Just like wine and cheese, age makes the finer things in life better, richer and smoother…as I’m sure your wife can attest to 🙂
Talk to you soon, I’m off to dance the night away surrounded by young manly studs!
Haven’t heard from you in awhile, miss your humor! Hope all is well, fellow-blogger! Several days ago I received the “Versatile Blogger Award”; thought I would pass it on to you, as you are so deserving.
Age is just a state of mind. Rock till ya drop!! Crank it up a bit, I’ve forgotten ma hearing aid!!
this post so nice and interesting one to read.