Monday, September 10, 2012

Too Old to Rock 'N Roll

A long time ago (1986-1994) in a galaxy far, far away (New York) I went to a lot of concerts. In fact, I would guess during that timeframe I went to somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 to 100 concerts. (And I’m talking about blow your eardrums out arena and stadium-type concerts here, not club shows, which would probably triple that number.) These days, I’m lucky to go to one concert per year, and have even had a year here or there where I didn’t go to any. So what in the blazes happened to me? Ah, yes…age.

When you’re in your late teens and early twenties you think you’re going to get loaded and go to rock concerts for the next 50 years. You scoff at the very notion that you could ever possibly end up as devastatingly dull as your parents and their peers, whose idea of partying seems to be eating more than the number of Ritz crackers in a serving size. No, you are 100% sure during that time in your life that nothing is ever going to stop you from seeing every Rush, Jethro Tull, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, and Metallica concert ever put on for the rest of your existence.

Then you get a job, and a wife, and a mortgage, and some kids, and suddenly your concert-going agenda is thrown completely out of whack. All that money you used to spend on concert tickets and souvenirs suddenly needs to go toward mundane things like electric bills, gas, and food. All that time you used to spend away from home now needs to be devoted to tucking kids into bed and washing orange juice stains off the walls. And all those brain cells you used to happily kill in the name of rock and roll are suddenly in high demand so you can have some inkling as to what your boss is trying to convey to you at work.

Going to a concert is never a spur of the moment thing anymore. You have to plan months in advance. You have to ask serious questions like, “Is it in our budget?” “Will we be able to get a sitter?” and “Are any of the original members of the band still alive?” These are questions I never used to bother with back in my heyday.

Sometime in 1994 I went to see the Eagles. There were eight of us including my oldest brother and his wife. They are eleven years older than me and at the time had four kids ranging in age from one to eight. I remember my amusement when, just as the encore was starting, my brother and sister-in-law said they had to leave.

“Are you kidding? This is the best part of the show,” I said, incredulous.

“Yeah, but we have to get up early tomorrow and the kids have school,” my brother replied.

As I watched them leave the arena I thought, “Ha, ha—that’ll never be me.”

Eighteen years later I finally get the irony that I had that thought on the Eagles’ “Hell Freezes Over” tour.