The beloved husband and I went to a concert. We used to go to a lot of concerts but over the years we’ve seen most of our favorites, some many times. There are others we’d like to see but they are either dead (Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, half of the Beatles) or require a kidney donation to purchase a ticket.
Then there is the hassle – parking, butt-to-butt sweaty, smelly bodies. Somehow that’s cooler when you are young. Maybe it’s cooler when the person next to you doesn’t look like your grandfather or smell like garlic.
We went to see one of my icons from my youth. He was never much of a singer. His voice was slightly better than Bob Dylan but only slightly. His strength was his song writing. You could connect with the emotion in his songs. He crossed country and rock and folk.
He is 80 years old. (What was I thinking?)
There is nothing wrong with 80, but singers live a hard life. Eighty may be the new 50 for the rest of us but it’s 110 for rockers if they are lucky to be alive (with healthy livers).
(Seriously, what was I thinking?)
The concert had about 2,000 people (almost sold out) and it was a mass of gray. Average age had to be 70 to 75. (Remember this. It’s important later on.)
The thing about older people is that they sit and they like to sit. When they clap and cheer with all their heart, it’s not as loud as those 20-somethings (that we used to be). All good. An 80-year-old rocker is severely hearing challenged.
There were a few younger people. When I say younger, I mean in their 50s. One couple sat behind us. I couldn’t figure out their accent until the beloved husband said they were drunk. (I really have to get out more.) Drunk is not a good accent.
They hooted and whooped. They kept saying “Yeah baby!” I didn’t want to turn around to see what they were doing. (I know what I’m doing when I say that…)
The rocker was 20 minutes late. In old people’s terms that’s a nap or a trip to the bathroom or forever. He was alone. All by himself. No back-up band. Just him. (Again, what was I thinking?)
We’ve seen older entertainers before. They surround themselves with a band who guides and covers up errors. The band does instrumentals to let the singer recover. Sometimes they have a slide show of the highlights of their life. Nada here.
We were at one ancient rocker concert where the band fluidly switched songs when the singer forgot the lyrics and launched into the middle a different song.
Our singer could have used help. His old gravelly voice faltered many times. Sometimes he ended a song in the middle of a verse. Did he forget the words? Did his voice give out?
He didn’t talk to the audience to recover but launched into song after song. The first part was a half hour. I don’t know about the second. We left after I heard all my favorites. As I was walking out he told the audience he didn’t expect the concert to be so long. Maybe it was past his bedtime.
He laughed at himself. His guitar playing was terrible and he said so. The guitar-playing beloved husband’s eyes were rolling in their sockets like a gyroscope on a bumpy journey. His harmonica skills weren’t so good either.
Here’s the thing. No one left. The audience loved him. They didn’t care that he wasn’t always on key or occasionally went mute. They cheered in their quiet fashion standing (remember these are old people) for an ovation when he did a beloved favorite.
They sang the songs with him, filling in the blanks. They absolutely loved him. It was beautiful.
Several women were screaming out their love (remember the age here). Even he was shocked. I expected to see granny panties and Depends thrown on the stage.
He made me feel young again. I was 20-something for the moment, singing the beloved songs of my youth. I was invincible.
He was my silver-throated devil come to serenade me. Too bad he waited so long.