The concert or another view of aging

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

55 thoughts on “The concert or another view of aging

  1. This is hysterical- I read it the first time laughing so hard I had to go back and read it again. NO WAY Kris is 80. Yikes. Good on him to keep on keeping on, but he should sing for free! 😳 I’ve never been a big concert goer, but I saw Paul McCartney three times in the last 8 years and enjoyed every second. I attended a duo concert with James Taylor and Carol King a few years ago that was sublime. And 5 years ago I listened to Johnny Mathis sing with the San Francisco symphony- incredible! So old doesn’t have to mean ‘done’ if the will and way are still there. 😘

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    • You are a concert goer!! McCartney 3 times? Wooo! I saw a dvd of Taylor and King and they are fabulous together. We saw Johnny Mathis (now there’s an old one) and he was excellent. He still has quite an octave range. Old doesn’t mean done unless they lived hard and fast. Neil Diamond was in our area. We didn’t go (we have seen him several times) but I heard he was really good. We had tickets to see Cher but she cancelled because of health reasons. The concert wasn’t great but I was glad I went. He was one of my favs growing up.

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  2. Seriously, I was thinking of Kristofferson just the other day, and wishing I’d seen him perform. No kidding. It started because I heard a podcast interview of Gordon Lightfoot, another favorite and my mind started adding in those I’ve never seen perform and wish I had. I still listen to vinyl a lot and Kristofferson was one of my favorites. I’m glad you had the opportunity. We are going to see Gino Vanelli in about two weeks…I don’t even know who else remembers him, but I loved him! LOL! So I’m all for these oldies. I enjoy concerts under any circumstance.

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    • I saw Gordon Lightfoot about a decade ago. He was already old (aren’t they all?) but he did a good concert. Sang all my favorites. (That’s what makes a concert great!) Saw Kenny Rogers too. It was a good concert but at the end he said that he has back issues and would sing his encore song without walking off and back on stage. I thought that was funny and very practical. I didn’t have to stand and stomp my feet.

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  3. My wife and I intend to see Neil Diamond later this year. his voice may be slipping, but at least he’s not 80 yet. However my wife’s panties will not make it up on stage—I have to draw the line somewhere. great post, Kate. A little scary, but absolutely great. ‘O)

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  4. I’ve never been a big concert person. We saw The Kingston Trio when I was in college, and that was a big thrill.

    I seem to have become impatient in my later years. Just sitting and listening to music doesn’t seem exciting enough. I guess I prefer plays, and–especially–musicals. Saturday my sister and I saw Singin’ in the Rain done by a Seattle area musical theater group. It was excellent, and so much fun–singing, dancing, talking, costumes, ever-changing scenery. Like a child, I enjoy being entertained to the max.

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  5. He’s 80 years old? Really? And he’s still singing? He had a tough time doing that when he was 40..:) that must have been interesting.
    I haven’t been to a concert in about 4 years. Last one was Springsteen and my ears took a few hours to recover..:)

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    • Because the audience was older and he didn’t have a band this one wasn’t too noisy. I am finding that concerts that are too loud have that affect on me. In the extreme I don’t enjoy them. Old ears. There were times when his voice was a whisper. Springsteen would be fabulous except for the noise level.

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  6. “Drunk is not a good accent.” Laughed over that – great phrase ( and true)
    We rarely go to live concerts now – too much of a drive for one thing…although we did fly to Denver Red Rocks once for Tom Petty (quite a while back). And I would prefer to remember some of them as they were (Don’t dance. Pleeeease don’t dance on stage. It’s not the same.)
    Planning to hear Tom again as he’s coming here this spring…hope I don’t get too annoyed at the “not a good accents” close by.

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    • We saw the Moody Blues at Red Rocks. I thought I walked a mile up hill to get there but it’s a beautiful venue. I never heard Tom in person but he was part of the Traveling Wilburys and we have a dvd.

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  7. I haven’t been to a concert in ages. It really is a shame what the years (and probably some hard living) will do to a singer’s voice. I would prefer to listen to a taped performance (CD, download, etc.) from a time when the singer’s pipes were still good, and in the comfort of my home. Kris was a looker back then… it doesn’t sound like he has aged well.

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  8. Ah Kate, concerts are my passion! We went to 10 last year alone. I didn’t go when I was younger so I’m making up for lost time. We are the stand up and groove concert goers (in our mid-60’s) and are a bit bothered by the sitters, especially because we pay for as close as we can get tickets most of the time. We think the band wants to see people get up and move to the music. We’ve only been disappointed a couple of times and have been blown away by a few too. At the rate the artists are passing away, we probably won’t be able to catch them anymore!

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    • We used to do that many but no more. I would find standing for 2 hours tiring even if I loved the music. Shorter bursts for a song or two are ok. There is an energy at a concert that is great. It helps cover a little disappointment. We had a few disasters and were always amazed that the ones we expected to be great could be a failure while one we were on the fence about going was fabulous. We saw Ray Charles. He was an hour late. It was outside and pouring and he didn’t play a single song I knew. He did progressive jazz. We saw a Queen tribute band a couple of years ago that was fabulous. They not only did the music well but they dressed and moved like the original artists.

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      • Yes, we were disappointed by Eric Clapton. He would start a song and then move to the back and let the other guys play, and he was playing blues, not the rock we expected. Good to know about Queen, they are coming near us with Adam Lambert and we are thinking of going.

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  9. I’m not a fan of live singing — unless the performers are lip-synching, they are almost never as good as they are in recordings. Some are remarkably bad, in fact, and they don’t have age to blame for it.

    This is what happens when you manufacture pop stars based on their looks. Yay, my generation. 😦

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  10. This past October, my husband and I attended Desert Trip (dubbed as ‘Senior’s Woodstock,’ ‘Oldchella’ and ‘the Palm Springs Retirement Home for Genteel English Musicians.’ The average of the singers was 72. There were endless old jokes. The concerts (with their full bands and big production) were amazing…but I would hate to think how any of them would have sounded without backup!
    BTW – Very witty write-up — I am still laughing!

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  11. I loved going to concerts when I was in my teens, twenties, and thirties . . . then prices sky-rocketed and my interest took a steep nose-dive. Now, I’d rather listen to them at home . . . the way they were!

    These days, we like outdoor concerts the best . . . where we can spread out and dance. We saw Sophie B. Hawkins not long ago for FREE! And we had front row seats, sitting in our car! When I wanted to dance, I got out and stood in front of the hood to shake my booty.

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    • We will do local park concerts of unknowns or tribute bands especially if they are free. Last time Elton John was relatively local (1-1/2 hours away), the ticket prices were astronomical. We passed. It’s nice to bring your own beer and blanket on a nice summer’s night to a local gig. Or we watch the dvd at home with the cats.

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  12. Thought you were talking about him before I got down to the photo. I’ve liked him since seeing him in A Star is Born with Barbra Streisand, and understand he’s signed up for Glastonbury this year.
    Hubby and I have been to only a few concerts, Neil Sedaka, Barry White, and the worst ever, Whitney Houston. In my younger days I’d also seen The Detroit Emeralds and Shalamar.

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  13. I never went to many concerts when I was young, so not going to them now seems normal. The last concert I saw was Simon and Garfunkel. A man behind us had a heart attack during the show, so, you know– memorable.

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  14. Going to a concert of a younger entertainer can be interesting. I went to a Sarah McLaughlin concert here many years ago, and was surrounded by an audience that must have been 90% young female. That may seem attractive to some of my gender… but it’s not. They screamed at pitches that probably reverberated across the country, and most of the humorous interactions between Sarah and her admirers was, not surprisingly, very feminine! Sarah… I love you dearly, but I’ll never go to another of your concerts! 🙂

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