Go Ahead, Kill Me Now August 19, 2012Posted by craftlass in events.
I spent the past 3 nights at the hugely successful (in every sense) reunion concerts of God Street Wine, primarily because my partner, John “Woody” Wood, who is one of the most talented percussionists I’ve ever heard (I have spent a lot of my life listening to great percussionists of all kinds yet he was the one who inspired me to buy my first drum long before we ever met, so this is not just a biased girlfriend-opinion), was playing with them. He hasn’t played in years. It makes me sad to think about that, but he has good reasons and I have to accept them, so I usually just try to avoid thinking about it at all.
It’s been a long time since I stopped working in the music industry and his band broke up and I haven’t really been out to see many shows since then. When I do hear live music these days it’s usually acoustic singer-songwritery stuff at relatively quiet venues, since that’s what I do, too. The only time I really listen to anything loud is when I’m testing mixes or working on edits and that is usually pretty brief and always under my control.
I remember when I was a teen and in my early 20s and older friends or friends’ parents would talk about how they love music but can’t take the volume of a concert or club anymore. I would always think, “Gee, if I ever get like that someone please just kill me.” I was certain that I was going to spend the rest of my life hearing live music every night. I lived for live music. I would see almost anyone and travel far and wide to see my favorites. I racked up thousands of miles before I even got my first job for a band, then I started putting on the serious miles. I heard some of the best of the best, many of them long gone. With some bands I got to the point where I could easily pick up on what song they were playing next just by which guitar the tech set out. I danced until my feet had calluses like bad saddle leather. I could go to a show in random (for a northeasterner) towns like Huntsville or Indianapolis and know most of the people in the room. It was wonderful. I loved every bit of that life, for a time.
A church of our own
A prayer to bring us home
Never to be alone
A little piece
Of heaven for us to share
Love is the music in the air!
- Little Peace of Heaven (1998)
Unfortunately, aging happens to all of us, and it happens far more quickly when you get a stable home life. The coziness of a happy home creates quite a different mindset than the blazing energy of a rebellious teen!
My wanderlust hasn’t dampened a bit but I’m a bit out of practice on the concert thing. In case you haven’t been to one in awhile, either:
Concerts are LOUD
Loud enough to chase all other thoughts out of your brain, make your head pound, and make it really clear which ranges of frequencies you can still hear and which are fuzzy. You get somewhat used to it after a couple of nights in a row, but that doesn’t really help if you are just going to one show and it still sounds louder than it did when you were younger. Yes, even if you have some hearing loss problems, like I’m suspecting I do. That’s just how loud it is.
Concerts are crowded
These shows were general admission, which I’ve always preferred. They were at the Gramercy Theatre in NYC, which has a great setup. There’s a huge dance floor with stadium seating at the back that anyone could use. Most fans of jam bands dance through the show so the seats seemed to be mostly used for quick breaks to rest and catch a view of the stage. It was crowded every night but Saturday’s show was definitely the most crowded thing I’ve been to in awhile (and that includes Penn Jillette’s Rock and Roll, Doughnuts, and Bacon Party, which I thought of as packed at the time). To tell the truth, for the last bunch of concerts I went to before stopping it as a regular thing I was in the wings or somewhere else restricted, so it’s really been a long time since I’ve been on the floor at a full gen-admin show. It was disconcerting. I sat a lot. I used to never sit.
Concerts have a lot of messed up people
No matter the crowd, unless it’s a totally sober scene, there will be people who get bombed on something and do stupid stuff. Every night had a few candidates for Idiot of the Night. Oh, I’m still used to that in a lot of ways, but concerts bring out something… special… in those folks. Maybe the musical stimulation removes yet another layer of filters or people just think they are anything-goes environments, whatever the case, there is a very high chance that you will run into some supremely dumb behavior from a mind that’s just not there at the moment. Which brings us to…
Concerts give assholes a chance to be themselves
I’m standing in a hallway with an old friend’s fiancée (who is super-cool), chatting away, when a guy brushes between her back and the wall. She suddenly gets this shocked look, he disappears, and she said, “Wow, he totally just grabbed my ass.” Instantly, memories of similar experiences in similar places come flooding back, both my own and those that happened to friends. I’m not saying all guys at concerts are jerks, not by a million miles, but the tiny percentage who take advantage of crowded spaces like that are awful. They can escape before you even see them so there is no chance to confront whether you want to or not. As a side note: Why does this have to be part of a discussion about every type of event that exists these days? How has our society not evolved past this yet? C’mon, people! It’s not okay to purposefully touch someone without his or her explicit permission. Period. It’s not that complicated.
So, yeah, basically it’s time for me to start yelling at kids to get off the lawn I don’t have. Between endless discussion of aches and pains, the fact that I can talk passionately for hours about the weather, and now my trouble adjusting to a concert environment, I’ve clearly crossed that line I set so many years ago. I’m young for my age in many many ways but my physical being has definitely changed as well as my mindset.
Sorry, teenaged me, but there’s plenty to enjoy past that line. Concerts are very good things but they aren’t the only thing. Aging is kinda cool (other than the aches) and mostly has perks. Thanks for giving me such great memories, though! They’ve been flooding my brain all weekend.
P.S. Speaking of music from my young adult years, one of my all-time favorite bands, Native, the very one my partner played with and that brought me together with not only him but Dave Thomas, my collaborator on Just a Dream and many projects, is virtually reuniting! By that I mean that we built an all-new website and they are putting out music that the public and even their longtime crew and friends have never heard. A song or a few will come out each week or so from now until October, most of them free if you sign up for the mailing list. I started working on the project about 2 weeks ago and what a coincidence to delve into the music of two very-connected bands of that era in one week! Basically, I stepped into some sort of Time Hole and dropped into the ’90s. It’s also been a fun diversion and a great reason to upgrade my skills and knowledge, which means I’ll probably be updating my own web world soon.