Introduction: Billy Parker reflects on what getting older has done to his ability to attend concerts.
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Article by: Billy Parker
June is a great month to have a birthday. At least by Rock & Roll, party hardy standards. Memorial Day followed by birthday, then graduations, oh look, time to celebrate the 4th! Let the good times roll. What do I want for my birthday? Recorded music and live music of course. Give me records and give me (money) tickets. The summer concert season is about to begin. Superfest IV is having this summer, er, um, who cares! Doesn't matter, its all hot stuff, bring it on.
At least that's the way it used to be. Truth is, things aren't what they used to be. Oh, believe me it's positively no reflection on the present day concert scenario, that's seems mostly intact. But it is a classic reflection on ones (age) self. For you see, I'm reaching those middle age years where the summer concert scene doesn't have the same lust of anticipation as it did years ago.
Rituals that were never given a second thought can now deliver week's long anxiety. Where can I park? I'll have to fight all those crowds; I'm carrying a substantial amount of cash. And that's just to purchase the tickets!
The plan used to be such a no-brainer. I can make that. Call in sick, hitchhike, then scalp a ticket, we're in! With a little luck we get there early and start checking out any action in a van. Now its, "Honey, that's the night when we have to turn in the charity funds for Scouts." And for some reason, this actually makes sense.
Sobriety? The only one who drank more at Aerosmith than me was Steven Tyler. Although he does sing better drunk than I do. "Wanna party?" Nobody asks me that anymore. The only one who drinks less than me at concerts now is Steven Tyler. Now it seems I always get that obnoxious, completely wasted teenager sitting behind me. I spend the entire show waiting for her to throw up.
Monetary reasons provide a great excuse. Whose got $75 just for nosebleeds? Want to know exactly how much McCartney or The Stones cost? Just ask any recent powerball winner. I paid $8 for Aerosmith, $8 for Rush and $12 for Fleetwood Mac at their zenith. At this rate of inflation my tailgate six-pack of Bud would cost over $20. And that's just for cans! But now it's-boy I'd love to see that show, but the Subaru really needs new tires. And somehow, that makes sense.
Oh sure, the planets will line up and I'll catch a show this summer season. I'll actually hope that it starts on time. (The baby-sitter is costing me a fortune!) I'll shave her cost by skipping the opening act. Perhaps the person next to me can remember (barely) how cool dry ice and strobe lights were on the groups breakthrough album tour. Us old farts remember when bands played longer than 2 hours and gave several encores. Those were the days.
I'll get a few CD's for my birthday I can't get from my record club. Concert tickets will require a complete time/money audit Enron would be happy to get. No work, camp, family reunions, six flags bring a friend days, Sponge Bob on ice, your dog can poop in the park day. The mortgage, car taxes, buy one get two free Dollar Tree, your kid can't play for free, appliance extended warranty, you've changed age groups-life insurance increase, your dog pooped in the park fine.
Easy! Then I will get the concert I have always managed to miss over the years. In the meantime I'll spend my birthday completely content with presents (from me to me) reflecting my age. I'll be with my new Klipsch speakers and my Led Zeppelin DVD.
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The next article is: "My Old School"
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