Saturday, April 2, 2016

Rock 'n Roll Can Never Die

Stage side seat behind the equipment.
The rock 'n roll lifestyle has changed here in 2016 now with my peer group in our 40s.  Far away from the beer-swilling, chain-smoking immortality of our twenties, most of the musicians I know now are more sober, clean-living family men...who yes, still wear the occasional pair of leather pants. Case in point, I got to see the first performance of JudasMaiden last night at Jannus Live downtown. They put on a fantastic show, musically tight and with with showmanship that honored well the bands' music they covered (Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, for those not up on their 80s metal bands).

Annoying security. "You there, what you
doing?"
Going to a show in my 40s is not what it was in my 20s. Now, the security guys wave me through and call me ma'am rather than scrutinizing my ID for proof of legal drinking age.  I no longer care if I look "cool" and wear what's comfortable - in this case, a flappy sundress and radically ugly flip-flops with good arch support to keep plantar fasciitis at bay.  I also no longer clutch a beer in my hand, but entertain myself instead taking zillions of photographs, of the band, of the audience, of (irritated) security, of empty stairwells and overflowing ice machines - whatever catches my eye. While in Florida, you can still smoke in bars, I quit twenty years ago, so the smell of it, like most of the live music bar scene, only brings up distant memories of a time long ago when I was a different person. While I am taking guitar lessons myself now, I'm a homebody most of the time.   

Ice machine overflowing
Looking around the audience of a tribute band show, and you'll find that they are not the 20s hipsters finding new music expressing the anger, angst, hopes and dreams of their generation (as we did in our teens and 20s).  They're instead mostly like me; sporting varying degrees of middle-aged spread, we spend the evening remembering other evenings 20 years ago. Somewhere amid the urge to recapture lost youth and lost fire, I find this perfect moment where the past and the present blend together, and I can see what I've learned, what I've let go of and what I've embraced, and also feel this fondness for the youth I once was, bad choices, bad hairstyles and all.

Doors and stairs to secret lands
Plus, you can still yell real loud and hoot and holler and cheer, things polite grown-ups are seldom given opportunity in which to indulge, and - further bonus - can provide a certain mix of joy, embarrassment and humor for the kids of the band members in the audience and ironic hipsters enjoying a free show. For me, I got to marvel at some stellar guitar licks and if I'm a little more deaf today, having subjected my ears to some serious speakers that forcefully projected the bass through my chest, it was all worth it.  

In short: rock on, dudes.  Never let the music stop.  It's probably ok to trust people over 30 now though.  Maybe even 40.
Rock on!

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