Taking note of it all


Now Playing: Christmas in Washington, by Steve Earle.
“So come back Woody Guthrie; Come back to us now; Tear your eyes from paradise; And rise again somehow.
If you run into Jesus; Maybe he can help you out; Come back Woody Guthrie to us now.”

There was a thing going around Facebook last week about first concerts. The idea was, you were supposed to paste it into your status. I wouldn’t have done it anyway, too much of a joiner thing for me. (I’m the one who wants to start Anti-Social Media, remember.) As it turned out, I can’t remember my first concert.  Let me just say that I’ve lived a full 52 years as a baby boomer.

But I do remember a few concerts that stand out, and I thought I’d reminisce a bit about them.

Biggest name band I’ve ever seen: The Who. It was at the Greensboro Coliseum, I think in 1975 (could have been later, but it was definitely before Keith Moon died in 1978. Fantastic show. They did a lot of stuff from Tommy, closed with Won’t Get Fooled Again and then smashed their instruments. Damn, it was good.

Best music at a show: Little Feat,  at Carmichael Auditorium (I will never, ever call it Carmichael Arena) in Chapel Hill, in September 1978, just a few months before Lowell George died. (Recognize a pattern here? I also saw Keith Whitley not too long before he died.) Sat in the next to the last row, but my God, the sound was great. Many artists criticized the acoustics at Carmichael, and Little Feat put them all to shame.

Most fun: Bad Company and Kansas, in Greensboro. Bad Company must have played “Feel Like Making Love” for 15 or 20 minutes. This one was great. Couldn’t hear for a week but had a fantastic time, even though some friends had a tire go flat during the show. We stayed to help them change it and I got home late as hell. But who cares?

Loudest: This is a no-brainer. Ted Nugent, who almost blinded me too with a flare as he came onto stage. He was playing with Montrose, fronted by Sammy Hagar. Can’t say much for the quality of the show but it had the volume.

Seen most often: This is easy. I’ve seen Lyle Lovett six times, I think, in small venues and large, with small bands and large, with small playlists and large. Never, ever been disappointed. And it might have been seven times …

Underrated: .38 Special at Camp Lejeune. There might not have been 200 people there, but the guys played their hearts out anyway.

I don’t go to shows too much anymore. Next month, I’m going to see Richard Thompson and this summer I’m going to catch James Taylor and Carole King. But those are few and far between.  I’m 52, with kids and kats and the best wife in the world to take care of. The last few I’ve been to, I haven’t enjoyed as much as I used to anyway. (I still enjoy the music, or course, and the company.) The bottom line is, concerts used to be raw, dangerous … fun. Now you sit in assigned seats, watched choreographed moves, stand only when everyone else does. It’s too safe.

But I don’t mean to be an old grump. I’ve still got my memories. Or at least some of them …

“As I walk through; This wicked world; Searchin for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself; Is all hope lost? Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside, There’s one thing I wanna know:
What’s so funny bout peace love & understanding?”

– Elvis Costello, (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding

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