A sure sign that you’re getting older? You refer to music as rock ‘n’ roll, “a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s.” Now I’m not old enough to have been around when it originated but I know about the greats like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.
I actually don’t say rock ‘n’ roll or rock at all when it comes to music because usually I’m telling people I lean towards pop, alternative, or singer-songwriter music. But once upon a time, I was a rock girl, all the way.
It started in the mid 80s when my older by 5 years brother came home with a Sony Discman and a new fangled sound device called a compact disc. I listened to his music over and over simply because the sound quality beat all the vinyl records and tapes we had in the house. As a result, his taste in music became my taste. I listened to classic bands like Pink Floyd and Yes and dabbled in New Wave with musicians like Thomas Dolby and A Flock of Seagulls.
Clearly, our teens are the formative years for our musical tastes. It’s why Yes, to this day, remains one of my favorites bands of all time. And when I heard last week that Yes bassist and founding member Chris Squire had passed away from leukemia, I found myself unexpectedly getting choked up. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was acknowledging that some of my youth is gone and also lamenting the fact that I’ll never see Yes in concert the way I wanted to.
I actually had concert tickets to see them two nights before I got married in 2000. And with our last minute planning and prep, we never could make that concert. Something I’ve always regretted. But to be honest, I’m not much of a concert goer these days. It’s nice to listen to music in the comfort of my own home much like it is watching movies. You don’t have to deal with the hassle, the crowds, the sweating, the idiots, the noise.
Okay, now I’m sounding old.
My husband is different, though. He loves music like I do but it has a deeper meaning for him. While I like a good beat, he’s all about the lyrics. And when he heard Imagine Dragons, one of his favorite bands, was coming to town, he informed me we were going.
“Are you excited to go see Imagine Dragons?” he asked.
“I’m excited to go with you because I know how much you want to see them,” I replied.
I like Imagine Dragons but, you know, the whole hassle of the concert, etc.
So on Monday night, we lined up a babysitter and set out for the long journey into downtown Washington, DC. An hour to the Metro station, another half hour to the venue. Then we lined up outside for this “early entry VIP package” my husband had purchased. At this point, I didn’t realize that he had paid a fortune so that we would be one of the first 25 or so people into the arena.
My first thought? We have to stand on the floor the whole time? But I’m hungry. How will I get food? What if I have to go to the bathroom? Will I get crushed being so close to the stage?
We quickly bonded with the two yogis standing next to us who taught me this joke:
What did the hippie say when you asked him to leave? Namaste. (nah, I’m a stay)
IT’S YOGA HUMOR, PEOPLE.
To make a long story short, I did get some food before the show started. I did take a bathroom break before the main act (trying to get back to the front was another story altogether – people can be mean!). And I didn’t think about my feet until the ride home.
What I did think about while I was there:
Live music, when done right, can’t touch recorded music. You can hear the song the way it was meant to be sung. The energy is contagious.
Halsey, the first opening act, was born in 1994. I had already graduated college by then. But I thought she was amazing, along with all the other 13 and 14 year old girls singing every single angsty word along with her. I’ve already pre-ordered her album from iTunes.
Metric, the second opening act, can still rock after 15 years together. I knew this band before I went thanks to my husband but when the lead singer, Emily Haines, walked out on stage, I thought she’s old! But not in a too old kind of way. More like she’s like me! kind of way (she’s 41 actually).
If Heather Armstrong (Dooce) were a rock star, she’d be Emily Haines.
Imagine Dragons appears to be the happiest band on Earth. Seriously. These guys were just so happy to be there, happy to be performing their music, and truly grateful for their fans. I love bands that really connect with their audience and they did that in so many ways.
I still get excited when the lead singer touches my hand (he did).
When Dan Reynolds (the lead singer) starts talking about being 28 years old and coming up on his 10 YEAR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, I had to smile at his youth. But then when he started talking about how this generation was going to change things, I realized he wasn’t talking about me.
And finally, it was totally worth the exorbitant amount of money my husband paid to be in the front row. No complaints from me. It was an amazing concert, an amazing experience, and my ears aren’t even ringing anymore.
Now enjoy a taste of what I enjoyed!