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It’s Only Rock And Roll (But I Like it)

May 31st, 2013

I saw the Rolling Stones in concert at Madison Square Garden about forty years ago. I saw them again last month at the Staples Center. I found that, in many ways, going Rolling at 60-ish is a very different experience from what it was at 20-ish.

1. You do not stand in line in the rain for 13 hours to buy nosebleed seats. You purchase prime seating on Stub Hub and pay as much as you would for an Armani handbag.

2. You go to the concert carrying an Armani handbag. (Okay, you got it on sale but still.)

3. Dressing for the evening, you do not throw on some jeans cut scary-low and a pajama top and go. You obsess about the proper outfit for a week to ten days and finally select sensibly cut jeans (navel barely exposed) and a blouse from a store that is so hip that anything you buy there is a no-fail. You wear fine underwear, the type you’d hope to have on should your Keith Richards fantasy ever come true.
Your friend Laura says you look like a rocker and you do that thing called willing suspension of disbelief.

4. You are not packing any weed. You are bringing earplugs. Just in case.

5. You do not get driven to the venue by a friend who is so stoned his eyeballs are backwards and he smashes his Honda into a newsstand so you must complete your journey via subway. Instead you hire a guy with a sleek black car to take you to the Staples Center, wait for you, and drive you home without judging your back seat performance of a Stones medley.

6. Before the concert, you do not dine on Junior Mints and vodka. You go to a nice restaurant and order sensible salmon. (Okay, and vodka.)

7. During the pre-event dinner, when Laura slips a pill into her mouth, it is not a tab of acid but a digestive enzyme.

But in some ways, it’s the same as it ever was. For one thing, the majority of the fans are still baby boomers. And once the music starts, whether you are 20 or 60, you do not sit down for 2 ½ hours. When it ends, you are euphoric and you want to go to another concert the next day. You don’t, but you have a Stones glow for several weeks after (and fresh fantasies about Keith).

“It’s only rock ‘n roll, but I like it….”

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One Response to “It’s Only Rock And Roll (But I Like it)”

  1. S. Michael Simms Says:

    I saw them at Giants Stadium in 1993 when I was 18 years old. Yup, nosebleed seats. I still had a blast, though.

    Aerosmith is the only other band I would say approaches that level of awesomeness in concert, though I’ve discovered that most boomers see them as mere Stones knockoffs which is a shame- apples & oranges, I say.

    Age ain’t nothin’ but a number, Ms. Harper. I enjoy your films and voice as much today as I did when my dad first introduced me to “Phantom of the Paradise” back in ’88 when I was 13.

    But I can certainly relate to the points you made about the amenities of age- one difference now is that I can afford my own copies (DVD is so much prettier than VHS!), and my TV screen is much larger…I could even go to a midnight showing if I felt like it (though I’m afraid Armani-ballpark seats would be out of the question)! :)

    I’ll bet you enjoyed Johnny Depp’s Keith-inspired “Jack Sparrow” character… I thought it was great that the old rocker actually played Sparrow’s dad in one of the POTC films. His swagger is unmatched.

    It’s very cool to see you’re blogging, going to rock shows, and rockin’ those outfits as well… listen to Laura: You rock!

    “Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you will lose your mind, ain’t life unkind…”

    Kindest regards,
    Mike

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