Simple Pleasures #2: Live Music

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Continuing my series on “Simple Pleasures” (I hope to do 10 of these), I have to sing the praises of

Live Music.

I went to my first concert (Jethro Tull) when I was 14 years old and I have to smile when I think about the lengths I went to in order to get tickets. As a teenager, of course I didn’t have a credit card, so I had to ride my bike to the NJ Meadowlands so that I could buy the tickets for cash. This entailed riding my bike along U.S. Highway 46 (folks, don’t try this at home) for quite a stretch, but I would not be deterred. That was the beginning of a lifelong enjoyment of hearing and seeing great musicians do their thing.

A regret in my life: Back in college, a friend had tickets to a Madonna concert, during her “Like a Virgin” days. I looked down my nose at the idea and I said “No, thanks.” Now I realize that I missed a true cultural phenomenon due to my teenage pretensions. Oh, well. Lesson learned. I won’t make the same mistake if someone suggests getting tickets to Lady Gaga.

I guess I shouldn’t call this a “simple” pleasure, because it’s turned into a rather expensive pleasure (for example, $13 Ticketmaster service fee per ticket), and getting to the venues can be time consuming and a pain… but the hassle is always worth it. A couple of weeks ago I saw the B-52s perform live in Montclair, New Jersey. They did some of my personal favorites like “Planet Claire” and “Whammy Kiss,” along with the older and newer classics like “Rock Lobster” and “Love Shack.” Of course all eyes were on the stage most of the time, but when I looked around the audience I saw how much everyone as enjoying the show — people from all walks of life just dancing, smiling, and having a good time.

Which is proof, I think, that you’re never too old to rock — or to stop doing something you love.

And a special shout out to lead singer Robert from the opening band, French Horn Rebellion, whom I met at intermission and who signed a CD for me while some clueless woman mistook him for the coat-check guy. Keep rockin’, Robert, and hope to see you at the top of the charts!

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