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Location: New England, United States

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Last weekend a friend called to ask if I'd be interested in buying a couple of tickets to a concert to the tune of $150 each. Unfortunately, through no fault of her own (or so she says), she'd been stuck with six, yes six, extra tickets. Being a fairly good friend and feeling very bad for her and her predicament, I considered for a moment, but then had to go with my gut reaction. No. I could hear the disappointment in her voice. But I stuck with my no. Geeze. Husband and I going to a concert to see someone I really could take or leave for $300? Oh no, wait, I forgot about the sitter -- make it $350. Oh, and the parking, $365. And maybe we'd want to have something to eat or drink -- $415. Am I the only one, or does this seem exorbitant? For one concert?!!!

When husband came home, I mentioned the call. He said, "Do you want to go?" "Are you crazy?" was my swift reply. Then I told him my reasoning and said, "I think I've just become too cheap." He laughed, "We've just become too old." "Huh?" "You'd spend that money in a minute if it was for something you really wanted or needed. You'd have spent it when we didn't have kids even if you really didn't want to go. Now we're old and responsible, and you see things differently, that's all. We're gettin' old."

I've thought about his comments for the past couple of days. Am I old or am I cheap? Neither characteristic is particularly complimentary, though one cannot control one's age. So I think I'll go with husband on this one -- I'm just getting old.

As I thought some more, I thought about how many concerts I've attended. They've become far less frequent over the years. The first concert, if you consider it that, that I ever saw was Bobby Sherman (crap, I AM old!!) when I was nine or ten. It was a big thrill for me, but that's about all I remember about it.

When I was a bit older, perhaps about 13, I went to see Three Dog Night. I suppose that was my first real concert experience. I could smell the weed, see people doing all kinds of weird things, but I hadn't a clue. It was fun, and I went back for more as I got older.

I've seen too many concerts to list them. I doubt I could even remember them all, but I'm not sure if that's due to being OLD or that I was most likely pretty high for most of them. Here's a few that were memorable for one thing or another.

Best concert experience -- Paul McCartney. I always appreciated The Beatles but, for me, that never really carried over to their solo careers. That was until friends convinced me to go see Paul in person. There was something almost magical about the atmosphere. I've never been in such a friendly crowd. All you need is love, I guess. It was the BEST time.

Worst concert ever (musically) -- Ted Nugent. Brother begged me to go with him 'cause the folks said he couldn't go without me. I'd never even heard of the guy back then. The show opened with Ted jumping down off what must have been a 20 ft. speaker, and the music was deafening. I spent most of the night sitting outside on the steps of the civic center. The worst ever.

Worst concert experience -- The Kinks. During outing number one, someone I didn't know threw up on my feet. Absolutely disgusting! Music was good. During outing number two, laughing friend commented, "Who's higher, them or us? They forgot the words to Lola!" I couldn't have replied, not having any idea what the correct answer was. Then, again, someone threw up at my feet. I swore off The Kinks after that.

Most embarrassing moment at a concert (please bear in mind that I was 15 with my 19-year-old boyfriend and cut me some slack). Boyfriend took me to see "Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead." Concert was pretty good. After intermission I hear, for the second time, the announcer say, "The Grateful Dead." I ask boyfriend, "When is Jerry Garcia going to play?" Enough said.

A few others that deserve mention because they were pretty darned great: B.B. King, Frank Zappa (surprisingly so), Billy Joel (good showman), Buddy Rich (who knew a drummer could carry an entire concert?), Billy Joel with Elton John (overall fine entertainment), Harry Chapin.
Peter Gabriel.

Concerts I could have done without: Yes. Seals and Crofts. Aerosmith. Peter Frampton.

There were dozens of others that fell somewhere in between. The one great thing about all of them is that I was always with people I loved, and isn't that the point of almost everything?

We're at the stage where we try to make it to one concert per year. We didn't make it to any last year, so I'm itching to go now. The problem is that I'm not interested in being with 70,000 screaming people any more. I prefer a much smaller venue. So, until someone I'm really interested in comes around, I'll pass. I'm not cheap, I'm just old. But imagine how many CDs I could buy for four hundred bucks.


Anonymous Winston said...

No, my dear, you are not old or cheap. You have simply matured to a higher plane of rational discretionary spending. Damn, that sounds good!

No you are not the only one. In earlier years I went to many concerts, theatre productions, etc., and thought nothing about the cost. Spending that kind of money these days brings other decisions, like what do I forfeit to make up for it, choosing seats carefully so as not to sit too close to the big speakers that would blowout my hearing aids, etc.

We still like to go to a concert occasionally, but also like going to some of the small venues and clubs around Nashville that showcase new and up and coming talent. And it's not just country music, but name it and we've got it. $20 in cover fees and another $20 or $30 for drinks and snacks is easier to take than the $400 or so you mentioned.

Last really enjoyable concert was Johnny Mathis 3 or 4 years ago in a Valentine Day Concert with the Nashville Symphony. One of the best concerts I ever attended (don't laugh) was back in the late 80s or early 90s at a big outdoor amphitheater. The double headliner was Barry Manilow and Kenny G. I said, don't laugh...

6:06 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Thanks, Winston -- "rational discretionary spending" works for me. I'm going to steal that line, if you don't mind.

Now as for Barry Manilow and Kenny G (and since you didn't poke fun at my Dead mishap), I've always thought Barry was never truly appreciated (except by all the ladies who shell out hundreds to see him). Did you know he started out writing jingles? Some of the better known include Dr. Pepper -- "I'm a Pepper, you're a Pepper, they're a Pepper, we're a Pepper" -- and BandAids -- "I am stuck on BandAids and BandAids stuck on me." How could I not appreciate that?!! People can say what they want about him, but I think he's rather clever.

And Kenny G -- don't even get me going. Talk about memories, Winston. One of my big tough exes would become... well, let's just say that Kenny G's music certainly benefitted me. And I can assure you, I wasn't laughing.

I should have included the Simon & Garfunkel reunion as one of my favorite concert experiences. Several years ago at the Paramount at Madison Square Garden (maybe Rockerfeller Center?). Smaller venue. Weekend with friends in NYC. It was great, but should have been called Simon with a hint of Garfunkel.

Perhaps hubby and I should plan a trip to Nashville. Sounds like it's the place to be.

9:34 AM  
Blogger MaryB said...

You're neither old nor cheap, just wise. Don't give it another thought.

Impressive concert-going list, chica. I've never been one for rock/country/whatever concerts, though daughter Kate more than makes up for me. Certainly Elton John '72, Billy Joel '87, Paul MacCartney early 90's (and the first concert for Kate) stand out, and they're pretty middle-of-the-road. I have been dragged to many earsplitters in my time and can't even remember the names of the group or individual on stage.

(And I, too, think Manilow's A-OK. Such a confession . . .)

8:37 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Mary, "earsplitters." How do you come up with these things? You're a funny one!

10:51 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

That is expensive if it's not someone you particularly want to see.

I led a sheltered life and apart from one Rolling Stones's concert never went to any until a few years ago.

The trouble is that no-one big comes to Swansea so I have to factor in the cost of travelling and even possibly staying somewhere. I think Paul Macartney was my last concert too. No, there was also Gogol Bordello but that was something completely different!

1:16 PM  

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