The Ramblings of a Gen Xer

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Thrill (or Kill) of Outdoor Concerts.'s been awhile.

We are like a Shamrock shake, its a limited time only, its unhealthy for you but, godspakin' damnit, its a good thing when you get it.

So, here we are, the first blog of 2013.

Summertime brings a prolefra of outdoor concerts. There's nothing like being at an outdoor event with an open container (or five) of one's favorite adult beverage, the air filled smokey plumes of attitude adjustment, the way stagelight colors mix with the dusk sunset, and a several hundred folks simply enjoying themselves (who actually saying "excuse me" after bumping into you and spilling your frosty).

Indeed the outdoor concert event is in the top-five of summer activities. 

They can also be the one of the top-five worst summer activities.

So its always a charge to get the release of summer concerts in May. The potential of who to see and where to go starts finding it's way into planning for the summer and several texts to friends to "save the date" for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. In blink of a busy work schedule, the evening comes and friends cancel, it rains, or one forgets it was that evening. 

This leaves a sudden sense of urgency for the next concert that regrettably friends cancel, it rains or one forgets. It stacks up of longing regret to the point that one is a desperate as sailor in Uglyface Port and Stinky Pete and the Stringless Banjo Band is the last concert caught before season's end. 

It often seems that on a regular basis aging rock stars begin their third or fourth "comeback" tour promoting a new album after a decade of Bermuda Triangle disappearance from fans' memories. The idea of seeing Joan Jett and the Black Hearts, Billy Idol or Adam Ant gets the ol' 80's & 90's blood a- pumping as the date is set in the iPhone calendar. 

So, the event comes and one has been listening to hours of the band's material to get a game face on and make the way to the event with "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", "Dancing With Myself" or "Stand and Deliver" coursing through the brain. 

Lights dim and its Billy Idol's dad or an insurance salesman dressed like Adam Ant on the stage. One look around and there are other dad's and insurance salesman in the crowd. The first tune comes on and its the karaoke version of that song you can't get out of your head sung by a someone who's voice remained in the Bermuda Triangle. 

Bust that bubble, baby. 

Even worst is when these geriatric rockers play a song from their upcoming new album, and it sucks. I mean sucks in the way that it did when you listened to other tracks in-between the band's hit tunes of the 80's and 90's. And still does when you played it eight hours ago. Only this time the "new" material is useless because all you want to hear is "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", "Dancing With Myself" or "Stand and Deliver."

Okay, so the beauty of summer concerts is that a majority of them are free or are relatively inexpensive. On a given concert evening, one could spend $20 and get a show, few beers and a hot dog or two. For the signal yet dating set, its a cheap but fun-filled outing that says "I like music and freely sharing it with you, honey. Now can I get you another beer?" 

Much like that crappy, luke-warm Canadian draft beer, freedom has a price. That price is because the concert is free, every human being with nothing to do and no money will be at that event. Which ultimately means every hormonal teenager in WNY, herd followers, single males & females, or out-of-work morons will be at the show. 

Band loyalists have to share space with the ignorant masses. 

It is not an uncommon experience to be enjoying a tune only to hear some overweight teenager exclaim boredom with the band, the chatter of mid-aged women, or some dude in a faded concert t-shirt from the 70's proudly shout, "You suck!". 

Sure many of those who read this blog have their own dislikes for summer's outdoor concerts, and please feel free to comment below. This may be shocking to a few but afraid to say we do not live in a perfect world, so its the degree of what we can tolerate that makes it work or is in the rubbish bin. 

So, get out to an outdoor summer concert, bring likeminded associates and enjoy the short season of music on the waterfront, an outside pavilion or in some town gazebo. 

And if you can't find likeminded associates, have fun dancing with yourself.