I was at a concert last week. The show was part of the Savannah Music Festival, and as such, it was not held in a dark, dank venue where you stand up the whole time and wonder where that pot smoke is coming from. We were among the youngest of the attendees, and enjoyed plush seats in a great theater. We were home by 10 p.m.
Rewind 2 weeks. As part of Lee’s birthday celebration, we headed to Atlanta to see Gaslight Anthem play a show at the Masquerade. One of those dark, dank venues with the pot smoke. One of those places where you make sure to spot your nearest exit lest the place catch fire. It’s not a bad venue at all, but it’s a rock club so that’s what you get.
I’m actually more at home hearing live music in a place like the Masquerade, although now we’re usually skewing the age in the opposite direction. We’re not the youngest ones in the crowd, not by far.
I found myself thinking about my age during that Gaslight show. I found myself remembering all those nights in college, spent sweating and swaying in the 40 Watt Club.
I remembered borrowing a friend’s ID – not to drink, but because I was only 17 as a freshman, and couldn’t get in on my own. I remembered memorizing her license data, even her zodiac sign, in case the bouncer quizzed me. Which he didn’t.
I still had to show my ID at the Masquerade 2 weeks ago, but it was a formality and we all knew it. I stood there listening to the band and thinking about how things have changed, when I realized with a warm happiness that some things are unchanged. Many years ago, Lee and I developed a concert stance. I don’t even think I’d recognized it until now, but I do believe it has always been this way.
I stand in front. He stands protectively behind me. I lean back a bit, maybe because my feet are tired from standing. Mostly to be closer to him. He has one hand on my hip, and his fingers are tapping out the beat of the song. It is intimate. It feels natural.
We stood this way then, when I was 17. We stand this way now.
So maybe we’re skewing the average age in the club. Maybe I have a hard time staying up so late these days. Maybe I bring earplugs because the music is too loud.
But we’re still there. Still enjoying the music. And each other.
How much longer will we want to keep doing this? How many more years will we pay good money to stand up all night, way past our bedtimes in a dark, musty bar to listen to music?
Who can say. I do remember taking my parents to the 40 Watt Club when I was in college. I wanted them to see my favorite band. Were they suppressing their yawns? Longing for bed? For earplugs? Maybe. But I sure thought they were cool to come along with me.
Maybe I’ll go to shows with Camille, if she’ll have me. Then I’ll really be skewing the average age. But maybe I won’t care as long as Lee comes with me, stands behind me and taps out the rhythm on my hip.