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All this machinery making modern music can still be open-hearted

by anna at 07:28 PM on September 16, 2004

I am totally torn. I've heard about this mega-concert downtown. It's called Rock for Change or some such pretentious thing. Tickets go on sale Saturday. Decent ones will cost $78 apiece.

It's been so long since I've attended a show that I don't know if that is a lot or not. But the bill includes REM, Jackson Browne, John Fogerty, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. I love all of them.

I've never seen the Chicks, REM or James Taylor live. I was there at Merriweather Post in '76 when Browne recorded his seminal road album Running on Empty. I still thrill over his simple "thank you all" at the close of The Loadout/Stay. The last time I saw Raitt play Little Feat (the real deal, with Lowell George, not that phony baloney thing they have today) was backing her. And of course I have seen rock's consummate showman countless times. He's not called the Boss for nothing.

The money is a bit of an issue. Ian wants to go as he likes Mellencamp and REM. That makes it 3 x $78 plus subway fare and refreshments. Lots of refreshments at premium MCI Center prices. That is the real issue for me. Over the years I've shunned concerts and other shows unless they are in the daytime. At night I drink. In my house. Like a freaking recluse. For I am deathly afraid of being arrested again, because it would involve a lengthy... prison stay. I have heard some awful stories about what goes on there.

I envision the police congregating outside venues and setting up roadblocks to make mass arrests as revelers deaprt. And I do not care to be fucked in my ass. Plus there's the matter of my job. And don't tell me not to imbibe. That simply isn't going to happen. If I tried that the night out would be all about not drinking and wishing I could. It would ruin everything.

Also, this is some political shit to raise money for the Democratic party. The last thing I want to hear is some aging rock stars sermonizing at me about George W Bush or something. I've never voted. I will never vote. I am apolitical.

On the other hand, I am intrigued by the format. Bands, particularly old ones, love to bore audiences to tears with their newer, unfamiliar material. There are old classics they are sick of playing. I've seen Dylan play several times and he never does Like a Rolling Stone, for instance. But with all these acts crowded on the same bill I would think they would simply play their best hits and leave. That is what I want in a concert, not a bunch of formulaic new tunes or jams. And certainly none of those dreaded drum or guitar solos.

The fact that Springsteen will likely be the headliner along with Little Steven and Nils Lofgren on guitar probably makes this a foregone conclusion that we will make an outing of it. Maybe we should rent a limo. How long is this damn thing? What to do?

comments (8)

3 years ago I offered to treat my Mom to an Eric Clapton show as a Mother's Day gift. With fees, 4 tickets came to $400. The show was in the Oakland Coliseum (an indoor stadium) - the seats were pretty far away. I thought it was a cute little gift but was shocked when I actually had to buy the tickets and realized that an hour and a half of music from a little speck on stage would cost $100/seat. I spent too much time looking over the different seating sections trying to calculate how much the show was bringing in (over 1 million bucks). But I had the money, and grudglingly, it was worth it. It was the last public event I attended with my Mom before she had a catastrophic stroke out of the blue.

Like jumping into cold water, I've since gotten used to it. My advice: if it's a big show and Ian really wants to go, I say get over it and fork over the cash. You'll have a good enough time, and maybe he'll realize that concert experiences aren't all they're cracked up to be (when I was a kid I bought concert tickets impulsively, like it was a duty; nowadays and with the high prices, I choose much more carefully).
As for drinking, just go with Plato - moderation is the key. You don't have to get totally wasted to have fun drinking. "...And certainly none of those dreaded drum or guitar solos" are you fricking kidding me? I don't know what bands you're complaining about, but I love it when they get away from the canned versions and insert that stuff. By the way, James Taylor is always good in concert.

by Chris at September 17, 2004 12:44 AM

That's good advise. I figured Taylor would be good. You could almost peg his set list though. Close with Fire and Rain or Rock-aBye Sweet Baby James? BTW I once saw Clapton in his partying days. He was wasted beyond belief and let his sideman handle all the intricate solos. What a letdown.

by anna at September 17, 2004 7:40 AM

I never see big arena shows anymore. They just aren't worth it. WAY too pricy for what you get. I prefer the smaller venues with not as well known bands. Even those are becoming less fun. I think I'm too old for them now. All the shows I see are crawling with Hipsters. Those dorky, little fucks have ruined the experience.

by MrBlank at September 17, 2004 9:31 AM

Anna, if you plan carefully enough you might be able to catch a metro bus to Vienna where you can pick up the Metro to MCI. I know we can do that in Sterling but don't know if the buses run to MTown. If not you could always drive to Sterling and bus it from here. It's a lot shorter drive home from here. The only problem is how late the show lets out.

I read about this show in Maxim. They're doing them in all of the swing states to get voters out. It seems like a pretty impressive line up.

by Ezy at September 17, 2004 10:14 AM

Works for me. But the weird thing is there are no swing states around here. Va is alway GOP and Md is always Dem. DC doesn't matter, they aren't allowed to vote. And what is all this "swing state" stuff about? Isn't like the NFL, like, on any given Sunday... Couldn't there be an upset?

by anna at September 17, 2004 6:51 PM

Wouldn't ya know it's a moot point now. 15,000 tickets sold in 26 minutes. I had two, but I fumbled with the buttons and time expired. Dammit. Cany you trust online scalpers?

by anna at September 18, 2004 10:59 AM

Probably, but I'd go for eBay first. You'll still get screwed on the price (sometimes you can find reasonably priced sold-out tickets, just not often. The concert I went to before last, I got the tickets cheaper than I would have from Ticketmaster), but it's a more well-established market, and you can usually find a better price than online scalpers ask.

by Mike Sheffler at September 18, 2004 3:13 PM

I'm not real concerned with the money, it's that pesky ID theft that scares me. I've grown comfortable with the idea of me being the only me.

by anna at September 19, 2004 10:04 AM

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