The following is an editorial inspired by an interview with my mom, an elder rocker, on the pains of going to concerts when hitting those later years. It’s written from her point of view, to give you a ground-level look into her life loving metal in her 60s.
Just because you’re reaching your elder years doesn’t mean the effect of hearing live metal music has lessened its impact. I’m 62 years old and have been going to see live shows since the ‘70s. While some of my peers have slowed down and prefer to stay at home and do nothing on Friday nights, if there is a show in town I wanna see, and if I don’t work the next day, you’ll be damned sure I’m gonna be there. ‘If it’s too loud, you’re too old.’ Well, it’s never too loud for me, but there are some annoyances regarding going to concerts when you’re an older rocker I want to tell you about.
Holding in the pee
My bladder is not what it used to be, and once I break the seal, I’m going to be needing to get to the toilet every 30 minutes. When I watch concert videos and see a huge crowd of people standing with people pushed up to the front, the first thing I think of is, What if they have to take a leak? Pushing your way through hundreds of people to take a tinkle isn’t my idea of fun.
No place to sit at some concerts
Some concerts have assigned seating but others don’t. Some are standing room only. They assume it’s just for a young crowd, but people like me listened to them back in the ’80s and want to rest our sore backs at some point during the show. I went to see Megadeth at a casino and seats were advertised, though I think because it ended up being a younger crowd, they removed all the seats for the concert. I got there and there was nowhere to sit at all. It was horrible!
The inconvenience of getting there
I like to have a few drinks before heading out to the concert, which means no driving to the venue. This would be okay if the concert was happening ten to fifteen minutes away, but some are booked nearly outside of the city limits with no bus or subway line anywhere near the hall! You expect me to pay $20 for a cab there and back? I’ve already spent $70 on the second-level Alice Cooper ticket. Alice doesn’t need to pay for a cab to this place and he isn’t much older than me. These transportation costs should be included in the ticket price.
Finding someone to go with is difficult
Sometimes, I want to go to something, but my friends just aren’t into the same bands and a person of my age never wants to go alone. For my 50th birthday, my son took me to see Hanzel Und Gretyl – it was only $10, and none of my friends came to the concert. The band even said ‘Happy Birthday’ to me while playing. Some friends, huh? Even if I have friends that like the music, getting them out of the house is impossible. Just getting my friend to go out to Foreigner was tough, even though she’s a big fan.
Ticket prices are bullshit
Back in the ‘80s, you could see Tesla, Skid Row, Quiet Riot or any number of bands for about $5 each. These days, $5 doesn’t even begin to cover the tax and service fees for the ticket. Luckily, I’ve seen most of the bands I’ve wanted to see in my lifetime, so will only dig deep into my pockets for a special occasion, like if Rammstein ever comes to town.
Drink prices are also bullshit
Drink prices at concerts are bullshit, especially at the big arenas. One cup of beer will usually cost $7 and the line to get to that drink will sometimes be 30 minutes! This isn’t Disneyland, this is a fuckin’ beer line. I’m not going to break my bank just to get a buzz on. Because of this, I like to have a few at home before the concert. If it means missing the opening band, so be it. If the opening band has a problem with that, tell them to take it up with the venue and their alcohol prices.
Too much slamdancing
When I go see a band, I want to listen to the music, not break a bone. If I stand too close to the front, I’m in danger of getting caught in a mosh with the only way out being on a stretcher. Kids these days can’t seem to just focus on the music — it always has to be some kind of battle of the tough guys.
Weeknight shows are a gamble
Some of us still have to work, you know. As I’ve said, I enjoy drinking when I go to a concert. If it’s on a weeknight, chances are I’ll be working in the morning. Drinking and staying up late on a work night aren’t my idea of fun — I’m not going to suffer the next morning at work at my age. But hell, if it’s a special one I’ll just take the next day off. Fuck it.
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