I'm showing my age...or perhaps not.
This past weekend I attended the Brad Paisley concert at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA and admittedly had a great time. I do get to a few music performances of varying genres each year. In the past year there have been the Celtic Woman, St. Louis Symphony, Organ and Choral concert at Harvard, The Stray Cats, Foghat and Montgomery Gentry. The other "pop" concerts were either in tiny venues or at the track--both of which have an older demographic. This applies out of hand to the classical performances as well.
I tend to thoroughly enjoy concerts and am generally the one singing along--even the choral works. There was a moment of either mortification or serendipity at the Foghat show when I appeared on the jumbo-tron. Yep--that was me bouncing around on the track.
So you might understand when I say I was more than disappointed that the Stray Cats show elicited a rather sedate reaction from the crowd. Everyone so nicely sat down and nodded to the strumming of the string bass. So help me, where did their sense of party go?
Thus, after a 20-year hiatus since I bought a "big" concert ticket, my Brad Paisley experience drew me back to the days when...
In my immediate world, it seems to me that I am the predominant Country Music demographic in the Northeast--somewhere over 35 middle America. When we pulled into the parking lot at the Comcast Center I was shocked to witness an apparent explosion of all the local college campuses decked out in cowboy boots and hats. When had I missed the youth invasion? Ah well, I was here to have fun, too. And the young 'uns didn't disappoint.
Yes, Brad Paisley earned my hard won money with his heart-warming lyrics, sharp comic wit and devastating guitar playing ability. But how can one person stand on that vast stage for 90 minutes and get the crowd involved? Oh yeah, that's right. When you're 21, with your friends and at a concert you will make noise.
Song after song after song 15,000 voices rose together and hooted, hollered and sang.
It's a joyous sound--one that resonates through your heart. And this huge crowd reaction is what I hold dear in my fading memories of summers spent dancing to the Beach Boys, Paul Simon, the Doobie Brothers, Gloria Estefan...those were the days. But yes, I got up and sang with the guy on my left and the girl on my right. For a couple hours it just doesn't matter who has the formal training--only that you share your love of music with those around you.
I could run a line by line review of all I saw and heard on Sunday night--but it won't be solely Mr. Paisley's performance that will stick with me through the years and encourage me to click on those tickets again. It's the chance to involve myself with the rest of humanity for a happy interlude that is the real reason that I'll never be too old to join the youth in rockin' out on a hot summer night.