Live Music and Loves Passed Down

People on the Highway is a free(!) download this week

One afternoon long, long ago a friend came to my house.  He rode in a truck with some of his friends from school and they said, “We’re going to the Alien Ant Farm concert!”

Alien Ant Farm was a big deal back then.  They had just dropped their mega hit video for whatever Michael Jackson song they covered and this was a “must see” show for those of my age group.  I asked permission to go, as was the custom for my age group, and we all drove down to the Blue Bird Theater in Denver.

I remember the bassist drinking a Heineken or five.  The vocalist really playing the crowd and the drummer being as cliched as possible (always always tapping on something).  It was a wonderfully fun time.  The show I do not remember, I imagine it was good though.  I do remember standing with scores of people just happy to be in the same place.  It smelled of cigarettes and stale beer and armpits of teens that had not showered in days.  It felt like a blissful freedom and an entirely new world was opened up.

It was loud, it was community and I got to hang out with my best buddy for a couple of hours.  It was not my first concert.  That title goes to Bare Naked Ladies with another great friend years before.  That show I remember because of the college kids in front of us tossing blown up condoms into the sky, but not knowing what a condom was so I thought they just had small beach balls.  The irony of seeing Bare Naked Ladies but not knowing what a condom was is not lost on me.

After the Alien Ant Farm show I was hooked.  I was not a fan of how expensive the tickets were though.  From that night on it was all “underground” shows for us.  If we spent more than $10 on tickets then the band had to have sold out and we were not having any of that.

Showing up at a venue, most often the Blue Bird because it is perfect in every way, getting tickets at the window, having the Under 21 stamp generously applied to the back of the hand and then jumping around with others somewhat rhythmically was just out right happiness. I think there’s a universality to the feeling brought on by live music.  It is a celebration of talent, artistry and showmanship of the performer and a moment for the crowd to share in one fantastic moment together and know that they now share a story with some stranger from the pit.

As my kids grow, learn of the world and create who they want to be I will be completely fine if they take on interests that I do not share.  They both have a love for swimming which I will never understand.  They can grow up to dislike the study of history, they can find steampunk to be nothing more than liberal revisionist garbage, they can look at HR the same way Michael Scott does. What I really want them to take from me is a love of live music.  They can have their swim lessons and ability to eat bananas (I’m allergic) so long as they smile when musicians are performing.

I have not been to a live show outside of wandering minstrels at RenFair in sometime.  As soon as the little ones are able, we’re heading out and finding a show.  Maybe seeing The Boogers is in our future.


This post needs to end with some really amazing live shows (in recorded format).  I was not present for either of these, but by golly they would have been great.



One last plug:

People on the Highway is a free(!) download this week

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