We went to see Neil Young (with Crazy Horse!) last night, and as expected it was a great show. None other than Patti Smith opened for him. I could tell you more about the show, but you can read the (favorable) critique in the paper. I want to discuss the audience.
Neil is 67 years old; he first began playing with Buffalo Springfield in 1966, which is when his first fans came on board. While he’s continued to pick up hundreds and thousands of fans over the years, including members of every generation, his core fan base is definitely, well, getting up there.
Now remember the setting; steep steps leading to the nosebleed seats, in the dark, climbing over people to get to your seat. Let’s just say when the concert was about halfway in, and everyone went to warm up their milk for the evening, traffic was slow.
Before the concert the banter was about grandchildren and retirement. In the good old days people used to pass a joint up and down the row, but nowadays it seems like everyone was doing Geritol. I was waiting for an announcement saying “There’s some bad Ex-Lax going around man. Be cool.”
Yet we keep on rockin’ in the free world. The man in front of me engaged in some raucous fist pumping while his wife held on to his other arm to be sure he was stable. Others just tapped a foot in rhythm. Really? Foot-tapping gets you through “Cinnamon Girl?” What happened to the days when everyone was dancing the whole time? Nowadays you can’t even stand up without somebody yelling at you, and we’ve all had to hang our mojo on chair-dancing, which admittedly is the safer choice for me anyway.
Neil is hard core, and thank goodness for music lovers everywhere, he does not seem to be slowing down at all. Where will we be in 10 years? Rather than mooing as we try and get through the doors after the show, everyone will be honking the horns on their Little Rascals. They’ll have to pull all the seating out of venues and just have floor space where everyone can park and listen. Someone will no doubt be cited for drinking and scooting. The beer man will be selling prune juice, and no more nachos for our tired old gums; stadiums will sell soft foods like applesauce and rice pudding.
But at the end of the day, as Neil crooned to us last night, rust never sleeps, and rock and roll will never die.