…but it does age. I’ve had two weeks of it recently and I know.

Now, I don’t want this blog to be depressing. I’ll say it again, it will not be depressing. It’s perspective and retrospective we’re talking about here, not decrepitude, that’s not for another, oh I don’t know, twenty or thirty years. Right?

Sure. Right. Definitely right. Say it, right.

Think back to your salad days. What’s the first concert you went to? How old were you? My first big concert was Janis Joplin at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1967. I was 16. The ticket price was $2.25.

I’m still upset about the concert I missed…The Beatles at Hollywood Bowl that my mother wouldn’t let me go to in 1964. I was too young at 13 she said, but my sister Mary got to go because she was nearly 15. I was cheated out of a seminal event in my little life.

Of course, I can go to YouTube and see the concert now, or any of the concerts I missed, but that hardly counts, does it?

Well, I saw the Doors last week, or part of them, and I saw James Taylor this week, all of him. What was it like? Pretty damn good!

Doors Album

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Robby Krieger, the lead guitar player for the Doors (second from the left), is a member of my golf club, and he played on a Memorial Day with members of Little Feat and a look-alike, sound-alike Jim Morrison who blew the crowd away. Ray Manzarek died last year (and I’m not even going there), but the new keyboardist was up to the challenge of playing all the ripping melody lines of the classics from LA Woman to Roadhouse Blues.

Doors 2

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Robby looks just like the sixty-whatever he is, with white hair and the wrinkle thing, but hell, we, the audience, must’ve been rather a shock to look at as well. We weren’t 18 anymore either. I wondered out loud to my friends Paul and Patricia who came with us, what it must be like to be the aging rock star looking out on the aging audience who’s still attending your shows. Can’t be a pretty sight for them either.

However, I tell you one thing I know for sure, it looks a whole lot better above ground than below.

Sweet Baby James

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On Wednesday, Nettie and I saw James Taylor at the Santa Barbara Bowl. I remember buying the Sweet Baby James album when it came out in 1970. He was so cool and good-looking on the cover.

JT old

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Through the years, like all of us in this boomer generation, his face has weathered some fire and rain (sorry about the reference, I just couldn’t resist it). But he’s still a good looking man with a voice that reminds us of everything from Vietnam protests to a Berkshire frosting.

JT on Stool

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His ironic smile at the absurdity of it all got the crowd laughing; his smile at the miracle of it all got the crowd turning introspective and nodding at moments of self-recognition, self-accepetance and some measure of insight. The evening, the gorgeous evening, did indeed recreate the magic in the music that brought us all together on this spot of the earth at this moment in time.

JT shakes hands

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We smiled with him, buoyed by his graciousness to a fan, revived by his warmth and the beauty of his voice as he looked out over the audience.

Three rows behind us, I noticed a very familiar face cheering James Taylor on. It was David Crosby, the iconic hair and mustache gone white now, but unmistakeably Crosby. Fifty years ago (yes, that is a half a century), Nettie and her friends would sneak into the Greek Theater, climbing through the trees and over the fence to see Crosby, Stills and Nash. Crosby called them the tree people and today here in Santa Barbara, Nettie wanted to tell him that she was still his biggest fan.

I urged her to get up, to walk back there and say hello. Intermission came, she turned and locked eyes with him, she stood and stepped through ten thousand yesterdays and into the present and told David Crosby who she was. He smiled, nodded in recognition and some twinkle in his eyes of gratitude.

Nettie & Crosby Best

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I snapped the picture…and the moment lingered in the purple light held there by the eternity before us, and then slipped gently into the past.

James Taylor came back out, sang more songs of love, some of loss, but mostly of love, and I knew again that the heartbeat of rock ‘n roll, whether raunchy and messy or flowery and tender, is love. That’s the spirit of the music that never seems to fade.

I saw the Doors this week with Annette, I saw James Taylor on Wednesday with Annette and it is she who has been at my side and I at hers since we were 17 and 18. And yeah, this is the mushy part, the gooey part, the lovey-dovey part, the I only have eyes for you part. Those songs and lyrics penetrated deep in the 60s and still penetrate deep in our hearts today in the unbelievable year of 2014.

FandA 1

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They are the songs of our life, Nettie and I, and that life is still cooking along just fine, thank you very much. Sure, it may be a little harder sometimes to raise our freak flag high, but man I ain’t gonna let go of it anytime soon. I hope you won’t you either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Response to Rock And Roll May Never Die…

  1. Frank Z says:

    Frankie…

    My first concert was Bill Haley and the Comets @ the Michigan State Fairgrounds.
    I wore a chartreuse day-glo pullover with a large Black Panther imprinted over the
    blinding background. I’m amazed that I didn’t get beaten up. I was alone as was
    the case with my youthful adventures in those days. Not to feel sad for me, I was
    totally okay with it. My concert or music tastes ultimately generated toward jazz.
    I was lucky to be living in Detroit as it was one of the main tour stops for jazz artists.

    I saw most of the greats. Lucky me.

    Maxwell

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