I really should get out of the bizarre little time warp I’m stuck in.
I don’t know exactly how I came to believe that I was a child of the Sixties, but I suspect that my parents’ love of music – and the exposure I had to it throughout my formative years – has a lot to do with it. I mean, sure, I’ve liked some modern bands. There was no 12-year-old girl more devoted to Take That, and I’ve always enjoyed rather more obscure bands like The Divine Comedy. I’m also partial to a bit of Bon Jovi. Occasionally, there’ll even be a Top 40 hit that I like.
For the most part, however, I am unimpressed by modern ‘music’. I refuse to move forward, choosing instead to remain firmly ensconced in a musical era I wasn’t even around to experience firsthand. I grew up watching recordings of concerts by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Simon and Garfunkel, Queen, Elvis, and The Carpenters, and listening to the likes of John Lennon, The Travelling Wilburys, and a vast selection of Blues singers. I generally like anything that happened before the year I was born. You can keep your Lady GaGas and your Pinks and your Rihannas. I don’t actually know which one’s which, to be honest. Don’t know who sings which song, for the most part, and wouldn’t recognise a picture of any of the Top Ten artists (I just checked – I got to 31 before I found a group I would be able to identify by sight and recognise by sound. And it was Take That. ;)).
However, there are two main problems with being a child of the 60s (or earlier) even though you grew up in the 80s.
1) You’re a bit out of the loop when your friends are all up to date on the latest in the music scene and you’re listening to Woody Guthrie recordings from the 1950s.
2) You rarely get the chance to see your favourite singers/bands perform live.
The former doesn’t really bother me too much. They have their thing, I have mine, and we’ll agree to disagree and/or not understand each other. The latter, however, is painful. I will never, ever see my all-time favourite band live in concert, shaking their mop-top heads and strumming their guitars in unison. I will never get to witness John Lennon playing that white piano and singing my own personal anthem. I will never attend a Monkees concert. I will never hear Karen Carpenter’s voice fill an arena.
So, when I do get the chance to see one of my musical heroes, I seize it as if it’s my last – because I have the fear that it might just be. I remember being devastated for the first few minutes of a Simon and Garfunkel concert, because I’d watched their Central Park concert so many times that they’d become stuck in my head just as they looked when they recorded it. It was only when two almost unrecognisable old men came on to the stage that I recalled that that particular concert had been filmed in the year that I was born. Nope, I don’t like being jolted out of my comfortable time warp. I don’t want to live in a world where Art Garfunkel has no hair.
I was going to come alone if I couldn’t find anyone to keep me company, I confessed to my companion last night as we sat in the rapidly-filling arena of the Seoul Olympic Stadium, wearing our tour souvenir t-shirts and waiting excitedly for another long-time favourite of mine to come on stage. I know this sounds awful, but… well, I had to make sure that I see him before he dies.
She looked a little taken aback at my frankness, but her expression changed when he walked on to the stage and the big screen showed a close-up of his lined, softened face, with the wispy grey hair falling in his eyes. I knew that she, too, must be prone to retaining a mental image of someone as they looked in their heyday. I mean – Eric Clapton looks like this:
Or at least this:
But not like this:
It’s just a bit of a shock and a reality check. And a little sad… you want the people you love to stay young and vibrant forever, don’t you? Even the ones you’ve never actually met. Of course, it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the concert – if anything, Clapton’s voice sounds even better with the slightly gravelly, husky quality that seems to increase as someone gets older. And honestly, anyone who can play the guitar like he can would probably look sexy even with no teeth and a beer belly and a food-stained t-shirt. I had goosebumps throughout most of the concert, and found myself in tears when he played my favourite (Wonderful Tonight). Just being there in the same place as him while he sang a song I’ve known and loved all my life was a magical, unforgettable moment.
By the end, the whole crowd had risen to its feet as if drawn upwards by the power of the music, swaying and dancing and jumping and clapping. The cheering went on for a good ten minutes after he left the stage after his final encore. He may heading towards his 70s, but Clapton is not an old man. Far, far from it. What a star!
* Videos not mine – I only took a couple of short clips as souvenirs, as I much prefer to watch the concert through my eyes rather than through a camera. You can always find videos online… good old YouTube!