It think it’s official: I am too old for rock concerts.
You see, I turned 53 on Wednesday, and just returned tonight, disappointed, from seeing the band Wilco at the Wiltern Theater.
It’s not Wilco’s fault. They are great musicians. I have all their CDs and DVDs and can’t wait for their new release on June 30.
They really make some incredible music that ranges from folk rock, to progressive, to alternative country, to sonic experimentation.
So it’s not them. It’s two things: the sound quality and the hassle.
The hassle (you know, buying the tickets, paying a fortune for parking, dealing with crowds and traffic) is really not that big a deal for me. I figure it’s just part of the price of going out. If the hassle kept me from doing stuff, then I would really be old.
The main problem, then, is the sound quality. It was incredibly muddy and distorted. Now whose fault is this? The band’s? The theater’s? My ears? Dick Cheney’s?
As I was listening to this awful audio, all I could think about was how much better their stuff sounds on CD. It’s not that the band can’t play; it’s just that the CD sound is so refined and clear, anything less is a letdown.
I guess I’m now at the point that I would rather buy a CD and/or a DVD of a live performance than go to the concert. In fact, I did exactly that recently instead of buying tickets for this year’s Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, and Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood concerts.
And you know what? The DVDs were far less expensive, the sound quality is outstanding, I can see everything perfectly, and they only cost about $20 bucks each. And I can watch or listen to them over and over again.
Yeah, I know that I’ll be missing out on the “communal experience” of being in an audience. But go ask the Manson family and the Branch Davidians about communes. I have a feeling they would take a pass next time.
When it comes to attending live performances, perhaps the key is to stick to small, intimate clubs. Like jazz clubs…before they become extinct altogether.
Meanwhile, I am still looking forward to the Steely Dan concert in August. Hey, those guys are even older than me, so maybe it will work out this time.
As long as I don’t break my hip by clapping too rigorously.