Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Phish and Mr. Peabody's WABAC Machine

An overly long blog entry in which I'll take you into my youth and back into the present, which is now the past.

Keith had gotten tickets to one of the Phish shows here over the weekend. He knows more about Phish than I do, and he had heard some of their music. What I knew about Phish is this - they were a jam band like the Grateful Dead. People followed them around like they used to with the Dead. Also, Trey Anastasio was redheaded like me, and he'd been on the cover of some of Keith's guitar magazines.

Keith asked me if I'd go with him to the show, and I said yes, because I knew he wanted to go. I can always take knitting with me.

Now let's get into that WABAC machine and take a little side trip to my past. We were teenagers back in the 1970's and very early 80's. In fact, I've got a birthday coming up soon, and I'm starting to see 50 looming way too close. I started going to concerts when I was 12 or 13, and boy, back in the day, were they wild! A haze of pot smoke filled the air. Lots of open containers of all sorts of alcohol. I remember one time drinking Boone's Farm slushies that we'd made. I never smoked too much pot myself because I grew up in a family of cigarette smokers, and I just can't stand smoking. I did, however, love the smell of burning pot, so I always breathed deeply at all those shows.

Ronald Reagan came along, with the whole just say no to drugs campaign. I remember going to some shows at the Omni (when it still existed) and finding that security was like the Gestapo. This was in the late 80's, as I remembered we'd brought our own liquor to the AC/DC concert sometime in 85 or 86, so this was after that.

We go to very few shows nowadays. Rarely does anyone come through that we want to see. Tickets are ridiculously expensive. I've got a bit of tinnitus, which I'm sure is the result of some of those very loud shows of my youth.

Let's get back to the recent past. Yes, I'm going to Phish. I'll admit that I sort of hoped he'd be able to find a buddy to go with him instead, but I went. I've got my earplugs (I don't need to lose any more hearing) and my knitting. What non-knitters don't always understand is that knitting allows us to be more patient and actually pay attention to what's going on around us instead of us thinking when in the world will this be over?

Entering Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for Phish was very strange. I felt like I'd entered the WABAC machine and landed in a concert from my youth. All of the shows we attend are geared more towards our age group. (Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, even Billy Idol) Here we were the oldest. Way old. All these kids in wild clothing reminded both of us how shows used to be.

After we got drinks and started looking for our seats, we passed through clouds of pot smoke. Here was a concert that really was like the ones we used to go to! Lots of pot, lots of liquor, everyone was dancing (except for me. I sat down and knitted on a sock. Too hot to dance for 3 or 4 hours. After all, I'm seeing 50 on the horizon, and I need to get my well upholstered butt to the gym.) Keith did get into the dancing. He's in better shape than I am (right now).

During intermission, while Keith went to replenish our drinks, I had one kid ask me if I was enjoying the show. I think my knitting distressed him. I said yes, it was great. (It was. I was enjoying it.) I had another come sit next to me and ask about my knitting. Then I got to hear about his grandmother's needlework. (Ugh, but he was cute.) Now, while I know I'm old enough to be their mom, I was unprepared for the cute gal who introduced herself, thinking that I had brought my adult son to the show. I told Keith when he got back, and he asked, "how did she know you were old enough to be his mom?"

Isn't that just the sweetest thing for him to ask? All I have to do is look in the mirror and see the effects of gravity and time, but he always tells me I don't look as old as my age. While at dinner last night with another couple (who I later found out were a good 17 years younger than us), they said that when you're 20, everyone over 20 looks equally old. Not sure I'm buying that.

I guess we were the "cool parents" at the Phish show. Keith said that he kept getting into conversations with the guys. They approached him, but he's a very approachable person.

I do find I'm having a little bit of a problem with it. As I mentioned, I've got a birthday soon. I won't be 50 this year, but it's getting awfully damn close. I normally hang around people my own age, and it was a little shocking to discover that I do seem older. I can normally pass for a few years younger amongst my crowd, but I wasn't with my crowd that night.

In all honestly, I'm pretty content with my age. What I'm not content with can be changed by actually going to the gym and exercising instead of just thinking about it. As the saying goes, you're only as old as you feel, and I feel pretty young. It's just that damn mirror that says otherwise.

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