Last evening I was fortunate to be a friend’s guest at an impressive Foo Fighters concert at our local arena. All bands touring could take lessons from the passion and professionalism Dave Grohl and his band exhibit. They played for over two and a half hours and I am grateful to have witnessed the show.
As I watched the performance, among the chill bumps of hearing songs performed live I know so well and singing along, a wave of gratitude hit me for all the great concerts I have been blessed to set eyes on. There have been so many it is difficult to remember them all.
When I was barely a teen I sang along with Paul Revere and the Raiders at my first concert “I’m hungry for those good things, baby” as my way of asserting I was someday going to have a life outside of the rural south where I was growing up.
Within two years I had let my hair grow longer (pretty conservative by today’s standards) and was wearing sandals and army shirts. I became what my brother later told me some people called the first hippie in Clay County, Alabama. That’s interesting since I did not even know what marijuana was for another 4 years. However, I was dressed the part and ready to see bearded, long-haired Felix Cavalieri of the Rascals sing “love to see the music take you away” and they took me away with a 10 minute jam (the first one I ever witnessed).
I held hands with my first serious girlfriend on the Auburn University campus while The Classics IV sang what became the epitaph of that relationship “Tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces”.
In Jackson I sang along with Mountain “Mississippi Queen, if you know what I mean, she taught me everything”. With me at the concert was the girl/woman who was my “first” and I hers. She did not teach me everything, but we learned a lot together.
In the 70′s I moved to Colorado and with America in concert I sang “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name”. Later in Omaha I immensely enjoyed singing along with poet/performer Gordon Lightfoot, “If you could read my mind, love, what a tale my thoughts could tell”.
“There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold” I sang with Led Zeppelin live at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati. And a year later on December 3, 1979 in that same arena I sang “We’ll be fighting in the streets with our children at our feet” not knowing after that Who concert I’d find out 11 people had been trampled to death on their way into the show.
Over the years I have sung “ On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair” with the Eagles in concert, “Just let me know if you wanna go to that home out on the range” with ZZ Top, “The rain exploded with a mighty crash as we fell into the sun” with Paul McCartney, “A goodbye kiss is all I need from you” with George Strait, “There must be higher love” with Steve Winwood, “She shines with her own kind of light” with Neil Diamond, “I wanna be loved like that” with Shenandoah, “Where are you going for tomorrow” with Stone Temple Pilots and all the others I sang along with: Bruce Springsteen, Union Gap, Santana, Sammy Hagar, Rolling Stones, Boyce and Hart, Alanis Morisette, John Conley, Kansas, Billy Joel, Kiss, Queen, Three Dog Night, Jeff Beck, Ronnie Milsap, Rush, Marvin Gaye, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Tracy Lawrence, NIN, Roots, Moody Blues, Staind, Police, Johnny Lang, Carpenters, Bush, Eric Clapton, U2, David Bowie, Alabama, Joe Cocker, Crosby Stills and Nash, Moby, AC/DC (several times!), Styx, Beach Boys, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Yes, Elton John, Outcast, James Taylor, Nelly Furtado, Incubus, Nickelback, Kinks, Reba McEntire, Black Eyed Peas, Aerosmith (gave some of hearing to those guys sitting in the 6th row!), 311, Beck, Genesis, Sublime, Def Leppard and so many more.
Knowing that I have listed not even half of the artists I have seen in concert, I am overcome with a sense of profound humility and almost over powering gratitude. Was it because I love music so much that I attended all these shows or was it all the great live music that gave me a deep love of music? I think it was probably both.
Although I admit to not being a big fan of Abba, one of their songs expresses clearly my feelings of gratitude this morning: “Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing”. ‘Nuff said.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. Victor Hugo