For those who don’t know me, I’m an old bugger and today I am officially cresting the hill into “doddery old fart-dom”. Today I reach middle age and the rest is all a messy downhill slide from here on in.
Today I am 40.
Thing is, being an old git has its advantages. And, yes, here comes the musical point.
Pearl Jam, to give an example, just announced a European tour with two “UK” dates (Leeds and Milton Keynes, bizarrely) in arena type venues. Leeds Arena with 13,500 capacity and Milton Keynes Bowl which can hold 65,000.
The one and only time I ever saw them live was headlining a show at Newcastle Riverside which had a capacity of around 300 (at a guess – anyone confirm that?). They had one album out and there was sweat and condensation literally (and I use the word literally in its correct term there) dripping off the remarkably low ceiling onto the crowd.
I saw the Manic Street Preachers at the same venue. Death at Bradford Rios with Chuck before he sadly left us. Pantera when they were at their peak (and met the guys when they hung out in the street afterwards). Saw Pestilence tour on their classic Testimony of the Ancients album with Cancer opening. Annihilator’s first UK tour (opening for Judas Priest).
I was at the last Donington Monsters of Rock before the world of metal was left to die by the music business (who failed to kill it off despite their best efforts, the fuckers). Saw Metallica before they were shit. Followed the Little Angels round their last gigs before they split up. Interviewed the Wildhearts and saw them live when they were promoting Earth Vs… … the first time round.
Saw Carcass opening for Ice-T’s Body Count. Saw Megadeth touring on the Rust in Peace album and Sepultura doing Arise. Watched Guns ‘n’ Roses from up a tree outside Gateshead Stadium when they were touring with Faith No More (saw them in a 1000-capacity venue, too) in support of the Use Your Illusion duo.
And so, so, so many more. A whole era I’d have missed out on if I’d been younger. Of course, if I’d have been older still then maybe I’d have been lucky enough to see the likes of Queen before we lost Freddie, Maiden and Metallica on really quality tours…
I was at Papa Roach the other night, and I bet a significant portion of the crowd hadn’t even been born when their debut album came out twenty years ago. But the thing is, they all knew every damn song off it.
Music lasts, memories last and I’m lucky enough to have a shitload of them.
And I promise you this – when I hit 80, I’ll have another ton of them to look back on that’ll make the youngsters jealous! Being old kinda sucks, but as long as it makes younger fans jealous… I can live with it!
- Pearl Jam add two UK dates to 2014 tour (digitalspy.co.uk)