17 March 2010

What I learned about myself by going to see the Pixies

1. I am old.
I was looking around and thinking that this is a very old crowd. I was looking at the band and thinking how they’d got old (Even older than me, of course. Sorry Pixies.), but probably do yoga and eat healthy food in an effort to maintain their youthfulness like many of us. Then I realised that the crowd was probably mostly my age. Damn!

2. I sat in the seats.
In the old days I would’ve made sure that I queued, overnight with a sleeping bag in the rain if necessary, to get tickets for the floor so I could be in the mosh. But it didn’t even occur to me to do that this time. Actually, a friend was the first one to find out about the tour and kindly offered to organise the tickets online. Good on her too, because this was about four months ago. I’ve never been that organised.

3. I find it hard to be at a gig and sit still.
I never understood the restraint it would take people to sit and watch a gig nicely in a seat. But then, I’ve always been a bit of a dancer. However, being up in the stands, it does feed the vertigo if you dance with too much movement, so I did a sort of half-dance thing so I could at least feel the music. The women in front of me were quite drunk on glowing cocktails, however, and were unrestrained by the vertigo monster.

4. I’m prone to bouts of nostalgia.
In the old days, every gig I went to would’ve been in a small venue, heavy with the scent of smoke and marijuana, sticky underfoot from spilled beer and rum and cokes, crowded, dirty, young, and with sweat raining off the ceiling. I would’ve been high on adrenaline, screaming every word from the top of my voice and felt one with the band and the crowd, never worrying about the fact that I’d be hoarse, deaf, and a couple of kilos lighter the next day. And I would’ve loved every minute of it.

5. My gig-going behaviour may or may not be changing (it could just be society)
At this show I put cotton in my ears to make things clearer and to save my, probably already damaged, hearing. I sang every couple of lines or so unless it was one of my favourites. I thought about getting hydrated before I went and didn’t end up having a beer at all because I was driving (and actually paid out for safe parking). The numbers on the floor were controlled with wristbands and each person was directed to their padded seat by a smiling usher. The venue was non-smoking (I’m not a smoker anyway), shiny and new, air-conditioned, and sold the aforementioned cocktails in plastic glasses that glow in different colours and make me think of Lady Gaga. No, I didn’t have one. I drew a line.

6. I’m not that old.
I found myself watching the floor crowd much of the time and wishing I’d thought to try and get tickets for that. I was totally jealous of those people jumping as a huge amorphous unit and becoming ensconced in the music like in the old days. I even saw a couple of people make an attempt at crowd surfing. I should’ve made more of an effort to get onto the floor. I might be old, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to sit down yet.

And here is 1 minute of Debaser for your viewing pleasure from a very long distance and in very poor quality. Enjoy.


Shiela said...

I will forever remember our concert experiences! Joshua Tree anyone? Duran Duran?? I have not been to a concert since I was in my 20's and have wondered what it would be like to go see the Cure or some other band now… love that you are still going to see live music and thereby letting us live the experience with you :)

shantiwallah said...

Yes, we've definitely seen some amazing shows. Let's try an catch something good when we get to Thailand. Bangkok is getting good for that kind of thing:-)

niamh said...

Yes, yes, yes! It's all happening to us. I saw Sonic Youth in Sydney when I was there and was shocked at how sober and well-behaved I was ;)
There are some great venues in BKK - when are you going? Maybe I can give you some tips?

shantiwallah said...

Sonic Youth, awesome!That would be great. I've spent a lot of time in Thailand but have never lived there full-time so for stuff like venues it would be great to pick your brain. Some friends (including Shiela, above) and I are planning a big meetup there but it won't be for a couple of years (I hope I can go again at least once before that!).If it falls in line with one your your trips back you should join us:-)

JR Moreau said...

It's awesome that you got out to the show you wanted to see! I still go out and see The Deftones every year they come on tour. The first time I saw them was in 96! I think I'll always feel better when I see a band or hip hop act I like live. The feeling has never changed... although I don't mosh or push to the front as much anymore :-)

shantiwallah said...

Never stop going to gigs, I say! Thanks for your comment.

Fly Girl said...

This is so funny. You are not old! It's all a state of mind. I go to gigs regularly as a music critic and I see the old and young enjoying live music, never stop.

David said...

I went to see The Pixies play in Sydney on March 15, the first big concert I'd been to since seeing Smashing Pumpkins at V Festival a year ago. Your experience mirrors my own. We found ourselves in the seated section and while it was nice to relax, it is a lot harder to move with the music whilst sitting without appearing as though you are suffering the advanced symptoms of a nervous disorder. The crowd was older and more mellow at this show (than the last few other concerts I've been to) and I kind of liked that, being a bewildered country dweller at a big city rock concert. I've read that The Pixies don't uncoil as hard live these days and while that might be true, their more relaxed manner lost no quality and made for very a very enjoyable concert atmosphere; I'd take my Zimmer frame and go again!

shantiwallah said...

Thanks, Fly Girl! I agree with you and I don't really think I'm old, but it is funny to think one thing of yourself and then see others your age and mistake them for older people. But some people age more than others, right?

David- Zimmer framers unite! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. Smashing Pumpkins must've been awesome. I'm completely jealous!

Leigh Shulman said...

This post really hit home for me. On so many levels.

I worked for MTV in my early 20s, but I was never really much for the heavy drinking, crowdsurfing, hard partying. But I did it anyway (a bit).

The last show I went to was Cat Power. Totally lovely. Totally mellow. At the end, I looked around and everyone was sitting quietly with smiles on their faces.

@flygirl You are so right. That's one of the things people loved so much about the Grateful Dead. Grandparents and grandkids went to enjoy together.

shantiwallah said...

Gosh Leigh, that must've been a crazy time at a young age. Do you still feel connected to that time or do you see yourself as a different person now?
Sometimes it amazes me when I look back at all the things I've done in my life. I don't think I've done more than the average, but it does sometimes feel like I've lived a thousand different lives already. My 20s seem particularly condensed.