I’ve slowed down, I admit. I used to enjoy going to concerts and to local venues to see area bands but now I have kids and I’m old enough that I don’t like to stand during full shows anymore. Plus the high cost of concert tickets is a big discouragement and it takes too big a bite out of my budget. When I have made it out, which is about twice a year it has been to shows that have special meaning for me (Beach Boys 50th Anniversary, The Who’s Quadrophenia album full performance, Brian Wilson/Jeff Beck tour). I have more appreciation for these live shows than for the concerts I have been to in the past, probably since it takes a greater effort on my part to make those moments happen. I feel fortunate to have seen the acts I have and still kick myself for the ones I missed like Bo Diddley and Ray Charles. I remember Stevie Ray Vaughan chewing out a fan for throwing a beer bottle in between dazzling guitar solos (one behind the back). On the same night Joe Cocker came strutting onstage in an outfit that would have fit in with the characters wardrobes on The Big Lebowski. I remember Springsteen coming back out for a second encore which seemed to surprise the arena crew who already started to turn the lights back on and then he and the E Street band plunged into Kitty’s Back. I remember having front row seats for my first Rush show only to move back since they were so far left of stage I couldn’t see two-thirds of the power trio. I recall Otis Rush being carried onstage and then spending the next half hour watching him berate his backing band while they tried to figure out what song he was trying to play. I fondly remember Bettye Lavette sitting down on stage indian style and singing an acapella version of John Prine’s Souvenirs and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever heard. I remember seeing the Commitments touring band which played so surprisingly loud my ears were still ringing three days later. What I am amazed at mostly is that I have yet to feel disappointed by a live music experience even if the band I watched wasn’t particularly good. I have been able to take something away from each show, mostly a greater appreciation for those who can play in front of a live audience and those who have been going out there year after year mostly in obscurity. From one music fan I would like to express my appreciation for those artists and the hard work they put into their craft. I may not be able to keep up with many live acts any more but past experience has made those precious few days I get per year all the more satisfying and substantial.