Get ‘em While They’re (still) Warm

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I don’t mean for that title to be to insensitive or dark, but it’s no secret where we’re all ultimately headed. We’re all in this (life) together and nobody’s figured out a way to outsmart the grim reaper yet.

The recent death of Clarence Clemons has me thinking a bit about mortality lately – particularly about the mortality of some of my favorite musicians. Stumbling across this article provided that little extra push that led me to pour out my thoughts on the subject, as well as offering up a little nudge to some fans who might not be aware that their last chance to see their favorite acts may be slipping away.clock

I know the economy sucks and that a lot of people don’t have much room in their budget for live shows. The days of the $12.50 concert ticket are way behind us, and as much as some fans would love to go catch a Bon Jovi or U2 show, it’s not an option for everyone.

Those that are able to afford it are encouraged to get out there and see your favorite groups if they are still touring. Sure, they may continue touring for years to come and maybe you figure you’ll catch them the next time, but a lot can change between now and next summer. As much as I hate to say it, some of our favorites may not be around next summer, or may just decide that their touring days are over.

Being a little north of 50 myself, I’m pretty impressed by the number of artists who are still touring after three or four decades. Some of these folks are 20 years my senior and I’m not sure I could demonstrate the kind of stamina they do while performing a live show.

Bob Dylan just turned 70, ditto for Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones. There’s a whole host of artists in their sixties who are still working including most of the guys in Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Ted Nugent and the Eagles to name just a few.

The relative “youngsters” still in the business today are mostly in their fifties or very close to that half-century mark such as Van Halen (with the obvious exception of Eddie’s kid), Rush, U2, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard. With luck, fans will be gathering to watch these guys play for another decade or two, but it’s hard to imagine the previously mentioned collection of artists rocking out on stage at the age of 80. I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but it does seem quite unlikely.

It’s great that we have recordings of some of the best music in history at our disposal just about anywhere where and at nearly any time, but for those who crave that live experience, it may be wise to get out there and enjoy it while it’s still available. Neil Young sang, “Hey hey, my my. Rock and roll will never die.” That may be the case, but even if the music does live forever, the makers of that music will not, so get out there and get it while you still can.

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