Thursday, November 03, 2005

Old and Folded


I have entered the "with symphony" stage of my life. My wife and I have tickets to see Ben Folds with the Baltimore Symphony. This is a crossover performance, designed to get people my age comfortable with seeing music in a setting that does not involve $3 Miller Lites or a stealthily-passed hash pipe. I think the Symphony does it to recruit new classical season ticket holders. Is that the correct term? Sounds way too grid-iron for opera seats.

Other bands who've performed with a symphony: Elton John, Roberta Flack, and DJ Spooky.

Why do I consider this band-with-symphony thing a stage and not just a one-concert fling? I went to a concert in a basement bar last week and had two main complaints: the music was too loud and the bar was too smoky. There was a time when neither of these things mattered to me. When I slept in the Boscov's parking lot for tickets. When I could enjoy a band while sitting under a trashbag in the rain. When assigned seats were considered a drag, and being crushed against the barriers in front of the stage meant I had "unbelievable seats". Now I pick seats in the upper tier so I don't get moshed on. Seriously, who is moshing at a Dave Matthews Band concert? Of course, I was never a fan of the big concert - at least not since I saw the Grateful dead at RFK. My last serious colliseum concert was Pink Floyd on their Division Bell tour. Great lightshow. But the 14 year-olds dosing next to me turned me off. No more attending concerts with unsupervised children. I retreated to bars where drunk 21-year olds hippie-jived to Dread Zeppelin and two-stepped to Robert Earl Keen. With the exception of any dance hall Polka Band, REK is still the only good concert to see in a room full of drunk people.

One of my favorite live performances was actually David Sedaris. The guy is funny. He only sang one song: his Billie Holiday impersonation. But there wasn't a fourteen year old on acid to be seen.