After 1 ½ years of silence due to the pandemic, music concerts that were canceled are returning so when a friend said “Hey, I have 2 extra tickets to a Jackson Brown/ James Taylor concert -want to go? Instantly I said “YES!” despite the fact the tickets were almost $140, it was at the huge Moda Center in Portland (I usually avoid large venues), and I would have to attend in a wheelchair due to my knee injury. Sometimes you just have to seize the moment and go, letting the universe work out the details. So on a rainy night in October, off the three of us went.
It only took about two chords of “Running on Empty” on the piano and I was transported back to a much younger me, a college student in the mid-1970s in that living room, that turntable, my friends, a more hopeful era infused in musical talent. Two of my favorite musicians at that time were Jackson Brown and James Taylor, their vinyl albums well worn with use. Looking back it was a time when I had the world at my feet- the music of the time making it all the more exciting.
I don’t know where the world went wrong since then. We were the generation of change, peace, and environmental awareness. I hardly recognize the country I live in now. Still in that massive venue, thousands of us masked gray-haired Boomers let the music of these great musicians bring us back, and boy did they put on a show, visibly grateful to be doing so. “In My Mind I’m Going to Carolina, For a Dancer”, all my favorites. Brown and Taylor sounded just as good as they did 45 years ago.
Maybe it’s my imagination or I’m suffering the prejudice of aging but I thought the music of the 60s & 70s was just the best. Maybe every generation feels their music was but I’ve noticed the younger set actively appreciating this same music.
The attendees of my deep water exercise class at the local pool are all aging boomers. We all look quite inauspicious old gals on the surface but we have colorful histories as young women. The class before Halloween we all “dressed up.” Our Purple Witch teacher had on a playlist of oldies including “Monster Mash” and other crazy music from our era. As we swished and kicked, we sang and shouted to the music trying to guess the title or the artist of the music to win power bars. “The Monkeys, Sly and the Family Stone, Loving Spoonful” we yelled out. Memories let loose. The lifeguards looked on with disbelief at all us old birds having such a good time and one of them took pictures. (At this age who cares about what people think!)
Music has always saved me but in the last few years, it has been such a refuge. Turn down the news and turn up the tunes I say. Welcome back, musicians. Thanks for making the world a brighter place.