weekly article 12-10-13
Three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending an Eagles concert at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center, thanks to my sister Rhonda Robinson. My sister is one of the biggest die-hard rock n roll fans you will ever meet. Now, don’t go getting mental images in your head of a middle-aged lady with long-stringy hair, torn up jeans, and a bandana across her head when I describe her like this, in fact she is quite normal and would not stand out in a crowd.
Rhonda just loves music and has spent what she calls the best part of her life catering to what she refers to as her “rock n roll therapy”. Music makes her happy and calms her soul. It has gotten her through every crisis in her life and no one begrudges her for that. She is an extraordinary person, who much like the majority of us women, holds down a full-time job and takes care of her family.
When she chooses to blow off steam, her occasional rock n roll therapy consists of attending concerts. Rhonda’s love for music is something she likes to share with her family, so because of that, we have all had some really great, memorable times on these “road trips”.
When Rhonda called me in the late spring and asked me if I wanted to go see the Eagles in mid-November, well, of course, I said yes. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? It was only one of the biggest rock bands of the 70’s. This band defined the 70’s era. To date, no American band has sold more records than the Eagles did during the 1970’s.
What my sister didn’t count on was that she would be battling health issues and would have to undergo a pretty intensive surgery just a week before the date of the concert. When she realized she wouldn’t be able to attend, she gave her ticket to my father and he was happy to get it.
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from this band I once loved from the mid 70’s on. There was a part of me that thought given the age factor of the members, their performance would be lackluster and disappointing. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
Now, I have been to many wild, energetic concerts in my time that would keep your blood pumping for hours afterward. This wasn’t the atmosphere of this particular event, but that did not mean it would not be memorable…
They began their concert by each sitting quietly on a stool playing their earliest hits after a brief synopsis of each one. It was a calm, relaxing atmosphere that everyone seemed to enjoy. And after a small intermission, they really got down to the good stuff…
Now, I was very young in the mid 70’s and had forgotten that I even knew some of these songs, but surprisingly I could remember every word. It was instant nostalgia from the moment each song began. The smooth, melodious tunes just seem to sink inside your soul and take you back with a mental picture of where you were at that very moment decades ago when youth seemed like it would last forever. There was a specific memory for every song they played and I closed my eyes and relished in each and every one of them.
From time to time, I would look around at the people around me and found them to be enjoying it as much as I was. And this was not your typical concert crowd…many were middle-aged to borderline elderly. They sported a headful of gray hair, some carried canes and wore glasses, but they made no apologies. Perhaps they were there to get a glimpse of the splendor of their youth or relive their glory days. And the look on their face said it all…It was a sight that would put a smile on your face because you could almost feel their enjoyment.
I remember thinking to myself as I looked around what some teenagers were doing there. How could they possibly appreciate this kind of music as much as I did? They weren’t even alive during the time this music was popular… It was then I realized that I was also one of these aging people, and I had to stifle an inward laugh at the irony of this.
Before the concert was over, middle-aged people you would probably never even notice in a crowd were dancing in the aisles as songs of their youth transported them back in time to a day when things didn’t seem to be so complicated but they didn’t know it at the time; A day when you weren’t plagued with responsibility, which is always associated with stress and worry. A day when you were only responsible for yourself and didn’t have to worry about your blood pressure or your diet. A day when having a good time was the only real thing that mattered. It’s funny how music affects you like that.
The Eagles played for over three hours and still did not get to sing all of their hits. To say I was impressed would be putting it mildly. The guitar pickings alone were enough to captivate your attention. They gave a stellar performance and sounded just like they did back in the day. You would never guess by listening to these guys that they were the same age as many of our grandparents.
Truth be known, it was probably as much therapy for these band members as it was for the crowd. I have heard that these gentlemen don’t get along well off stage and never really recovered from the bitter breakup that occurred many years ago. I can safely say from an audience standpoint, you would never have guessed. Their onstage performance was a magical one, creating a musical time warp we were all caught up in.
With all of the concerts I have attended, this will go down as one of the best ones ever. And getting to attend it with my father was like icing on the cake. I’m just sorry Rhonda wasn’t there to see it.
Music has a powerful effect on us that some do not even realize and impacts your life in ways you would never dream possible. It has the power to change your mood in an instant. Example: have you ever been riding down the road surfing the stations when a song comes on that you haven’t heard in years? You immediately turn the song up and sing to the top of your lungs, and in the back of your mind a particular memory associated with this song is brought back to life.
Music can be described as food to the soul or as a silent friend who is always there for you. It can cheer you up when you’re down, sympathize with a broken heart, motivate you or serve as a welcome distraction. It can allow to momentarily escape whatever problems are ailing you at the time. In some cases, music can get a bad rep for promoting violence in some people. But I say these people are already troubled, so to blame music is just a cop-out.
Music is a part of who we are. Our personality is shaped by the type of music that we listen to and has a profound influential effect on human behavior. Throughout the different stages of your life, your taste in music will mostly take you through many genres, but you will always have an appreciation for it.
I will close with some noteworthy quotes of famous people:
“When words fail, music speaks” William Shakespeare.
People haven’t always been there for me, but music has” Taylor Swift.
“ To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable” Aaron Copland
“ Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand” Stevie Wonder.
“ The Good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain” Bob Marley.