After a 10-15 minute intermission, and after the crew set up the mics and drums, REO Speedwagon ripped the stage. They sang a couple songs, then played their hits "And I'm Gonna Keep On Loving You" and "I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore". Even though they are getting older, as am I, you can see they put everything they got into the songs. Once they fininshed their closing song, and threw their guitar picks and drumsticks into the crowd, the arena slowly emptied. After we made our way through the waves of people, we drove home, talking about how great the concert was.
Last night, I had the opportunity to go to a REO Speedwagon/Pat Benetar concert with my dad in my hometown.
Confession: I have been to my share of concerts such as: Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Boys Like Girls, Seether, Secondhand Serenade, etc. However, as a teenager, I usually stray from anything older, music especially. I do not usually like the oldies. Maybe a couple of oldies hits such as "I Can't Fight this Feeling Anymore" by REO Speedwagon and several Michael Jackson songs, but that is really all the old music I have on my iPod. But, he was so stoked about it, and though I am usually not one to listen to older music, I agreed to go, knowing that this would be a great opportunity for him.
He absolutely loved Pat Benetar and REO Speedwagon when growing up. If I said no, I am sure he would have been disappointed. I did not want him to miss this because I would be disappointed too, especially if I was so close to seeing some of my favorite singers live.
He asked me to go with him about a month before. As the weeks passed, I could see him getting more and more excited. He told me he had dreams of getting really close to Pat Benetar and he was allowed on stage, rocking out with her. Haha my dad is always a kid at heart. Well, the day finally came. Yesterday, my dad told me we needed to leave at 5:00pm to go to the arena where they were playing at. We left the house, we got to our seats, and we waited.
When the clock hit 7:00pm, the lights dimmed and the concert started. A young artist, by the name of Keaton Simmons, opened the show. He is great by the way. He is from LA and he kind of sounds like Gavin Degraw mixed with John Mayer. You can check out his MySpace here: (http://www.myspace.com/keatonsimons) He sounds amazing live!
Anyways, after he sang, everyone clapped and cheered Then, there was a brief intermission before Pat Benetar came on stage. The arena was full of people who are older than me, people my parents' age. A few people 17-23 years old, then the rest were 30-50 year olds. I would like to clarify. I do not hate older people! We learn from them and are blessed by their knowledge that they have gathered throughout their lives. I totally respect older citizens. However, I would be lying if I said it was not strange being one of the only yonger people. Because it was. I sort of felt out of place.
Regardless of what age, the anticipation was growing. You could feel the energy and again, it was strange to see parents chill and less composed. When Pat Benetar's logo appeared on the screen, the cheering grew louder. When she started singing, people stood up and clapped and whistled and said "I love you, Pat!" It was quite the experience to see; people older than me, having that passion for someone, kind of like how I have passion for some of my favorite things such as Twilight or music. She sang a few songs, one of them being "Love is a Battlefield", then shared some of her life experiences and how they influenced her song writing. She sang a few more songs after that, then thanked the crowd for making it out to see the band. When she exited the stage, people were still cheering. She came out one more time to sing her last song "Heartbreaker". Even though my dad did not get to hear her sing his favorite song "Fire and Ice", he still had the biggest smile on his face.
Reiterating what I said about older people: We learn from them. They were here first and they share their knowledge with us: how to avoid the pot holes of life, how to take the right train, etc. Same principle applies to bands. I have always acknowledged the fact that older artists had started music. Their music influenced the artists we have now to make their music, and that will probably continue like a domino effect. The artists we have now influence aspiring artists.
As I sit here on my computer, recalling this experience, I now write my appreciation: It is one thing to acknowlodge, to know, what people of the past have done for us, but it is an entirely different thing to appreciate them, in their glory, by having the priviledge to watch them live. On CD, it is common for artists to lose their authenticity. Live is so much better because you hear that quality that makes them unique. That raw, soulful quality. And REO Speedwagon and Pat Benetar reminded me of something last night: older artists certainly have that quality. On CD, I just do not hear it, or maybe I was not looking for it. But, I can say now, that I appreciate what they have done for the world of music, as well as other older artists.
This may not seem like such a big deal, but I felt really compelled to write this experience out. Either to remember it, or to share it, or to even remind people. All I can say is, I went into the concert, just trying to make my dad happy. But I came out actually having a good time and appreciating the music of the older days!
Thank you for taking to the time to read my entry :)