People love to say something is “the end of an era.”
Usually it’s someone older than you, trying to say they remember when things were better. Or, in other words, that people your age suck.
But, as with everything else, we may be seeing the end of plenty of eras in 2020. And 2021 … maybe even 2022.
No one seems to know how to re-start live music, and with good reason. Turns out COVID-19 isn’t the flu and people are still stupid. It may be a couple years until we can see live music the way we used to. It may be never … at least for the way we used to.
I was talking to a friend around my age the other night. He and I go back to our first band together in high school. We grew up loving the same music, and both worshipping the Rolling Stones, a band I’ve seen 10 times (I think) and love so much, the logo was the only logical choice for my first tattoo.
The whippersnapper of the band is Ron Wood, who’s 73. Charlie Watts turns 80 next year. They had a tour planned this year, with the nearest stop scheduled for San Diego. Considering their ages, I was knocking around spending a stupid amount of money to go see them on what surely would’ve been their last tour. The pandemic took the decision away.
“You know, we’re never going to see the Stones again,” I said to my friend, hoping he would tell me I’m wrong. Then he said the saddest thing.
It really is the end of an era. A bunch of them.
I would say I’ve seen the last of so many of my musical idols because of this stupid pandemic (which I’m not complaining about too much, as my family and friends and I are still, you know, alive). Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson are likely done. The Kinks were said to be ready to tour again for the first time in forever, but that’s gone. Van Halen is done, though they were done before COVID-19. I’ll never see Led Zeppelin or the Faces. Black Sabbath was already done, as was Elton John. Who knows about Tom Waits, Aerosmith, Willie Nelson, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Fleetwood Mac, John Mellencamp … and so many others who were already teetering on retirement?
There goes the big Beatles reunion for which I was still holding out hope …
At least we still have Bruce Springsteen, who will still be trying to play live two days after he dies … and he’d probably still be good.
I really have no complaints coming. I got to see nearly everyone I really wanted to. Even on the tail end of their careers, I caught James Brown, Prince, Jerry Lee Lewis, Soundgarden, the Replacements (they’re still alive and who the hell knows where they may pop up, but I saw them twice), B.B. King, Rush, Beastie Boys, Motorhead, CSNY (also still alive, but hating each other), Big Star, R.E.M., U.F.O. and so on.
I also saw *NSYNC. So suck on that.
Bands aren’t typically great when on their last legs, so maybe it’s a blessing in some cases. The next generation may have a completely different idea of concerts, depending on how and when they can start again. Unless drive-in movie lots make a huge comeback, I’m not sure how. Though some acts hello Sammy Hagar–are already starting to book shows for later this year, which does nothing for anyone but put more lives at risk.
When they figure it out, I can say no more waiting until the the next time they come around. Because, as this year has demonstrated so starkly, one never knows when that might be.
Follow music critic Tony Hicks at Twitter.com/TonyBaloney1967.