I'm not dependable about going to see my "wish list" acts anymore. Todd Rundgren was in town last Friday, playing in a rather small locale. I saw that the tickets were 50 dollars for 2 people, which my mind instantly converted into a CD of Something/Anything, a CD of A Wizard/A True Star, a copy of the CD whose name escapes me with "Can We Still Be Friends?" on it, a meal at CiCi's pizza and four used books. When I was 24, I'd never have thought this way. When I was 14, I would have *only* thought this way. At 42, I am much more 14 than 24, I suppose. For that matter, I finally saw my favorite band from back when I was 14, Sparks, in concert last August at 41. The mathematic inversion of 14 and 41 appeals to me. They were a bit older than the comedians who played "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us" on "In Concert" that midnight many years ago, but I still had a very good time. As the character in the Sparks song sings to the departing Noah's Ark..."peace be with all of you....I wish that I were one of you".
I'd still see Bill Nelson on principle, of course, without hesitation, but through years of attending concerts and losing touch, the number of "concerts I'd drop everything for" has diminished to a small number indeed. I'm even reaching the point in life where I catalog great concerts, like REM's Reckoning Tour, Stevie Ray Vaughan opening for the Call in a rodeo barn in Little Rock, singing along to "Waterloo Sunset" at a Kinks show in the Hammersmith Odeon (while the nice couple in front of me took suggestive dancing to a new intimate depth, unfortunately rhythmically bumping into me in the process), the incredible Residents' Thirteenth Anniversary Tour (god, I love and am obsessed by "Constantinople") or even, to speak in the language of the dinosaur, the rare thrill when Grand Funk Railroad fired up "I'm Your Captain". This is a time for needless reassessment and catalogs of quirks.
Cheap Trick's "Surrender" contains that great line, of course,
"Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away". I have always taken great comfort in being someone not easily "given away", someone that not everybody "gets". I have always preferred the special connection with a few folks to general approval of many. At its best, this sentiment can have a glittering fearlessness to it. Still, I have to wonder if
it really is all that laudable to be living Roxy Music's "Avalon" album inside, when outside one seems to be living in a rather more scattered, less "art rock", much more prosaic mode. It almost doesn't matter--I've spent a lifetime carving this damn sculpture, and can't pause to wonder now if the nose should be aquiline instead of block. Besides, I rather like the shadow effect, right around the the place where one imagines the mind connects to the soul. Or is that place merely the point where fantasy and reality somehow merge?