Sunday, August 30, 2009

Still Rockin'

I went to a concert recently. Okay, no big deal. People go to concerts all the time. Well, I don’t. I hadn’t been to a concert since the 1980s. I have seen a few musical groups play at bars and festivals since then, and this got me thinking: What’s the difference between a gig and a concert? The size of the venue? The popularity of the band? The amount of money they charge? I think it’s the latter. Whenever I see a semi-known group perform, it’s either free or there’s a nominal cover charge. But at my most recent live entertainment experience, tickets were $45 each. Of course, with surcharges my girlfriend and I paid $111 for two tickets. It’s like buying tires: sure, they might list for $79 each, but if you want extras, like air, you end up paying a lot more.

So who did we see? The Black Eyed Peas? Shakira? Kanye West? Nope. We saw KC and the Sunshine Band. Now, in case you were born after 1975, I’ll give you some background. The group was formed shortly after the Earth cooled. They had several hit songs during the Disco Era, a dark time in United States history that would be best forgotten, like the Vietnam War except more embarrassing. Men wore hideous polyester suits and high collars that made them look like gay pimps; and women wore ... well ... I never noticed what they wore because I was too busy looking at myself in mirrors.

We went with another couple, and we dressed in 1970s-style clothing, complete with peace sign medallions around our necks, thus transforming ourselves into the Biggest Dorks in the Universe. At least that’s what our kids called us. But that was just their opinion. As we walked from the parking garage to the arena we got several compliments from passers by. (“Hey! Halloween’s two months away!”)

It was different from the concerts I went to in my youth, which used to feature certain types of combustible material being passed down each row. This time around it was quite pleasant to be surrounded by other 40-somethings, who politely cheered and sipped their drinks and took videos and photos with their digital cameras and cell phones.

The only original band member left is Harry “KC” Casey, who is 58 years old. He looks it too. But he has a good sense of humor about it. He joked about his age during one of the many breaks in which he adjusted his oxygen hose.

They put on a great performance. Eleven guys played everything from bongos to trumpets, plus there were four lovely ladies dancing and singing. Some of these people hadn’t even been born when the band was in its heyday. I tried to talk to one of them after the show, but he had to leave because he had a trigonometry exam the next morning.

The venue reminded me of when I used to go to dance clubs in the 1970s and 1980s. Only this time it was much better because I had a dance partner. When I was single, going to clubs was a nightmare. Every time I asked women to dance they suddenly remembered important medical appointments.

It’s nice to know that musicians like Harry Casey are still doing it after all these years. It has inspired me. Sure, there are certain things I can no longer do, like digest Mexican food, but after seeing Mr. Casey dance and sing and play keyboard with no ill effects except for the mild coronary he had during Shake Your Booty, I am ready to do something active. Right after my nap.