No Substitute for Live Music

If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of, but don’t get to do often these days, it’s go to live shows. I’ve been looking around at who is coming this way soon. I am really sorry that I missed Steve Earle’s show in Birmingham back in July. Fleet Foxes and The Jayhawks are both coming to Birmingham’s Alabama Theatre in October.

Since I began going to hear live music as a teenager, in the 1980s, I’ve seen the Allman Brothers twice, Willie Nelson three times, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, moe., Government Mule, Widespread Panic twice, Drivin’ N Cryin’, Son Volt, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Wilco, Ricky Skaggs, Merle Haggard, The Black Crowes, Foghat, Molly Hatchet, James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic, Lucinda Williams, Sting, Leftover Salmon, Elton John, maybe there’s more, I don’t remember. Oh yeah, I also saw ’80s hair metal bands Cinderella and White Lion once. And I went to the second Lollapalooza in 1992, which had Lush, Pearl Jam, Ministry, Soundgarden, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ice Cube, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m not big on festivals, but I remember fondly being in that crowd when Pearl Jam broke into “Baba O’Reilly” and every one of those alterna-freakies sat down with no clue what the song was— and I was the only one standing up and yelling, Teen-age waste-land!

For all of the innovations in how music is distributed, especially iTunes, nothing replaces a live show. Nothing can stand in the place of standing among a crowd of fans, with the band a few feet away, and listening to them blast out the music. Good Lord, how I miss it . . . The only question is: who should I go see next?

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