Sunday, July 31, 2016

Several decades melt away at the Hollywood Bowl

They say you can't go home again, but clearly "they" have never seen Sting perform with Peter Gabriel at the Hollywood Bowl. Monday night my wife and I parked at the L.A. Zoo, stepped onto the Bowl shuttle and right into our demographic. A huckster could have entered that bus and retired on the strength of his Viagra and Spanx sales.

We had not been to the Bowl in over 20 years, which is criminal considering we live so close and are made of money. I remember going in 1980 to see Monty Python, and in the '90's for Bonnie Raitt, but I guess it's like people who live in New York but don't visit the Statue of Liberty. You figure it'll always be there. Times like these, you kind of wonder, though.

As the concert got under way, the guy in front of me lit up a doobie, and my sense-memory from the 1970's hit me so hard I had a sudden, almost primal need to see Chevy Chase do his Jerry Ford again.

Pot was the incense of the '70's, and although I was not a partaker, that fragrance was everywhere, and fragrances, like music, get in under our radar and settle themselves in a very particular time and place. Nostalgia was in the air.

Darkness fell and two middle-aged Amazonian blondes next to me rose, dancing loose-limbed to hit after hit from the iconic rockers. Sting and Gabriel sang each other's songs, harmonized on others, and brought my teen years and twenties back to vivid life like some kind of musical CPR. I danced a little too, although a bystander would probably have defined my style as "impatiently waiting for a bathroom."

To see these old guys kill it as if the past three decades had not happened was kind of uplifting, especially when I noted Peter Gabriel is balding even harder than I am. Red rain was falling down, the monkey was shocked, Roxanne was no longer having to put on the red light.

It was standing room only on the bus back to our car. As we swayed in the dark, the excited post-show babble gradually quieted and we were left with our thoughts. I recall the '70's with a sweetness now they may never have possessed, but that's a virtue of aging. There are only a few. I can count them on one hand, and I am waving it in the air like I just don't care.




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