May I first point out that when I was going to concerts a lot when I was a teenager the amount I spent on tickets sent The Mom through the roof.
“The ticket costs how much!” she’d cry. “And you don’t even get a seat?”
It was the days of grunge and if you got the really good seats, near the front, in the mosh pit, there were no seats. Seats were cheaper but you didn’t get the full experience.
But in fairness, if you’re going to see five guys in plaid shirts play guitar, it’s not much of a show. You really are just going for the music. I mean, don’t get me wrong, love love love Nirvana, but as far as a stage show went, it was not Kurt Cobain’s strong point. The man was a genius as far as I’m concerned, but there wasn’t much to look at. And also, this was nearly twenty years ago. I could go into the whole price of milk thing, but let’s just say this about that: I’m sure things have got a bit more expensive. I mean, if everybody’s downloading for free, they’ve got to make the money back somehow, right?
Now, as I’m not at home, I don’t have the ability to spy on our neighbours as The Mom does, and I don’t seem to be as au fait with what the kids are into these days (how she does shall remain somewhat of a mystery to me – her level of pop culture knowledge is truly astounding and makes me wonder what’s going on in CNN’s programming room).
What I think The Mom fails to grasp is that when we were teenagers, we didn’t go to these massive stadium shows, with production costs and lights and dancers and the like. We went to see five sweaty guys with guitars. I’d like to think that the price of admission to whatever we’re calling that genre currently is still on par with what we used to pay.
Things seem to have got more extravagant since I went to see concerts. I don’t go so much any more because they’re loud and I’m already half-deaf. Too much Nirvana and one particular Fugazi show have done me in. That and I don’t like the standing. It’s too much. I’m old, and tired.
But even ones here that are billed as festivals seem exhausting. Glastonbury is like three days. I don’t think I’d have had the stamina for that even when I was sixteen. Which was the nice thing about Lollapolloza. It was a day. A long day, but just the one.
And I do believe The Mom mis-remembers. It wasn’t so much that nobody wanted to loan us the car, it was that none of us wanted to drive. That would’ve… held back out ability to really enjoy the show, if you follow me. Plus, there’s something truly miserable about being in a traffic jam at 2am trying to get out of the car park. But it’s a perfect time for a little joint. Just to take the edge off the stressful day, mind. We were all also fairly tired of being dragged out of bed the next morning and shouted at for getting so much mud in the car. And there was always a chance the appointed driver would be too exhausted to drive us home that night and we’d have to somehow sleep in the car.
I don’t, however, think that this Taylor Swift person can be in any reasonable way compared to Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails and all the other shows that we went to see as teenagers. Because those guys, they were musicians. That’s it. All the pop-tarts they’ve got going now, those are Brands. It’s a completely different concept.
I remember when we’d come home from a concert and The Mom would be horrified because we may have spent another $20 on a t-shirt. She’d give us a look like, you know, at Woodstock it wasn’t about the t-shirts, it was about the music. Well, I suppose the same can still be said.