Why I Rock
After attending a free rock concert, I felt my usual melancholy once I realized that it was over. But this time, I decided to decipher it, while I waited for the ringing in my ears to dissipate. For more than thirty years, I have loved attending rock concerts and meeting bands, the perpetrators of the sound. If a good rock show is playing my town, or a town that I can get to in a few hours, I will spend months anticipating the event. If it is one of my favorite bands, I will count down the days like a little girl waiting for Christmas. On the day of the show, I will spend extra time getting ready, putting on the outfit that I picked out days earlier, spritzing my favorite scent, and gliding my favorite hair product on my natural curls. And of course, this is all done to the accompaniment of a CD or cassette (yes, I still have them) of that night’s headliners.
I will join my friends, who may already be with me if it is an out-of-town show and we have rented a hotel room. In town, we will drive to the club, theatre or arena or meet at the door. If I am alone, I head to the venue early, pumped up and ready to enjoy the show. When the lights go down, my heart speeds up. I scan the dark stage for the first glimpse of a favorite musician. The first chord is strummed or the first drumbeat is struck, the lights come on – and away we go! If it is a good show, the band and the audience unite, taking each other to a higher level. When the band is cooking and the crowd is sailing along on the sight, sound, and feel of the music and the band, there is nothing better.
After the show, the excitement level drops somewhat, but I still feel invigorated. I don’t want it to end. Maybe we’ll meet the band. Maybe we’ll just spend the evening reliving the show, comparing notes over drinks or a late night snack. But I never want to just go home after a show. I still want to rock. So we stand by the backstage door, waiting for the band. I’m always afraid to speak, awed by the talent of these alchemists who add so much to my life. Or maybe we’ll go to the hotel bar, watching the door to see if anyone interesting comes through. Or maybe it’s just walking around among the crowd, hanging with other fans that are too high, literally or figuratively, to go home. Even though I might make jokes with girlfriends about the physical attributes of some of my favorite musicians, it’s not really about sex. Let’s face it — I’m neither young, tall or blonde nor young, petite and exotic, so my chances of bagging a rock star are slim to none, unless the venue is a retirement home. But that’s not the fun part, anyway. That’s not the mystery. It’s the music that’s important, not the composition of the messenger. When a band is good, I want to know why – how do they do it? Where do those sounds come from? How did you capture them – take them from the ether and put them in your mind, hands, and feet? I want them to tell me all about it, why they give up their families, their friends, and what others consider a conventional lifestyle to follow the music, to live on the road, traveling thousands of miles just to play for two hours each night. Why do some do it for twenty or thirty years or more?
But why do I rock? If I had unlimited discretionary income, I would go to at least three rock concerts a week. If my favorite bands were on tour, I would follow them from town to town, like I used to go to Dead shows back in the day. Rock music makes me happy; it makes my life worth living. The right sound must stimulate a pleasure point in our brains, like a drug or a touch from our one true love. I can’t imagine a world without live music. I wouldn’t want to exist without feeling the omnipresent rumble of a bass, the aural assault of a lead guitar, or the primal pounding of a drum. Others may live for classical or rap or country, but for me, only rock will do. It is essential as the air that I breathe, the water that I drink or the blood that courses through my veins with the rhythm of my heartbeat.
Of course, this doesn’t answer the question. There is no answer, I guess. It is what it is. In the words of the late, great, Ronnie James Dio – “We rock!”