We went to a James Taylor concert the other night in Providence. Let me start by saying Taylor has not lost one bit of his voice or musical abilities despite reaching 74 years old. The fact that Taylor can still perform at this level is remarkable and encouraging, no matter how troubling it is that one of the most outstanding musical performers of my youth is now, well, old (even if the term is relative.)
This brings me to the point of this little piece. As we walked to our seats, I couldn’t help but notice that two-thirds of the crowd were on Social Security, and almost all the rest were closing in on that milestone.
Of those under fifty—the kids as we called them—I’m willing to bet they were there as drivers for those who now hate driving at night. Yet despite this aging crowd of fans—whose enthusiasm was no indication of their current level of longevity (although the standing ovations were perhaps shorter in duration and they sat down after the display of appreciation which was glorious)—Taylor sold the place out, as evidenced by the very few empty seats.
In the past, I might have attributed the empty seats to too much pre-concert partying—particularly with the now more rational public perspective of the use of marijuana—but it is just as likely they didn’t live long enough to make it to the show.
That’s the reality of my generation’s time.
While it is true we unquestionably had all the coolest bands and musicians in recorded history, the sad fact is these tours may be more closely related to finality than simply marketing old acts.
There is a correlating diminution for the prospect of future reunion tours. Perhaps they might be called the “Those Remaining” tours.
As Taylor so beautifully sings, the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. I just wish this passage would slow down a bit instead of zooming by at what seems like the speed of light.