Rock and roll stars were presumed to be immortal. They were not supposed to get gray-haired and paunchy. The Grateful Dead, the Eagles, and the Beach Boys have become the Grateful Deaf, the Bald Eagles, and the Beach Geezers. I believe they are still touring.
It isn’t just the singers who have changed; it is us, the fans. Let your cataract-clouded eyes sweep the crowd at the next Golden Oldies concert. We look like the audience at a seminar titled, “Planning Your Retirement Portfolio.” These days we would rather burn our 30-year mortgage certificates than our draft cards or our bras.
Some of the senior rock fans made a half-hearted effort to dance to the music. I would have tried but since my knee replacement, I can’t get good enough lateral movement to do The Twist.
The differences extend way beyond appearances. Instead of VW minibusses, we arrive in sensible sedans. The bumper stickers on the back don’t say, “Hell, no, we won’t go,” but “Proud grandparent of a Summerside Middle School honor student.”
Gone are the love beads and granny glasses, to be replaced by MedicAlert bracelets and bifocals. No one is interested in “free love” unless it includes a condom and a certificate of good health from your physician. The cigarette machines have been replaced by ATMs. Instead of swilling Boone’s Farm Apple Wine straight from the bottle, we are sipping diet cola from paper cups.
While I was at the concert, I was witness to a drug deal. Those are still happening. I saw a senior citizen trying to swap two Prozacs , a bottle of Tums, and a tube of Fixodent for two Viagras, a Celebrex, and a tube of Preparation X.
Just like at Woodstock, the life squad made several runs, but this time it was not for indecent exposure or intoxication. They were for a stroke, cardiac arrest, and a broken hip. The broken hip was the result of a feeble attempt at moshing and crowd surfing.
I was impressed by the performance of 1960’s singer Little Eva, who can still belt out her hits just like the old days. She tried to coax the crowd of lethargic senior fans to “Do the Locomotion With Me,” which was one of her biggest hits. The request was met with a few vaguely railroad-like gestures by those fans whose bursitis was not acting up.
On the bright side, I added a couple of items to my rock and roll memorabilia collection. I brought home a nifty souvenir program which featured a group photo of the Beatles’ grandchildren and a signed and numbered X-ray from Mick Jagger’s hip replacement surgery.