Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Turn Back the Clock" Day

It's 1979. I'm in high school. I spend all my spare money on albums. Vinyl. LPs. Some of you youngsters can ask your grandparents about this ancient technology. (I still listen to and buy vinyl, by the way). I was a couple years away from starting to waste my money on intoxicants, and like many teenage boys, I was addicted to music.

By 1979, I'd graduated from Kiss, but I preferred heavy metal. Yeah, I listened to Steve Miller and Styx and Kansas and some other popular stuff from those days (Meat Loaf, anyone?). But, Zeppelin was near the top of my list. Aerosmith too. Black Sabbath. And, I was starting to discover other metal bands.

In 1979, AC/DC released an album called "Highway to Hell". I forget how I heard about it, but I bought it. And listened. Again and again. Wow! I was hooked. I started buying older albums by AC/DC. Powerage. Let There Be Rock. High Voltage. I heard of an album called "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". It was an import and available as a special order for about $15. That was a fortune to me, but I ordered it as well. I wonder if it's worth anything today.

Then, early in 1980, "tragedy" struck. AC/DC's lead singer, Bon Scott, became another rock and roll statistic - dead from alcohol-related asphyxiation. Oh well, I had the older albums and I was about to discover Judas Priest and the Scorpions. But, AC/DC didn't actually disappear. They added a new lead singer, Brian Johnson, and before 1980 had ended, they'd released Back in Black. Yeah, Johnson wasn't Scott, but the new album rocked. It became the best selling album in the band's history.

Then, I headed off to college and I discovered "New Wave" and "alternative" music. The heavy metal drifted to the back of the stack.

Sometime in the 90s, when I'd finally been forced to convert to CDs, I bought Highway to Hell and Back in Black on CD. I'd listen to them on occasion. The great albums never go out of style.

In the past few years, my son (age 16) has really gotten into music. He went through all of my discs and listened. He found his favorites. He likes a lot of stuff, but he really loves metal. Iron Maiden. AC/DC. Aerosmith. Black Sabbath. He loves '90s grunge - Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains (I'm not quite sure where to categorize these guys - grunge, metal, something else?), etc.

For Christmas last year, he asked for AC/DC's new release, "Black Ice". I was surprised that they were still putting out new music. I'd heard some of their singles since Back in Black - Thunderstruck, Who Made Who, For Those About to Rock, etc., but they'd ceased to exist as a current band for me.

I will admit that Black Ice doesn't do a lot for me. But, the release did get AC/DC back onto the road. Expensive tickets. A long indoor tour last winter. My son wanted to see them, but the ticket prices were absurd.

Then, they announced a very short outdoor US tour - 9 dates, 4 of them in California. The first show is in Foxboro, where the Patriots play. Tickets were ridiculously expensive. I told my son that I just couldn't justify the cost. But, a funny thing happened. I don't know if the band is just too far past their prime, or if it's the economy, or if they were never really as popular as they were in my mind, but tickets didn't sell. Eventually, they had to drop the ticket prices.

Last Wednesday, I got an e-mail from one of those big ticket companies. I'm on all of their mailing lists. Apparently, good tickets still existed and the prices were lower. They were offering deals on cheap seats and good seats. I wondered how good the good seats were. Fifteenth row? Wow! I checked with my wife and my son. My son offered to buy his own ticket. My wife had zero interest, but said we should go.

So, I'm working half a day today and then driving to Foxboro. Almost 30 years ago, this would have been my dream concert (well, an AC/DC and Zeppelin twin bill would have been my true dream show). Tonight, I'm looking forward to some old time heavy metal, and I'm hoping they mostly play the old stuff. And, I'm hoping they can still PLAY the stuff.

The earplugs are packed.

I'm guessing this will be a much different crowd than we saw at the Green Day show.

Next week, we are seeing Social Distortion in a club. I'm guessing that audience will be a lot different than tonight's crowd.

Now, where's my black T-shirt?


David Ray said...

Cool. Fifteenth row is awesome. One of my fave shows back in the day was getting to see the Ramones, Van Halen, and Black Sabbath one night. That was 1980 or so, whenever Van Halen's first album came out.

gene said...

sounds like a blast! where in VT? I, too, am in health care and in VT.....WRJ...

Damon said...

I live in Randolph and work for a company based out of the college of medicine at UVM (www.vermedx.com)

gene said...

small world! i grew up in Randolph/Bethel. some really good places to run in those parts. enjoy!