By Cathy Green (With contributions from guest blogger and concert attendee, Ginny Callaway)
Here’s the scene:
Two couples. All four of us in our 60’s. Feeling good. Going to a Three Dog Night concert under the stars at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC. Reserved seats, only 6 rows from the stage.
Here’s what we expected:
We’ll have dinner at a nearby restaurant at 5:30pm, park close to the concert venue, get a glass of wine and find our great up-front and personal seats.
The concert will start at 8:00pm sharp. We’ll hear our favorite TDN songs from the 70’s … Celebrate, Joy to the World, Easy to be Hard and many, many more. We’ll feel like young 20-something’s again. We’ll stand up, we’ll clap and, with other members of our peace, love and rock and roll generation, cheer until we bring the guys back for an encore. We’ll have smiles on our faces as we exit the concert, we’ll catch the bus to the parking lot talking about the great music we just heard, and we’ll all be home no later than 11:00pm. A perfect night!
Here’s what really happened:
Dinner was great, but we made the mistake of telling our young waitress that we were on our way to a Three Dog Night concert. “Oh, I’ve never heard of them” she said sweetly. Our first feeling old moment.
Although we were “sure” that we had timed our entrance to the concert perfectly, we were directed to the furthest lot where we parked and got on a bus to take us to the stage area. During the 20 minute ride, we began to discuss skipping the encore so that we could get out of there more quickly. Our second feeling old moment.
Walking to the concert from the bus, we all had to go to the bathroom even though we had recently used the facilities at the restaurant. Of course, the restrooms were about a mile away in the opposite direction from our seats. Nothing closer, we asked? Our third feeling old moment.
The weather forecast called for a chilly night. Although the temperature never dropped below 75, we were prepared with long pants, jackets, scarves and gloves packed in shoulder bags. All around us, younger women wore cute sleeveless tops and long flowing skirts and young guys wore shorts. Our fourth feeling old moment.
Although there were many people in long lines buying drinks, we had had our drink at the restaurant so it was bottled water for us. Yes, bottled water at a rock concert. Our fifth feeling old moment.
And… then it happened. There was an opening act, a southern rock and roll band. They began playing. Actually, they began screaming. In the sixth row, the sound was overpowering. Three of us quickly stuffed plugs in our ears (Ray refused to look quite that old). The music was still loud, and now totally distorted.
We lasted in our seats about 30 minutes and then walked to the back of the venue, behind all of the reserved seats, to stand with people who had paid less than half what we paid for our tickets and who seemed to be there primarily to drink beer and talk.
We knew only one of the songs these opening act guys sang … but they sang for a full hour and a half. We impatiently waited for them to stop (three encores) and when they did the roadies began a 30 minute stage re-set. We realized that the earliest that Three Dog Night would begin to play was 10:45. We quickly calculated that we wouldn’t be home until well after midnight. And, we all had to go to the bathroom again.
That’s when we looked at each other and had our final, ultimate feeling old moment. Want to leave?
That’s right, we left BEFORE THREE DOG NIGHT PERFORMED!
We were the only ones on the bus riding back to the parking lot, which was a good thing since our ears were ringing. Once in the car, we found a fast route to the exit and were home by 10:45 … about the time Three Dog Night was beginning its set.
We learned some lessons that night:
1.) Two rock bands means a very long concert night for older music fans.
2.) Sitting up front at a rock concert is for younger people.
3.) Mentioning a 70’s band to a young waitress is not something you should do if you want to feel good about yourself.
4.) Getting a good night’s sleep is at least some consolation for missing a concert.