Concert reveals youth’s end

Somewhere along life’s path my music changed from Rock ‘n’ Roll to Classic Rock.

Most of it is dubiously preserved on vinyl but there are a select few bands still out there bringing it live and I got the chance to see two of my favorites last weekend in Lubbock.

That “Little Ol’ Band from Texas” ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd came to town on the same bill and at a great price. I couldn’t resist and apparently neither could close to 10,000 other old fogies.

ZZ Top, a three-piece outfit from Texas came up with their own brand of Texas blues rock that never faded, it just welcomed in new generations. Lynyrd Skynyrd became synonymous with what became known as Southern Rock and the name lives on despite a plane crash that took out a big chunk of the band the year I graduated high school.

I was a fan of ZZ Top long before the trademark beards sprouted from the faces of frontmen Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill and most of my Lynyrd Skynyrd collection dates before the crash so this concert promised to be a bit of a time capsule for me, despite the beards.

Instead, when I got there it quickly reminded me of an old farts’ convention.

Handicapped parking was at a premium for some reason. We tried to smuggle a beverage inside but they stopped us and confiscated the bottled water we would need to take a pill later. It’s not like it was the whiskey we had no problem sneaking into a concert years ago.

Waiting in line to replace the water we brought with a $5 bottle from the concession, the guy in front of me remarked that it looked like a great place for an AARP booth. We both agreed that while the crowd might be a little worried about its golden years neither of the two bands would likely have to retire on Social Security.

As we got to the arena concourse to go in my wife, a rock concert novice, got a little concerned. Is it hazy or do my contacts need cleaning? I assured her everything was fine it was just the fog machine. In my day that fog might have been something all together different with a distinct smell.

As soon as the concert started I noticed a few other things that had changed in 40 years. Instead of Bic lighters held in the air, crowds these days hold up their glowing cell phones or digital cameras.

The first thing security did was walk a guy out who lit up a cigarette. Soon they were hauling drunks up the steps who didn’t look that bad off. Way back when, they didn’t bother someone unless they were throwing up on others or their friends couldn’t wake them. All that’s probably not a bad thing.

At one time rock n’ roll was never loud enough for me but I questioned if they really needed to try and make our ears bleed at this concert. But then most of the fans probably just took their hearing aids out for the evening and felt young again.

I knew my glory years had passed when my wife leaned over and yelled into my ear; “Which one’s Lynyrd Skynyrd?

I yelled back that none of them was Lynyrd Skynyrd. Mr. Skinner was one of their high school teachers. She just looked at me with a puzzled face and asked me to pass the bottled water.