Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to be the cool old guy at the concert.

Not me!
"Are we going to still be going to concerts for the newest bands when we are 50?" I brazenly asked my buddy as we waited in line outside the club last night.

"I hope so!" was his reply, an unexpected response that made me contemplate our self-perceived level of hipness.  I immediately pictured myself screaming at my wife through a cell phone to bring me my blood pressure meds and a new Depends diaper as the audience chanted for an encore.

Our ages are 34 and 35, and we were in line for a band known as The Temper Trap: an Australian group that has recently become slightly popular due to fact that during the last 6 months,  their single, "Sweet Disposition" has been featured in just about every chick flick, car commercial and episode of Chuck known to man.  I know this because I have seemingly watched every  chick flick, car commercial and episode of Chuck known to man.

As we entered the club, it became apparent that we were some of the elderest-est members of the audience. I had been relieved to hear it would be an "over 21 and only" show, but we still out-aged the mean age of the audience by a good 10 years.  I briefly considered calculating the median or mode to make myself feel better, but I realized that besides the blond girl that sat in front of me, I have no memories of my time in 7th grade math.

Alas, I was not unprepared to be an older member of the audience.  Quite the contrary: I came over-prepared, for I had attended such events before and I knew of the social awkwardness that can accompany being an old man in a young man's world.  I have developed my own set of ways - methods really - to be 34-years-old man and swank at a concert.

Now, before I fully divulge my many secrets, I need to un-muddy the waters a bit of what kind of concert I am actually referring to.  Of course, just about anyone can be cool at a Paul Simon or Paul McCartney concert.  Simply show up in a Hawaiian or pastel button-down and you're in.  If you go to a Neil Diamond concert, just being under the age of 50 qualifies you for the hippest person at the party.  Those folks lucky enough to attend a Clay Aiken will be considered chic by simply wearing a pink polo shirt.  A David Lee Roth fan simply needs to show up shirtless. (True for both men and women.)

Clearly, there are different rules for different venues and performers, but what I am trying to tackle is how to be the OLD GUY at a concert full of YOUNG PEOPLE. 

Rule 1: Don't dress like a moron.  I'm sure you've all seen that guy: late 30's, "Great White" tee shirt, screaming, "ROCK AND ROLL!" while standing on top of a garbage can.  Sir, please keep the Jakal tee shirts from your glory years locked in the top shelf of your trailer and join us in 2010.

Rule 2: Grow some facial scruff. This will give you a bit of an edge. About three days growth gives me a dark, sardonic look and makes me look wise.  When the young folk see you with your older, wiser look, they will immediately respect you.  They'll think, "There goes a guy that has seen a thing or two in the music industry!"

And what I want to tell them is: Yes, darn straight I have seen a thing or two.  In '94 I was severely bruised while attempting to crowd surf at a Soundgarden show.  In '93, I was witness to Axl Rose standing on the end of a stage and calling every person in attendance a word so vile that it doesn't even exist anymore.

I want to tell them that at a '97 Stone Temple Pilots show, I felt someone grab my butt, only to turn around to see a 300 pound woman with a smile on her face winking at me. I want to tell them about every bit of nastiness my eyes witnessed at a 2002 Snoop Dogg show.

I want to tell them these things, but I have a feeling they already know - for they can see the hair on my chin and it is a true witness to them that I am the older, wiser music veteran.  Someday, if they are lucky, they too will have metaphorical musical hair on their chins - even some of the women, although it won't be metaphorical hair.

Rule 3: Get there late. Once you have reached the ripe old age of 30, the opening band is meaningless.  Get there too early and the kids will start asking you if YOU want to see THEIR IDs.

Rule 4: Work the back and sides of the venue and stay away from the front.  It is important for we more mature music lovers to look the part.  An old guy that is front row, center-stage looks like a moron.   Stick to the fringe, where you are out of sight of the young, mocking eyes.

Rule 5: Keep and maintain a low profile through the entire set.  Exuberant dancing is fine when you are 21.  Bouncing up and down is allowed until 27.  But for those of us over 30, proper and correct concert movement is a standard head-bob to the beat.  "Keep it simple, keep it low key", that's what pops always said. 

Remember, these young people see you as an old and wise (due to the facial hair) music vet. No need to give them a false impression by doing a sudden and uncalled for robot or running man.

During the Temper Trap concert, there was an older man standing in front of me (on the fringe, of course).  He made it through the entire show without nothing more than the head bob. During the last song, he freaked out and started shaking uncontrollably.  He was trembling his arms and slamming his head.  He looked like a 40 year old epileptic wearing a Cinderella tee shirt.

Entertaining? Sure, but I felt bad for the dude as 90 minutes of keeping-it-together went down the drain in 90 seconds... the last 90 seconds.  I'm sure the sound of the girls giggling behind us is still singeing his very lame soul.

Appreciative of the advice?  Well,  you're welcome. -

Now, for those (3?, maybe 5?) that are interested, here is The Temper Trap performing their smash hit "Sweet Disposition".  However, given that 90% of my readers are women that have probably seen the gosh-awful movie, 500 Days of Summer, I doubt that it will be new to most of you. Why do chick flicks have to ruin everything good in life?!

***UPDATE: I just saw a commercial for Julia Robert's movie Eat, Pray, Love and this song was on that commercial too.  Oh brother!

68 comments:

Melissa@Suger Coat It said...

Hahaha. Love it. Not a big musio, concert goer myself but need these tips in case I ever venture out... Might, possibly, skip the beard though.

Mamma has spoken said...

If you taught 4th grade you would remember how to do medium, mode AND range ;o)
There is an exception to rule #1. Once I went to a concert where the Cincinnati Pops were playing many of the songs from all the Star War movies. There were many who showed up dressed like their favorite Star War character. I thought it was pretty cheesy until all these people started asking them for their autograph on their program!

baygirl32 said...

I love going to concerts (and have been to quite a few) I'm usually the 30 something chick up front dancing around and singing at the top of my lungs (yep I'm that cool)

Thanks for the tips!

Mighty M said...

I'd be one of the eldest-est too! I have seen that movie and many commercials, yet for some reason I do not really know this song.

But I'm sure it rocks. In a head bob only kind of way. :)

Kristina P. said...

I used to be an avid concert goer. And then I turned into my parents and realized that I am old and they are too loud.

The last concert I went to was Britney Spears. I am so ashamed.

MiMi said...

I love going to concerts. I'm sure you read my concert chronicles from a couple months ago.
I was one of the old folks. Well, sorta.

mice_aliling said...

If I don't have that scruffy look, how do I achieve wisdom-of the-old look? :P

mintifresh said...

Oh how I miss the concert goings of my youth! I had my stylish Hawaiian shirt already for Sir McCartney until I found out the cheapest tickets were going for $60.

I, for one, loved that movie, thank you very much.

I didn't learn mean, mode and range till mt last semester I just did in college. Maybe I was absent that day in 7th grade, which is entirely possible.

And, yes you were right, this was funny! ;)

Blogdor the Fiercesome said...

I told Erin about the super sonic turbo charged clapping older dude. You're so right - he totally blew his cover! It was as if all the pent up "keep it cool" suddenly exploded in a fit of high elbowed hand claps.

If I close my eyes I still see his super huge cheesy grin and the ferocious 90 seconds of clapping.

Hey you didn't mention the dancer dude with the beard, long hair, white chuck taylors and red silk hanky in his back pocket!

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

This music is pretty darn good. I did listen, 'cuz I don't do the chick flick thing. I saw some folks swaying back and forth to the music. That must've been you and the 30+ crowd.
Cheers,
xoRobyn

Tammy said...

Sorry Abe but I am not a fan of your song. His voice is a bit whiny. But your post came at the perfect time because Mike is going to the Primus concert so I can pass along the "rules".

tammy said...

Funny, these are Luvpilot's rules just in every day life.

Cherie said...

I am going to have to skip the scruffy face - although maybe I could forgo waxing my eyebrows and my girly mustache hairs - ya know let 'em grow to get that mature and totally SICK look!
Otherwise I think these rules will be super handy!
I went to Bon Jovi concert in L.A. this past February and am happy to report I was the least drunk person there and I was not the oldest!!!!!

PS I thought 500 days of Summer was totally worthless thank goodness it had the song!

Kelly said...

I don't go to too many concerts but thanks to this post I know just how to act my age.

We recently went to Keane and it was a blast! I felt a bit sorry for him when we showed up early for the concert and no one was there yet. All the youngsters were partying in the parking lot still.

M-Cat said...

And yet more reasons for me NOT to attend concerts.
I am too old and there are too many rules!

BTW - hate chick flicks. All that schmuzy, cheesy, butterfly kisses- and unicorns pooping rainbows is just plain DUMB

jennifer said...

You might enjoy this post written by my blogbud from across the big water...

http://kelloggsville.blogspot.com/2010/08/metal-widow.html

It's the "she said" answer to your post :)

BTW... I LOVE my husband's goatee. He is totally gray and the goat is fabulous.

The Church Lady said...

I was a huge concert goer when I was in my 20's. Too many to count on one hand. Now that I'm only 40 couple, I still LOVE seeing live bands, but golly day, the price of a rock concert these days is outragious and the responsibility of having and running a family leaves no time for them.

But, if Jackyl were in town, you bet I'd get a ticket and a t-shirt too! lol

Connie said...

Oh yeah, concerts! I went to Jefferson Airplane and Bread before I had to worry about being the older one at the concert! Last year I went to "The Association" and fell asleep! I didn't see you mention that in your post, so I'm assuming it's OK to do.

W.C.Camp said...

I'm so uncool, I have never been to a concert but I always wanted to crowd surf. My attorney advised me that crushing people is bad for my financial health so only if supervised can I even attend the theater. My daughter sells roses to drunk people at these things though, so she literally goes to EVERY concert so in the scheme of things, it all evens out! W.C.C.

Garden of Egan said...

Hmmm, I am really glad you were able to make it through the concert NOT looking like a total dork. I'm sure the scruffy look was exactly the ticket.

BUT...
I'm so old I don't even have a clue who you were talking about. That's how unhip I am.

Now, 'xcuse me while I go take some Centrum Silver.

Mo Diva said...

LOL! how depressing...im going to be 27 in a few motnhs. i better get all my dancing done before then lol

Jenn said...

Great advice, thanks so much! I usually stick to the more "old" peoples concerts...like Rick Springfield, the Rolling Stones, and Asia :)

T said...

I knew I'd been doing something wrong... I need some facial scruff!

we once sat behind a not so young and tight anymore lady who did a severe booty shake throughout the entire concert - we had to stand up in self defense.

I realized the second time we saw Toad the Wet Sprocket (10 years after our first date at their concert) that we'd ALL gotten older... and now nearly 10 more years have passed and I don't think I can tolerate that much noise anymore.

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy said...

I have hair on my chin. Metaphorical of course. ;) I got busted in the head by a mad mosher at a Marilyn Manson concert and didn't even notice I was bleeding all over the place until people starting looking at me all crazy. And in 2004, I was backstage at a Snoop Dogg concert. He checked out my ass. It's my only claim to fame to date. :)

-stephanie- said...

Excuse me?! I had to stop reading when I hit the part about being 50, going to concerts, and wearing Depends and taking blood pressure meds.
Since I am approaching 50 I will tell you that not all of us are in Depends and on blood pressure meds.
I'll forgive you. I was 34-35 once and I too thought that 50 was old. Now that I am there, it's not old.
OK, I now have to go read the rest of your post. I may be back with a real comment.

Corrina Terry said...

Thanks for the info. I mostly attend country music concerts now (ah, how I miss the great concerts of the 80's) and am still considered fairly "young" there @ 40. Scary huh??? ;o)

-stephanie- said...

Not bad. But I'll stay home...pass the Depends.

su-tang 3000 said...

I WAS that old guy playing the wall. Thanks for pointing it out to all of your minion followers. Jerk.

Dolly said...

Good video man...thanks for sharing & also for dropping by my blog. I'm so amazed that you take the time.

Marnie said...

"...as 90 minutes of keeping-it-together went down the drain in 90 seconds... the last 90 seconds..."

Oh!!!!!!!! I really, I mean really would've loved to have seen this guy enjoy the moment.

Kelloggsville said...

My husband (an old! Avid gig goer) doesn't follow any of your rules. He just goes and has a ball. He is so not hip it's sort of cool (only sort of!!!!!).
Cool post .

ScoMan said...

I was interested in the video given that I am Australian and had never heard of the Temper Trap. That was their name right?

I haven't seen any chick flicks or episodes of Chuck recently, and plus I (like most Australians.. except Teenyboppers) tend to ignore Australian bands.

I'm realistic, I know we mostly produce rubbish in this country.

Powdered Toast Man said...

What are the rules when I attend a Britney Spears concert?

Hart Johnson said...

I love it! I am ten years your senior and was coerced into taking my daughter and some friends to a series of... I'd call them boy bands except they had talent... but all 5 bands were boys under 25, and I could have used this... Especially the facial hair *shifty*

I have passed and award for you today to celebrate you STRANGENESS!

Shrinky said...

I don't get to too many concerts now, though I did see Pink Floyd a couple of years back when they came to the isle. I had no problem fitting in, I was the only pregnant lady with a bunch of bikers (I wasn't really pregnant, no one searches what appears to be a nine month gone lady - I was actually carrying the box of wine and six-packs for everyone.

When I lived in London, oh, those were the glory days, I saw all the greats and not so greats (sigh).

I'm 50 now. My kids have banned me from going to concerts.

Pearl said...

OH, man I hear ya and have learned these rules at great personal cost.

Cool things I never get to say re: concerts:
1. I bought Lemy Kilmeister a beer.
2. I was instrumental in a main floor explosion of dancing at a Jane's Addiction concert (First Avenue, 1988, I think...)
3. I had to be rescued from the mosh pit at a Ministry show (1992).
4. I got backstage passes for both Aerosmith (1981) and Deep Purple (1982).
5. I stood next to Prince once and he is both shorter and lighter than I am... (1996)

Pearl

Teachinfourth said...

Thanks for the good laugh, Abe. Once-again, you never fail to deliver.

And just for the record, this is the first time I've ever heard of this band, or song. Guess I'm just about of the loop.

TJ said...

I have yet to see 500 Days of Summer, and it's not high on the list of things to add.

Thanks for the tips, I didn't realize being over 30 meant I had a new set of rules to follow. This will be key when I take my daughter to her first concert. It's not planned yet (Taylor Swift canceled last year) but it's only a matter of time.

PS I love the name you came up with for our kitty! Too bad we already named him Nemesis.

Marlene said...

50 is not old. 50 is not old. 50 is not old. (Chanting to myself)

Saimi said...

As long a my man Neil keeps playing, I'll keep going!

Joann Mannix said...

As a girl, yes girl, in my mid 40's, you've got nothing to worry about Baby. The 40's rock and there are no Depends anywhere in sight.

And even though I am an oldster, I have the musical tastes of an 18 year old. I turn my kids on to new music. I hope I never grow out of that and I hope there is never a day I think the music's too loud.

And here's one more piece of etiquette every concertgoer should abide by, especially the girls. No matter how much the music moves you, don't hand dance, with your hands all a waving above your head. Remember, someone is sitting behind you and they do not want a view of your hand dance. I'm just sayin'.

Rock n Roll Forever.

smArtee said...

Oh I do all the wrong things...and embarrass the heck out of my kids....so fun it is...thanks for the tips

Missy said...

You are too funny! Depends? That is a sad thought... Great tips!

00dozo said...

Funny post. Egad, I can't imagine going to a concert these days, unless it was the Stones or Zeppelin - those guys are older than I, so I doubt I would feel out of place. Sound advice for us older folk.
;-)

lindsey v said...

I don't think you've seen 500 Days of Summer because, it's a great movie and you would love it. Well, I loved it anyway and I'm not a typical chick-flick kind of girl.

Also, what does this tell you about who has the most time to research and find new bands? Young people who have no families and no responsibilities. (I just don't know how you have the time for all of that.)

And last, I have been to a few concerts while being in my 30s and being pregnant and that is a whole other category of feeling like you don't belong at a concert.

Lourie said...

Our city has its birthday celebration the weekend before the 4th of July with live music. I was dancing, mostly to mortify my daughter. Haha.

Writing Without Periods! said...

Ha! Love it. Can I skip the beard? I don't think my husband would like that.
Mary

Emmy said...

Thank you oh wise teacher. I am about to hit the 30 mark in a couple of months, so I needed this wise lesson.....but then again people say I still look 19, so never mind, I'm good.

RosieC said...

Apparently I live in a void, since I'm female and have never heard this song. Something must be wrong with me....

I'm going to have to share this with a friend of mine who's 35 and still thinks he can pick up the barely-legal drinkers at concerts. Needless to say, it hasn't been working so well.

See Mom Smile said...

Great tips. Since we only go to old people concerts, we usually fit in. Last year it was U2, Aerosmith, Bare Naked Ladies, REO Speedwagon, ZZ TOP, Air Supply and Barry Manilow. We did throw in The Killers and Black Eyed Peas to bring up our cool factor. Be jealous.

Nancy C said...

I could not believe all the old people at the U2 concert I went to in October. It was like a Paul McCartney show.

Except for me, of course.

Luckily, when I go to REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar in two weeks it will be full of hipsters like myself.

Shelly Belly's Boutique said...

Get wasted and
Get as close to the stage as possible, i did for depeche!

Oh, and no air guittar please..not cool

Pat said...

Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately, I only go to old people's concerts like James Taylor/Carole King. But, I'm confused. As a woman, do I TWEEZE the hair on my chin or let it grow?

Julie said...

COOL!!! A concert goes. I've never gone to one, wanted to but my better half isn't interested unless it would be Pat Benatar. Don't think that will be happening here in the sticks.
Love your blog, I'm your newest follower. Thanks for stopping by the other day. Love that you are an Eagle Scout and scoutmaster, so cool. I so love my scouts and being such a big part of them. We have and Eagle Court of Honor tomorrow for twins and then Paintballing on Sunday as friends for our scouts heading off to college.
Take care and God Bless!!!

Hutch said...

Yup, I LOVED 500 days of summer AND the soundtrack! Own both actually :)

I could see myself being 60 and still attending the country concerts, but even at 29 front row of any show doesn't work for me. It's too loud! Yup, I said it.

Copyboy said...

I hear you about your music tastes. I like CW show music. Just as bad. BTW...the PCU is the best....never wear the band's tshirt to their concert.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

yes, follow all of those! I have seen a few bad ones in my day. I even taped one...wait...that wasn't you, was it?!

loveable_homebody said...

Who knew just the right t-shirt could foster acceptance!

Holly said...

WHY do I have visions of my 50+ Brother In Law at concerts... OH!! Maybe because it must be HIM you're talking about!! Oh, except he's not only got the chin scruff, but has a stature of a full 5'5" (if that...) NOT knocking that, he's got me beat by several inches... Just trying to help the visual concept here!! LOL!!

I guess my concert going experiences I blend well... as the median crowd of the ones I attend are up at least a generation!! LOL!! ;D

Brandi, Dan, L and B said...

This was so funny! I am scared to tell my kids when they are older that I witnessed the SAME naughty snoop emenim and dre concert. I am slightly embarrassed to even admit it now.

Pat Tillett said...

I've been at concerts where I was the oldest persons there, and I've been at concerts where I was younger than all the band members (and I was 50)...
You are corrrect (and hilarious), there needs to be rules...

CynthiaK said...

I guess I'm failing to take the advice, or else different rules apply for "older" women at concerts? At a Gord Downie concert last weekend, a friend and I worked our way to the front and were able to score front row seats which we sat on the backs of once others were standing up in front of us. We were able to look very cool and subdued a solid head above those in front of us standing and flailing around. It was sweet.

BTW, that track is indeed a good one, chick flick damaged or not. :)

And I may pass along your advice to several men I know who desperately need to read it...

Baby Sister said...

I actually haven't seen 500 Days of Summer. Maybe one day...
Thanks for the advice, now I know how to act when I'm older at a concert...I'll have to work on the beard thing though.

Mary said...

Now I'm really bummed...I just recently passed 27 :o( so, I guess my crowd surfing, topless, bra-flinging days are all over. But, since I mainly go to country concerts, aren't there different rules?

(also, my hubby mentioned that Utah is the only state that teachers are allowed, and encouraged, to carry personal weapons to school. So, you packing heat to intimidate those 1st graders??}

imbeingheldhostage said...

Ahhh, the Temper Trap-- huge over here. I was impressed that you managed to get in to see them. Now I'm doubly impressed that you have the know on being an older concert-goer-- and you saw Stone Temple Pilots. Wow, you are my hero now.

Sandra said...

I'm with you with the "head bobbing" only rule after 30. However, you should know that you'll be ok for concert going well into your 70s, possibly even late 80s before your wife will have to bring the Depends :) Just thought this would be good news for all you devout concert goers!
Your post had me nodding my head the entire way through...what does this say about me? Perhaps I shouldn't be jumping around at the concerts?

Diane J. said...

Oh how I love this post. My husband was a big concert going guy. he still goes, but thankfully, he follows the rules. My teen is in full concert addiction mode. He loves to tell me about all the people, he too was hit on by a full grown (In more ways than one) woman.

Melinda said...

I've never been to a concert. I'll probably be 35 before I ever get to go, so your rules have saved me. Thank you.