Man, 2016 is shaping up to be a bitch of a year, death-wise. We're still grieving Lemmy's death and not a month into this new stretch of open road, but we're already off in the weeds, hubcaps a-flying.
Losing Bowie was BIG.
He was the John Lennon for the adult me who never got to see or hear Lennon grow old. My own personal opinion is that Lennon's and McCartney's love/hate relationship would have played out in full view of the world and we would all have been the greater for it. With the internet and all, imagine the tweets and vines we're missing.
While Bowie came along later and, for that, gets points deducted by some, as if his era is somehow inferior to the first wave: Beatles, Stones, Who and Kinks. Truth be told, he's every bit as important and continued to break new artistic ground up to and including his dying day.
In addition to those who shared their memories of seeing Bowie in-concert, there was a wave of regret washing over social media from those who simply never got around to seeing Bowie perform.
Our heroes are not immortal. Well, except for Keith Richards.
Now, more than ever, make an effort to get out there and see as many shows as you can. So what if you've got a job, are in a band, and have a family: go see as many fucking shows as you can. Bring the kids with and they'll grow up to be the cool adults on social media bragging about their cool parents who took them to see all these now-legendary artists as a child.
My own parents didn't have a lot of money and, thus, I didn't get dragged to many shows. The only person I did get to see worth mentioning was Loretta Lynn, who blew my young doors off back then and continues to do so. She's playing SXSW this year (details are yet to be confirmed) as well as a Chicago-area show in Shipshewana, IN on April 16 so make your pilgrimage while that opportunity is still there.
Don't just go see the legacy acts, though, keep your ears open to new sounds and check out shows where you stand a good chance of being the oldest person there. I am not yet in my fifties, but I have experienced this and it is...amazing! I've dragged myself to shows when I could have just as easily fallen into a dead nap and came home exhilarated from the experience and unable to sleep, even though I was twice as exhausted.
See, music performances were meant to be seen and heard only once - as it was being performed - and that memory was supposed to be the one thing we carried with us that was ours and ours alone. Imagine those who got to say they saw Waylon or Glen in their respective heydays. By getting off your duff, you can say the same of seeing Jason Isbell or Leon Bridges.
It's that personal relationship that exists between great performers and their audience. It is that rare, inexplicable connection that can elevate the whole room and, afterwards, that energy is taken out into the world by every person who was there.
Instead of envying those who were there, BE THERE. You'll thank yourself.