It has been a Classic Rock week. I saw Rocketman a few days ago and tended bar at a Bad Company concert last night. As I was serving up the whiskey sours and sloe gin fizzes (no, not that), all I could do was smile and embrace the patrons as my people.
I’m quite a relic compared to other bartenders, but that’s OK. I can’t see as well, I can’t hear as well, and I forget shit … but that’s OK — I’m classic.
I’m not one to say music sucks nowadays or argue that Guns N’ Roses killed rock. It’s just different. When I hear Elton’s “Funeral for a Friend,” memories arise of my ’65 Mustang and its jury-rigged 8-track player. My mind sees my Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 8-track — worn and yellowed, wedged in with a matchbook case to get that sound just right. What a fucking album. Jesus.
When I hear Rush’s 2112: Overture, I can clearly picture my upstairs bedroom. I feel the song drag me back from the peak of depression about teenage acne, love confusion, and the typical introvert struggles of an unpopular, confused kid. As the riffs echo through my room, I see my mother’s reddish hair rise as she ascends the stairs, turns, and gives me the universal sign for “Turn it the fuck down.”
I didn’t get to hear much of the Bad Company concert last night. Shame. I lived vicariously through my patrons, as they beamed with pleasure when I asked how it was, and if they’d like a double “vodker and tonic.” (Yes, I know that’s Elton. Ole Reggie was still stuck in my head.) It’s likely I got a few more customers than others because my silver was a sign I could relate to their love of “those days.”
One of the things I found noteworthy of Rocketman was that the man-on-man make-out scenes were classy and somehow seemed non-noteworthy. I mean, imagine a scene like that 20 or 30 years ago. The audience would be shocked, regardless if homophobic. Well, I say, “It’s about fucking time. Let’s never go back. Love is love. If it makes you cringe, you’re the problem. Deal with it.”
I’m expecting more memories to come flowing back as we have Foreigner and Styx coming up. My people will amass. I will bask in their glow. We’re more wrinkled, gray, and can’t smoke as much today, but we’ll throw up the horns, sing along, and die another day.