I love live music. There’s something special about people communally listening to and participating in a concert. The mass of individuals unitedly cheering, singing, dancing, and clapping adds another layer of kinship and humanity to the performance, drawing people with similar interests closer together. I’ve had the privilege of going to many concerts in my 24 years, and every one of them exhibited those same qualities of shared respect for the artists and the music, regardless of who is enjoying it.
That commonality can be broken down, however. Ironically, it’s usually broken by the same people who built it in the first place.
Even though the 60′s are long gone, the age of the “activist artist” is far from over. In just my own concert-going experience, I’ve been sternly talked to or outright mocked by Neil Young, Bono (twice), Bruce Dickinson (Not of cowbell fame), Elvis Costello, and one other who I’ll get to in a bit. Concerts, generally, are not a cheap form of entertainment. So when the guys whose private jets and trendy sunglasses you pay for stop with the music-making and start monologuing about the plight of the endangered mountain snipe, irritation understandably follows. This twaddle is something I’ve railed about for years after being bored to tears by these puffed-up celebrities who babble about things they have only facile knowledge about. It’s also ridiculous to think that anyone in the audience, most of whom paid top dollar for the opportunity to hear their favorite artists PLAY MUSIC, would even remotely care about an artist’s cause du jour.
That leads me to what predicated this article.
Tomorrow night I’ll be going to see Dave Mason (of Traffic fame, also the writer of Feelin’ Alright) perform at a small local venue. This will be my second time seeing him live, and I’m quite excited for it. However, I’m excited not just because he’s a talented musician whose work I enjoy, but also because I agree with his politics. You see, when I got to see Mason for the first time last year, I was floored to discover that as he transitioned between songs, he took the time to talk about politics. And not just politics, CONSERVATIVE politics! He talked about the pitfalls of socialized healthcare, how awful Obamacare will be, how and why he moved from his native England to escape draconian taxes (telling an interesting story about Hydra, an island in Greece of all places, in the process) and how big government nanny-statism is a killer. He also talked about how great our military is, and how he helps with a particular charity, Work Vessels For Veterans, that works to find employment or create employment for veterans.
Quite a far cry from mountain snipe, right?
Sigh, one of these days I’m going to have a successful roll on a bias check, it’s going to happen.
In the meantime, because I want Dave Mason to continue doing what he does, I am going to apologize to certain people for being a hypocrite, and maybe try to be a bit less vocal in my derision of foofy rock stars…
Screw it, being a hypocrite ain’t that bad.
[EDIT] A previous version of this article had the island listed as Cyprus instead of Hydra. I apologize for the mix up, but to be fair, they’re all Greek to me.