Concerts… or “I Better Go See These Guys Before They Are Too Old”

I have never gotten too excited about concerts. I’ve always preferred the intimacy of listening to an album on my own or with a few friends rather than the loud, churning masses at a concert. Perhaps I was scarred by my earliest concert going experiences of seeing Debbie Gibson, or Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet tour, but who wasn’t traumatized by the 80s?

I have had a few great experiences that stand out though. Staking out a spot at the blues stage at Bumbershoot every year with myDad stands foremost among my best experiences. Also a wild ride from Idaho to Portland in a Geo Metro to see Tool was an experience I will never forget, at least the parts I remember. But there are chances that passed me by.

Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd have long stood as my favorite two bands. I never did see Page & Plant as they toured together in 1994-1995 for the Unledded Tour. At 15 years old I just didn’t know what I was missing. And Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and David Gilmour have often toured (though never together to my knowledge), often performing full Pink Floyd albums along with their own material. In 2007, Roger Waters toured performing Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have the chance to see Jimmy Page and Robert Plant perform together. I hope I do, and my dad will be dragged along for that one for he was the one who bestowed upon me my impeccable musical taste (he might disagree with Pink Floyd as good taste though). As for Pink Floyd, I doubt if Roger Waters and David Gilmour will ever reconcile and tour together again, but Roger Waters is doing a full production of The Wall live this year, and it is rumored to be his final tour. I have to get out and see what I can before all of the greats quit touring.

I plan on seeing The Wall this year. Here are some others I’d like to see, so if anyone hears of upcoming shows or wants to go along for the ride, let me know…

  • Jimmy Page (rumored to have new material for a 2010 tour)
  • Tool (touring this summer? I had tickets for a show in Missoula in 2007, but they canceled)
  • Mike Patton (new album, maybe a new tour? Always a surprise from this man)
  • David Gilmour (one mystery show in England last year, no news for 2010)
  • Paul McCartney (according to my Dad, the best concert he has ever seen, and this from a man who spent a lot of time at the Fillmore in the 60s)
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First Class Anyone?

Sure it is snooty, snobby, pretentious, and whatever other superlative you feel like throwing at it, but at least once, I would like to fly in first class on an international flight. As an airline employee, I can standby for flights for free or for a drastically reduced rate, but with a one-year-old in tow, our family is relegated to coach on international flights.

Even in the beginning of air travel, luxury was key.  The influence of Pullman-style train travel could be seen in the parlor-like outfitting of early passenger aircraft cabins, and style and comfort were touted even as technology lagged behind and passengers were subject to slow, cold, and noisy flights.  Even as the industry grew in the second half of the twentieth century, and speed started to become emphasized over comfort, flying remained out of reach of the masses, and the service and surely the cost reflected it.

A co-worker of mine described his early days in the airline industry as “before damned de-regulation ruined everything. You wore a suit and tie, not just because you were an employee, but everybody dressed up. And if someone was in first class, it was because they were somebody. Now everyone with a frequent flier card gets a free upgrade.” Though it would have been nice to get on any flight you wanted (full flights were almost unheard of in 1978), and to always get first class, it was still before the days of personal mini-suites with lie-flat seats. And it was before meals were planned by world-renowned gourmet chefs and prepared with magical machinery. Nearly every person I know that has flown in first has sworn the food was better than any they had ever had, and these weren’t strangers to fine dining. How does the highest caliber of gourmet food come from the sterile and unimaginative galleys of aircraft?

Forgetting the food, the supposed prestige, the entertainment choices, the free booze, and the doting attention of the flight attendants, I really just want to be able to sleep. 6’2” in coach? Twenty years of yoga and a course in contortionism wouldn’t help me sleep in an airplane seat. But a lie flat seat? Heaven.