I’ve found a new reason why it might rock to be older. Gig-goers, of course, already experience revered appreciation for their age when their concert-attending prowess is suddenly revealed. These revelatory moments of show-specific recognition by younger gig-lovers begin like this: you find yourself in a conversation about a band that no longer exists. Perhaps one with a sadly departed singer or an act that broke up after one album, but are cited by the world and her husband as an undeniable influence. You nod wistfully and say how much you enjoyed their show at the 100 Club back in the 80s. Awed silence descends upon the world around you. Followed by whistles of respect and envy from the youth in (what everyone now understands is) your terrifically cool presence.
You have proved your gig-going super power: willingness to consistently get yourself to gigs over many years, even when it’s raining and cold, even on a Wednesday night, even in winter (even in the Northern Hemisphere), even when you’re really tired and have an early start and the gig’s on the other side of town.
Now, there is a new prize for the middle-aged-and-upwards gig fan. The Covid vaccine is, we hope, a gateway to society opening up again – crucially, distribution will start at the top, with older citizens first, and work backwards (after vulnerable people and key workers have been jabbed, of course). Will this mean that the first shows of 2021 will be filled with more mature fans?
Indeed, could the artists appealing most to this demographic be first back on the road, with their newly vaccinated fan base let out into the wilds of gig-going before anyone else? Will late 2021 see the likes of Cliff Richard, Tom Jones and Fleetwood Mac whooping out of the side of their tour buses, as they whoosh past the teenage pop sensation stragglers who have been (temporarily) sidelined by their own youthfulness? Is this some brief universal balancing force at work, challenging modern society’s obsession with youth?
Who would be first on your list to see live from the touring over-65s? This might be The Year of the Live Legends and terribly civilised, seated concerts…
Photo: Stevie Nicks, with almost 50 years of stardom under her belt, and now in her early 70s, beautifully described herself as still being in the last ‘youthful’ years of her life, when she discussed the momentous impact of Covid on touring artists, in an interview with the New York Post. Image shows Stevie Nicks performing with Fleetwood Mac in the UK, in 2013. © Imelda Michalczyk