When I was a young woman, lo, 35 years removed, give or take a decade, I saw a lot of concerts. The epitome of youthful rebellion, rock concerts were among the few activities in which I partook that put the fear of Jehovah into my parents. I loved being a rebel.
The joy of shocking my parents aside, and with the full realization that divulging these activities will be a big hindrance to my ever working for the CIA, the FBI, the U.S. Army or the Sarah Palin for President campaign, I have to admit I loved the decadence and the brotherhood of the whole rock concert scene. Besides the music, I loved the smell of pot wafting through the auditorium; I loved the sight of unhinged people dancing with abandon in the aisles; I loved being one of the unhinged people dancing with abandon in the aisles; I loved having long, frizzy, unwieldy hair that rivaled the best hairstyle efforts of the band on stage; I loved burning my thumb along with thousands of concert-goers who raised their Bic lighters in unison, begging the band to come out for an encore.
And so it was with no small amount of nostalgia that I went to see Robert Plant last night at Constitution Hall. My, how old and well-behaved we've all become! How clean and sanitized! There was no pot to be smelled or smoked; in fact, there were no odors of anything at all. Nobody snuck in with thermoses full of vodka under their coats. Instead, long lines of graying professionals waited patiently in queue to pay for their $10 plastic glasses of Gallo.
I noticed one woman dancing in the aisle; the only thing anyone else in her section could manage were a few toe taps or slight head nods. Not only that, but I suspect Robert Plant might have found Jesus! Good for him, really, and I wish him every happiness, but I kind of felt like I had been hurled through a tidy time-warp wormhole, worthy, indeed, of Dr. Who.
Maybe most disconcerting (no pun intended) of all was that the only lights gleaming in unison after the band finished their set were those from the Smartphones just about everyone had close at hand. But I stalwartly stood with my Bic raised to the stage, from the very last row, a solitary beacon in a sea of middle age.