It had been 4,777 days since I had seen Pearl Jam in concert. The only time I had seen them live was October 21, 2000—one day shy of the ten year anniversary of the band’s first performance. I’m not a big concert guy—I’ve only been to a couple of PJ concerts and two other Flogging Molly ones—but that original concert was special. Pearl Jam has been my favorite band for two decades now. Not only to do I love the music, but I’ve really appreciated their politics and social outlooks. Hell, they even devoted a song to one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, the band hasn’t included Phoenix in any of its tours for more than a decade. So when the band announced that they would be visiting Phoenix on November 19 on their Lightning Bolt tour, there was no way I was going to miss it.
When I think back over my life, I often find that while I’ve done some cool things, I’ve also failed to participate in the common high school and college activities. Not drinking or doing drugs, having long-term relationships (thereby skipping the dating scene), and working and volunteering frequently pushed my life in a different direction than most of my friends.
For whatever reason, I was also far less interested in many of the popular culture activities that most people that age seem to be. Movies, tv, fashion, and music are all examples. Concert-going in particular was something I just seemed to miss.
Kim brought me to a Pearl Jam concert—my first concert experience—several years into our relationship. I had a blast, but that’s what you’d expect in seeing your favorite band perform live.
Fast forward another 8 years or so, and my concert total remained unchanged. That changed on St Patrick’s Day when I joined a few friends at the Flogging Molly concert at Tempe Beach Park. I’m not a big music fan, so while I had heard of the band before, I didn’t know any of their songs. I had a good time—in spite of the pushing, flinging sweat, and attempted theft of my iPhone—and enjoyed the experience even though I didn’t fully participate in the bouncing, fist-pumping, and singing.
I’ll probably never enjoy live music to quite the degree that my friends do, but maybe I should give it a shot more often.