Saturday, January 12, 2013
I'm a Blue Grass Fan??
I had no idea what Blue Grass or the Gibson Brothers was going into last night’s concert. When I saw the size of the theatre I was sure the event would bore me to tears. Not to mention, the average audience member was about 65 years old. I had to be wrestled from an upright slumber three or four times during the one-hour opening act. Then the Gibsons took the stage, five guys dressed in suits with guitar, banjo, and mandolin in hand. My wife’s family knows the band and got us the tixs. They were excited. I was skeptical.
If you don’t know anything about Blue Grass I’m sure I can’t capture or describe it for you. But I thought the performance was incredible. The songs about small-town living and down-home fun were so catchy and well performed. Between each song the band members bantered back and forth then tied the banter into the next tune. These Gibsons cast a spell on me. I don’t know how or why, but I was into that show. This coming from a guy who’s usually unmoved by anything less than Petty or McCartney. I connected with the performers and the stories. It was a chance to watch real professionals at work, and I left that small theatre a fan. And trust me, I didn't go in with an open mind.
I’m not much of a concert guy, I’ll admit. I don’t understand people that follow bands or festivals around the country. And I did the whole DMB thing in my 20s, but I just can’t keep up with all the carrying on anymore. But I do love music, and I am moved by seeing performers who have devoted their life to turning out a quality product. That’s what I saw with the Gibsons, a group of men who had worked their craft since they were old enough to walk, I'm sure. When it’s genuine and well done I can’t help but come along with you, even if I don’t want to. Maybe that’s the way every concert is, I don't know. Like I said: Not much of a concert guy.
My first thought was to see it as a failure that a group of performers as good (and as decorated) as the Gibson Brothers could only book 400-seat theatres after 20 years of trucking. That tells you how hard the music business is. Then I thought more and realized how great their story was. To be able to survive off performing alone is the dream, to do what you love and have people pay money to watch you do it, at any level. Wow. To be a household name in music and/or an arena performer is such rarified air. And I guess I got an inside look at the "levels" of music success last night. The Gibsons success just looks different (and pays far less) than Petty’s or McCartney’s, even though their music is maybe just as good. It was weirdly an eye-opening experience for me.
In today’s America, if you have dreams of playing sold-out music tours or tasting big-screen stardom, let me tell you right now: You better have through-the-roof talent and off-the-charts work ethic PLUS a willingness to put EVERYTHING second to the art form. Then maybe, just maybe, after pounding at it for a lifetime, you get a return on your sweat. It is that hard to put something out there that people want to spend their time and money on. Watching the Gibsons you could feel the lifetime journey in every note they plucked and lyric they sang.
Right now I'm sure they're bussing it to the next 400-person theatre for a Saturday Night Show that pays small money. Missing family and friends and normal weekend things. Why? Because living the dream in any profession doesn't come without paying a hard price.