Once upon a time my wife and I listened to the music stations on the radio, and sometimes read magazines about music, and generally learned about bands and songs the ways that quasi-hip people did back before iPods or even Napster. These days the only way we hear about new music is either from National Public Radio or in the occasional movie that we rent. The latter is how we got acquainted with The Shins, thankyouverymuch Zach Braff.
So when our friends suggested that we all go see The Shins as part of some multi-band music festival, it sounded like a decent idea. That's how I found myself today at a concert called Download 2006 with my wife, daughter, our friends, and their 7 month old baby.
First off, Download 2006 is a lame name for a concert. There are lots of things that one can do with music, like listen to it, or dance to it, but downloading it is one of the few things that you WOULDN'T do at a concert. Oh, I suppose one could argue that I figuratively downloaded the music experience into my brain today. I guess that's true, but only if you also think that I also downloaded my hot dog and beer into my mouth, and then uploaded my piss into the urinal. Me thinks their marketing department needs to work a little harder next time. The word "download" doesn't means what they think it means.
But maybe I'm just too old and out of it to really get it any more. For example, we encountered some kid in the parking lot selling extra tickets and we needed one more ticket, so my wife bargained him down from $30 to $25. We were congratulating ourselves on our wise purchase when we arrived at the front gate and found that the concert was undersold and they were handing out free tickets, which looked IDENTICAL to the ticket we had just purchased for $25. Perhaps the wisdom that comes with age is not always the shrewdest wisdom.
Then, later, as we were watching the concert, I was amazed at how boldly people around us were smoking pot. Joints were passed unfurtively. Back in the day when I went to concerts without 7 year-olds in tow, I sneaked the occasional toke, but you can be damn sure that I was clandestine and paranoid about it, as one should be! Today all I could really do was play along by taking a big hit off of Daisy's face, but the high was unremarkable.
The other game I played was looking around and trying to find someone older than me. It was really hard. We left the concert shortly after The Shins completed their set (Daisy's bedtime) just as a slightly older couple entered the amphiteater. It took all my self-restraint to stop myself from tapping them on the shoulder and saying, "Tag! Now YOU'RE the oldest people here!"
Anyway, with all the bands, it was probably at least an 8 hour concert. We stayed for about 90 minutes of it. We had to hurry home for Matlock.