My dad and uncle both have this bumper sticker on their trucks brandishing a surfboard and the phrase "Old guys rule." When it comes to live concerts, that truth rings loud and clear. (OK, so maybe their hearing isn't so loud and clear anymore...)
I had the honor of seeing the Beach Boys at the Hollywood Bowl last weekend as they celebrated 50(!) years of their rock reign. The bowl is usually not one of my favorite venues, as I'm a sucker for intimate clubs, but these legends made me a believer. Those familiar harmonies shook the hillsides, demanding that they have "Fun, Fun, Fun." The veterans, including noted recluse and mad genius Brian Wilson, played for two and a half hours, which is inconceivable to even the freshest young bucks in the game today.
Older artists tend to be more engaging in concert than their scrappier counterparts. (Mike Love took the piss out of his band's aged members - himself included - when he took to one knee holding a long note, and a touring guitarist made a creaking noise as Love stood back up.)
They're savvier - they know that their audience is paying top price to enjoy an evening full of the music with which they grew up. I saw Rod Stewart in concert in recent years with my mom, and his classic take on "We're Having a Party" may have seemed silly to a youngster (like, ewww, senior citizens party? Gross), but his peer group cherished its timelessness.
They're classier. Save for maybe John Lydon (nee Rotten) and Morrissey, the musicians show maturity and gracefully perform hits. They're gracious in knowing that without the songs they've played ad nauseam - that have brought joy to so many - they wouldn't have a career. (See Paul McCartney's epic three-hour Coachella gig in which the resounding singalong to "Hey Jude" might have been heard from space.) A lot of bands with a few albums under their belts refuse to play crowd favorites due to artistic "integrity." Seems more a dick move to me.
Moreover, seeing a historic artist live is a treasure, as they might not be long for this earth. I met Glen Campbell a decade ago, and he appeared very cheerful and coherent, but we now know he has been battling Alzheimer's for quite some time. To catch his farewell tour this year would be a bittersweet gift. Seventy-seven-year-old Leonard Cohen is still a road warrior. Blues god B.B. King still graces the stage. Kenny Rogers (and the Beach Boys) are playing fricken Bonnaroo.
Go see these living legends before it's too late. Their concert costs may be on the steep side, but with older artists, to behold them in a live setting is priceless.