I used to be such a zealot for music, it kind of makes me sick now. I'd go to shows and it all had to be strictly "about the music."
I'm not really sure what this meant, but it certainly gave me some kind of moral superiority. I'd see guys with their arms around their wives or girlfriends and think, "What's up with these jokers?"
No, no. Concert were places for serious introspection and really hearing, the music ... and a few smart alec asides to my buddies ... and smoking lots of Marlboro Reds.
But something happens as you get older. Your favorite venues all go smoke-free. (Which happens to coincide with you realizing it's bad for you, anyway.) You fall in love.
Most importantly, you find that your previous intolerance was ridiculous to begin with. I still love what I love but I now find it impossible to hate what I don't love. (Except for the terrible stuff they play before prime time football programs. Get out of my face, Hank and Faith.)
I also can't bring myself to hate those who don't share my taste or exact passion for music. You like Dave Mathews? Great! Just don't expect me to come to the concert with you. Want to make out with your girlfriend at a Pearl Jam show? At least you're supporting one of my favorite bands.
In a slightly different context, Nick Hornby once said, "You're either for music or you're against it." Speak on it, Nick. How can I argue with the guy who wrote High Fidelity?
So, a couple of weekends ago, Nicole and I went to a NEEDTOBREATHE show at the Music Mill. It was just our second concert together. The first was a Better Than Ezra show early in our dating days.
So, given that I was there with my wife and I wasn't there for a review, I became one of the guys I used to loathe. It was no longer about what the music did to me, but what it did to us. We've both come to love this band in recent months, and it was a shared experience.
There is certain music I'm sure will remain mine. I don't foresee Cole getting into Wilco or the Replacements or Gram Parsons, but NEEDTOBREATHE, Uncle Tupelo, the Avett Brothers, Better Than Ezra and even the Clash have become our bands.
She'll never become the music freak that I am, but she can speak my language. And once in a while, she is able to step into my twisted musical world. I like it that way.