When Did The (Summer) Music Die?

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What with all the Emmy chatter we’ve almost neglected to talk about music. Which is unfortunate because there’s news  – only the news itself is kind of unfortunate too. It’s not terrible –  nobody died — but some roadies’ careers might have (then again those guys ALWAYS bounce back). See maybe the economy hasn’t hurt movies that badly (actually it has, but a) movies are cheaper than rock concerts and b) it’s really easy to throw around big box office numbers so it doesn’t quite look like it). One thing the movie biz doesn’t have on its hands right now is a slew of publicly canceled engagements – that which is plaguing the big outdoor music fests. To name a few: Lilith Fair (at least 10 dates GONE), the Jonas Brothers (some 20 shows rescheduled) Christina Aguilera, The Eagles,  Rihanna, plus guitar powerhouse (and frequent foolish chatterbox) John Mayer. Even Limp Bizkit canceled stuff on account of the tough sales climate. At least for those giant, amphitheatery venues. Not so much the smaller acts. Your nephew’s Metallica cover band? Full Steam Ahead. Perhaps most shocking of all: American Idol: The Tour. Seems you better run because what you thought would end in mid-September is now done August 31st. Now I do find it difficult to fathom the ticket prices anyway – and while I don’t ever want to start a sentence that includes the phrase “kids nowadays” , summer concerts are quite different from when I was young. After all, kids see more, they do more, buy more, talk on cell phones more, surf more – they’re just more culturally aware. They know what they like, and can sample almost any form of entertainment they want without leaving their basement.They’re pretty skilled entertainment consumers. Concert promoters know this and charge what look like exorbitant rates to me. Although that too may change. Now my experience with big summer concerts is twofold. Because on the one hand I was a super-sheltered kid with parents who were convinced that the only people who attended rock concerts were a) hardened criminals b) children of careless parents in some kind of mid-1980’s-training-program-to-become -hardened-criminals and c) drug and firearms dealers. For this reason my attendance was extremely limited – nor was there that scene we have now where the parents go as well (which would have been the last thing anyone wanted, but still). The first concert I saw was the B52’s in New York City and I think I was given permission because my mother and father mistakenly believed that I was attending some kind of wartime aircraft exhibit at a museum. They did not however mistake The Talking Heads – who were playing the following night – and thus I was ordered home ASAP. In 1985 there was a local concert in Philadelphia, where I grew up, but the tickets sold out immediately. I did have an extremely high-tech next-door neighbor however, who had a space age phone with an automatic dial feature and when they released an additional 500 tickets, she simply did her nails and let Ma Bell do the rest. So we got tickets, thanks to her savvy phone. As it turned out, the local concert was called Live Aid and it was a day-long event like nothing I’d ever seen before. But now, with things like Lollapalooza and the Warped Tour, kids do this in an afternoon and think nothing of it. When I became an adult however, I went to work for an alternative radio station and everything changed. Tickets were everywhere. Great seats were had with a phone call. The only hitch now being of course that by the time the coolest bands in America actually get on stage it’s way past your bedtime, and despite your faboo seating it’s still hard to see on account of your failing vision. So it goes. But I have been wildly fortunate enough to see (or at least hear) some amazing shows. Now this is not to say that concerts won’t continue to sell tickets this summer, and there are plenty of shows to catch. With this in mind, voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these acts you’d most like to see this summer:

1)    Lady Gaga

2)    Black Eyed Peas

3)    Taylor Swift

4)    Bon Jovi

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