This article, entitled "Jam Band Breakup," comes from Ally Whitt, MomsEveryday blogger from South Central Kentucky.
I mentally broke up with my favorite jam band today. They don’t know it yet. Please let me be the one to tell them. I spent decades of summers chasing them here and there across the country. I put their stickers on my cars, my boyfriends’ guitar, banjo and mandolin cases. I planned vacations and finances around being present at every possible concert.
When their original guitarist passed away several years ago, I had an inkling that it was the end of an era. But faithful disciple that I was, I continued to attend and proselytize. For years I hiked up stairs and across filthy campsites to see them. I peed in porta johns and paid $8 for domestic beers.
Today I hung it up. It is one of the last rites of coming into adulthood. The new guitarist plays too loudly for my tastes. It’s too rock and roll and less vibe-y. That concert scene just isn’t my jam anymore.
This epiphany came in the same way that most of my major realizations occur: during the course of a conversation with a girlfriend. She is the more virtuous of the two of us. She is more brave and honest than I. She cares less what others think.
And she had the lady balls to say what I had been thinking for a while. That the investment just wasn’t providing the return that it once had. A concert isn’t just the $50 or $75 for the ticket anymore. It also includes the price of a trusted sitter, a hotel room and the guilt that comes from ditching out on your mom duty to dance and be an adolescent again.
My last concert was fun. I danced. I sang along. But the crowd was mysteriously young. My girlfriend (Let’s call her C from now on) had a similar experience.
C had purchased tickets, paid for a babysitter, gas and a hotel room to get her beautiful blonde self to the show. She was near the front with her husband. Once the show started, a couple of younger girls wedged themselves between her and the band. Nobody sits down at those concerts anyway (unless they are “all partied out, man…”). But the good tickets still have seat numbers on them, and ushers still enforce the rules.
She found herself trying to politely scream over the music that they couldn’t just stand in front of her. She told them that she was already “in” for about $500 and she hadn’t even gotten a beer yet. Blissfully untethered by children and responsibilities and good sense, they did not understand.
And that is how C became one of the adults at a jam band show. That is how she realized that she was kind of…. Over it. Her confession allowed me to admit to myself that I related. Oh, how I related.
Would I feel the same way if Mike Hauser (the original guitarist) had not died way too young? Maybe so, maybe no. But I am momma and adult now as much as I hate to admit it sometimes. No amount of hippie trippy music breaks will change that. And isn’t the sound of a happy, well-loved toddler giggle really the best music anyway?
RIP, Widespread Panic. Ain’t life grand?