When I was 20 I found the Throwing Muses. I loved the band, got their tapes (yes it was that long ago), saw them wherever I could and probably pined for the lead singer/guitar player/song writer more than I should have. They were my favorite band, bar none.
Since those days, the band has gone through its ups and downs, but it still keeps working. During that time I bought their albums and attended their concerts. I tended to go alone since few that I knew were interested in going. They didn't play at places like Foxboro stadium, where we were hundreds of feet from them. Instead, they played smaller venues where I could (and did) wade up to the front so I could be six feet from the band with no one to block me. I could stand, singing to the songs (non-verbally of course), swaying to the music and enjoy the show.
I anticipated that last night's show would be the same. They were scheduled to go on at 11:30, so after a dinner out with my wife, we headed over and encountered the end of the second band of the line up, 50 Foot Wave. Now 50 Foot Wave is most of Throwing Muses, but trying a different style of music: noise rock as the Boston Phoenix called it.
Before Throwing Muses went on, I moved to the front to repeat the experiences of past concerts, while my wife stayed in back. After nearly half an hour, something unexpected happened. I decided that I didn't want to be there and we left. Sure the cigarette smoke was gone from times past. However, I found that I put more time into keeping upright in the sardine confines of the hall, trying not to block other people's views and trying to get a good pictures of the band. Instead of enjoying the show and being in the moment as the Buddhists would say, I let myself get distracted.
Once I realized this fact, I noticed that I really don't like experiencing a concert essentially alone. A concert is a social event, and not having someone with whom to share it takes away the charm. When I went to see Solas at the Somerville Theatre, say, the fact that I had to sit in a seat meant that I was forced to share that experience with the family and friends with me. I am the better for it.
Throwing Muses is still one of my favorite bands. However, there is no way I can pretend to be twenty even for a couple of hours. I won't be going to any more Throwing Muses' concerts. That song is done.
NOTE: The folks at the Screaming Females/50 Foot Wave/Throwing Muses merchandise table were really great including the guy who offered to give me some free ear plugs. Thanks! Also a thanks to the guy who told me to put down my camera. He was in the moment, I was not, but without his request, I might not have had the insight I did.