Old? Who’s old?

The trepidation bordering on embarrassment I felt at not only being the oldest person at the Dawes concert Tuesday night at the Kirby Center but also being in the front row, a section commonly referred to as “the pit,” quickly evaporated when lead singer Taylor Goldsmith announced they were going to play something new and then launched into a number called “Still Feel Like a Kid.” I felt he was speaking directly to me. And it felt good.
My friend Jeff Walsh, a kid in one of my classes when I first started college teaching in 1990, had called several months ago to see if I’d be interested in going to see Dawes with him. Tickets were going on sale in an hour and if you know Jeff, you know it’s usually front row or nothing. I had turned down too many Jeff invitations in the past (all for good reason, but still) to not say yes, so I did.
I had never heard of Dawes, but Jeff might be their biggest fan. He’s seen them live maybe ten times, including places as diverse as San Francisco and Charleston, South Carolina, and assured me I’d like them. Anticipating my musical tastes, he said they are somewhat reminiscent of The Eagles. Upon seeing them, I knew what he meant but picked up more of a Paul Simon similarity, which was fine with me.
I followed Jeff’s advice and made myself familiar with them in advance via YouTube, including an acoustic performance Jeff sent a link to. So, I thought I was ready.
I was wrong.
If you’ve never before seen Dawes live, you can never be ready for what you are about to experience. Not that I’ve been to all that many concerts, but I came away thinking this might be the best one ever. Yes, this band is that good.
The Kirby was far from packed, but it was evident every single person there was a Dawes’ fan and that only added to the performance. I’ve seen singers hold the mic out for the crowd to sing along, but never like this. Every person there, save for me, I suppose, who didn’t know the lyrics, sang to the top of their lungs, and, man, did the band appreciate it.
Taylor Goldsmith, whose brother Griffin plays drums and also has a beautiful voice, is a top-flight entertainer. His voice is only topped by his energy level, or vice versa, and he exudes a charm that is natural and captivating. You can’t help thinking you’d love to buy this guy a beer after the show. And that he’d gladly accept your invitation.
I ran into a handful of young people I know there which I’m sure bought me some street cred, which I am sure I am losing right now, but for a couple of hours I was just as much a kid as they.
As we grabbed a drink prior to the show, I told Jeff and his friend when I was their age The Who was singing, “I hope I die before I get old.” I totally bought into that attitude then, I said, and still feel that way today as I close in on my 70th birthday. I still hope I die before I get old.
The feelings I felt Tuesday night have me thinking maybe I am achieving just that.

Ed Ackerman