The first gig I ever went to was at the real Donington festival, Monsters of Rock, in 1988. That featured a line up headed by Iron Maiden and including Kiss, David Lee Roth, Megadeth, some up and coming band called Guns N’ Roses and Helloween.
While many will remember the tragic headlines following the death of two people in a crowd surge, few would argue against the fact that, in terms of bands on the bill, that was a fairly incredible line-up.
Certainly, when I see the Download festival spread over a weekend these days, I cannot but help roll my eyes slightly. The more bands you put on at a festival, the lower the quality threshold has to be.
So, from the above, you can tell that I have now, officially, joined the Ageing Rockers Club.
It is 24 years since I foolishly thought that arrangements to ‘meet under the tyre’ at a race track in the Midlands would work when 50 per cent of the 100,000-plus in the audience had come up with the same idea for a rendezvous point. (Another Donington fact: during the eighties, none of the shrubbery in the centre of the track ever increased in size; this is linked directly to the incredibly long queues for the toilets at Monsters of Rock events).
As I look at the festivals these days and tell myself I really can’t be bothered standing in a field all day long to witness the bands involved, I know I’ve aged.
After all, in the Isle of Man a few years ago, when The Who came to headline a festival on the other side of the island, I decided it was too far to go. In my defence, when the likes of Robert Plant, Ray Davies and Alice Cooper dropped into my home town of Douglas, I did make the effort and didn’t regret it.
And my – then – unborn son was also there when David Coverdale brought over the latest incarnation of Whitesnake.
But the last time I bought an album by a new band, it was Contraband by Velvet Revolver who, if we’re honest, could not be classed as a particularly new, more a hybrid of rock royalty. Interestingly, Velvet Revolver was the last band I travelled anywhere to see. I seriously thought a fleece to be a suitable coat to take to the event. Fortunately, on the day of the gig, the rock blood flowing through my veins forced me into a Liverpool store to buy a new biker’s jacket.
Other telltale signs you are an ageing rocker:
You still consider Permanent Vacation to belong to the category of Aerosmith’s ‘new stuff’, ignoring the fact it was released a quarter of a century ago.
You can remember when Axl Rose needed a codpiece more than dreadlocks.
You sneer at the ‘bad boy’ antics of some of the modern bands and yearn for Ozzy, a straw, and a line of ants.
The only new album you’ve bought in the past five years is the latest from Van Halen, which is remarkably similar to the first one put out by Eddie, DLR etc. You regard this as a good thing.
When you hear about some bands’ comeback tours, you hadn’t noticed that they’d ever been away.
You found the media hysteria over The Darkness a few years back faintly amusing, but also slightly annoying; as when you went to see bands doing the same thing 20 years earlier, no one thought it was cool.
At 18, downing in one a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale with a vodka thrown into it was the perfect way to prepare for a Skid Row concert. When you are a couple of decades older, the mere thought of drinking Newcastle Brown Ale seems like the perfect way to end up on skid row.
When you see the West End success of the likes of We Will Rock You, you think that Seventh Son of a Seventh Son would make a great concept for a musical, but then you remember why it would be a very bad thing.
After growing your hair long, and subsequently cutting it short, three times, you decide that for the next time, you’ll wait until it it’s white.
Finally, when it’s time to create a child-friendly playlist from your music catalogue, you suddenly find much of what was okay for you to listen to when you were young doesn’t seem quite so acceptable now. It won’t stop you listening when the little one’s not around, though.
Follow on Twitter: @Norbertsdad
If you enjoyed this article you may also like this one about whether frontmen or drummers make the better role models: