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free be

Two weeks ago I saw Ray Davies (of the Kinks) for free - won two tickets via email. Then tonight I was blessed with the chance to volunteer to see Ani DiFranco at the Cedar Cultural Center - a cozy venue that holds less than five hundred folks total.

Both these musicians have been playing for decades, Ray twice as long as Ani, and both brought such love and joy to their sets that I was amazed and inspired. Although Ani is still young enough to be considered beautiful, those days are numbered, as evidenced by Ray, who is old enough to easily be called "a dirty old man". Yet, on stage, none of this matters. The only important thing is their joy at being able to play the guitar and sing on stage in front of people who really appreciate it. New material is not necessary but is enjoyed. Their fan base is so huge that often price weeds out the dedicated from the obsessive.

When I was young I thought youth was all important. Newness mattered more than reputation and knowledge. However, after seeing weathered musicians perform, I no longer prescribe to that ideology. The fact is, age separates out those stars who enjoy music for the sake of stardom and those who accept stardom as the cost of being able to pursue their true love - music.

I only hope my true love will be as sustaining, inspiring, and rejuvenating.

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