Feeling older faster

I’m 28 years old. I’m by no means an old fart – I still consider myself a strapping young man whose ability to frolic is the same as it was ten years ago. I’m not stodgy. I’m not ultra-conservative. I’ve changed a little over the past three years, but not so much that I can’t appreciate the reckless, youthful ways of all night parties and video game football.

So tell me why I felt so old last night.

This is not a “wah wah, Corey feels sorry for himself” post. Kerrie and I went to the Modest Mouse concert last night at the Ramkota Event Center, and I truly felt old. Not old in a “turn that damned music down you whippersnapper!” way, but old in a creaky-body, headache sort of way.

We got to the show a little late and had to stand in line. This made us annoyed, where as before it would have rolled off our backs.

We stood near the back, and not in the front.

We enjoyed the show, but realized how bad the sound was in the Event Center. We realized how off Isaac Brock sounded. We realized that Modest Mouse is better on CD than they are in concert.

Our legs ached from standing. Our heads hurt from the feedback. Our minds were exhausted from watching college-aged kids bounce around, drunkenly running into each other.

We stood away from the crowd, watched the show, and then left.

I wondered why I go to concerts. I ached. I felt old. And all I did was stand in the back.

Is this what happens when people graduate from college life to grown-up life? I can’t help but think that somewhere along the way, I lost my spirit – the hidden spark that caused me to get drunk, run to the front of the crowd and experience an uncomfortable yet strangely fulfilling surge. I left the show last night the same way I always had – a little sweaty, with ears pulsing from the elevated decibel levels and voice scratchy from a room full of smoke and noise. But I felt worn out, like I had been thrown around in the crowd without actually having the benefit of seeing the band close up.

Maybe we’re just old enough to understand what a good show sounds like. Maybe we’re old enough to remember the small Pomp Room shows, the intimacy of being just feet away from a band, from hearing everything in a more surrounding manner and never being in bad position.

Last night’s Modest Mouse show was good. They played a fair amount of the new album. They stayed away from most of their older songs, but the ones they played were the ones I wanted to hear. The new songs translate well to a live setting. And they closed the show with my favorite new song, “Spitting Venom,” which turned into a 15-minute-long jam session.

It was not great, though. The feedback and the sound left a lot to be desired. Brock’s anger at his feedback-laden mic and God-knows-what-else turned him into some sort of crazed Jim Morrison wanna-be, thrashing around, getting tangled up in his own cords, yelling at his sound guy, causing himself to bleed, etc.

There was a weird vibe. I felt as if I was watching my last Modest Mouse show. They have disconnected from the small, three-piece unit they used to be and graduated to a full-out spectacle. It’s the direction they needed to go. But it’s different from the band I grew to love.

Their albums are still my favorites. I will never lose the heart I had for their older stuff, and I will still continue to champion their new efforts. But as a live show, I think I might pass next time.

I’m just wondering if my feeling old was due to this show only. Or if it’s part of a more general shifting – away from the loud, brash exhibit hall-style concerts of my past and toward a more subdued, peaceful engagement.

Have I gotten older and less understanding? Or did the show, the culture and the moment pass me by. Is it the concert’s fault? Or mine?

This was lovingly handwritten on March 19th, 2007