Friday, September 26, 2008

Keep on struttin'

Posted by Leona Bergstrom

For two hours Wednesday night I felt like time had stood still. In my heart I was once again a young woman in my twenties groovin’ to the completely familiar sounds of Neil Diamond. The odd thing was, everyone around me was middle aged or older. There were lots of bald heads, pot-bellies, and flabby women in Koret stretch pants. While my mind had transcended to a familiar place 30 years ago, my body was painfully aware that it looked just like those around me. On one hand, it was rather depressing.

But, on the other hand, we were there with thousands of other Boomers, and like a band of brothers, we screamed and whistled, we sang each word to each song (almost), we clapped, stood, waved our hands in the air, and went wild when Neil took off his coat! His music connected us, not to just to him, but to each other and to a time of our lives when we didn’t know the word “impossible.”

Oddly, one of my most intense emotions was one of pride. Yep. I was proud of Neil, now age 67 and still following his dream and passion. He moved a little slower. In fact, he has a platform that automatically moves back and forth across the stage giving the appearance that he is roaming on his own. He sits down a little more often, and doesn’t wiggle quite as much. (I sat behind him in a concert in the late 70’s when he REALLY did wiggle – unforgettable, really.) But he was out there! Strutting his stuff in the second half of life, singing as well as he ever has with tones that pierce right into your heart and soul. Sure, he’s making bizillions of bucks on this 2008 tour, but he inspired me to keep struttin’, keep singing, keep following the dream.

In a melancholy moment toward the end of the concert he sang his song, Hell, Yeah. The words haunt me this morning because I realize that we can teleport to another place in time through his music, but this tour really could be his last major one. He, like us, faces the reality of his mortality. In some ways, I think he summed up his life’s search for meaning and said goodbye through one of his last songs:
“So if they ask you when I'm gone
Was it everything he wanted?
When he had to travel on
Did he know he'd be missed?
You can tell them this
Hell yeah he did
He saw it all
He walked the line
Never had to crawl
He cried a bit
But not for long
Hell yeah he found the life that he was after
Filled it up with love and laughter
Finally got it right and made it fit."
Nice job, Neil. You made time stand still and made us all feel ageless! Read the review here. And you can play the song as you're reading this blog! (photo by whiper, shared via Flickr)

1 comment:

Karla W. said...

My very first rock concert was Neil Diamond in the King Dome. I was ten. :)