Greetings from the land of the incredibly healthy. For a metabolically challenged son of the South, its hard to stroll the grounds of the Mile High Music Festival and not feel inadequate as a human being. Its also hard not to feel old.
Ive been writing about music for 40 years and doing the backstage-pass thing for nearly as long. For the last decade, Ive gone to shows every-other-year-or-so, so I suppose Im in concert-going retirement.
So this huge Denver festival is a hell of a coming-out party for me. Forty-seven bands in two days over five stages its a little overwhelming. I remember the quaint old days of the early 1970s when I finagled backstage press passes and stalked the likes of Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, Poco and B.B. King. Once you had the backstage pass, you were golden. I remember standing outside the portable biffy to pee once and chatting with Ritchie Furay of Poco. I let him cut in line because he had to do his opening song and I was just the pimpled teen-age rock-journalist-wannabe with the back pack.
The Mile-High Music Festival covers more acreage than many college campuses. And it looks a lot like a college campus. In my day job, Im a college professor, so the clientele of this festival looks familiar. But as I say, its Colorado and you dont see many people of my controversial girth. These are some supercilious sprout-eating motherfuckers. We drove in from Aspen today, doing most of the trip in low gear, cranking the rental up the mountains. And right along side us were some smug-bastard cyclists, reaching back for their third wind as they pumped it into Loveland Pass. They looked at us in the Taurus as if we were dried spots of gruel on a filthy kitchen floor.
Taking a stroll through the festival grounds, the closest thing I see to something like me is a tanned pot-bellied man with pouty, pierced nipples. (Full disclosure: I have no piercings, but the weekend is young.) The fans are all horribly young. I havent seen anyone else yet except for an occasional festival vendor or security guard who I would call a fellow geezer. These people are uniformly young, and can be divided into two groups: the clothed and the nearly clothed tight bellies, abundant cleavage, droopy pants with protruding boxers. Im 53, but I feel 80 years old today. My wife is 32, but Im wondering if even she is beginning to smell the first whiffs of a generation gap.