We take a lot of things for granted. One of those occurred to me while driving home late last night with wifey from a Hairball concert with friends in Deadwood.
For those unfamiliar, Hairball plays rock covers from the 1980s and dresses accordingly. If you like Poison, VanHalen, KISS, Queen and Ozzie, you'd like them.
I told her: "We've sure heard a lot of music together."
Like many, we love our live music.
We met on the dance floor at Dakota Territory, a nightclub in Sioux Falls, in 1986. I'm sure many of the same songs from last night were playing that night. I fancied myself a good dancer in those days, but the moves, like my opinion on my dancing, were mostly influenced by the 3.2 beer I was drinking. Now, I save my best moves for the slow songs.
In the 35 years since, music has been one of things that's bonded us. It's what we do. It's our thing.
Back then it was the Sioux Falls-area music scene. A friend of mine was lead singer for a band called Image. We were groupies for them. It's been rumored I was honorary tambourine player for them. But there was Aaron Baron, Flat Cat, Janitor Bob, Wakefield and many more we frequented at the Pomp Room and Phil's Pub.
We hit concerts in Omaha and Minneapolis: Prince, Aerosmith, KISS and Kid Rock.
We do much the same on an almost weekly basis in the Black Hills. The Robbinsdale Lounge provides mostly local country cover bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Deadwood and Sturgis bring in a good mix of regional and national acts.
We cover all genres from Charley Pride and Elton John to Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings and Neon Trees.
If they're live, we're there from rodeo grounds to coffee shops to street dances. We love it.
When we travel it's one of the first things we ask at the hotel desk: "Any place nearby that plays live music?"
I often think about it but never have really settled on what it is about music that makes it so special. Maybe it's the escape-ism. No worries when you're listening to a band. It's also the musicianship and the singing ability. I always appreciate people who can do things I can't or haven't made an effort to do.
We really like supporting the locals and sometimes it's just cost-prohibitive, or we're too cheap, to go listen to some of the national bands I'd enjoy but not that much. For instance, the Zac Brown Band is coming to Rapid City this month. Cheapest ticket is $99. I've never once asked Alexa to "play Zac Brown Band" so I'm certainly not going to dish out a hondo to hear "Chicken Fried" for the 1,000th time, even if I am interested in how the band sounds live.
We also can be a bit snobbish. We critique them, especially the national acts. While we have our opinions, I'm not going to sit and nit-pic a local weekend band when they have day jobs and are just doing this for fun. It takes a lot of guts to get up in front of people and sing George Strait covers. I sing along to the Georges (Strait and Jones) in my kitchen cooking supper, but nobody is around to complain except my dogs and they don't say much. I take their silence as approval.
Looking back, I have no idea how many musicians we've listened to, but I know we never walked out wishing we hadn't.