When we went to see Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds the other night, I was in the somewhat unusual position of being well into the younger end of the demographic. This is not something that happens to me very often anymore, unless it's one of those gigs where the kidz are accompanied by their parents (when I saw Jake Bugg playing at Rock City a couple of years ago, I was one of about four people in the audience who recognised "Folsom Prison Blues" when Bugg covered it.... all of the others were dads). It seems that Brian Wilson (aged 73) is something of a draw for the grey pound, most of whom no doubt bought Pet Sounds the first time around and not, like me, when they started to get into music and heard it was one of the greatest albums ever recorded.
On the way to the Royal Concert Hall, we walked past Rock City. It was a Wednesday night... student night... and there was a huge crowd of kids in their late-teens and very early twenties queuing up outside the Rig. It was quite a gathering of the tribes, and as we walked past, I had a good look and saw a real mixture of people. Well, after all, everyone goes out for the big nights, don't they? The ones that really caught my eye though were the awkward ones; the ones who looked like they were trying a bit too hard to fit in and weren't quite managing. They caught my eye because that was me.
As we walked on to the Concert Hall, I told my wife that I wouldn't go back to being that age for any money in the world. I remember it far too well for that. I might be twenty-odd years older, but I'm a lot more confident in who I am and in what I like to do these days; I don't feel much of a need anymore to pretend to be something I'm not.
If I could go back to being nineteen, then maybe I'd spend more time doing things I enjoyed with people that I liked. What I didn't know then is that if people don't like you for what you are, then they're probably not worth knowing.
Plus, if Brian Wilson is in town performing Pet Sounds, only an idiot would want to be anywhere else*.
* admittedly, ticket price may prove prohibitive... although you could equally be at home listening to Pet Sounds instead, and I pretty much guarantee that's a better night than any you would be likely to have at the Rig. Certainly better than any night I had at the age of nineteen in anywhere like that.