And here we are, another world away from that last post in April.
There have been many times I’ve intended to write, wanted to write.
But the hope I spoke of in April hasn’t made it this far, and it’s hard to write about the things I’ve done when in my heart, it just feels like writing about lasts.
The last show I saw was nearly a year ago now, a Walden Woods event in Boston in 2019. My body wasn’t cooperating and I spent most of the weekend (and a couple months after it) in intense pain, but that was still an awesome trip. At the time, the pain and complications made me wonder if I would be able to continue doing what I love, but I also knew that trips and shows like that are worth it every time, so I had little true doubt that I’d keep going.
Now, I feel like I won’t have the option to keep testing my body’s limits. It wasn’t me that quit. The world just doesn’t seem to be coming back quite the same as it was.
I don’t think shows are gone forever, everywhere. But with the recent assumption from our experts that the border may remain closed into late 2021, and severe restrictions on events like concerts expected to last at least 2-3 years even if this virus is brought under control, the prospect of seeing my American, 71- and 73-year-old favourite artists becomes more and more remote to me. Currently in Ontario, indoor events are capped at 50 people, 100 people outdoors, and while Americans can enter Canada to work (and that includes the arts–at least Supernatural is back to filming!) they must quarantine for 2 weeks.
I can’t see a band entering the country and quarantining for 14 days just to do one show for 50 people. No matter how much this Coyote would like them to. And I can’t just hop a plane to bring the Coyote howl to them, anymore.
There’s a lot of ways to look at something like concerts. A frivolity, a luxury. A means of making a living for the countless crew members and artists, big and small, who rely on shows, tours, and venues for their income.
An escape. For some, I can’t be the only one, the escape has proven essential.
For nearly 25 years, the only place I’ve felt like myself has been in an audience, cheering and singing and watching the artists intently to see those things you only get to see once, live, if you happened to be there. A Don Henley lumberjack dance. Lindsey Buckingham lying down on stage, kicking his feet in the air, laughing, playing guitar and just revelling in pure joy at performing solo again in 2006 (that was at my first Lindsey solo show–is it any wonder I was hooked?). The Barenaked Ladies singing their song, “Brian Wilson,” on stage with actual Brian Wilson. Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh duelling guitars on the Hotel California solo, Joe dropping to his knees and sliding across the stage in a playful effort to ‘upstage’ Glenn; Glenn following suit, shaking his head in a joking ‘why me’ expression before dropping to his knees too, sliding across the stage towards Joe as Joe, and everyone else onstage, looked on with wide eyes and open jaws.
That was the first image that came to mind when I heard of Glenn’s passing and it was mentioned he suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.
That image has come to mind every time I have questioned my own ability to do what I love in the face of pain.
None of that even touches on how fortunate I’ve been to have personal interactions with artists. Those are just the “shows where nothing else happened.”
I figured that when the shows I’ve built my life around ended, there would be other tours to take their place, like the new bands formed by some of the cast of Supernatural late last year. And I thought I’d travel; hopefully finish the slowly growing country of state magnets on my fridge while seeing the friends I’ve made on the road.
Right now, it’s so hard to see any way forward. Boston feels like not only The Last Show, but The Last Trip.
I’d like to just put this out there in the world. To all who say that concerts, the arts, don’t matter and y’all “don’t care if they never come back.”
Concerts are vital. The arts are vital. They’re more than a song, a show, even more than a job or career. They are a mental health lifeline for many; an escape from everyday survival mode. In the words of the Eagles, “Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.” Travel is a vital escape, too.
Everybody has their ‘thing,’ be it sports, music, plays, dining out, going to the movies. This is just my ‘thing,’ and it’s as valid as anything else that gets you through the day.
This sign has lived in every office I’ve had since 2015. It sums up my priorities perfectly, and I’m so happy I lived my life this way. But now, the last line is so true it kinda breaks my heart.
I’m just moping, at this point, because I’ve given myself a platform to do so and I’ve felt like writing something for quite awhile now. Writing is what I still have, and I do still have stories to tell. I have a few drafts ready to go, so they will likely pop up on a schedule over the next few weeks. They’re happier than this one, I promise!
I’ll be okay. I always manage, and somehow, I’ll figure out a way to do so again.
I don’t really have an ending here, so I will just say this: If I get to be in an audience again, Lindsey, Don, Eagles: plug your ears. ‘Cause once this Coyote stops crying happy tears, I’m gonna let loose the biggest howl of my life.