During the McCartney Era back in the 1950s, conventional wisdom declared that the only people that could possibly resist the swelling tide of popular music were communists and fellow travelers. Politicians and right-wing kiddie show hosts alike pointed their collective finger at alleged fascists, socialists and herbalists, claiming that it was “un-American” to ignore the patriotic piano pounding of Jerry Lee Lewis or the capitalistic glitter of Little Richard. Those refusing to go to shows were hauled before the Senate Musical Perversion Committee, where many ratted out friends and relatives while others took the Fifth.

Those dark days of the past, like most historic moments, are behind us. Today you can choose between Oasis and Joan Baez. You can go out for a Baby Blue Sound Crew concert, or you can stay home and listen to your Systematic CDs. Armed police coming to one’s door and marching a family off to see Robert Goulet is a Norman Rockwell memory from our grandfather’s generation, not ours. We can pick from Pat Martino, Shaking Tree and Engelbert Humperdinck. This is the real definition of freedom.

But there are rumors that some people are forgoing concerts in favor of other so-called events. There are reports that men have passed on U2 in favor of taking their sons to baseball games, that women are giving birth instead of seeing Creedence Clearwater Revisited and some people, believe it or not, have let funerals take priority over Ozzfest 2001 and Vans Warped Tour 01. Can this really be happening? In our day and age? In America??

We must remember that the good Lord put concert promoters, booking agents and people on this planet for a purpose. Your kid will have other birthdays but you may never again have the chance to see Lynyrd Skynyrd. You can birth more babies and there will be other burials, but what about Green Day, Janet Jackson and Donny Osmond? Do you dare take that chance?

Freedom. It means having the ability to call in sick in order to grab first place in the line for REO Speedwagon tickets. It means spending your kids’ school clothes money on Gov’t Mule and Phil Lesh & Friends. For when you add up the pluses and minuses, concerts clearly take precedent on the spreadsheet of life.

James, Bliss 66 and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, now that’s real freedom! Spread the word!

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