Last week, Eric Clapton announced that he is going to retire. The news was received with a mixed response.
Some – like your Captain – were saddened. Clapton has been around my entire life, beginning his career with the Yardbirds in 1963. He moved on to Cream, then Derek and the Dominoes, among several other bands.
I loved him in the movie version of The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” (1975).
His star seemed to fade for a while. Then in 1991, a series of misfortunes – including the death of his 4-year-old son – led him to write the soft, sentimental “Tears in Heaven”, a radical departure from his former music. That song, and his “Unplugged” album, garnered multiple awards, and Clapton’s concert tours took on a new life. The rock guitarist now sings the blues. We saw him in Memphis in 2010 when he toured with Roger Daltry. (See my review here.)
Others, upon hearing of Clapton’s planned retirement, wished him well. After all, he’s nearing 70, they said. It’s time for him to retire and just enjoy life.
As if he wasn’t already.
But this blog isn’t about Eric Clapton.
Growing older hasn’t stopped the Rolling Stones.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both headed for 71 and are still touring. In fact, we rushed to buy tickets for their 1994 “Voodoo Lounge” tour because everyone kept saying that was going to be their final tour.
They’ve completed six tours since then!
Mick still seems to have plenty of energy to go on; and Keith Richards is pretty much pickled.
No. Literally. After years of heavy drinking and drug use, his body is so well-preserved it will probably outlast mine!
But this blog isn’t about the Rolling Stones.
All of these thoughts came rushing to mind on Saturday night as I watched yet another Jimmy Buffett concert, this one broadcast live from Chicago via Margaritaville.TV.
Ain’t technology grand?!?
Watching on my computer screen allowed me to actually see Jimmy and the band – as opposed to my usual view from the cheap seats. And what I realized is that Jimmy and the Coral Reefers are getting old!
I’ve known Jimmy’s age for some time. Born on Christmas day of 1946, that makes him 67. The receding hairline, gray hair, and occasional need for glasses make this fact fairly obvious.
Michael Utley, keyboardist and musical director for the band, has been with Jimmy from the beginning of the Coral Reefers. Mr. Utley is only a year in age behind him.
Doyle Grisham, on the pedal steel guitar – one can only guess his age.
Robert Greenidge, on the steel drums, is 64.
Mac McAnally, the six-time CMA “Musician of the Year”, was born in 1957.
As for Tina Gullickson (a former “Miss California Angels”) and Nadira Shakoor (formerly of “Arrested Development”), – well, a gentleman doesn’t ask.
And yet, this talented mix of AARP members (with a few younger members thrown in) still sells out the house wherever they play! Whether in beaches, bars, or arenas, their loyal fans flock to see them.
But this blog isn’t about the Coral Reefers either.
Earlier this month, while attending Jimmy’s concert – beamed live to drive-in theaters across the country – I looked around at the crowd that filled the Calvert Drive-In. To my surprise, they were… well,… old.
I mean, seriously, the people sitting next to us were well into their 70’s!
Then I glanced over at our little group. At 50, the First Mate is the youngest of the six of us!
As I scanned the crowd at the Chicago show on Saturday - filled with beer-drinking, hula-skirt wearing, flip-floppin’ Parrotheads in their shark-fin hats and what-not - I came to the painful realization that the Parrotheads are growing older right along with the band.
And that means... I’m growing older!
What an odd thought!
I mean, it’s one thing for Clapton to turn 70, and for Mick and Keith to (miraculously) live to 71, and for Jimmy Buffett to grow older (“…but not up!”).
It’s quite another thing to realize that I’m growing older too.
I’m not sure I like this!
And why is the damn Rum always gone?!?