I’m on a train to Chicago. That’s starting to sound (and feel) redundant. I have a business meeting tomorrow. But I’ll have most of the next two days to myself.
I’m sure a record store will come into play. And maybe I’ll hang out with a friend. Truthfully, I’ll probably spend most of my time writing in my hotel room. That’s cool, too.
One thing I won’t be doing is going to a concert. That’s just out of the question until we get it together and bring this COVID-19 bug under control.
I’m retired now. I’m supposed to be playing golf, hanging out with friends, going to the movies, spending time with my daughter (assuming she’d allow it), jamming with other musicians, and going to gigs. Lots and lots of gigs.
But that will have to wait.
It’s too risky right now. I’m a type-2 diabetic with high blood pressure. That puts me directly in this bug’s crosshairs. I have to take the proper precautions.
I was in Chicago less than a month ago. I was surprised to learn my favorite jazz club, The Green Mill, was open for business. But I wouldn’t go then. And I won’t now. It’s not time yet.
I have nothing but sympathy for my friends in the music and restaurant industries. They are getting pounded right now. I do what I can to support local eateries. But concerts? I can’t. I try to buy their music instead. But gigs are where the money is.
One of my friends told me he’s performed at exactly one gig this year. ONE. No gigs, no money. That’s the reality. And it sucks! What can you even say to someone who tells you that? It’s not fair.
Musicians are working to find ways around the restrictions placed in them by The Bug. Outdoor concerts with plenty of social distancing have become a thing. Bigger artists are playing the equivalent of drive-in theaters to get their music out. Fans must remain in their cars and spread themselves throughout the parking lot. That’s one way to go, I guess. Hell, it’s better than nothing. It’s also a LONG way from a tour.
The venues I love — The Old Rockhouse, Delmar Hall, The Ready Room, Reggie’s, The Riviera, The Vic — all face an uphill fight to get their venues solvent again. It could take two years or more before they are truly back on track. And most of them are still several months from re-opening. Damn.
I get more than a little frustrated with people that refuse to do the right thing to help abate The Bug. They bitch and moan about how bored they are, and that they need to get out. Well, TOO BAD. Worse yet, many have managed to turn wearing a mask and distancing into a political issue. This is one of the STUPIDEST things I’ve ever heard! As if a virus gives a shit who you vote for!
It’s like America has turned into a nation full of tantrum-throwing toddlers. They want what they want and they want it NOW! I think my late mother would’ve looked at them and said, “Well, people in hell want ice water! Deal with it!” Wise woman, my mom. Still, these toddlers insist on doing what they want. And then they have the nerve to act surprised when the number of new cases spikes.
I don’t be one of them. I won’t be part of the problem. I’ll keep to myself. I’ll wear my mask. I’ll maintain social distance. Call me all the “wimp” and “snowflake” you want. But I suggest you do it from a distance.
My point here is that — painful as it may be — halting concerts has been the right thing to do, for now. Hopefully the scientists will find a way to bring this bug to its knees. And then we can create our new normal, which brings gigs back to the fore.
And I’ll be there in the front row, cheering.
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers. I’m currently at work on my new book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell.