>I was a witness to something last night which I will here attempt to describe.
I saw a literal wall of Marshall cabs, for starters.
I saw a man in a wheelchair wait in line, weave up a handicap ramp, and sit with anxious expectation with a large top hat on his head for the opening act to be over so that he could see the hero, whose visage he wore on his shirt.
I watched a crowd of people go nuts for a band who killed it, even though they didn't know any of their songs. Simply out of courtesy/response to awesome music.
I saw on a stage five people, all of whom were over 40 years old, playing to 1,100 people, aged anywhere from ten to 65. One of these people, Saul Hudson (more famously known as Slash), a founding member of Guns n' Roses (whose music I don't necessarily enjoy, although it is impossible to deny that they invented rock music as it is known today); who has played in front of stadiums with the largest audiences recorded in recent history, played roughly 300+ shows a year for the past 30 years in two world-renowned bands and several smaller ones, who has toured the world several times, smile a genuine smile when he looked out at the crowd of people watching him.
It was as if he were performing for the first time. He was relaxed, poised, and the definition of every image the term "rock star" conjures. He jumped around onstage as if he were 20 years old. He's 45.
I saw Myles Kennedy, 41, also a seasoned music veteran, being a pioneer both on the modern rock scene as well as the transformation of Jazz-rock fusion as we know it, step back from the mic as the crowd was singing a portion of a very well-known song, as he does every night of the week on Slash's world tour, and close his eyes. I watched him mouth the words "This is so awesome" followed closely by an undeniable "I love this." He wasn't saying it to anybody except himself. This was all the reminder he needed to remember why he does what he does.
The same as the grin that crept up on Slash's lips as he peered subtly over the edge of his signature aviator sunglasses and looked at the faces of all the people who made him who he is. It didn't happen often, because he was, for the most part, completely enraptured by the music filling the room.
I've been in the presence of "up and comers" who think that they are the best thing that has ever happened to music while they are on stage. I've watched them play so devoid of passion and heart that it almost makes the notes go as flat as the sound.
And then I saw this. With a drummer that played for Alice Cooper in his heyday, a singer who has toured in 4 bands and done his part to bring Jazz back to the mainstream, a bassist who has starred in films as well as played music in the studio with little people like, oh what's his name... Ozzy Osborne, a guitarist who knows enough to play enough in the background to hold a song together while letting someone else receive the entirety of the limelight, and a seasoned rock star whose name is known by a hundred million people who pioneered Heavy Metal but still managed to break into a slow, 3/4 blues jam play music with more passion than I've ever seen anything done. They made it sound fresh. They still got high from the adrenaline.
They felt every emotion a performer should feel and it translated over to the absolutely captivated audience, and you could tell, be it by Slash's uncontrollable smirk or Myles' whispers of overwhelming awe which he never meant for anybody to see.