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The Golden Age

January 19th, 2007 · No Comments · Culture, Remembering

When I was a wee dorky lad of 15, I was entrusted by my folks to join two other dorky friends to head into Boston to the Orpheum to see my very first “rock” concert. The artist we saw: Thomas Dolby on the Flat Earth tour.

Since then, I’ve always liked his stuff, though he’s not released a lot of material since his heydays in the 80’s. After “Aliens Ate my Buick” his music dropped from my awareness.

Flipping through the pages of Time Out NY I was thrust into the Wayback Machine seeing that Dolby was going to be performing at the Canal Room in New York City, with BT of all people. A few minutes later, I had my tickets for his show on the 23rd of December as an early Christmas present for myself.

We arrived a few minutes late, hearing the beat of “One of Submarines” pounding outside the club. The Canal Room is a small venue, with no almost no seating when they do concerts, but a well serviced bar.

It was an odd feeling seeing Dolby, over 22 years later. I felt like I was seeing an old friend. His music had been a memorable and fond part of my growing up. Inside, I almost felt like he should recognize me. For a brief moment, the distance of those 22 years seemed really small. The man who was once a distant rock star on a far away stage was a human being, performing alone on a stage not more than 22 feet away. And doing a damn fine job.

His hair is gone now, shaved off, but he still manages to affect a harmless but mad scientist demeanor even without the poof of blonde that once was his trademark, thanks to the personal video rig/goggles he uses during the performance. Between songs he would share anecdotes of a man who is no longer huge pop star, but a working artist, father and all-around sharp cookie who really likes his job. And while some people might be more inspired by the former, I find the latter much more appealing.

Seems I wasn’t the only one who had this experience. And how can I not like him even more, after reading his fine blog?

We didn’t stay for the BT set, sadly. I would have liked to catch a few songs, but after Dolby was done, we found that our capacity to stand around in a club is not getting better with years, especially at a late hour. Maybe some other time I’ll see BT, but at least I got to spend some quality time with an old friend from long ago.

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