Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

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WestwayKid
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Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by WestwayKid » 02 Nov 2017, 7:45am

Let me frame my question this way. My mom and dad raised me to appreciate the singer-songwriters of the 1970's and Gordon Lightfoot (yes - my musical tastes are pretty diverse) recently came to town and I really thought about going to see him. I did, however, check out some recent concert reviews and they were pretty bad. A lot of talk about how he seemed propped up and how his voice was barely above a whisper on many songs and so on.

I decided not to go. It is not simply about checking an artist off of my list. I want to see a good performance and more importantly, I don't want to see a poor performance.

The question is should musicians continue to play until it is no longer physically possible or is it better for them to recognize that there is a point where they are possibly hurting their legacy?

I came across one article where a theater actually posted an apology to those who attended a Lightfoot show. They did so because they got so many complaints and demands for refunds. I guess it wasn't so much an apology for the performance, more of an acknowledgment that they had received a large number of complaints and that they're just the venue.

Anyone have any experiences where they have been saddened to witness a performance by a favorite artist who simply could no longer deliver the goods? Or doesn't it matter for you?

Think of it this way: it would have been great to see Ali in his prime, but it would have been sad to see him pummeled by Larry Holmes in 1980. It would have been great to see Willie Mays in the 1954 World Series, but it would have been sad to see him hobble around in the 1973 WS.

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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Silent Majority » 02 Nov 2017, 7:55am

I'd still go and see Dylan and Willie Nelson. And the Stones, actually (if the price was less than £50). Even artists where their voices have sadly deserted them, like Meatloaf, I think are worth hearing perform. Live music isn't about the technical brilliance of an artist at their peak for me. It's about the magic of people who share an interest coming together and hearing songs everyone there loves.

So long as they're compos mentis, that is. I recently watched the Glen Campbell documentary about his struggles with Alzheimer's and there was an artist whose family should have got him offstage long before they actually did. Hard to see.
'But also: hey dude, you can just go looking for more glasses. They're all free now. '

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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by WestwayKid » 02 Nov 2017, 8:16am

Silent Majority wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 7:55am
I'd still go and see Dylan and Willie Nelson. And the Stones, actually (if the price was less than £50). Even artists where their voices have sadly deserted them, like Meatloaf, I think are worth hearing perform. Live music isn't about the technical brilliance of an artist at their peak for me. It's about the magic of people who share an interest coming together and hearing songs everyone there loves.

So long as they're compos mentis, that is. I recently watched the Glen Campbell documentary about his struggles with Alzheimer's and there was an artist whose family should have got him offstage long before they actually did. Hard to see.
Good point. There is something about sharing the experience. I do regret - somewhat - that I did not go and see him. I would have gone with an expectation that I wasn't going to hear the Lightfoot of the 1967 or 1977 or 1987 and so on.

Maybe it is worse when you see a terrible performance that is not expected? I've seen plenty of bands completely half-ass it on stage. I've seen performers show up drunk or very, very stoned to the point where it resulted in a bad performance.

Getting back to the Glen Campbell documentary - wow - that was a hard viewing experience. It seemed like at the beginning of his final tour he did okay...but towards the end it seemed to go downhill very, very quick. My only thought is that maybe his family thought it was the one thing keeping him from declining at a faster rate?

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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Low Down Low » 02 Nov 2017, 8:35am

Its a good question and the boxing analogy is a very apposite one. When your whole life is built around performing and the narcotic buzz that comes with it, I imagine how hard it must be to imagine a life without it. All that rage against the dying of the light. Maybe those who chose to promote it and keep the wheels greased should be asked the question too. Certainly that was the way with Ali anyway. And maybe there's a sense of caveat emptor about it too, not sure about that.

I actually saw an ad for a Gordon Lightfoot gig a couple of years ago and considered going, didn't know anything about his circumstances. I think personally I'd be willing to make allowances for physical debilities as opposed to going seeing a band like the Who and hearing a bunch of guys approaching their 70s punch out My Generation for like the millionth time. I think the Who could still be good and relevant musically but I'd have zero interest in that.

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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by JennyB » 02 Nov 2017, 10:37am

Some should never retire, some should retire before they even start. :shifty:
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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by 101Walterton » 02 Nov 2017, 2:18pm

It depends what you want out of the show and how important the live element is to it.

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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Silent Majority » 02 Nov 2017, 2:46pm

101Walterton wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 2:18pm
It depends what you want out of the show and how important the live element is to it.
Yes, if you're interested in seeing a corpse, it's not that important.
'But also: hey dude, you can just go looking for more glasses. They're all free now. '

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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by 101Walterton » 02 Nov 2017, 3:10pm

Silent Majority wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 2:46pm
101Walterton wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 2:18pm
It depends what you want out of the show and how important the live element is to it.
Yes, if you're interested in seeing a corpse, it's not that important.
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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Marky Dread » 02 Nov 2017, 4:36pm

I saw John Lee Hooker at the Hammersmith Odeon in the late 80's and he had to stop playing because his hand had seized up. I think you should play as long as you feel good and can still carry a tune. If it's detrimental to your health then maybe your body is telling you it's time to stop. But a definite no to ageism.
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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Marky Dread » 02 Nov 2017, 4:43pm

Silent Majority wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 2:46pm
101Walterton wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 2:18pm
It depends what you want out of the show and how important the live element is to it.
Yes, if you're interested in seeing a corpse, it's not that important.
So you won't bother going to see Heston when he is in his 70's on his "Who remembers KISS" tour.
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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Flex » 02 Nov 2017, 4:51pm

I've seen plenty of old musicians who were probably past their prime. The most dubious is Brian Wilson, who probably is dealing with some mental shit while he get up there. Still, a great show. I saw Kenny Rogers a few years ago and his old person rasp actually made the set pretty bad-ass, and likely enjoyed it a lot more than I would have at the height of his powers. I've seen Dylan about a dozen times over the last decade and a half, and even though he's physically continued to deteriorate the quality of his shows doesn't necessarily seem directly related to that (one of the lesser shows I saw from him was a decade and a half ago and one of the best was the one a couple weeks ago, with many variable performances in between).

Stones still put on a killer show, probably double-tracked hell and back. Shows suck if the artist's heart ain't in it, regardless of their physical or technical prowess. If the musician/band still wants to be out on stage, go see 'em.

I wanna see Jerry Lee Lewis before it's too late. Probably won't happen.
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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Silent Majority » 02 Nov 2017, 4:52pm

Flex wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 4:51pm
I've seen plenty of old musicians who were probably past their prime. The most dubious is Brian Wilson, who probably is dealing with some mental shit while he get up there. Still, a great show. I saw Kenny Rogers a few years ago and his old person rasp actually made the set pretty bad-ass, and likely enjoyed it a lot more than I would have at the height of his powers. I've seen Dylan about a dozen times over the last decade and a half, and even though he's physically continued to deteriorate the quality of his shows doesn't necessarily seem directly related to that (one of the lesser shows I saw from him was a decade and a half ago and one of the best was the one a couple weeks ago, with many variable performances in between).

Stones still put on a killer show, probably double-tracked hell and back. Shows suck if the artist's heart ain't in it, regardless of their physical or technical prowess. If the musician/band still wants to be out on stage, go see 'em.

I wanna see Jerry Lee Lewis before it's too late. Probably won't happen.
I don't think the Killer will actually perform again.
'But also: hey dude, you can just go looking for more glasses. They're all free now. '

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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Flex » 02 Nov 2017, 4:54pm

Silent Majority wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 4:52pm
I don't think the Killer will actually perform again.
Yeah, I don't think so either. He had a couple shows in Nashville early this year. Contemplated flying out for 'em but didn't work scheduling-wise. Probably missed my last shot.

Addendum: Actually, he's playing Nov. 24th in LA. Interesting.
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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by Silent Majority » 02 Nov 2017, 5:04pm

Flex wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 4:54pm
Silent Majority wrote:
02 Nov 2017, 4:52pm
I don't think the Killer will actually perform again.
Yeah, I don't think so either. He had a couple shows in Nashville early this year. Contemplated flying out for 'em but didn't work scheduling-wise. Probably missed my last shot.

Addendum: Actually, he's playing Nov. 24th in LA. Interesting.
If you can feasibly see Jerry Lee, I cannot encourage you enough to do so.
'But also: hey dude, you can just go looking for more glasses. They're all free now. '

www.pexlives.libsyn.com/

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Re: Is there a live retirement age for musicians?

Post by muppet hi fi » 02 Nov 2017, 5:21pm

The beauty of live music is that anything can happen, and frequently does. As Flex pointed out - as long as their hearts are still in it it's probably worth seeing.

Keef fucked up the intro to "Brown Sugar" last month in Germany, with Woody keeping Charlie on track, and then Keef gets mad at Mick for coming in perfectly on time. Fucking own it, Keef! You're old and you fucked up "Brown Sugar"(doh!). But they still seem to love playing, so good on 'em.

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